Miracle Worker

How “singleness of purpose” led Matt Weaver to a three-peat as the Sunshine State's purchase mortgage winner

Matt Weaver speaking

For the housing market, the years 2020, 2021, and 2022 were a roller-coaster ride.

At the start, home sales roared skyward thanks to low interest rates, and the COVID-19 pandemic induced city dwellers to seek leafy suburbs so they could work remotely, creating competition for properties the likes of which had never been seen.

That was followed by the worst inflation in 40 years, which led the Federal Reserve to raise its benchmark rate at a pace not seen since the 1980s, resulting in climbing mortgage rates that sent home sales and refinancings plummeting.

Through it all, however, there was one constant: Matt Weaver seated in the roller coaster’s first car, his name topping the list of purchase mortgage loan originators in Florida.

Weaver, vice president of mortgage sales with the Matt Weaver Team at CrossCountry Mortgage in Boca Raton, led the Sunshine State in purchase loan originations in 2020 and 2021, and led both Florida and the nation in 2022.

According to the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System (NMLS), Weaver closed 1,145 purchase loans valued at over $335 million in 2020; 1,436 purchase loans valued at more than $476 million in 2021; and 1,393 purchase loans valued at nearly $521 million in 2022. For each year, he led Florida in both closed loans and volume.

Florida Realtors reported that closed sales were down 18% in 2022. Sales increased around 13% in 2021 and 5.8% in 2020 in the Sunshine State.

The question is, how did Weaver remain at the top even as the housing market changed so drastically, and so quickly?

To understand his methods and the reasoning behind them, you have to know their origins.

Weaver began his career in the housing industry by getting his real estate license around the same time he graduated high school at 18 years old.

His desire to be an agent was formed as a kid.

Started In Real Estate

“Real estate agents … would send postcards to my parents’ house, and when I was age 10, 11, 12, I would collect the cards,” he said. “I thought they were like celebrities.”

At 16, he worked at a deli in Pompano Beach — one of several restaurants owned by his parents, Les and Maria Weaver — where he would regularly serve lunch to a top-producing real estate agent named Mike Canaan. “He convinced me to go out and get my real estate license,” Weaver said.

He worked for Coldwell Banker for four years, and quickly learned what motivates people to buy.

“I understood at a young age that monthly payments, mortgage financing, the amount of money you need to buy — [that’s what] motivates people to buy,” he said. “I also recognized during that time that most people were unaware of just how simple it was to buy.”

Weaver said a mortgage advisor made weekly presentations at his real estate office, which soon made him realize that mortgage lending was a better fit for him. He began studying for his licenses. “It was just a natural move for me,” he said. “So when I was 21, I was no longer in real estate.”

He became a loan originator.

And Then … 2008

He spent most of his initial time in his new career originating refinance loans, he said.

“And then 2008 came,” Weaver said. “We all know the story. That actually became an opportunity for me, because we ended up transitioning to a full documentation lending environment.”

Instead of just handing mortgages to anyone with a heartbeat, which ultimately crashed the housing market, lenders now had to award loans based on fully documented income and credit histories.

“I just knew there had to be a better system,” Weaver said. “I said to myself, loan originators are not going to gather the appropriate documents from buyers and properly pre-approve them in order to buy a home, because every originator in the country was used to writing a loan for anyone that existed.”

Weaver also knew that a lack of documentation effort on the part of loan originators would frustrate real estate agents, because he had experience on both sides.

“I immediately said I want to specialize in working with real estate agents, and I’m an ‘all-in’ person,” he said. “When I go in one direction, I’m going to go that direction all the way.”

He decided to develop his own system for documenting and pre-approving borrowers. “I said to myself, I want to develop a system that’s accountable, that’s thorough, that serves the real estate agent to the highest and best.”

Maximizing Time

Based on his experience as a real estate agent, Weaver knew he could maximize an agent’s “most precious asset” — their time — by making sure a client is both thoroughly pre-approved and thoroughly informed, “so they’re aware of everything before shopping for a home.”

With his pre-approval process, agents knew anyone who went through it was able to buy a home, he said. There was just one problem.

“In 2010, when I launched this hard and fast process, a lot of agents didn’t want to use me,” he said. “And the reason is because they were not burned yet. … We came from a non-documentation lending environment, so everyone could do a loan and no one had a bad reputation yet. So when we converted to a full documentation lending environment, it took a while for it to permeate through the industry.”

Weaver said it took a couple of years of agents getting burned by clients being turned down for loans before his system caught on.

He also developed a systemized offer process “that delivers timelines that virtually no other offer can match,” naming it the “seven elements of structuring a winning offer.” He declined to provide specifics about each element, but did say the process has multiple components and is “a scripted offer process” that real estate agents can adopt.

“We were doing things that were completely unorthodox, which is really what we specialize in,” he said. “We do things that people don’t do. In fact, we try to do the opposite of what others do. And we started winning against multiple offers in high numbers.”

Through 2010, 2011, and 2012, he said, “we started dominating in those markets by being the source of how an agent can win.”

Singleness of purpose

He brought his system to CrossCountry Mortgage in 2018, and says he and his now 41-member support team have built a strong reputation for accountability, clarity, and working in the best interest of his clients — the real estate agents.

“We know exactly who our customer is, and that’s the biggest challenge among loan originators,” Weaver said. “Most loan originators don’t know who their customer is. Our customer is the real estate agent. Period, end of story.”

To Weaver, “singleness of purpose” is the key to his continuing success.

Singleness Of Purpose

“Singleness of purpose is our No. 1 competitive advantage against loan officers,” he said. “Because if you have singleness of purpose and a singular customer that you focus on, all you’re doing is thinking about how to best serve them. And it’s all about them.”

He notes that this laser focus on real estate agents has served to keep his business steady, even as the market rides the roller coaster.

“You know, it’s interesting. Interest rates go down, most loan officers change their customers,” he said. “They refinance people, right? Then interest rates go up and they call real estate agents. In what business does that even make sense, that whatever the economic factors are changes someone’s business plan? That’s not a business plan. That’s just winging it and going with the wind.”

As evidence of his singleness of purpose, he points to 2020 and 2021 as “probably the highest application years for refinance business.” And yet, he had one of the lowest percentages of refis compared to purchase loans in the U.S.

The NMLS numbers back that up. In 2020, refis made up just 18% of Weaver’s total of originated loans. That fell to 15% in 2021, and just 7.6% last year.

“I genuinely love working and winning with [real estate] agents,” he said. “It’s a true passion of mine. If you said to me, ‘your business has to convert 100% to refinance business for the next 10 years,’ I’d retire today. I have no passion for it.”

Adding Value

That singleness of purpose provides another benefit, Weaver said: The ability to think.

“We can genuinely take time to think about how to best serve [agents] and how to give them the right tools that can increase and enhance their business, which will in turn enhance and increase your business as a loan originator,” he said. “But if we’re waking up and not having any time to think about the customer we serve, well, then what value are you?”

He said if you ask loan originators to articulate the value they bring to their customers, and they can’t do it, then they have to “go back to the basic fundamentals and create those.”

For Weaver and his team — which includes underwriters, processors and facilitators — one value they offer to real estate agents is having someone available from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. 364 days a year; they all take only Christmas Day off.

“Our busiest days are the Fourth of July and Memorial Day,” he said. “Those holidays are very busy for us. … A client can call up at 8 p.m. on a Saturday night and we are assisting them live. Think about the power of that accessibility alone.”

Weaver added that accessibility doesn’t mean he has no life. Married, and with two children ages 12 and 9, he still spends plenty of time with them thanks to his team’s rotating schedule.

He adds value for agents in other ways, including via a variety of educational and training opportunities, he said.

“We are constantly helping our agents by giving them the right information, the right education in terms of mortgage, finance, the right training on how they can best maximize their opportunities in any given market,” Weaver said.

His Mantra: Winning

The bottom line, he says, is also a mantra for his team: “Winning is the only option. Period.”

“That served as an incredibly powerful affirmation that we embodied,” he said. “And our job, our mission, was to outpace the decline in mortgage originations.”

“You see,” he continued, “we’re not accepting what the external factors are. There are still buyers. There are still sellers. And our job is to help the agent that gets in between. And so we have to now double down and triple down on our activities, but you’re okay with doing that because winning’s the only option.”

He added that, without that strong mindset, someone might look at the successes achieved in 2020 and 2021 and just accept those as great years.

“You might say, ‘You remember the good old times?’ I don’t wanna remember the good old times,” Weaver said. “The times are now. And, for us, 2020 and 2021 was a benchmark. We’re not going below that. That’s ridiculous. If you’re not growing, you’re flat. And if you’re flat, you’re dead.”

This article was originally published in the Florida Originator March 2023 issue.
About the author
David Krechevsky was an editor at NMP.
Published on
Mar 01, 2023
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