The year 2012 was a busy year in our industry. Many experienced one of the most successful years in their careers fueled by historically low interest rates and consumers refinancing their mortgages. It’s no question that the majority of national production was derived from refinance business, but the future also looks bright for growth in the housing markets and more home purchase business. The year 2013 appears to be off to another good start for our industry, but it’s important that we are always allocating time for marketing and compliance to effectively paddle through the waves of the industry.
All too often, we’ve seen rapid increases in origination volume, followed by rapid recruiting and staff placement to handle the volume. At times, some can be initially unprepared for the volume and fall short on meeting deadlines and execution requirements. On the other hand, we’ve seen rapid decreases in origination volume, resulting in rapid layoffs and restructuring to avoid thumb twirling support staff. Remember, only transactional-based origination volume pays the bills and salaries. Consistency can be difficult in a market that tends to be unpredictable, but you have more control on your own individual production level regardless of your surroundings.
Picture, for a moment, that you’re sitting in a rubber raft in the middle of the ocean. The sun is out, you’re relaxing with your life vest on, and any small waves seem to be a small inconvenience as you’re able to simply paddle around them. You feel so comfortable and relaxed that you’ve decided to throw out the paddles and life vest for more room and stopped navigating to let the waves and wind take you where they may. Now imagine that the waves appear to be getting larger and you realize a storm is rolling in. Caught off guard, you also realize that you no longer have your life vest or paddles and are in danger of being thrown overboard. If you were a little less comfortable earlier you might have reconsidered your actions.
You may have been able to float through 2012 without a paddle, but it’s important that you’re always well prepared for whatever waves the industry may bring. Working hard on prospection and marketing while also staying well informed on the industry and regulatory changes, will allow you to paddle with the good waves and steer away from the bad ones. The goal is to keep consistency in your business and not get thrown overboard by being unprepared. Sneaky waves are always the worst.
Ideas to help paddle with the good waves:
►Realize that housing numbers are looking better and rates are still historically low and may likely remain there for some time. Build a marketing and prospecting plan to target new home buyers in your local market.
►Create a niche and build a team that is sustainable regardless of the market conditions and interest rates. Get your database organized and build those referrals.
►Take advantage of opportunities and seize them. Market share is here for the taking. Many will come and go with these generic spikes in refinances, but experienced and dedicated professionals have a big opportunity to gain more market share.
►Get involved with your trade groups. Be informed of how our business is operating from inside-out and how regulations will affect you and the clients you serve. Being educated will allow you to better serve your clients.
Ideas to help paddle around the bad waves:
►Don’t get caught up in old bad habits because you had a good year. Keep your personal and business balance sheet clean. Save money and spend less than you earn. Invest wisely and don’t let liabilities control behavior and instead control your liabilities now and in the future. Prepare for the worst and expect the best.
►If things slow down, take control and speed them up by being actively prospecting and focusing on daily, monthly and annual goals. The wheel only stops if you stop running.
►Control your mind-set. Be positive and focused no matter what turbulent waters you face. The waves will pass and always make sure you have the best-built floating device.
►Don’t get arrogant or overly-confident in assuming you know what you’re doing. Pay attention and always respect the paddles and life vest even when they are not needed.
Andy W. Harris, CRMS is president and owner of Lake Oswego, Ore.-based Vantage Mortgage Group Inc. and 2010-2011 president of the Oregon Association of Mortgage Professionals. He may be reached by phone at (877) 496-0431 or e-mail [email protected]
or visit AndyHarrisMortgage.com.