Everyone has heard “you get what you pay for”, right?
Well, traditionally this meant, in general, the more we paid for a product or service the more likely we were to get outstanding results…however, in the past few years it seems we have all accepted the unfortunate reality that we have to pay a little more to just to get acceptable results.
It seems in everything from hiring a landscape company to investing in a large equity fund, the basic expectation that a job we pay someone to do: will be done properly…or sometimes even done at all. I am trying to change that.
This was especially true during the recent boom and crash in the mortgage and real estate market. During the boom, it was so easy to both provide and obtain a mortgage loan that the overall quality of the “Loan Officer” typically amounted to nothing more than a grossly overpaid telemarketer.
I saw it first hand with many of my peers as I came up through the mortgage industry. I saw slick-talking 22 yr olds driving exotic cars and buying giant homes, knowing nothing about the mortgage products they were selling while taking 15-20k commissions on them. Selling exotic mortgage loans with $500/monthly payments on 500k loans to people with 40k annual salaries, not fully explaining in 2-3 years that payment would jump to $3500…about $170 more than they make in a month.
Just before and at the beginning of the mortgage and real estate bubble 2003-2005, I worked for a large mortgage bank.
With my quick and thorough understanding and experience with every position through the ranks of the mortgage bank, I had learned how it all works. I had devoted much of my time to studying literally thousands and thousands of pages of rate-sheet matrices and underwriting guidelines, and because of my deep understanding of the underwriting side of the mortgage lending business I had earned the respect of a select group of loan officers.
I began “qualifying” every one of their loans for them, and as a result the company began to see less and less fallout and by default more and more happy clients.
As this progressed, I began to realize we needed to set ourselves apart from the mortgage bank and the irresponsible culture of “sell and sign” that was now rampant throughout the industry. In 2005 my team and I broke off from the mortgage bank and started Burk Carpenter Financial with Kevin Burk (who is now actually my father-in-law and maintains an interest in the company!).
We had quite the operation with a dozen or so Loan Officers and a few Loan Processors, all working to better educate ourselves and our clients on a very complicated and volatile industry.
Despite the temptation of the quick and easy money in selling the exotic “Pay Option ARM” loan products, I refused to allow a single one of our clients to close with this product. We did everything in our power to educate them on the benefits of the steady, fixed, higher payments now for stability in the future.
Not all clients were happy with us as a result and we lost a lot of business and a lot of money to other “sell and sign” operations. Many clients chose the 2-5 year fixed ARM’s, to whom we always provided a written guarantee to refinance them into a fixed product at any time free of charge.
Never once though did we close a negative amortization nor Pay Option ARM.
Needless to say, the clients who followed our advise and closed on the fixed products were very happy in 2008-2009 when the financial world fell apart…their loans were secure as were their payments.
At that point, obviously the market drove many out of the industry, many who didn’t belong in the first place quite frankly. We scaled back our operation with the uncertainty on Wall Street and throughout the world. We kept the ownership and operations in the family and pressed on with a select few left on our team.
We began helping people out of some of the exotic loans they had obtained, refinancing them into fixed rate FHA and Conventional loans where the sub-prime market had failed them. We gradually made our mark as a boutique local lender, owned and operated by a local family.
We have earned a reputation not only for helping people out of very difficult hardship situations, but also for helping the most successful and affluent among us with advise and strategy ending in the best possible financial position with loans at the lowest rates…and we charge less than everyone else to do this.
To this day, I continue to handle every one of my clients personally, and to also have my eyes and ears on every single loan that comes through my small and unique company.
Over the past couple of years, I have been very selective in my hiring. After a few Loan Officers and Loan Processors, I have settled in with my team (link to “about us” or meet the team).
We continue to help our clients with the most difficult mortgage loan situations, and to provide the lowest mortgage rates at less overall costs while also providing a very, very good overall experience in obtaining a mortgage loan from start to finish..