Shirleen Von Hoffmann is a principal of Home Builders
Edge. She is a nationally known builder consultant and
expert, speaker, broker, author and certified sales coach.
Von Hoffmann has been a high-volume, top-producing originator and manager for 35 years and has a master’s degree
in residential marketing. She also holds certified marketing
professional and certified sales professional designations.
Reach her at (916) 204-4643, (866) 600-EDGE (3343) or
Carve Out a Niche to
Secure Your Future
Mortgage originators need to explore
unconventional areas to attract new business
By Shirleen Von Hoffmann
In this business, it’s always better to deal with problems now than wait until later. A problem facing mortgage originators is figuring out where their future business will come.
Or put it this way, whatever happened to travel
agents? Think Travelocity, Expedia and Hotels.com.
What about taxi companies? Think Uber and Lyft.
That same sort of disruption is coming for the
mortgage industry. Rocket Mortgage is already here.
Will Zillow be too far behind now that they’ve purchased a mortgage company? The bots are coming.
So, now is the time for mortgage originators to
prepare for the inevitable. But what can be done?
Create a niche for your business.
Having a niche will give you value. Having value
will attract potential homebuyers who will choose
you rather than an online source for their mortgage
needs. Cultivating a niche to attract business has
been a strategy since the beginning of time in sales,
but it’s more important now than ever.
Developing a niche can play a vital move in propelling you toward success. Following are some niche,
or specialty, ideas that you may be able to adapt for
Quick-turn specialists promise a 10-day close or quick
turnaround. Realtors love it, especially when a deal is
time sensitive, and you can turn it around quickly. It’s
money to them. The only pitfall is you have to set up
your processes and expectations very carefully with
your company, in advance, so the ball doesn’t get
dropped. It’s like getting a hot potato on every deal.
Downpayment specialists focus on downpayment-assistance programs, bond loans and financial-aid
programs in your area. It’s great because you can make
loans work that couldn’t work before. You are good
at these loans, while many other loan officers may
find them foreign to work on. You know who to call
to get in these systems and get your loan approved
Credit-fix specialists work with files involving credit-history challenges. This specialty will get you in the
door with builders and Realtors. They will depend on
and trust you to put together these tougher deals and
reward you with business.
A file specialist is someone who knows how to put a
file together to get a loan approval. Self-employed tax
returns, income and job explanations as well as downpayment requirements all come together seamlessly
when you know how to put files together in a way that
addresses the underwriters’ questions before they ask.
First-time homebuyer specialists know all of the loan
programs for first-time homebuyers, and you will work
with builders and with Realtors. You also will provide educational seminars for first-time homebuyers.
When you work in this niche, you will feel good about
what you are doing because putting someone in a
home for the first time is the best feeling in the world
and very gratifying for a mortgage originator.
Being a construction-loan specialist is a niche in
demand. In many towns, you will find only one or two
originators who really know custom-construction
financing. You will be the go-to originator for custom-home builders and homebuyers. It’s well worth the
effort because construction-loan specialists are
A reverse mortgage specialist makes a living
working with buyers who want to use equity from
their homes to create monthly income. These loans
are complicated, and buyers will seek you out if they
know this is your domain. Other mortgage originators will refer business to you as well because they
don’t want to go through the process of understanding these loans.
When you are an online lending specialist, you have
all of the knowledge of a street loan officer but you
are online. You have resources at your fingertips, you
follow through and you are fast. The buyers and agents
will love you because they know when they reach out
to you, you will address their needs promptly.
Another niche, a relocation specialist, requires you
to focus on working with human-resource departments to obtain leads for their employees who are
relocating. Many relocation specialists work nationwide to provide services to employees being transferred by their employers. It also opens up a referral
avenue that can bring new refinance and purchase-mortgage business your way via other company
employees who aren’t relocating.
When you are known as a Realtor specialist, you deliver on your promises. You pick up the phone right
away. You work with Realtors at open houses, and you
are active in their communities — providing buyer
education and quick turnaround times. You know the
ins and outs of Realtor purchase contracts and the
pitfalls related to financing resale homes. If you save
deals because of this expertise, Realtors will use you
time and time again.
Continued on Page 82 >>
For more articles on niche lending
View these articles and more at
“VA Loans Create Opportunity
“Deal-Makers Are Masters of Loan Options,”
“Learn the Art of Specialty Lending,”