Ramon Von Walker of Mount Diablo Lending was born to be in real estate finance, he said, although he had to work hard to make it happen.
“My family background is rooted in real estate investing,” explained Von Walker, who earned his standing as a Featured Top Originator by logging the No. 3 spot in refinance volume in Scotsman Guide’s 2018 rankings. Last year, he closed 484 loans (including 412 refinances), yielding $157.9 million in refinance volume and $185.7 million in total volume.
After earning a degree in business administration from California State University in Chico, he set out to follow in the family footsteps, persevering toward his own dream of investing in real estate. Along the way, he paid his dues in a variety of jobs, from the finance department of now-defunct department store Mervyn’s, to technical-support analysis for the Oakland International Airport expansion project.
“It has been a journey,” said Von Walker, who entered the real estate industry in 2007 as a broker and principal of the W Realty Group, an independent brokerage, following some personal-property investments. He found success in the housing-finance sphere by translating the skills he learned in his prior professions, first with W Realty Group and again five years later with the founding of Mount Diablo Lending.
“A lot of what I did before, it was about gathering information and providing support,” Von Walker said. “That’s what you have to do in real estate, in mortgage lending. It’s about helping people. It’s about finding out as much as you can — everything you can — so you can help put your client in the best possible place.”
Being “consumer-centric,” Von Walker said, is crucial.
“It’s about bringing [borrowers] an investment mindset,” he said. “Having personally invested in real estate, being a broker and then [going] into mortgages, I’ve picked up a lot of knowledge about all the different sides [of real estate]. You have to be willing to share that knowledge to succeed.”
Von Walker also attributes his success to his tremendously competitive spirit, which he honed while striving to build his career. “Win every day,” he said with a laugh. “That’s a contagious attitude. Bring that to every member of your team.”
Von Walker described each member of his Mount Diablo Lending team as a “superstar,” with everyone pushing their colleagues to work harder and achieve more each day. “We enjoy helping people,” Von Walker said. “And not just the end result. We enjoy the journey it takes to get there.”
Kind of like Von Walker himself, who said that he loves his work, but that he wouldn’t be anywhere if it weren’t for the path he took. “It was worth it,” he said. “Worth every second.”