Jack Fry is quick to acknowledge that the thought of adding mortgage services to his plate was daunting when he first heard about Motto Mortgage last fall. After all, there are only so many hours in the day to learn everything he’d need to know, especially about compliance and regulation. Time is precious when you lead the most productive single-office RE/MAX brokerage in the United States.
“The first three months after I heard about it, I didn’t do a thing. I had enough irons in the fire to keep me busy for a year,’” says Fry, who has over 150 agents at his RE/MAX of Reading office in Pennsylvania. But as his schedule lightened a bit, he started exploring the idea further, eventually opening a Motto Mortgage brokerage in July.
“Compliance was keeping me out, but Ward [Morrison] and Dave [Liniger] solved that for me. That’s why I’m back in the game – and I’m excited about it.”
Fry is one of the first 43 franchisees in the Motto Mortgage network, and he joined two others – Levan Wood of Michigan and Freddy Rodriguez of Texas – for a lively Motto Mortgage panel discussion at the 2017 RE/MAX Broker Owner Conference in San Francisco. The session was moderated by Motto Franchising President Ward Morrison, who noted that the start-up brand has already grown to over 20 open offices in 12 states.
“We want to be synonymous with mortgage,” said Morrison, citing the concept’s focus on compliance, strong wholesale loan options, and serving the best interests of consumers. “Motto Mortgage is new. We’re trying to do what Dave [Liniger] did over 44 years – as quickly as humanly possible. We want our offices to have great services, great support and great products at great rates.”
Like Fry, Rodriguez studied the Motto Mortgage concept before moving forward.
At first he pushed the idea aside, he said, figuring he’d “stay in my lane and focus on recruiting” (real estate agents). But then he decided to analyze the pros and cons of getting into mortgage services, and found the pros outweighed the cons.
Rodriguez, who has over 50 agents in two RE/MAX Inner Loop offices, has recruited three loan originators (one speaks Mandarin, another speaks Spanish) in his Motto Mortgage Plus brokerage. After focusing on experience initially, Rodriguez shifted his LO recruiting approach.
“I realized I needed to recruit for attitude,” he says, adding that the best candidates are ambitious, high-energy individuals who are excited about building the brand and building relationships with his agents.
Wood, who operates the longest-running Motto Mortgage franchise – aptly named “Motto Mortgage First” – said his 30+ real estate agents and three loan originators are all “part of the family.”
“For my office, it’s not a Motto Mortgage and a RE/MAX,” says Wood, who has more than 30 agents in his RE/MAX Eclipse brokerage. “It’s one group.” To some degree, Wood added, he recruits RE/MAX agents to generate business for his Motto Mortgage loan originators.
All three panelists noted the benefits of covering an expanded range of the home-buying and financing process. The arrangement means better, faster service for buyers and their agents; quicker pre-qualifications and approvals; enhanced communication; greater choice for borrowers; and a clear focus on serving the client by closing sales on time. It even generates a recruiting edge.
Fry noted that the wholesalers available to his loan originators are select companies it would be difficult to reach without the connection between Motto Mortgage and RE/MAX. “They want this to work. They see the potential in this,” he said.
He added that getting up and running wasn’t simple – but Morrison’s team at Motto Headquarters made it much easier.
“You get in and you learn it,” Fry said. “They teach you. And it really isn’t that hard.”