I don’t know many people who have built a successful mortgage business the way my friend Scott Valins has done it. Scott is a mortgage broker out of Brooklyn, NY who also lends in LA. He’s the primary broker and does his own production but has loan officers that work for him.
In 2014, Scott was closing 5-10 loans a month. Today he does between 70 and 90 with a goal of 100. He built his book of business one brick at a time through word of mouth referrals, a slow kind of organic growth.
At first, he resisted hiring any help. He didn’t think he could trust someone enough to take things off his plate. He was nervous about slip-ups, mistakes, losing relationships, losing deals. To find the courage to take that leap, he got a coach that drilled it into him. “You have to hire people,” his coach told him. “Yes, it’s hard at first, but once you do and you’re committed to that, everything goes up from there.”
And those words proved to be absolutely true.
Making That First Hire (And the Hires After That)
What was the one pivotal position that got him over that hiring hump and helped him scale? He hired a processor. He had been processing his own loans from start to finish, and it was time-consuming, as you can imagine. There were so many people he wanted to reach out to, but he didn’t have the time.
He hired someone to help out with some files, stacking compliance post-closing stuff, some recruitment, and that person became an emotional support person for him. She sat next to him every day and wasn’t directly in the business, so she wasn’t jaded, and they built a relationship over time that taught him a lot.
Then he hired someone with broker wholesale experience and some more processors. Then he was tapped out and needed sales support at the top of the funnel and finally hired a loan partner. In the past 12 months, he went from originating all of his loans to slowly peeling back and adding loan officers.
He still generates leads in a passive manner. These loan officers are calling the realtors and taking over the relationships, and the feedback from realtors has been great. And they’re going out and getting their own business.
On Hiring People with No Previous Mortgage Experience
Scott is an anomaly in that he often hires people with no mortgage experience. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend that, but it’s working for him. How does he do it? What does that training process look like? How is he rewriting the book on how to be a successful loan officer?
He hired two guys, friends of his who built and sold a tech company. When they sold the company, one of the guys, David, told their employees he would look out for them and find their next roles. David became CEO and Paul the main sales manager. Paul knew how to recruit, interview, hire, and train salespeople. And David knew ops, systems, CRM, etc, and had a financial background. Paul’s model was to hire inexperienced people, train them, and build a sales program.
Scott says the new guys are doing great as loan officers. Hiring like this builds loyalty because you brought them in, showed them a new way to do things, and how to make an income they’ve never made before. You’re able to groom and train them to do things the way you want them done.
Scott says they all have good relationships. If they work for him for five years and move on, great. He’ll replace them and build more relationships. It’s an abundance mindset, an abundance mentality. Scott and I are both firm believers in karma. It all works out. However long we work together, it’s mutually beneficial.
The Biggest Challenge to Scaling His Business
Scott has done a remarkable job of scaling his business in a short period of time. And he owes that to the fact that he hired his friend and all his people. Without them, he wouldn’t have scaled like that. He would have just kept going with his smaller shop.
So what has been the biggest challenge? He says he really plugged the value of hiring inexperienced people and wouldn’t change it, but it’s been hard. They went for skillset over experience, and they had to do a lot of training. He’s still the most knowledgeable person at his company as an owner operator. But he doesn’t want to be the one who always has to be in the office.
Scott absolutely loves this industry, and he doesn’t necessarily want to work fewer hours. He just wants control over which hours he worked. He wants the ability to pick and choose when he works, and now he has that.
What He’s Most Excited About Now
Scott wants to build his new company into something that really represents who he is, even from an outward-facing consumer perspective. He wants to step into who he is and what he wants to put out in the world through his work.
He and his partner, Dave, came up with the name “Go Rascal,” and they spent a lot of money working with a branding agency to make it the best it can be. Scott says they chose the name because it’s goofy and memorable. Their branding centers around Rascal, a cute little dog who is mischievous, playful, loyal, fun, and relaxed, just like they want their company to be.
As Scott shows up to work each day and sees his dreams come to life, it’s a great feeling. Yes, there’s a ton of work involved, but that motivates him even more. He loves building something that speaks to him and who he is, day in and day out.
It’s like he’s a songwriter, and he writes songs for himself. If somebody else enjoys it, awesome. But he’s doing it because he has a song in his head and wants to get it out. It’s been absolutely remarkable that he’s been able to have this growth and maintain chill in his life. He helps people around him see what’s possible.
Scott is a prime example of the truth that nice guys really do win.
If you’d like to see what’s possible in your own business, we’d love to help map that out for you. What might it look like going from 4 loans a month to 20 to 80 and beyond? It’s like a paint-by-number, a step-by-step action plan to close more loans, and it’s FREE.
Click HERE, answer a couple quick questions to help us prepare for the call, pick a day and time on the calendar that works for you, and we’ll work out a personalized plan just for you. We can’t wait to chat with you!