Every buyer is different. I spend a lot of time at applications getting to know them, finding out their goals and looking for common ground that we can talk about.  I had a buyer recently who apologized for delaying the application appointment because she just lost her dog of 14 years and was just heartbroken. It turns out our dogs had the same name and age, and I lost mine a year and a half ago. I sent her a sympathy card the next day. I think taking the time to build that relationship early on helps build trust. I take advantage of ARO (in-house credit department) and the credit simulators to help buyers get a better rate. I call them back quickly and return all emails the same day, even if it’s late.  Also, showing them that we are close with the sales agents and title company helps to show that we are a united front and are working together to get them to the finish line.  We are not the cheapest lender, and we will sometimes lose loans for better pricing, but maintaining the focus on the areas we can control and being consistent with the buyers is how we are and will be successful and thrive in this ever-changing market.

MPA: How do you encourage mortgage professionals not to give up?  

KH: I tell them it will get better. It will always get better. After 37 years, I have seen it all. I remember when rates first went to single digits, and we worked 15-20 hours a day doing refinances. I also remember a time when two or three weeks would go by with no new loans, and wondering how I would pay my bills.  In those days, I would sign up and get certified for certain first-time buyer programs with CalHFA, USDA, etc., to try and originate from realtors who specialized with first-time buyers. CalHFA has a referral program where if you originate a few of them in a month or two, they will add you to their preferred lenders list, and it was just another origination source. You need to stay vigilant and be consistent with your referral base – whether regular visits to your realtors or staying in contact with your new home sales agents. They have to be able to trust you and think of you as their partner.

MPA: How have you built confidence and/or resiliency over the course of your career?

KH: I learn as much as possible about program changes, underwriting guidelines, credit improvement software, etc.  When you can take a complete application, address as many issues as possible upfront, and be thorough, then the process goes much smoother for all parties.  Also, learn about all of the PMI options, show the benefits of each type to the buyer, utilize seller incentives to buy out the PMI, and buy down the rate either permanent or temporary. On VA, you can use seller credit to pay off debt.  One of the worst things that can happen is when a buyer talks to an outside lender who suggests something different, and the buyer comes back to you asking why you never mentioned they could do A, B or C.  It is not a good feeling and undermines all the work you already put into the transaction.