Four years ago, Christy Solar took her first mortgage job as a loan officer. She admits that she didn’t know much about the business.
Solar was working at a family-owned rural Louisiana bank that was closing after 100 years. She did “cow loans” and other consumer loans, and worked on a safe fixed salary. Not liking the prospects of a long-drive to go to work at a big bank, she was enticed to take a risk: Jump into the residential mortgage business on commission.
“I didn’t even know how to read a rate sheet,” she says. Success has come quickly for the Baton Rouge-area originator. Solar now gives motivational speeches to anyone looking to earn over $100,000 a year.
She made Scotsman Guide’s list of top originators in U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) loans in her first full year. In 2013, her second full year, she ranked second nationally in USDA volume at $12.4 million, and closed 203 loans totaling $33.9 million. The vast majority were home-purchase loans.
Solar says she didn’t consciously choose USDA as a specialty niche. She discovered that’s the best program for many of the folks around Baton Rouge.
“Our average sales price right now, for me, is about $172,000 to $175,000, so your area kind of dictates products,” she says. “My product area is more government loans. I do a few conventional loans but that is rare.”
A job coach advised Solar when she got started not to pay attention to what other originators were doing, even those with many years of experience. Solar says she doesn’t get depressed about downturns, and doesn’t closely the fluctuations in the market. She was coached to go out and get business the way a bubbly, people-person knows how.
“One of my very first loans was someone I met at Dollar Tree,” Solar says. “She was a cashier.”
“You don’t have to have some big marketing campaign,” Solar continues. “You just have to meet people, make connections. I met a lady when I went to return something at Office Depot. Her son was about to buy his first home.We did that. It is not rocket science.”
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By Victor Whitman, chief reporter, Scotsman Guide Media | bio