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  • Writer's pictureRebecca Richardson - Mortgage Consultant

Sometimes father does know best

My entire career, I have worked to treat every client like I would want to be treated. I have worked with or for many great people and leaders. But none had as big an influence on me than my father – a real estate attorney – and instilled in me some very poignant and practical advice. Here are three life lessons he taught me.

Room “where dreams come true”

Even before the pandemic, I worked out of my home office. If these walls could talk, they could tell stories of thousands of clients getting their mortgage needs met to buy that dream home.

Recently I was going through some of my dad’s things and found a card he had displayed on his conference room door – it read, “The Room Where Dreams Come True.” Clients would see it. He would see it. Every day he walked into that conference room with a client, they were making dreams come true.

I have that card in my office today – sitting at my eye level so I can look at it anytime I’m speaking with a client. It serves as a regular reminder that in that office, we literally are making people’s dreams come true.

Don’t assume, look it up

A mistake I see too many lenders make that costs buyers thousands of dollars or even the house they want is to assume instead of actually knowing the facts.

It’s not out of malice. Mortgages are ruled by guidelines. There’s a rule for everything – how debts are calculated, what income can be used and why a seller can’t entice a buyer by throwing in a golf cart on the side.

There is a lot to keep up with. My dad was a real estate attorney, so he had a lot to remember, too.

When he graduated from law school, my grandmother gave him a gift that read, “Don’t assume, look it up.” Now I use it as a reminder that while it’s fun to talk shop and share all the random knowledge I have stored in my brain from years of helping homebuyers, it is important to remember it’s for an actual client’s scenario. It’s not trivia, or information to be used just to settle arguments, it’s somebody’s hopes, dreams and money.

So don’t assume. Look it up and follow me so you can buy a home the smart way.

Bad news doesn’t get better with time

In 2008, I bought my “for-the-foreseeable future” home. To buy it, we did a combo loan – which means we were getting an 80% first mortgage and a 15% second mortgage and putting down 5%. The mortgage company where I worked at the time did the 80% mortgage and another bank covered the remaining 15% loan – at least we thought it was.

A few weeks from closing, we were ready, but the other bank was not. Due to constantly changing guidelines at the time, the bank had changed their original rules and couldn’t do the second 15% loan. It only could be 10%.

That loan officer told me they had been working on an alternative for several weeks. But I had no idea and the first I had heard of any issue was right before closing. If I had known sooner, we could have worked together on a solution.

While it all worked out eventually, this event reminded me of a lesson my father taught me – bad news does not get better with time.

Keeping it real in real estate sometimes things do go sidewise, and you have to find alternatives to the original plan. That’s why when things change, I make it a point to reach out to my clients as soon as I can so we can work together to get them the best options available for their situation.

I remember that feeling I had during my closing, so I know how important it is to be upfront and transparent because surprises are great but not in my world. And if you don’t like surprises when it comes to homebuying, reach out to us to learn what may be best for you and your mortgage needs.

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