Neil Kantor was introduced to the mortgage industry the way many originators are — by chance. He was waiting tables and bouncing around jobs in 2003 when a good friend, who just happened to be a loan officer, told Kantor about the mortgage industry and how well he could do. He decided to give it a shot and looped in another friend to join him for their training.
In that first job, Kantor was a broker doing almost 100% refinances. In those years, he said, there were a lot of subprime mortgages going out, and loan requirements were much more relaxed than they are now.
“We would cold call for two to three hours every night,” Kantor said. “We had a board, and we’d put names up on it when we got a lead. If you left before 9 on a weeknight without a name on the big board, you’d get a look.”
Kantor said that first job was a grind, but it taught him the work ethic he needed to be successful as an originator.
“The mentality was, the harder you work, the luckier you’ll get, and I’ve stuck by that throughout the years,” Kantor said. “The idea was, if you’re in the office on the phone, something good will happen. It was tough, but then the referrals started coming in.”
In 2008, the market crashed. Kantor had to quickly pivot to purchase loans, using the referrals he’d earned and building his client base. In 2010, he moved to Homespire Mortgage, where he said he immediately noticed a difference. And he had a client base and some referral partners that he brought with him, so business was good.
“I remember one loan we received I was able to close in eight days; I couldn’t believe it,” Kantor said. “It flipped a switch for me. I started developing that as my niche, closing loans superfast. People didn’t — and still don’t — believe that it’s possible.”
The mentality was, the harder you work, the luckier you’ll get, and I’ve stuck by that throughout the years.
He said one critical difference at Homespire was the ability to have full control of the loan files. This cut out the middleman, because everything is in-house: processing, underwriting, closing. He said he built a team of underwriters, processors and assistants at Homespire, and together they built systems that work for the team and their clients. “I couldn’t do this without them,” Kantor said.
In addition to the team allowing him to scale up his business, he said relationships were extremely important. Building loyalty with clients by being available and providing good service has built a healthy base and pipeline for Kantor. And he said the same applies to referral partners — building those relationships leads to more referrals.
As his relationships flourished and his client base grew, rates started to decrease, and it “just started to snowball from there,” he said. And he tries not to turn away clients who may have been denied quickly by other lenders.
“If there’s any client who maybe has a lower credit score, or has something going on financially, we’re not going to turn them away,” he said. “We will turn over every stone and try to make it work for them.” ●
Tips of the Trade
There’s really no secret — you’re going to get out of it what you put into it. If you put in hard work, effort and grind, you’re going to be successful. Focus on doing a great job for your clients, always being available for them, nights and weekends. A lot of originators will say that but don’t follow through. The better you do for your clients, the more they’ll want to be a client for life. For their next purchase or refi, they’ll call you first. They’ll be loyal to you.
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