When Allyson Kreycik started out in the mortgage industry, she had just moved to a new city. In Boston, originators were a dime a dozen, and the idea of going into real estate offices trying to secure realtor partners wasn’t appealing. Not only was it intimidating, she said, but at the time there was nothing that separated her from the other, more experienced originators who were doing the same.
So she didn’t walk into those offices. Instead, she turned her focus to builders and developers of new subdivision, condominium, and single family home developments. Working at Wells Fargo as an assistant to a producer, she became an expert on new construction all that came along with it: phasing and condo docs, how to structure budgets, master insurance policies, and the like. Seeing the Range Rovers and BMWs of her peers, she knew she could find great success in the industry.
“I looked around at other originators in the office and I thought, if they can do this, and they can make money at this, I can do it better. I can work harder than they can,” Kreycik said. She was the first one into the office in the morning, the last to leave in the evening, she cold called, she worked nights and spent weekends sitting in trailers on sales sites. “A lot of it was timing; sometimes I would call developers eight, nine, 10 times before they’d even return a call . . . they only deal with you when they’re ready and need you, and you have to be the one they call when they reach that point. I got a couple really good breaks. I’ve been very blessed to have some incredible relationships that, over the last two decades, that have grown to be almost like family.”
Today, those partners comprise the bulk of her business, catapulting her to more than $116 million in origination volume in 2017. She has more than 40 new construction developments throughout New England where she’s the preferred lender.
The mortgage industry is cyclical for everyone involved. When working with realtor partners, the point in the cycle determines inventory, as well as the amount of money that a property is worth and the type of business that’s available, such as purchase or refi business. When working with a builder or a developer partner, however, the point in the cycle determines whether or not there will be any properties—or any business—at all.
“A standard realtor that turns existing properties over and over again, those are always going to sell. People are always going to move, people are always going to refinance, people are always going to get divorced. But in the builder situation, it’s more of, how is the economy, how is the market, when is it a good time for buyers to build, when can they get financing, when can they find land at a price that makes sense to them, and what does the market dictate.”
In the years immediately following the financial crisis, condos couldn’t be auctioned off quickly enough, and even after 2010, builders weren’t building because they couldn’t get the loans they needed to build. Kreycik said that the cycle is such that within the span of one year, she’ll go from $160 million to $110 million if her builder partners don’t have any product being delivered that year.
Kreycik runs a well-oiled machine, both in and out of the office. Her partner is also in the mortgage industry, which has given their family of five enormous flexibility when it comes to both working remotely and managing their time. Technology helps her in such a way that she no longer needs a mortgage assistant; she has a production manager who manages the pipeline flow and helps restructure loans if necessary. And working with Guaranteed Rate, she feels that she’s in a true team environment that’s all; about collaboration, not competition. The goal is to take on the market as a company as opposed to pitting originators against each other, and because of the products and support that Guaranteed Rate offers, she wants to spend the rest of her working days with the company. Even so, the market is dictating how she operates, in ways both good and bad.
On one hand, she’s often working for no money at all, in order to stay ahead in the long run. She’s not willing to give up market share, and she’s not going to lose a loan to rate. On the other hand, she’s learning and taking on more work.
“In the past if it didn’t fit the box, I’d send it to a portfolio lender, send it to someone that I knew could get the loan done; I’m learning a lot more lenders can do certain things that we have access to and I can get paid on,” Kreycik said. “I used to be really picky whereas now, I’ll learn guidelines, I’ll look harder before I say no to a loan just because of the compression of the market.”
When she does say no to a loan, though, it’s for good reason. If there’s one thing that she would say to other originators, it’s that if you can’t do a loan, send it to someone else who can. Know the people who can get things done and you’ll still be a valuable resource for your partners.
“My builders used to have three preferred lenders on site, now they only have one because they love the service I give, the reporting I give, and they know if I can’t do it, then I know who can and I’ll hand it off to the right person who will get it done without getting the buyer frustrated,” Kreycik said. “Build relationships with little banks, with portfolio lenders, even hard money, people who can get things done, even if it’s not you. That just helps with your realtor relationship, even if you can’t get the deal, then they still have a sale.”
The origins of an originator
Top Originator: Shant Banosian