A Texas Broker/Owner says he wasn’t content to remain on the sidelines
By Deborah Kearns
Freddy Rodriguez is always looking for innovative ways to bring in new business.
Rodriguez never thought about getting into the mortgage side of things – until RE/MAX Co-CEO Dave Liniger and Motto Franchising President Ward Morrison presented the idea in the early days of the Motto Mortgage launch. Rodriguez says he was skeptical at first but after learning more, the Broker/Owner of RE/MAX Inner Loop in Houston realized it was an opportunity he simply didn’t want to pass up.
In this Q&A, Rodriguez shares his impressions and insights about the process and why he chose to invest in a Motto Mortgage franchise now. Here’s what he had to say.
You’ve been in real estate since 2003 and opened your RE/MAX brokerage in 2014. Why did you decide now was the right time to buy a Motto Mortgage franchise?
You know, I wasn’t interested at all when I first heard about it. I thought it’d be best to stay in my lane and work hard on recruiting and retention for my RE/MAX office. But I decided to look into it. The more I found out about it, I realized it was a great opportunity to complement my successful RE/MAX brokerage.
Can you describe the process of getting up and running?
To me, the support from Motto Headquarters has been amazing. It’s up to me as the owner to take the tools and training, and put things into motion. The onboarding process for wholesale lenders has been fairly easy, but I’d say the most time-consuming and tedious process is the licensing paperwork. We were anxious to get our doors open this month and it’s been a process, but you just have to roll with the punches.
How many loan originators do you have, and how have your recruiting efforts gone so far?
All of the well-established, local loan originators I’ve interviewed turned me down, believe it or not. There’s a negative perception from existing mortgage brokers because we’re new and we’re competition; they don’t know what to make of a real estate brokerage starting a mortgage franchise. So I hired a new loan originator (a former real estate agent) who doesn’t have mortgage experience but plenty of drive and ambition. We also have a compliance officer, and I’d like to hire two additional loan originators: one who speaks Mandarin to serve our Chinese investment buyers, and another who speaks Spanish to serve our Latino borrowers.
Has the franchise closed any loans yet?
Yes, we opened in mid-May. We have several closings lined up and multiple loan applications in the pipeline. So that tells me we’re on to something. The best thing about this setup is our loan originators can look for the best deals for borrowers with several different wholesale lenders. In turn, that helps us provide borrowers with more competitive rates, close loans faster, keep closing costs low and, generally, give consumers a better deal.
How has opening your Motto Mortgage franchise impacted your recruiting and retention of RE/MAX agents?
There are 49 agents at my brokerage and there was definitely some pushback from those who were skeptical, thinking ‘Oh great, our broker is getting into the mortgage business.’ But some agents have already worked with Motto Mortgage and are amazed by the speed and service, so the word is catching on. That also helps me shape my recruiting message and show how Motto Mortgage is aligned with RE/MAX values as well as the credibility of our operation.
What would you say is the key competitive advantage of your new Motto Mortgage office?
It’s up to Motto Mortgage owners and the loan originators to make it clear to consumers that they don’t have to work with RE/MAX agents to get a loan through Motto Mortgage. We want to be the lender of choice for people who need a mortgage broker to do the tough deals and give them choices. We want those clients and we want to show them our value. We also want to provide excellent service by educating borrowers about the mortgage process. That’s where Motto Mortgage can make an impact and sell its value where other companies are just focused on closing deals.