Elena Katsulos-Sabbouh, reverse mortgage advisor at Finance of America Reverse (FAR), brings to bear over a decade and a half of high-level experience in the mortgage space, backed by 19 years of success in the technology industry.
And the veteran mortgage professional said that her approach to the business was honed by the shifts in the tech industry “after the dot-com days.”
“[I] interviewed financial planners, elder law attorneys, CPAs, bankers, and family members and asked them what they knew about reverse mortgages. This process started in 2005, at a time when reverse mortgages were still considered a last resort and were not well received – more so because of the lack of knowledge and unfamiliarity of this product amongst most,” Katsulos-Sabbouh told MPA.
Katsulos-Sabbouh said that she saw reverse mortgages as the “wave of the future” almost immediately by recognizing its potential to “help those retiring regardless of their financial position.”
Since then, Katsulos-Sabbouh has assisted over a thousand families – all while enjoying every aspect of working in the industry, which includes the challenge of enlightening would-be clients regarding the undeserved stigma that reverse mortgages often get.
“Many people assumed that a reverse mortgage meant the bank was going to take their home or that it was a bad product – which could not be further from the truth,” Katsulos-Sabbouh said. “In many cases, no one could ever truly explain why they thought this, and it was often the result of second-hand knowledge that their neighbor, family, or friend had told them.”
“I am working to educate someone new about reverse mortgages almost every single week. This is the most rewarding part of my job because I am able to educate those who truly want to understand this product,” Katsulos-Sabbouh said. “Thankfully, times have changed and [this] focus on education has paid off. Before, someone would just say they weren’t interested and weren’t receptive to the product – but now, through education and counselling, more people are becoming open to the flexibility and additional cash flow a reverse mortgage can provide in retirement.”
A diverse range of experiences has also developed Katsulos-Sabbouh’s people skills to a fine pitch.
“My specialities are patience, relationships, follow-up, and keeping in touch with all my referral partners and potential borrowers,” Katsulos-Sabbouh said. “I take pride in keeping in touch with people in various ways – from handwritten notes, sending them a little something, which can vary from a Greek pastry to hand sanitizer, or just giving them a friendly call. I am not an aggressive loan officer – my passion is everything I mentioned and beyond.”
“Being with a lender like FAR is a huge key to my success. The leadership is the cream of the crop and their support helps ensure I have everything I need to succeed and help others as they seek solutions to help fund their retirement.”