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Top Producers Pro Tips: </br>Down South Dealmakers 2017
Learn how some of the industry's most successful loan originators get it done with these tricks of the trade from the 2017 Top Producers rankings' top 20 loan officers of the South.
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No. 20 Tish Ashley, Highlands Residential Mortgage</br> Dallas, Texas (No. 116 overall)
What is the biggest challenge facing your local market in 2017?

We are in a rapidly expanding market with a shortage of pre-owned homes, which is resulting in multiple offer situations on a high percentage of new listings. It is not uncommon for a buyer to bid on four to six different properties before securing a contract, thereby resulting in a number of homes selling above list price and appraised value. Investors continue to offer cash transactions as well, which further challenges the average buyer.
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No. 19 Todd Sheinin, New America Financial</br> Gaithersburg, Md. (No. 111 overall)
What technology has made the biggest impact on how you interact with borrowers? Why?

Over the years my cell phone has become invaluable. I'm able to maintain 24 hour contact with my clients by ensuring that everyone has my number and making sure they know to use it, evenings and weekends, too. I never want my clients or agents to hesitate to call me if they need me or have a question. This helps to separate me from much of the competition that might only work bankers hours.
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No. 18 Bradley Minor, Amerisave Mortgage Corp.</br> Atlanta, Ga. (No. 110 overall)
What's your favorite part about being a loan officer?

The lifelong relationships that come from helping families into great positions of benefit.
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No. 17 Adam Slack, Guaranteed Rate</br> Wilmington, N.C. (No. 109 overall)
There is no shortage of advice on how to be successful in the mortgage industry. What is the best you have been given? And who gave it to you?

When going into a sales pitch the other party is always asking "what are you going to do for me? What does this mean for my business?" I have always taken that approach when talking to a new real estate broker or referral partner, to put myself in their shoes and try to find out what they would find attractive. This has allowed me to make a much stronger connection. This came from my manager, Bill Haines.
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No. 16 John Downs, Caliber Home Loans</br> Washington, D.C. (No. 101 overall)
What's your favorite part about being a loan officer?

Helping people realize that life planning and financial planning are key to a successful future. A mortgage prequalification is usually the first big-boy conversation someone has about life and finances. Lenders should seize the opportunity to give the borrower a powerful lesson about what their future could look like if they make smarter moves every day. It is amazing the impact we can have on everyday people.
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No. 15 Andrew Harris, Truity Credit Union</br> Bartlesville, Okla. (No. 99 overall)
What is the biggest challenge facing your local market in 2017?

The biggest challenge is to continue to be in front of our business opportunities enough that they do not get distracted by the online lenders.
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No. 14 Otmane Laassel, New America Financial</br> Gaithersburg, Md. (No. 89 overall)
If you hadn't become a loan officer, what would you have done instead?

I would have been a fisherman somewhere in cold Alaska chasing my dream.
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No. 13 Sean Fritts, McLean Mortgage Corp.</br> Fairfax, Va. (No. 88 overall)
What is the biggest challenge facing your local market in 2017?

Dealing with clients that go online to shop rates and don't get realistic quotes for their situations and who speak to people who don't know how to close a loan in the D.C. area.
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No. 12 Peter Accolla, George Mason Mortgage</br> Fairfax, Va. (No. 86 overall)
There is no shortage of advice on how to be successful in the mortgage industry. What is the best you have been given? And who gave it to you?

The best advice given to me was to constantly analyze my use of time from day to day. Spend as much time as possible in activities that increase production. Delegate activities to team members for anything that doesn't directly increase production. It was given to me by Larry Rice, the former president of First Horizon.
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No. 11 Michael Murgatroy, Guaranteed Rate</br> Boca Raton, Fla. (No. 82 overall)
Tell us about a goal you've set for your business for the coming year.

To complete the switch from a 50% purchase/50% refinance business split to a 80% purchase/20% refi model.
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No. 10 Neil Kantor, New America Financial</br> Gaithersburg, Md. (No. 76 overall)
There is no shortage of advice on how to be successful in the mortgage industry. What is the best you have been given? And who gave it to you?

Don't stress over things that are out of your control, just concentrate on getting more loans. This came from a previous manager.
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No. 9 Phil Nguyen, George Mason Mortgage</br> Fairfax, Va. (No. 54 overall)
What technology has made the biggest impact on how you interact with borrowers? Why?

The ability to streamline the loan process by handling everything electronically through e-signatures and email.
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No. 8 Sam Rosenblatt, Academy Mortgage Corp.</br> Glen Burnie, Md. (No. 41 overall)
There is no shortage of advice on how to be successful in the mortgage industry. What is the best you have been given? And who gave it to you?

Always do the right thing, treat people how you would want to be treated, and the business will come.
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No. 7 Craig Stelzer, Guaranteed Rate</br> Boca Raton, Fla. (No. 36 overall)
What is the biggest challenge facing your local market in 2017?

Prices have been increasing here for the last few years. Now that rates are increasing and there is less and less inventory, a lot of first-time homebuyers are having trouble entering the marketplace.
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No. 6 Robby Oakes, Corporate Investors Mortgage Group</br> Chapel Hill, N.C. (No. 34 overall)
How do you develop and maintain relationships with real estate professionals?

We underpromise and overdeliver. Also we don't take a loan we know won't end well. There are too many loan officers that are eager to earn a real estate broker's business that try to take on a loan that most likely can't be done.
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No. 5 Yinan Nancy Sun, Austin First Mortgage</br> Austin, Texas (No. 30 overall)
Tell us about a goal you've set for your business for the coming year.

Honesty, integrity and trust, business as usual. That's how we live and work. We interact directly with clients, with lots of respect and appreciation, and we go out of our way to help at every step of the lending process. No if's, and's or but's; we get the job done. We are action and results oriented, period. So for 2017, more of the same for our continued and steady growth.
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No. 4 Matt Andre, FBC Mortgage</br> Lake Mary, Fla. (No. 29 overall)
If you hadn't become a loan officer, what would you have done instead?

I probably would have worked at my dad's car dealership. I said I didn't want to do that, though, because of the crazy hours. This is funny because I've probably worked way more hours in the mortgage business than I would have ever worked in the car business.
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No. 3 Rick Elmendorf, Caliber Home Loans</br> Fairfax, Va. (No. 21 overall)
Tell us about a goal you've set for your business for the coming year.

In order to offer value, I have to stay current on economic news. With my background, I am taking market updates and creating videos for my clients and partners via YouTube (content library) to help them understand what's happening in our industry. My goal is to share my knowledge and become their most trusted mortgage adviser.
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No. 2 Erik Elsasser, Consumer Direct Mortgage, a Division of FirstBank</br> Charlotte, N.C. (No. 11 overall)
What technology has made the biggest impact on how you interact with borrowers? Why?

Having remote access to our emails and systems has been huge. It allows me to assist my customers well after normal business hours as needed.
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No. 1 Max Leaman, PrimeLending, a PlainsCapital Company</br> Austin, Texas (No. 7 overall)
How do you develop and maintain relationships with real estate professionals?

I'm available 24/7, plus I follow-up after closings and I do unique, high-quality marketing.