How Motto Mortgage Impact in Owasso, Oklahoma has navigated their way through newly discovered mortgage waters
By Molly Hepworth
We’ve all been there, saying our “hellos” and networking at a conference. Suddenly, you overhear a conversation about “the next big thing”. You linger for a minute or two to listen in, but then business inevitably forces you to shift your focus.
For RE/MAX Results owners Lori Oller and Amy Whitmarsh, that’s exactly how they first heard about Motto Mortgage: buzz at industry events. But it took some time and reiteration of the Motto Mortgage concept before they were ready to jump all in.
“It’s a big step, opening a new business. It’s not something you take lightly,” Amy says. “We actually kicked around the idea of owning a Motto Mortgage franchise for about a year before we decided to sign on the dotted line.”
Despite a combined 30 years of real estate industry experience and co-owning one of the fastest growing RE/MAX offices (large market) in 2017, Lori and Amy found themselves hesitating due to lack of mortgage-specific experience.
One of the driving factors in the decision to seriously consider purchasing a Motto Mortgage franchise? Their previous experience with the support of the RE/MAX Headquarters team.
Finding a ‘Perfect’ Situation
“Hearing about the support other RE/MAX owners were receiving as they opened their Motto Mortgage offices
made us feel confident that even with no experience in the mortgage world, we could get it done,” Lori says.
“Mortgage compliance and laws are not something we’re commonly educated on, especially as real estate brokers,” she says. “But I know how RE/MAX supports and educates us, so to find an opportunity with another
RE/MAX Holdings franchise is a perfect situation. It allowed me to believe that we would be supported and educated along the way.”
So began the research phase and the addition of two experienced business partners Lori and Amy knew they could trust—their husbands, Dan Oller and Carl Whitmarsh. A franchise agreement was signed in December 2017, and from there, things moved quickly.
After attending Motto 101, a three-day training event for franchise owners and loan originators in Denver, Dan began to feel a surge of confidence. Not just in his own abilities but also in knowing the Motto Franchising, LLC Headquarters team truly had his back.
“Motto 101 is great. They fill in a lot of the blanks if you don’t know the mortgage industry very well,” Dan says. “The most impressive part of my Motto Mortgage experience has been knowing I have the support I need to make the business successful. From marketing to IT to the support team, everyone at Motto Headquarters has been available to quickly help me. And that has won my vote of confidence.”
Building a Winning Culture
Four months later, Motto Mortgage Impact officially opened in Owasso, Oklahoma. Though they had plenty of reasons to celebrate, the Motto Mortgage Impact team strategically stayed quiet.
“As the only Motto Mortgage office in Oklahoma, we purposely opened quietly. We were very careful to make sure all our processes were in place. That we were seamlessly integrated with all the necessary software and third-party companies so we could get it right from the start,” Dan states. “We didn’t want a big grand opening or to shout our name out from the mountain top just yet.”
For the new Motto Mortgage owners, it was important to ensure the culture of the RE/MAX offices gelled with the new business, which is why Dan was the ideal candidate for the office’s first loan originator position.
“When we bought our Motto Mortgage franchise, we wanted the culture to fit seamlessly with the RE/MAX offices’,” Dan says. “At the end of the day, we’re all trying to do the very best for our clients.”
Even with a medical and financial background, Dan knew transitioning into a new role would be a challenge, especially in an industry where change is one of the few constants. He jumped in head first, immersing himself in as much information as possible.
“As an owner and loan originator, I needed to not only learn the laws and mortgage basics but also have a grasp on the industry as a whole, and the direction it’s heading,” he says. “I’m fortunate to have a background that has exposed me to the financial world, but learned very quickly that knowledge is power and continuous self-education is key to excelling in the mortgage industry.”
Turning Strategy Into Action
This attention to detail and an intentional quiet open is starting to pay off. Six months after opening, “smooth” is a word that comes to mind when Dan talks about his interactions with new borrowers and the relationships he’s building with wholesale lenders.
“Our clients are really happy,” he says. “One recent client, in particular, was really pleased with how fast we were able to get a loan done. I’ve even had two title companies separately contact me and say how easy we’ve been to work with, how they appreciated the flow and how we made things simpler on their end with filing.”
“I’m starting to hear different people ask, ‘Hey, what is this Motto Mortgage thing you’re doing?’ It’s piquing interest, and consumers are starting to recognize the name. There’s genuine curiosity from friends, clients and real estate agents wanting to hear more about what Motto Mortgage is and what exactly we have to offer.”
Dan’s advice to prospective or new Motto Mortgage owners is to properly educate yourself on the industry and don’t be afraid to reach out to others for advice.
“Leverage the support of Motto Headquarters and use the experience of those of us who have opened a Motto Mortgage office to help guide you. There will be things you haven’t thought of or may have overlooked,” he says. “I had some great advice when opening, and I’m happy to help other potential or new owners with what I’ve learned. Buying a Motto Mortgage franchise was a great decision, but educating yourself on every aspect of the industry will really help in long run.”
While Dan, known by many for his sense of humor, likes to joke that surviving has been a big accomplishment, he’s incredibly proud of the progress Motto Mortgage Impact has made in such a short amount of time.
“We did our homework and developed a strategy for how we wanted the first six months of business to go. And our strategy is working,” he says. “We’re on track and starting to see the results. We devoted a tremendous amount of time and energy into our vision, and it is all coming full circle.”
This isn’t an offer of a franchise. We only offer franchises through our Franchise Disclosure Document. Minnesota Reg. No. F-8089; Motto Franchising, LLC, 5075 South Syracuse St #1200, Denver, CO 80237, 1.866.668.8649.
Each Office is Independently Owned, Operated and Licensed.