Mortgage Professional America: Can you give me an idea of how, when, and why you started in the mortgage business?

Jade Falu-Valdez: About 20+ years ago, I worked in Corporate America, specifically call center management. I have always dreamed of venturing into real estate investing. Buying investment properties was the way I thought I wanted to go. I attended a real estate investment school and dove right in. One day while I was renovating a home, a mortgage broker walked in and asked who the GC was. When he found out it was me, he invited me to visit his office. He said I would be great as a loan originator. I shrugged it off because I never considered it a career for me. However, he was persistent, and finally, I visited his office. After several conversations, I agreed to be his assistant to learn the business. After assisting for six months, I felt confident I could do the job. The rest is history, and I haven’t looked back. I love what I do. I love building relationships, solution finding and helping people attain their dream of homeownership. There is never a dull moment. I am always learning and always thinking, and every closing is a win.

MPA: What is the most memorable deal you’ve ever done?

JFV: I remember a buyer from out of state that purchased a condo in the Naples area. There were homes in the community in the million-dollar range, and she was purchasing a small condo for a couple hundred thousand. After closing, she stayed in touch and made it a point to stop by Sarasota to meet me. Sarasota is about 2.5 hours from Naples. She said it blessed her so much that I treated her as if her loan was a million-dollar mortgage and always made her feel important. I hadn’t thought about it that way because I had never looked at the loan amounts. Her experience helped solidify my focus. Love people, not money.

MPA: How do you set yourself apart from your competitors in the lending space?