Skip to Content

How to Start a Mortgage Lending Business

Do you want to start a mortgage lending business online? If YES, here is a complete guide to starting a mortgage lending business with NO money and no experience.

Starting a mortgage lending business is quite different from starting a mortgage brokerage business. Mortgage lenders do often broker loans; they are different from brokers because they are permitted to lend money to individuals seeking home financing.

Starting your own Mortgage lending business may be simpler than it sounds. The advantage of making your own hours and retaining your commissions can be very attractive. You can also evade office drama and politics and organise your own advancement opportunities. But understand that handling some logistics properly will be important to getting your mortgage loan business up and running.

By and large, starting a mortgage lending business is one of the best steps that anyone who wants to begin to make a good living can begin to look at. However, all the needed information that is required to run a successful business has to be adhered to. As such this is a comprehensive guide on how to start a mortgage lending business.

Steps to Starting a Mortgage Lending Business

1. Understand the Industry

Even during hard economic times, individuals and enterprises apply for mortgages in order to fund the purchase of real estate and other transactions, making the Mortgage lending business a recession-proof business. But before you dive into this business, you need to understand the shallow and deep contours of the industry.

The Mortgage lending business is indeed recovering from an unimaginable crash in the housing market and also responding to swelling competition from commercial banks within the five years to 2016. Mortgage lending industry revenue heightened prior to the recession due to unequivocal consumer demand for credit and the popular use of a range of mortgage options for previously unqualified borrowers.

With steady and good improvements in the housing sector in recent years, the mortgage lending industry has turned its focus toward getting back its reputation. In the coming years to 2022, the industry is expected to continue recovery due to raising economy, and the housing market will favourably impact the industry’s growth.

Interesting Statistics About the Industry

The Mortgage lending industry may enter the decline stage of its economic life cycle if the competition they face from commercial banks become imminent. The industry value added (IVA), which measures an industry’s contribution to the overall economy, is envisaged to rise at an annual rate of 1.5% during the 5 years to 2022.

Earnestly, the US GDP is projected to grow at a yearly rate of 2.2% during the same period. These figures show that the industry’s share of the US economy is slowly declining.

Within the past 10 years, the sharp introduction of new products, including subprime mortgages, Alt-A mortgages and NINJA loans, and reduced lending standards supported demand for home loans, and actually put an  upward pressure on the need for mortgage lenders and brokers who had access to these products and to a explore variety of interest rates.

2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies

  • Demographics and Psychographics

Before starting a mortgage lending business, you need to understand who your potential customers will be, why they need mortgage loans and how you intend to get it for them. Understanding the demographics and Psychographics surrounding your proposed business is an understanding that will go a long way to determine how successful you will be.

Therefore, those who will need the services of mortgage lending businesses’ include;

  • Workers
  • Upwardly Mobile people
  • People who are gainfully employed
  • Fathers
  • Mothers

3. Decide Which Niche to Concentrate On

Deciding on a niche to venture into in the mortgage lending business can be your easy part to succeed. You need to understand that this business idea will require an astounding amount of salesmanship and good marketing plan. Choosing to lend to a specific race or for a specific occupation or interest can serve as a niche in the mortgage lending business. You might decide to start small and add more niches as you progress.

  • Residential mortgages
  • Mortgage lending to farmers
  • Commercial and industrial mortgages
  • Home equity loans
  • Vehicle loans
  • Mortgage lending to educational institutions
  • Loans to governments
  • Brokering and dealing products
The Level of Competition in the Industry

Firms in the Mortgage lending industry lend money to prospective homeowners through a mortgage, using the home as collateral; others also specialize in lending to farms or businesses, also with real estate as collateral. The competition and demand in the mortgage lending industry is driven by interest rates, consumer confidence, and capital spending by businesses.

The profitability of individual companies lies on their ability to originate, service, and get loans, as well as to collect fees and interest on credit and other financing products.

Bigger companies in this industry have economies of scale in securing access to capital. Smaller and growing companies can compete effectively by specializing. The US industry is indeed highly concentrated and the top 50 companies in the industry account for about 85% of its revenues.

4. Know Your Major Competitors in the Industry

As is with the case with other businesses’, there will always be brands that stand out more than the others. Here is a list of brands that have gone so popular and successful;

  • Quicken loans
  • Alliant Credit Union
  • Citibank
  • New American Funding
  • First Internet Bank
  • Rate30
  • Sebonic Financial
  • Consumer direct
  • Lenda
  • Kenecta federal credit union
  • Regent Bank
  • First tech credit union
  • IAB Financial Bank
Economic Analysis

The mortgage lending industry operates with a low level of capital intensity. It is estimated that for every $1.00 spent on wages, the mortgage lending industry will allocate $0.08 in capital investment. This 2016 figure indeed shows a slight increase from $0.05 in 2011.

The mortgage lending industry provides loans to businesses, agencies and individuals by raising funds in the secondary market. These businesses will continue to perform these functions without relying on significant capital expenditure.

Most capital expenditure for the mortgage industry is related to computers and technology used to process loans and store information. Investments in technology infrastructure in the mortgage lending industry, particularly delivering online services, have increased steadily in recent years.

5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch

When starting your mortgage lending business, you will sure discover the diverse pieces of the puzzle that you need to put together. But you should understand that other people have done it and you can also do it successfully. In earnest, buying into a franchise in this industry is better than starting from the scratch.

When starting a mortgage lending business, it will not be easy to build relationships with wholesale lenders and it will take time to establish your brand and to build trust. Also starting from the scratch will not guarantee you an established support network and the staff you hire and train may become your future competition.

Also, time-consuming tasks include: administration, marketing, auditing, accounting, hiring a processor and secretarial staff, training, lead generation, courting clients, networking and cultivating relationships with bankers. All of this takes time away from getting clients and closing loans. Meanwhile, the advantages of buying into a mortgage franchise business may include:

  • Back office support already in place.
  • Brand affinity, credibility, recognition and power of a brand name.
  • Policies and procedures in place.
  • Unshakable support and advice when you need it.
  • Powerful network already established.
  • Relationships with banks are already in place
  • Can operate your franchise with only one or two people.
  • Can operate your franchise or net branch from home office if desired.

6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face

If you think you may have the necessary skills and vibe needed to start your own mortgage company, the moment to begin cannot get better.

If you also have the desire to be a small business owner, then all you have to do is get prepared to start and operating your own mortgage lending business and combine your experience with your dreams. Possible challenges and threats to starting your mortgage lending business may include:

  • Industry regulations
  • Home prices
  • Competition
  • Choosing a suitable Business Name and structure
  • Industry distressed asset
  • writing a business plan
  • Networking
  • Registering your business

7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)

The legal entities you can choose from when starting your mortgage lending business are sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation and Limited Liability Company (LLC). To differentiate and protect your personal assets from those of your mortgage business, you may want to speak with a business attorney before deciding on a legal entity for the company.

For the sake of this article, the LLC seems the best legal entity for your mortgage lending business. The various businesses that have gone ahead to choose the LLC structure have had good stories to tell. Some of the things that you also stand to gain include;

  • It protects your private assets
  • Helps to establish credibility for your business
  • The LLC has fewer restrictions and provides business flexibility

8. Choose a Catchy Business Name

Some businesses may find that they do not have what it takes to attract certain kinds of clients to them. There may be other factors responsible for this; however, one of the things that may be the culprit of this is the inability to choose a catchy name for your business.

Hence, it is always really advisable to choose a good and attractive business name. Here is a list of possible names;

  • Bendy Funding Inc.
  • Astral Bank
  • Blue Bridge Bank
  • Pioneers Mortgage LLC
  • Principal State Bank
  • Civic Bank
  • North pole Credit Union

9. Discuss with an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You

There will always be the need to have the right insurance for your business. Why is this so? This is particularly so important so that you may operate in the best of manner and under the best of conditions so that you do not risk being clamped down upon by the appropriate authorities who may want to find you wanting.

Here is a list of mortgage lending insurance documents needed;

  • Coverage for repossessed properties
  • Directors and officers Liability
  • Employment practices liability
  • Lender liability
  • Crime (financial institution bond)
  • Cyber Risk
  • Fiduciary liability
  • Trust errors and omissions liability
  • General liability
  • Auto liability
  • Workers Compensation
  • Property
  • Security and privacy insurance protection

10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents

Firms that clearly manage their IP as a financial asset outperform their competitors by up to 30%. They do this explicitly by maximising the effectiveness of investment in their moving performance in areas that produce the best return and managing operational risk.

You can also do this and a few more in order to protect your intellectual properties. The following type of documents is the kind of things that may need intellectual protection;

  • Managing Return on Investment and Improving Performance
  • Provide security for financing
  • Drawing Up an IP Strategy
  • Secure assets to benefit a third party

11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification

There are professional certifications in quite every field and you can discover them by extensive research and discussing with those in the industry or by examining job descriptions. Some of the professional certificates that you may be required to bag include;

  • Certified Mortgage Consultant®
  • CML Professional Consultant’s Certificate
  • Accredited Mortgage Professional (AMP)
  • Certified Mortgage banker

12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate

No one could possibly start out a business without first of all doing all due diligence and rolling out with all the required legal documents. As a result, here are some of the documents needed to start the Mortgage lending business;

  • mortgage license
  • Insurance
  • Federal tax identification number
  • Mortgage deeds
  • Affidavit of Lost Note Basics
  • Business Loan Application Basics
  • Business plan
  • Loan agreement

13. Write a Business Plan

A business plan is a very important document which specifies the location where you intend to run the company, the employees you intend to hire, the types of clients you want to market your mortgage lending business to, the goals you created for the business and the ways in which you have decided to reach your target market with your marketing efforts. When writing your business plan, you need to consider the following;

  • Analyse your past production and clearly define your target audience
  • Identify your Daily Action Strategies. Implement. Repeat.
  • Understand that less is more
  • Know that what you can’t measure, you can’t improve.
  • Have fun and know that business should be fun

14. Prepare a Detailed Cost Analysis

If you think you must have gotten enough experience working as a loan originator or loan officer for a mortgage company, you may indeed have the basics and insight of what you’ll need to start up your own mortgage lending business. As a mortgage lender, your may not solely provide the loans but also help you supposed clients to obtain it.

  • Obtaining mortgage license through the state – $1000 (non-refundable)
  • Rent and lease – $300
  • Office Furniture and accessories – $550
  • legal procedures involved in starting the business – $650
  • Developing a product offering and Marketing – $2100
  • Insurance and all other miscellaneous – $2350
  • Total $6,950

From our detailed analysis above, you will require $6,950 to start a small scale Mortgage lending business and $53,085 to start a medium size mortgage lending business. A large scale mortgage lending business is estimated to need a mouth-watering $345,000 as start up capital.

15. Raise the Needed Startup Capital

Start-up costs will be required when starting your mortgage lending business and will vary depending on the nature and location of your business. You may need a loan to get started, especially if you’re renting office space. Other ways of financing your mortgage lending business may include:

  • Crowdfunding
  • Personal savings
  • Salary
  • Loans forms family and friends
  • Getting Capital from angel investors
  • Partnership
  • Small business loans

16. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business

Determining the location for your mortgage lending business is one of the critical decisions you have to make especially when you are not starting from your home. There are a lot of businesses and activities you can accomplished online today without actually having a physical office right away, but you should have a designated location or space in which you can work.

Without a physical office where you can attend to your clients, then you should be open to meeting clients in their homes or other agreed-upon locations.

When deciding on a location, consider renting one with related businesses that can serve as a source to promote your mortgage business. For example, choosing an office complex with a real estate agent and an appraisal company very close may help drive targeted customers to your firm.

17. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs

As your mortgage lending business grows, you may need to hire additional brokers, loan officers or loan processors. With a bigger staff, the need to hire human resource and payroll services also increases. As you grow, you need to make sure you keep track of your business’ and employees’ tax information. Make sure your workers fill out both the I-9 Form (for employment eligibility) and W-4 Form (for taxation).

Also try to keep all your employees’ tax forms filed for easy reference. Regardless of your location and size, you will need a computer, fax machine, printer, Internet access, other office supplies and most importantly Mortgage lending software.

Mortgage lenders suffer huge losses in three situations: due to sharp, sustained increases in interest rates, accounting control fraud, or the collapse of hyper-inflated residential real estate bubbles.

So in order to mitigate loss, lenders use credit scoring software to determine the risk and credit value of a transaction. Credit-scoring system analyses data from a large pool of borrowers. When a clients name and address are entered into a credit-scoring program, a thorough and complete credit history is gotten from credit-reporting agencies.

Through a series of calculations, the history is analysed and compared to the histories of other borrowers. The customer is then given a credit score, which actually ranges between 400 and 825. A score above 710 is actually considered a good credit risk, while a score under 620 is believed to be a very high risk.

Clients below the 620 range have problems or irregularities in their credit histories and are often referred to as “subprime” borrowers. The information is vital for lenders, because a client with a score of 710 has a statistically determined default rate of only 1 in 21, while a customer with a score of 680 has a default rate of 1 in eleven.

As mortgage lender, you will be using all kinds of technology to originate process, approve and fund loans. Automated underwriting engines like Fannie Mae’s Desktop Underwriter (DU) or Freddie Mac’s Loan Prospector are how loans get approved, and the results are the guides to how loans are documented and kept strong.

Every automated mortgage loan approval requires eyeball review of supporting docs and every other possible aspect compliance. From our detailed research, the paramount issue for the mortgage lending industry is to simplify processes and make it easier for customers to deal with financial institutions.

Actually when it comes to mortgages, after interest rates, the primary thing customers care about is speed. They want to get their mortgage approval very fast, close their home loan, get their funds as quickly as possible – and also move into their new home, or rent it out as quickly as fast as they can. So it is your duty to implore all avenues available to provide your customers those incentives.

The Service Delivery Process of the Business

Just as we stated above, your duty as a mortgage lender is to provide mortgage loans for your customers but you don’t really need to provide them but you can actually help them secure the loan from a reliable source. The service process we will be discussing below will be the enormous process by which loans and funds can be secured.

You can work as the loan officer or let the client hire a loan officer that will help them through the process of securing mortgage loan from your firm.

Between getting your first client and fulfilling their needs, you will be doing a lot of work behind the scenes. Below is the description of these processes and along the line the client may be asked to provide additional information, documentation or clarification.

  • Pre-Approval

At your very first stage, you’re expected to ask for some major details from your client. This includes a credit report, W-2’s, Pay stubs, most recent Federal Tax return, 2 Months of bank and investment statements, etc. The loan data will then be put through underwriting and a pre-approval will be issued.

This process can take weeks or even months from the time the credit is reviewed and pre-approved to the time there is an accepted offer on a property, and you should be available to take care of any documentation that arises.

  • Full Application

At this level the loan is official and as the Loan Officer, you will update any documentation already submitted (documents cannot be older than 90 days).  Your client is expected to address the following:

  • Any credit inquiries or issues on the credit report,
  • Deposits that appear on bank statements in excess of $1000 will require source documentation
  • A full mortgage application package will be completed by loan officer and borrower.
Submitted to Processing

At this point the package submitted is processed and the processor is expected to ask for the title examination/legal work, an appraisal, and If needed a condominium questionnaire to be sent to the appropriate party for completion.

If the Processor sees something that then you as the Loan Officer missed they will request this documentation now.  Because of the complications of the mortgage process a second set of eyes is very crucial to make sure that no documentation is missing and that all necessary information is acquired.

  • Submission to Underwriting

Immediately the appraisal report is returns the processor is required to order a “Fraud Guard” report.  This report often has 25 or more pages and reviews everything and everyone involved to make sure that no party engaged in the sale has been involved in fraudulent activity in the past.

The document includes facts which you must have gotten and they include the borrower and their background, Appraiser, Attorney, Property and real estate professionals involved in the transaction. The processor will also review the appraisal, the house information and all documentation before submitting for full underwriting approval.

  • Underwriting

The underwriter is responsible for going through the entire loan package and giving an approval.  Once again another set of eyes is going through all the details for compliance to all regulations and guidelines as established by Fannie/Freddie/HUD and state and national regulators.

If questions or concerns come up the underwriter can approve the loan but make that approval subject to more documentation.  Sometimes the loan can be approved and the account closed immediately. Even after the loan is approved, there are several more steps in the process where additional paperwork may be required.

  • After Underwriting – One week prior to closing, as the lender you are expected to conduct a ‘verbal verification of employment’ to make sure that the employment status of the borrower/s has not changed. Of course any findings at this level that changes from the mortgage application as approved will need documentation and verification and could delay a closing.
  • Days prior to closing, you’re also expected to run a ‘credit refresh’ to verify that no new debt or credit has been gotten by the borrower that may affect their mortgage qualification. The credit refresh may require you adding ‘last minute’ documentation from the borrower.
  • If any of the documents presented by the borrower at the time of closing are beyond 90 days old the borrower will be asked to bring updated documentation such as a paystub or bank statement. If the credit report is beyond 90 days old it will be re-pulled which could also bring about a request for additional documentation or clarification.
  • After Closing – the loan is re-reviewed internally and also by the end investor and any undue changes will warrant more documentation

The process of getting mortgage loans is complicated and stressful and there are many times during the process when a borrower could be asked to produce more and more information.  This can be very tiring and cumbersome and make the borrower feel like the lender is at fault. It is important that consumers are properly educated about the process and the reasons behind every stage and process.

18. Write a Marketing Plan Packed with ideas & Strategies

The mortgage lending business is a very personal business that grows with interaction. You should know that without clients, your mortgage lending business will not succeed, that is the more reason why your marketing plan should be detailed and direct. The marketing plan can also help you develop your image and knowledge of your target market.

  • Make sure to add a headline in all your documents and media
  • list your business with local media outlets and directories
  • Create brochures, signage and business cards
  • Write thank you notes to your customers
  • Constant and Never Ending Improvement
  • Learn from your competitors
  • Be a good marketer

19. Work Out a Reasonable Pricing for your Services & Products

There are different concepts and models available to mortgage lending businesses to determine interest rates. There are various ways to cost in this business, they include;

  • Cost-plus loan-pricing model

This simple loan-pricing model believes that the rate of interest charged on any loan includes four components:

  • the funding cost incurred by the bank to raise funds to lend, whether such funds are obtained through customer deposits or through various money markets;
  • the operating costs of servicing the loan, which include application and payment processing, and the bank’s wages, salaries and occupancy expense;
  • a risk premium to compensate the bank for the degree of default risk inherent in the loan request; and
  • A profit margin on each loan that provides the bank with an adequate return on its capital.
Price-leadership model

The issue with the simple cost-plus approach to loan pricing is that it instigates that a lender can price a loan with little regard to competition from other lenders. Competition in the industry affects a targeted profit margin on loans.

This “price leadership” rate is important because it creates a benchmark for many other types of loans. To make an adequate business return in the price-leadership model, you must keep the funding and operating costs and the risk premium as competitive as possible.

Just as Banks have devised many ways to reduce funding and operating costs, you need to sort ways to reduce risk and competition.

  • Credit-scoring systems and risk-based pricing

You should understand that a loan’s risk varies according to the characteristics and its borrower, the assignment of a risk or default premium is one of the most problematic aspects of loan pricing. A wide aspect of risk-adjustment processes are currently in use.

Credit-scoring systems, which were first created more than 50 years ago, are sophisticated computer programs used to measure potential borrowers and to verify forms of consumer credit, including credit cards, instalment loans, residential mortgages, home equity loans and even small business lines of credit.

Credit scoring is an important tool in setting an appropriate default premium when deciding on the rate of interest charged to a potential borrower. Other risk-based pricing factors may include the term of lending and collateral available.

20. Develop Iron-clad Competitive Strategies to Help You Win

Leading firms in the mortgage lending industry are using data to gain an edge in closing more high quality home loans. The war for market share is not a new development in the mortgage lending business.

But as lending standards have become tighter and home loan volumes have reduced drastically as the housing market heyday, smart mortgage lenders are turning to data to obtain an advantage in this highly competitive market and you should too.

  • Originating and boost more loans
  • Increasing and measure customer engagement
  • Providing customer, property and market intelligence
  • Driving high quality loans
  • Obtaining recorded documents accurately

21. Brainstorm Possible Ways to Retain Clients & Customers

Indeed without customers, your mortgage lending business will crumble but you need to face facts, and understand that existing customers are the backbone of your business. Keeping them happy would serve as a business strategy on its own.

  • Understand that it is not about the rate
  • Focus more attention to existing customers
  • Act like a teacher and not a salesman
  • Send lumpy mails
  • Reward loyalty

22. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity

As a mortgage lender, you will keep feeling the pressure to discover promising ways to acquire and process loans. You can only stand out if you have a renowned corporate identity. One of the best ways to boost your brand awareness and create a corporate identity is to invest in digital marketing. Ways to do that may include:

  • Knowing your target audience
  • Taking Advantage of Content Marketing
  • Start using Facebook advertising
  • Don’t Be Afraid of Pay-Per-Click Advertising
  • Set up remarketing
  • Use your email well
  • Extensive Mortgage Marketing Strategies

23. Create a Supplier/Distribution Network

While there may be many mortgage lending business out there out, you can successfully break into this industry and help people who want to purchase property. Before you start this business you should know your net worth.

Most states in the united states require that each applicant have minimum net worth. Although they might differ with each state, it is very possible that your net worth might be required to be in $150,000 to $500,000 range. You will also be expected to buy insurance and have a clean profile.

This information will actually be submitted in the form of an official and detailed balance sheet. Depending in which state you wish to do business in.

In order for your business to grow, you need to network. You can contact wholesale lenders that offer various loan products that you, in turn, can offer to your clients. These lenders will have specific loan approval processes which might be of interest to you.

Establish a free relationship with vendors. In order to process mortgages, you will need to have relationships with appraisal companies, title companies, closing agents and survey companies. Choose consumer credit report vendors, appraisers and title/escrow settlement service providers.

This people will assist you in serving your customers thoroughly. Take your time in selecting the right teammates whom can actually make your dreams and business grow.

24. Tips for Running a Mortgage Lending Business Successfully

Starting a mortgage lending business is a great way to create your own business. You can generate large amounts of revenue every month, enjoy your business and remain worthwhile in the industry. But no business is easy to run, so you need to flow with the necessary trends and outcome.

Things to do in other to run your mortgage lending business without drawbacks may include:

  • Create a business plan before even setting out to apply for your license.
  • Secure your license before lending money to clients.
  • Also understand that Marketing is the key to business and your success, and much of it can be outsourced.
  • Your customers require extra attention and consistent follow up–be ready to make the phone calls to reassure them of your diligence and work
  • Seek good legal advice from a good attorney
  • Always carry appropriate insurance.
  • Make sure you completely understand every document before you sign it