Mortgage meltdown survivor: Change happens. Let it

Brian Stevens
Brian Stevens

Phil Castle, The Business Times

Brian Stevens experienced an epiphany of sorts in the aftermath of the housing crises.

A once successful mortgage officer, Stevens saw his income plummet and the money he’d accumulated disappear. He was worried about how he’d provide for his family, especially with another child on the way.

But the realization he’d hit rock bottom also served as motivation, he said. “It was at that very moment my life changed.”

Now a co-host along with Frank Garay of the popular “National Real Estate Post” video blog, Stevens shared his story and offered his advice about coping with change during a presentation at the Western Colorado Economic Summit in Grand Junction.

One moral of his story matched the title of his talk, Stevens said: Change happens. Let it.

The mortgage industry itself faces changes in increasing government regulation and oversight purported to protect consumers, but ultimately will cost them more money, Stevens said.

Stevens said he knew he was good at sales and good at loans. Rather than change careers in the aftermath of the housing crises, he said he decided to “double down” on his business with a different approach.

He said lower housing prices and various programs made it advantageous for some people who were renting to buy instead. So he talked with renters about qualifying for financing to buy a house.

Rather than just pitch to prospective customers, Stevens said he discovered he could do better in also actively listening to what they told him about their needs. “It’s the difference between succeeding and failing.”

He subsequently became busy enough he enlisted the help of real estate agents to make cold calls in the evenings following his regular job. “I literally created a vortex of business.”

Garay started making video blogs as a way to inform and motivate the loan officers with which he worked at the time. Stevens subsequently joined him in making the shows, although Stevens said the duties added to a work day that extended nearly around the clock.

The blog since has become one of the most successful in the real estate industry in attracting millions of views. Garay and Stevens also have gained a following as speakers.

While Stevens admitted he never expected the video blogs to become as so successful, he said he’s never missed a show. That’s part of the perseverance and consistency required to foster success, he said.

Stevens said business owners and managers have to guard against complacency, especially when things are going moderately well. “The worst place to be in business is OK.”

Ventures are more likely to succeed, he said, when owners and managers are uncomfortable rather than comfortable.

But even as business owners and managers considering making changes in their businesses and lives, Stevens said they must strive to always be themselves and find a way to enjoy what they do.