Archive for August 2007

Saving the Home

August 31, 2007

The mortgage news across the nation can be very alarming, and as I think about seniors, it makes me cringe to think about the many colleagues in my industry who have turned their back on the seniors who trusted them. It reminds me about a situation that I had learned about several months ago where a large sub-prime lender approved a loan for a widow. She had just lost her husband and she was in the middle of refinancing her home. Though it was probably not a great time for her to be making such a big decision, she nevertheless, moved forward with the transaction.

After several months had passed she called us to see if we could help her with a reverse mortgage to help her get out of the financial disaster that she was in. After looking into the situation, we found out that she had previously been approved for a loan that was just a couple hundred dollars less than her monthly earnings. There was no way that she should have been approved for such a loan for it was just a matter of time before she would not have been able to afford it. Before long, astronomical fees were added to the balance of the mortgage. This is what put the situation out of reach for a reverse mortgage to work. We worked very hard to try and get the fees reduced so it would save the home for this widow. But in the end, the sketchy mortgage company would not budge.

I am in the business of making life better for the senior. A reverse mortgage is a peace-of-mind financial tool. It allows the senior homeowner to live the life they want to live, without financial burden or risk of losing their home. When you really look into it, it is a pretty cool thing!

Growing Assets vs. Depletion of Assets

August 22, 2007

It has been interesting as I discuss reverse mortgages with financial advisors. I value their work and how they provide solutions for many people looking into their retirement years. Many of them, however, have a hard time seeing a reverse mortgage as a “good thing”. I have finally realized why!

The role of a financial planner/advisor has been to grow assets throughout the life of their client so that there is enough income to last throughout their life, as well as to provide a legacy to their children and grandchildren. Their professional life is focused on creating a plan for asset growth and protection throughout their retirement years. This is the reason, in my mind, many of them have such a hard time seeing a reverse mortgage as an option. A reverse mortgage is an asset depleting product. This is in opposition to everything financial advisors recommend for their clients.

Secondly, many financial professionals hesitate to refer business to people they don’t really know and trust. If I were to put myself in their shoes, I would hesitate to do it, too. . . .  even if the product IS valid. There have been too many stories of seniors who are taken advantage of within the financial industry for all of us not to be super cautious about who we refer business to. I get this . . . . and I finally feel like I understand where my financial advisor colleagues are coming from.

It is my goal to walk alongside financial professionals to provide them another tool to use for their clients needs. One that they can feel confident in both the product, and the integrity of the mortgage professional they are working with. It is safe and accurate to say that nearly all of the financial advisors that I have visited with have come around. That is, they see the value in using the reverse mortgage as a financial tool to relieve the financial burden of their senior clients. For those I have worked with (and for), I think they are very pleased!!

Honesty, Trust, and Integrity

August 17, 2007

As I evaluate what my clients want out of my services, I am always brought back to the very thing that is what I want in people that I go to for services. We all want to do business with people that share the same values in life, who understand us, and who allow us to teach us, and sometimes help us, to make the best informed decision about the product or service we are contemplating.

Have you listened to some of the current mortgage company commercials lately? I don’t know about you, but they sound like the stereotypical “used care salesman.” After listening to the so-called experts, I find it very difficult to trust many of them. Granted, I don’t know them. But as we all know, first impressions are critical in any business dealing. If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it is probably a “duck”.

The reality is that we all want to work with those that are honest, trustworthy, and have integrity. And, though these are critical traits, they are not developed overnight. It takes time to develop a relationship with people, and that is how I do business. It is very critical for me to spend time educating and building the trust factor with those that I work with. In my mind there is no other way to do it, but to do it over time. I can’t prove to them I am the person of integrity unless I show them. It is through my actions that I communicate my intentions and, therefore, develop the relationship. And from there I let the client determine if they wish to continue working with me.

What about my inheritance?

August 17, 2007

In talking with people about reverse mortgages, they often will ask me, “What about the inheritance that is suppose to go to the kids?” Most times, after receiving a question like this, I chuckle a bit. Not because it is a crazy question, but because I wonder why in our society have we suddenly came to the belief that inheritance is some sort of entitlement? I know that when I meet with my financial advisor, he (and all others that I have spoken to) reminds me that inheritance is not something you should plan for. Life takes crazy turns and much of that inheritance could be gone with one major catastrophic event.

The reality is, and the worst case scenario is that there won’t be any equity left once the homeowner no longer lives in their home. However, it is likely that if the money is used cautiously, and interest rates and real estate values don’t hit a slump for a long period of time, many people who have a reverse mortgage will likely have some equity available at the end. BUT THERE ARE NO GUARANTEES!

When I think about my parents and the inheritance issue, I am much like many children who have parents entering, or who are already into their senior years. I would much rather have my parents live the life they want to live, and be self reliant, than to have them live in financial stress during their remaining years with us. For many, being able to afford the gift of remaining in their home for as long as they can is a true gift.

I recently read an article about inheritance and reverse mortgages that I want to share with you. It comes from Transworld News and is titled “Do You Owe Your Kids an Inheritance.”

Professional Move . . .

August 15, 2007

I just wanted to take this opportunity to let those of you know that I have decided to make a professional move that I think will allow me to serve my clients with more financial products and do so with the same integrity that you have been accustomed to. As I have mentioned in other entries, the reverse mortgage industry is just beginning to take off. More confidence in the product(s) and more awareness has given people the peace-of-mind that this is a great option for a great number of seniors.

As you know, when new markets arise, competition increases. So, as of August 1st, I have been building the reverse mortgage side of Premier Mortgage Resources. PMR is a local mortgage company (northwest) that has the ability to assist clients with a variety of mortgage products. Dave Galanter and Mark Schaller are the principals of the Vancouver Branch in which I represent. They are men of character and passion and have been successful in running a successful operation.

From the clients perspective, it will be virtually seamless. I will serve my clients with the same integrity as I always have and will continue to focus on building my reverse mortgage client base. I can be reached at greg.gulliford@pmrmtg.com or directly at 360-907-7300.