“Make sure you have plenty of capital. I did it on a shoestring budget, you know, the barriers to entry. I filled out a two-page application for the state of Maryland, and I was approved as a mortgage broker. Now with testing bonding, there was a lot more to [do to] make sure you have capital, maintain costs, and have that capital. Capital preservation is the key,” he said. “I think that’s true of life professionally and personally. You need to make sure you have reserves. Because as we know, what goes up comes down, and you want to make sure that you have stability.”

“I’ve been consistent throughout my career, and obviously, 22 years at ACC has provided me with ups and downs, but we’ve been able to survive and thrive during the lean years. And now we’re into a growing segment of non-QM,” Senko added. “I like to believe we’re going to be one of the leaders in the space. And we’ve proven that over the last year plus coming out of COVID, that there is a very viable market for non-QM in this environment.”

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For brokers and originators who want to dip their toes in this growing niche sector, Senko shared a strategy that has been crucial to his success.

“Non-QM is very overwhelming to the average loan officer. They may not have the experience, or they’re trying to learn this. The key to success is being prepared to do some of the upfront work so that when that file goes into underwriting, then it can sell right through. I think that’s the biggest challenge now in non-QM. A lot of people just go in not prepared for all the contingencies. They don’t do a lot of the work and pre-planning. So, prepare, prepare, prepare, and then execute. Move forward and move fast. That’s what we tried to do, and that’s part of the secret of our success,” Senko said.