The Loan Atlas

Mastering the Mindset for Success in a Down Market

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The Change Starts with You

Stress is an understandable reaction for a loan originator during a down market. I challenge you, however, to change the way you look at these tough times. Move past the obvious negatives for a minute and focus on turning them into positives.

Overcome Anxiety and Unlock Growth

The opposite of creativity is not a lack of creativity. It’s stress. Creativity and stress cannot coexist for an extended period.

Think about a child for a moment. When most people are young, they’re stress-free, playful, and imaginative. They’re constantly learning, growing, and evolving. But these aren’t just hallmarks of youth; they’re meant to serve us for our entire lives. Unfortunately, we tend to forget this when times get tough.

One of my challenges to you is to stay curious constantly. Ask yourself questions like, what is this situation teaching me? What can I work on now that I have the time? What do people need from me right now?

People who view times like these as an opportunity for learning, growing, and evolving will rise to the top. Those who don’t will, at best, have no greater level of success. End every day by asking yourself what you learned that day, and then write it down. Ask yourself how you can improve things tomorrow. Continually educate your mind and stay away from negative influences. This is a time for mental discipline, emotional intelligence, and healthy practices.

Morning Rituals

How we begin our day is just as important as how we end it. A little self-care first thing in the morning goes a long way. Prayer, meditation, a workout, journaling, reading, and yoga are all great morning rituals as they allow us to begin our day calmly.

Think about the opposite. You check mortgage-backed securities, the stock market, crypto, and the world news. Need I say anymore?

When we’re anxious and fearful, our bodies produce fight-or-flight hormones such as adrenaline, cortisol, and norepinephrine. They inevitably narrow our focus and limit creativity.

After your morning self-care, ask yourself two questions:

What am I learning right now that will ultimately make me a better human being and a better leader?


What can I do to make sure I will look back on these times as a positive experience?

What’s in the Middle?

Now that I’ve addressed the start and end of your day let’s fill in the middle. For me, it’s about focusing on being the best leader I can be. But what does that even mean? I personally believe it’s about cultivating trust with the people you’re leading.

The old-school leading method meant being stoic and emotionless, spinning everything positively. Problems occur when you don’t act that way. People begin to look at you as being duplicitous, which will erode their trust in you.

My advice is not to be afraid to show vulnerability, even when you’re feeling afraid. Tell your team the truth. They will only follow you if they trust you.

Isn’t There More?

Being a good leader is only part of your day. A good portion of it should also involve figuring out ways to make mortgage financing as appealing as possible to your clients. One method I’m fond of is a four-column approach.

Column One

This column includes a hypothetical from 2022 when interest rates were relatively low. Start with a home loan of one million dollars at four and a half percent.

Column Two

Now, let’s use current market conditions. Drop the one-million-dollar loan down to 950 K to account for the slight decline in property values. In turn, it increases the interest rate to 7. This naturally increases the monthly payment compared to 2022. But by presenting this transparently, you’re addressing the buyer’s concern by acknowledging changes in the market.

Column Three

Introduce a negotiated 2-1 Buydown. Set the purchase price at 950k with interest rates at 5 and 6 percent for the first two years respectively. The interest rate returns to 7 percent for the remaining 28 years. This lets the client know that financing options can be flexible, and the impact of higher rates can be mitigated.

Column Four

Use a projection of interest rates two years from now. Let’s estimate it at five and a half percent. Let’s also estimate a five percent appreciation on the home due to the more favorable market. The discussion can now turn to the idea of refinancing at little or no cost to the buyer. By presenting this long-term perspective you instill confidence in the buyer.

These are just a few of the techniques you can use to curate the proper mindset during a down market. Turning a tough market into an opportunity to become a better and stronger loan professional is a decision that’s purely yours.

With the intention of guiding you to peak performance we have created The Loan Atlas, the Home of The 8 Disciplines of Origination Mastery:
A Decades-Proven Formula for Loan Professionals to Thrive Amid Market Changes.


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