Time, as we know, is money. And as Guaranteed Rate executive vice president Andrew Marquis knows, the more time an originator spends on loans, the less money they’re bringing in. At least that’s how he operates.
"The more time I have to originate sales, and not deal with the other aspects of the process, the better off," Marquis said. He is origination personified; he builds relationships with referral partners, meets and establishes a rapport with buyers, preapproves those buyers, selects the loan product, explains the loan to the consumer, locks in the loan – and then he hands it off.
"At that point, I’m out of the way. I’ve done my role. So I feel like if everyone in the process can have their own role, and you hire good people and they’re trained properly, you just have a lot more time to focus on sales and origination."
A lot of mortgage advisors and originators take pride in following their loans from start to finish, but Marquis says the people who are only doing a handful of loans every month are stuck in too much of the process, and their time can be better spent gathering more business.
“That’s the biggest thing: don’t be afraid to let go. Everyone in this business that’s somewhat successful is fairly type A where they don’t want to let go of the controls. And I think that at the end of the day, the client just wants to be heard and they want a contact person; it doesn’t need to be you.”
Marquis started his career as a financial advisor but has had great success since he switched career paths to the mortgage industry. In fact, from 2014, Marquis almost doubled his loans closed from 350 to 654, and more than doubled his total volume from $119 million to $275 million.
Guaranteed Rate does mainly purchase loans, which is a far cry from the 70/30 refi/purchase split that Marquis used to have before he hedged his bets on rates eventually increasing. Now, he focuses just about all of this attention on referral partners that can refer purchase business, and all of his refinance business comes organically.
"I would say, if anything, that’s probably a weakness in my business . . . but I’ve just felt like for me, I really just want to focus my attention on business that’s less interest rate sensitive."
It's a decent bet in this market, where we've already seen refinances start to fall away.
In addition to focusing on purchase loans, Guaranteed Rate is very tech-heavy and geared toward buyers who—Millennials or not—are generally more tech-savvy. It’s efficient, but Marquis said it doesn’t come without drawbacks.
"I feel like those types of clients put a very significant focus on the rate and the terms. So they shop quite aggressively on the rate and the terms, which is great, [but] I always try to also remind them there are other aspects to this besides just, what is the rate, what are the fees. There’s a service being provided, there’s the ability to reach me on the weekend if you need. You’re putting down a significant amount of money on this house and if you’re working with some less responsive lender and it’s the 11th hour and they don’t get back to you, there’s always a chance that you could either lose that house or lose your deposit," Marquis said. "So you try to realign their focus a little bit onto those other aspects of the process other than just the rate, but some of them adhere to that, some of them are stubborn, they really don’t care."
And that's okay, he says. You do your best, you want to educate your client, but at the end of the day, it's their choice, and you have to let them go.
"Even if they decide they’re going to go elsewhere and you can’t convince them otherwise, move on. There’s plenty of other people who can use their help and you can do a great job for. Just move on. Don’t dwell on that particular customer, because it’ll drain you."
Any originator will tell you that you’re only as good as the last loan you closed, and Marquis takes a start-from-scratch approach, working up to 60 hours each week regardless of how much business he did the previous week.
"I hate to say this, but I feel like a lot of originators look at the flexibility of this job and they take advantage of that. Rather than, every day, every day I have no loans. I had loans yesterday, I had loans the day before, [but] today I have no loans. What am I going to do to make it happen today?"
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