Industry Relationships

Cover of Be the Better Broker by Dustan Woodhouse, Mortgage Broker

An excerpt from Volume 2 of Be the Better Broker.

This festive season reminds us how much our warm relationships with friends and family buoy up our lives. The same can be said for our work lives. Good relationships with our industry colleagues make our work easier and more rewarding.

Every interaction you have with an underwriter, a BDM, a team lead, a lender VP and so on during the processing of a file—even just in a casual conversation at a trade show—is you either building or burning bridges.

Your primary goal is to recognize that everyone involved in the process has a common goal.

  • You
  • Underwriter
  • BDM
  • VP
  • President
  • Managing Broker
  • Realtor
  • Client
  • Referral source
  • Appraiser
  • Lawyer

Everyone involved shares one single common goal: file complete. And to some extent the “chicken and the egg” story applies.

Do you get more files completed smoothly when you have good relationships with all parties involved, or do you build good relationships with all parties involved by smoothly completing files?

The answer is of course simply, yes.

I’ve not really gone far in life, not geographically anyway. I live within a mile-and-a-half of my parents and have spent the better part of the last 30 years in the same small community.

Many of my clients are people with whom I go as far back as junior high and even elementary school. I’ve joked with more than a few clients about how fortunate it is that we were nice to each other back in high school, because here we are doing business together 30 years later.

That’s an illustration worth remembering. As you enter the brokerage industry and meet many new people, it is a bit like the first days in a new school. You’re forming relationships that are pivotal to your success. And you could well be in this industry 30 years from now, so wouldn’t it be nice to have great relationships with all involved?

Keep in mind that the underwriter you are losing it on today may be the team lead tomorrow, the vice-president of the company a few years later and the president of the firm you find yourself working for years after that.

Brokering Is Chess, Not Checkers

You will be working with the same pool of Brokers, business development managers, underwriters, appraisers, lawyers and, one hopes, clients for many years to come. Keep this in mind.

Keep cool.


A good percentage of success in this business is found less in knowing the answer to every question than in knowing the right people to call to get the answers. I am here to tell you that even after 1,300 transactions, you will not have seen it all.

You will never have seen it all.

But over the years you will form a strong network of quality industry connections to help figure things out a little bit faster each time.

I’m becoming increasingly convinced that mortgage applications are like fingerprints, and that every single one of them is unique. This complexity brings me comfort when I hear a Broker’s plans for market domination with an online business model or a three-minute application app.

Behind such an app there needs to be a team to make things happen, and often it is a team stretched across a variety of companies—often local companies. A local team is more easily created by an individual who attends events than by a conglomerate.

Ours is not a cookie-cutter business by any stretch. People are complicated, their lives and their applications are complicated, and properties have all sorts of unique and complicated twists to them as well.

Strive to keep your industry partnerships as friendly and strong as your referral partner relationships. It is too easy to fall into a habit of appreciating one group more than the other. Success cannot be had without both groups in your corner.

At the end of the day, the more relationships you have and the stronger those relationships are, in turn the stronger a Broker you will be.