The Green Mortgage Team has a lot of strengths: underwriting, reading financials, selling stated income, dealing with lenders that deal with corporate net income, company name financing—perhaps you’re seeing a pattern here.
Eighty percent of Green’s client base, he said, comes from real estate investors. He’s the broker of choice for several real estate investment groups, including REAG and REIN. He does have some realtor partners, of course, but they largely work with real estate investors as well. It’s a strategy that has served him well.
He got involved with REAG very early in his career, and he said that learning about real estate investing from a personal perspective was “eye-opening.” He slowly began to make inroads to become the mortgage professional for the group, and when a mortgage broker cancelled a speaking engagement for a conference at the last minute, Green stepped up and filled in.
“I had done this same event six months prior and had a couple of leads out of it just having a booth but speaking gave me five times as many clients coming to me,” Green said. “From that point onwards, the butterflies were gone, let’s do this. I wanted to speak every time.”
Working with real estate investors was both a conscious choice to target a niche as well as a natural fit for Green’s abilities. He’s good with people but also good with numbers, and so talking to investors and speaking their language in order to best determine their bottom line was an easy move for him. That process is removed from the typically emotional aspect of homebuying, and he also found it easy to generate a lot of referrals through that niche and that network.
There was a period of time that investor business was growing increasingly difficult. Green tried to switch tracks and focus more on straight realtor business for owner-occupied home purchases to keep his pipeline flush, but it was somewhat of a slog and Green found even though the investor landscape was difficult, momentum was on his side, and referrals kept falling into his lap.
“It got to the point where I was like, ‘what am I doing here?’ It was crazy,” Green said.
Green started his career in 2006 at a credit union but switched to a mortgage brokerage within a year. He became a broker’s assistant, receiving mentorship from the owners and eventually became a partner. He also quickly identified his desire to build a business and launched Green Mortgages in 2011. He enjoys brokering, he said, but he also gets great satisfaction from running a business.
“I like managing people, I like leveraging people, I like building something. I don’t want to just settle for being a $100 million broker,” Green said, adding that he’d probably be more profitable with half the staff, working more hours and doing the vast majority of the loans on his own. “But that’s not my purpose. That wouldn’t make me feel fulfilled in life. I think that my goal is to be able to build this to a $400 million origination company between residential and commercial, and be able to net $1 million a year, that’s my goal.”
Last year, they funded around $115 million in residential, and somewhere around $15 million in commercial.
Green is planning a larger push into the digital space this year, having identified how various components work together: a sophisticated drip campaign in order to stay top of mind for everyone—old and new—in his database; a new website to capture and convert people who find him and offer free items of value; and ways to drive people to his sleek website. He’s also planning on moving toward a younger demographic, who doesn’t necessarily want to meet in person to drop off documents, etc.
While he plans to stay true to his core investor business, he wants to move toward being a little less investor-heavy and, more importantly, a little less important on him delivering the service. New customers don’t necessarily know that he’s the owner, and he doesn’t feel the need to be the lynchpin of each and every transaction. The ideal strategy, he said, is for an inside salesperson, the correct documents, and an underwriter to handle a transaction; it’s much more scalable, he said.
Brokers and banks are often pitted against each other, but Green doesn’t see it that way at all, and that’s another differentiator for his business. They deal with banks outside of the broker channel because sometimes a deal needs to get done somewhere else, so they’ll refer it out to a bank.
“We should be positioning ourselves as a conduit so that no matter what, if you send a client to us, we will find a home for it—if it’s doable,” Green said.
He knows the strengths of his business and of his team, and he uses those strengths to reach his target market.
“The nice thing is, I don’t play the rate game, I don’t have to play the rate game,” Green said. He can sit down with a client and explain rates versus the ideal amortization for their goals, as well as tax implications and cash flow strategies. “You find ways of being able to deliver a different message than most mortgage brokers or bankers are telling that same client. For investors, that’s the kind of stuff that they want to hear.”
Discerning his strengths is one way that Green has become a stronger broker over the years. He didn’t know where he was going to end up when he started, but how he’s getting better at planning for his long-term future and envisioning where his company is headed.
Where they’re headed, it seems, is up.