Motto Mortgage

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Motto Mortgage aims to meet demand for a one-stop homebuying experience.

By Chris Kelsch

The concept for Motto Mortgage seems so simple that it is hard to believe it has not been done before. In recent years, there has been increased consumer demand for a more streamlined homebuying experience.

To meet that demand, in late 2016 RE/MAX, already a heavyweight in the real estate industry, announced the launch of Motto Mortgage

, a new franchise opportunity for real estate brokers who want to expand their business into mortgage loan origination. It’s hard to argue with the logic. Whereas homebuyers used to have to go to two different places – a real estate brokerage and then a mortgage brokerage – they can now find both of those under one roof.

Fast Start

To head up this new business, RE/MAX tapped Ward Morrison, an 11-year RE/MAX veteran who recently served as vice president of regional operations and business opportunities. “It’s really the best of both worlds,” Morrison states. “Motto Mortgage is a startup brand connected to a worldwide industry leader. We understand how to support franchises and help them thrive.”Motto Fact Box

Though the brand is not even a year old, it is already off to a fast start, with locations spread throughout the country and many more set to be opened in 2017. Part of that fast start can be attributed to the strong national footprint of RE/MAX. In 2016, Franchise Times ranked RE/MAX as the top real estate franchise for the eighth consecutive year.

Motto Mortgage is ramping up quickly. “Our biggest advantage right now is the national structure already in place,” Morrison says. “Where it would normally take many years to grow substantially, we feel like we can grow responsibly in a short period of time.”

Transparency with Options

In addition to increased consumer demand for a simplified experience, a confluence of other factors bodes well for Motto Mortgage. One of those is the coming of age of millennials. As they start to form families and purchase homes, they will be looking for clear, transparent options.

Morrison notes Motto Mortgage brokerages will provide a variety of loan options along with honesty, disclosure and full customer service. This is an important point considering the mortgage industry came under intense scrutiny for its role in the 2008 downturn because many mortgage brokers sold mortgages to buyers ultimately unable to meet their monthly payments. “Our brokerages are focused on compliance and transparency,” Morrison notes. “It’s important to help consumers understand their options and find a solid loan product.”

That focus on honesty and transparency is crucial to Motto Mortgage’s future success. Morrison knows the importance of establishing an ethical culture as a foundation for the young company, and he is looking for brokerage owners who fit that mold. “We’re looking first and foremost for those who want to provide homebuyers with an exceptional consumer experience,” Morrison explains. “We want these offices to win repeat business. We’re looking for them to establish customers for life.”

While Motto Mortgage offers a strong value proposition to homebuyers, it also offers a strong proposition to mortgage brokers and potential mortgage brokers. According to data compiled by RE/MAX, the independent mortgage broker’s share of the loan origination had fallen from an all-time high of 35 percent to just 10 percent in 2015. Morrison hopes to raise that percentage again by offering loan originators tools, resources and a built-in relationship with a real estate brokerage, including direct access to agents. Importantly, Motto Mortgage brokers aren’t required to be affiliated with a RE/MAX office, although the initial Motto Mortgage franchisees have been.

Training and Guidance

For those interested in the Motto Mortgage concept, Morrison notes that the brand offers plenty in terms of training. “One of the key things we offer is set-up guidance,” Morrison notes. “We provide training on how to work through licensing and connect to credit agencies and wholesalers.”

Motto Franchising also offers significant technology at the office level, providing brokers with website hosting, e-mail service and access to Encompass by Ellie Mae, a leading technology platform that automates mortgage origination and simplifies the process.

Another key offering to franchisees is a three-day broker-training program at Motto Franchising Headquarters in Denver. There is also a two-day program known as “Loan Originator 101” that educates loan originators on the various mortgage products and services that are offered, as well as training on the Encompass by Ellie Mae platform.

Morrison adds that there is significant compliance training, including 16 videos on the topic produced by the brand’s in-house Motto University.  And finally, franchisees have access to a design center, which aids them in producing marketing content such as flyers as well as recruiting materials.

A Walk Down the Hall

The connection to RE/MAX has created significant buzz across the country – and franchise opportunities are now available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, as brokers are permitted to practice in up to three states.

Given the simplicity of the concept and the potential benefits all around, it’s easy to see why Motto Mortgage is off to a fast start. “I view it as owning a pair of pants with two pockets: RE/MAX and Motto Mortgage,” Morrison explains. “Now, when a real estate broker refers a homebuyer to a mortgage broker, they can simply walk them down the hall.”


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