With what seems like more loan officers working remote than ever before, the home office has become an important part of many mortgage professionals’ business strategy. However, working from home isn’t necessarily for everyone. If you’re thinking about working remote from a home office you should be aware of the pros and cons before you commit to a new lifestyle (and buy a set of expensive new office furniture).
To give you the best snapshot of the benefits and potential pitfalls of working from home as a loan officer, we spoke to loan officers who primarily work remote from home to get their insight on how to navigate this aspect of the mortgage industry.
Kristi Hardy – Vice President & Senior Loan Officer, Atlantic Coast Mortgage, LLC
Brian Govier – Mortgage Specialist, Bankers Mortgage Lending
Caryn Grafton – Senior Vice President and Loan Officer, Atlantic Coast Mortgage, LLC
3 Pros of Loan Officers Working Remote from a Home Office
1) The (lack of a) commute
The best loan officers are masters at time-efficiency, and cutting the commute saves Caryn time and gives her flexibility. “You can give yourself back an extra hour a day by not commuting,” said Caryn. “If you have kids, you also don’t want to be commuting an hour just to get into the office when you can do that same work at home.”
Not having to commute is a game-changer, according to Brian. “My day starts when most people are still traveling to work or stuck in traffic. This gives me a huge advantage: an extra hour in my morning alone where I can be productive. I’m up and in front of my computer as early as I want. I don’t have to beat rush hour, or the line at the coffee place,” said Brian.
Brian uses his extra time in the morning to prepare his strategy for the day. What could you do with an extra hour every day? (Let us know in the comments)
2) The flexibility
Say goodbye to the rigid 9-5 work day – if you want. “I can work when I want, and easily adjust to the needs of the day. I can run out to grab my kids, go to the doctor, or run an errand for my wife and it’s not a problem. I’m always able to work wherever I am, which means I can capitalize on my day,” said Brian.
Brian explained why flexibility is especially important for loan officers: “We play to the real estate industry, which is not a 9-5 industry. It’s nights, holidays and weekends. Working from home allows you the flexibility to cater to the real estate agents who need you on the weekends and holidays.”
Although everyone I spoke to primarily worked remote from a home office, none of them completely abandoned their traditional office. “I will look at my week and see where my appointments, lunches or coffees are scheduled, and I’ll work in the space (home or office) that is closer to my meetings,” said Caryn.
3) Fewer distractions
One of the main reservations people seem to have about working at home in any job is the threat of distraction. However, most of the LOs I spoke with stated that there are often fewer distractions at home than there are at the workplace.
“At the office, I can see people walk by, hear other people talking – maybe someone will want to chat or grab lunch. For me, this can be a bigger distraction than working at home,” said Kristi. Kristi has 2 children and 2 dogs at home, but she doesn’t find these distractions any worse than being at the office. “I’ve let my boys know not to come into my office, and to wave if they need me,” said Kristi. Good luck trying to implement that policy with your co-workers.
3 Cons of Loan Officers Working Remote From Home
1) Not necessarily for novices
While working remote from home is not easy for anyone, it’s likely to prove even more difficult for someone new to the mortgage industry.
“Before you commit to working remotely 100%, you need to have knowledge of the mortgage loan industry. There’s a learning curve, and it can be a very technical job. I would recommend being in the industry for 2 to 3 years to get to know the fundamentals before committing to a mostly remote routine. Once you feel comfortable receiving loans, looking at applications, qualifying the borrower and knowing who to get help from, you can be much more successful working remotely,” said Caryn.
2) You have to hold yourself accountable
If you’re not at an office, many loan officers explain that the only person holding you directly accountable is yourself. “You don’t have someone next to you keeping you honest – you have to learn how to motivate yourself. You can’t just sit at your desk and wonder what to do. You have to be in attack mode,” said Brian.
“I’ve had a lot of people working for me fizzle out because they got into a rut, and if you’re working from home and not around others, you might go into a downward spiral. If you’re around an office, or have a tribe of business contacts, those people can hold you up, keep you accountable and motivate you,” said Caryn.
3) More difficult to manage work/life balance
A work/life balance can be difficult to maintain with any job, but the lines are blurred even further when the place you call home is also the place you call work. While everyone I spoke with considered working remote from home a positive, most also mentioned having trouble disconnecting completely from work.
“I try to get most of my work done during the 9 – 5, and then I monitor my phone, but I almost never check out 100%,” said Caryn. Things weren’t much different for Kristi: “Sadly enough, I don’t have set hours. I work all the time. I do use this to my advantage – when there is something I want to do, I’ll just get it done.”
As a loan officer, 9-5 hours might be hard to keep regardless of whether you’re working remote or at an office. Brian emphasized that working long hours at home isn’t quite the same as staying late at the office. “When you work remote from home 12 hours day, it doesn’t really feel like it,” said Brian. For one, he particularly enjoys listening to loud music between calls – something he couldn’t get away with in most workplaces.
Now that you know the biggest pros and cons about working remote from home, you can weigh their importance and better decide for yourself if a home office is in your future.
Mortgage Poll: How Many Days per Week do you Work Remote?
Do you work remote and have some pros and cons of your own? Let us know by commenting below!Tags: Loan Officer, Mortgage Industry, Mortgage Strategies, Remote Work