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One of the many pleasures I take in this profession is to help people find a solution to their problem. Anyone can quote an interest rate but not everyone in the mortgage industry has what I call the ‘critical thinking muscle’. I would be bored out of my mind if there wasn’t opportunity for creativity on a daily basis…or at the minimum a need for thought.
A good friend and business associate of mine wanted to help her friend, Jim, buy a home again. Like many potential home buyers, Jim had some troubled credit in the past and in this particular case, it was two prior foreclosures and a short sale. He had been told by another loan officer at one of the large banks that he could not be approved for new mortgage for 7 years without a size able down payment.
After listening to the circumstances leading up to the foreclosures, his wife dying and an fortune in medical bills decimating what was left financially. I took great care to make sure that if I was going to find a way to help Jim get into a home, I wouldn’t be making an empty promise. He had been through too much in the past and was busting his butt everyday to take care of his two children.
In this industry, guidelines and rules for specific loans change often. I never make a promise during the first conversation, instead choosing to re-look and reevaluate each option to confirm my thoughts. This is an emotional business in many ways and getting someones hopes up falsely is both haphazard and unprofessional. There is a level of mutual respect that needs to exist for any lasting relationship.
From our initial conversation, I was quite sure that the loan officer that advised Jim previously had overlooked an option that would allow Jim to buy a home now being only 3 years past his foreclosure issues and in this particular case and circumstances, he could have purchased a home within 1 year if he had spoken to a more knowledgeable professional. Once I confirmed this, Jim and I then talked over what his goals were for the new home, what he felt a comfortable budget would be for him and the family moving forward and put together a plan for finding the perfect house.
Jim was grateful to buy a home this past summer and both he and the kids are in a perfect situation for themselves without being house poor. Critical thinking doesn’t have to garner a zany, left field option. Sometimes critical thinking is nothing more than listening well to get the full story and using that information to evaluate every potential option.
When I think about what makes me happiest, it comes down to knowing that I helped improve someones life in some small way and getting to know someone new. So many of my clients will call me up and say ‘remember me?’ How could I forget!?!
Each story is so unique that it would be impossible to forget who you are.
FYI: Names are always changed for privacy.