Kudos to the best of 2018

Mortgage and Lending with Mason-McDuffie Mortgage, Conventional Loans, Jumbo Loans, FHA, 203(k), USDA, VA, NMLS #138061 MMCD #1141

Kudos to the Best of 2018


     It's more than just a loan number on a spreadsheet.  That's the message that I try to instill in my team.  We want to make sure that we always remember the people behind the loan number.  The clients, the business partners, and the 3rd parties along the way that bring everything together and who together each play a vital role in the total customer service experience.


     To help with that mindset and to ensure people know how much they're appreciated, my team gets together at the end of each year to review ALL of our loan files for the year.  I JM Loans awards 2018come up with a list of nominees and we choose the JM Loans team "Best of" awards.  We choose our favorite from the entire year - our favorite buyer's agent, listing agent, client, and 3rd party.


     The winners are chosen completely subjectively - sometimes it's just an over the top awesome experience that sets someone apart, and sometimes it's consistently stellar service that helps a winner stand out.  This year was cool because one of our winners was someone I didn't even know or work with!  Our winners receive a note thanking them for the amazing job they do, along with a small gift card as a token of our appreciation.  We hope that it's a way to make them smile and realize that yes, in fact someone does notice and appreciate how truly awesome they are!



With that, here are our 2018 JM Loans team 'Best of' Award Winners



Best Buyer's Agent


This one, admittedly, was tough because 2018 was a year of high purchase volume and some challenging transactions where agents really helped keep clients on the ball and get us to closing on time.  Our winner was none other than our own Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland .  I was fortunate enough to work with Margaret this year and see first hand how tremendous of a job she does.  The one thing that really sets Margaret apart actually has nothing to do with real estate, at least not directly.  Of course she's thorough, detail oriented, helps ensure all deadlines are met, and has outstanding communication (these are the prerequisite traits of any good agent, ni my opinion). 


What made her my team's favorite buyer's agent was the way she worked with individual clients on an individual basis to guide them through the emotional aspects of purchasing a home.  If a client was uncertain of how to use technology to send financials or bank statements, she went above and beyond to make sure they were comfortable and could quickly provide what was needed.  When a buyer was away or out of town for a portion of the transaction, Margaret made sure there was no delay and anything that needed to be handled was handled in their absence.  On top of everything else, Margaret allows us as a lender to do our job.  For all of those reasons and more, Margaret is our favorite agent on the buyer side in 2018!



Best Listing Agent


To provide truly exceptional service to our clients, we think it's just as important to work well with listing agents as it is with buyer agents.  


This year, we worked with some tremendous listing agents to get contracts together.  Listing agents that put together contracts with contingent offers, offers with FHA financing when others on the table were cash or conventional loans, and listing agents that kept unreasonable seller's out of their own way.  


Our favorite was BG Bates of Golden Gate Sotheby's in Marin, CA.  Like Margaret, BG's experience shined through a transaction with impatient sellers, a very unique property, an extremely tight timeline, and a buyer with unique financials (think self-employed, 10+ businesses, cryptocurrency as assets, etc).  On top of that, we were paired to work with a buyer's agent who would be more likely to fall on a "worst of" list than this one.


BG showed a wealth of experience, and truly outstanding communication skills.  Our team was so grateful for her work, and she truly earned our "favorite listing agent" spot.



Best 3rd Party 


Our best 3rd party award goes to someone we don't work with from start to finish, but still plays a major role in some aspect of a transaction - it can go to a closing agent, paralegal, attorney, title agent, appraiser, insurance agent, or anyone else who plays a shorter but equally important role in the customer experience.


In 2018, for the first time in my career, I had a closer in my office come to me and say "if you could please send more deals through ___________, I think they're the best closing agent I ever dealt with".  My processor also emailed me saying "I think that was the smoothest closing I've ever seen".  


I personally wasn't involved with the scheduling, the funding, or any of the back and forth at the end of the transaction, but the feedback above was enough for me to decide Laura Capps, a paralegal with the Ragsdale Liggett law firm in Raleigh, NC our "favorite 3rd party" award for 2018.  I've been originating loans for 12+ years now, so any time someone goes above and beyond enough for me to hear praise like that I heard of Laura for the first time means that it was an especially exceptional level of service.  It helped that our mutual client was thrilled with his transaction - one with some pitfalls along the way as he was changing jobs, driving across country from CA to start his new life in NC, and had 0 access to a computer the week prior to closing.  


Laura did an exceptional job, and I'm so thankful for the work she did to make sure our client's experience was 5-star in every aspect.



Best Client


This might be the toughest one to choose each year.  We are so incredibly blessed to work with so many amazing clients that turn into friends, but we did want to acknowledge someone for being "awesomer than awesome", and to show the world just how subjective our team can be, the final deciding factor on our 2018 "favorite client" came down to a quick, simple question from our loan coordinator:  


"Wait, weren't they the ones that sent those cookies???"


Yes folks, the way to the JM Loans team heart goes through our stomachs.  But in all seriousness, Judy and Andy O., in Pensacola FL are repeat clients, friends, and some of the most amazing people we've ever encountered.  Kind, patient, organized, and SO on top of things.  They're the type of clients we all dream of.  We helped them purchase a home in Florida a few years back while they were living in Hawaii, and this past year, they made the move cross country to call Florida their home.  We had some really amazing clients, and we are so incredibly thankful for them all --- but delicious Hawaiian shortbread cookies won over my team and stole the award for our friends in Florida. : )



One of my favorite parts of doing awards is to see how grateful my team is for the people that help us and allow us to do what we do every day.  My other favorite part is to see that our winners are from all over the country. We love working in different states and being able to cover our clients regardless of where they move to or from.  MAJOR KUDOS to our winners, and we're looking forward to meeting some new favorites in 2019!


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  1. Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland 01/05/2019 02:00 PM
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Francine Viola
Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty, Olympia WA - Olympia, WA
REALTOR®, In Tune with your Real Estate Needs

What a great idea to do every year.  It certainly is a fun way to look back at all of the good transactions and people behind the transactions.

Jan 04, 2019 04:07 PM #1
Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

John Meussner Great idea to have your team involved with choosing the 'Best of' Award Winners. Brilliant way to make everyone feel really special.  I'm honored to be selected the Best Buyer's Agent and have enjoyed working with you and your team. Would not have known about you if not for AR. 

Jan 04, 2019 05:07 PM #2
Hannah Williams
Re/Max Eastern inc. - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-953-8818

I love Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland  I love when i see her name come up on my phone . I have never had the pleasure of having a transaction with her . I did sent a referral where the agent said the area was a little out of her comfort zone but Margaret said get out there and learn it . -  She did a great job too !

Jan 04, 2019 07:10 PM #3
Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

Hannah Williams The love is mutual! 

Jan 04, 2019 08:26 PM #4
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

Congratulations to all the winners. Margaret is a great agent.

Jan 05, 2019 05:45 AM #5
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

What an interesting idea. I am not surprised about Margaret and I recall you writing about the specific transaction where she made some magic. Nice way to pay props to those who give that extra effort that makes all the difference. 

Jan 05, 2019 07:12 AM #6
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Property Manager

Hi John,
I always love hearing about people who do a great job or give special recognition for a job well done.  Sounds like you had a rewarding year, John.  Happy New year.

Jan 05, 2019 09:11 AM #7
Anna Banana Kruchten CRB, CRS
Phoenix Property Shoppe - Phoenix, AZ

John you are spot on with this post - you truly know what makes business way more than business!! It's the relationships!

Jan 05, 2019 01:50 PM #8
Anna Banana Kruchten CRB, CRS
Phoenix Property Shoppe - Phoenix, AZ

Oh and BTW Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland is fantastic!!!

Jan 05, 2019 01:50 PM #9
Debe Maxwell, CRS
www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods

Oh, I love this, John! What a wonderful way to show appreciation for those you enjoy working with. I couldn't agree more with your buyers agent selection - I love Margaret!

Jan 09, 2019 04:19 AM #10
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John Meussner

#MortgageMadeEasy Walnut Creek, CA 484-680-4852
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