Improving People's Lives, One Loan At A Time - Trial By Fire

Services for Real Estate Pros

What we do every day makes a difference in our clients' lives

We have an opportunity in the real estate industry to materially improve people's quality of life by helping them to purchase a home of their own.  It takes a team of professionals working together to make that happen.  Some transactions are simple.  Many are not and require a lot of work, effort, and problem solving to reach the closing table.

Every client has their own story to tell.  Some stories are a little more special and heart warming when we realize how much we helped a client to achieve a stable living situation.  The story below is true and written from the perspective of the loan officer.

Our Home is on Fire!

It’s 3:00 am on a cold and wet October morning.  Dee, her sister, her brother-in-law, and their autistic son are comfortably asleep in their doublewide manufactured home.  That is until they awake to see flames and in panic get out.  They all made it out safely, except for one of their cats.  They stood outside in their night clothes and watched their home burn.  Then they went to WalMart in their pajamas to purchase clothes and a few necessary items.

The loan officer they met with later could personally relate to their experience.  In 2012, she was working in her office when the building caught fire.  Everyone got out before the structure was engulfed in flames and a portion of the roof collapsed. It was a memorable day that she’ll never forget and now a fire had destroyed her client’s home.  Dee sobbed in the loan officer’s arms when they met, relieved that her family was safe but afraid of what the future held.

What Do We Do Now?

Dee soon discovered that their insurance was not enough to rebuild.  Financing options were limited, despite being a Veteran, and the loan officer worked every angle that she could.  Dee was only working 26 hours per week now.  All of their documentation was burned in the fire.  Fortunately, Loan Servicing could pull from the original file.

Finally, they found an affordable home.  The burned home and debris had to be removed first.  While that was happening, the dealer sold the home to a cash buyer instead.  The next option was to build a doublewide, but that requires funds.  Construction lending stepped up with help from the insurance funds received.

Problems Had to be Overcome

How many times can you lose an interest rate? Bless the Lock Department!  Many other roadblocks had to be overcome before Dee and her family could move into their new home. The loan officer’s husband and the high school golf team he coaches showed up one Saturday to clear moss that had built up on the detached garage that hadn’t burned.

Insurance had paid for temporary housing while they searched for a replacement manufactured home in their price range.  Rents are so high in the area that the family had to stay in vacation housing and move frequently with the few possessions that they had.  But that insurance would end on May 31.  It took a village both internally and externally to coordinate and clear the many issues that stood in the way of occupancy.  Somehow it all happened, and the family moved into their new home.


Closing was a wonderful scene with many tears, smiles, and hugs.  Dee made a beautiful Afghan that she presented to the loan officer as a thank you.  People gave them practical items that they could use.  Like the mythical phoenix bird, a new home “emerges” from the ashes of the old.


If you want to touch the past, touch a rock.
If you want to touch the present, touch a flower.
If you want to touch the future, touch a life.

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Rick Obst is an Arizona native who moved to Eugene, Oregon in 2005 and fell in love with the verdant Pacific Northwest.  He enjoys photography and discovering the many people, places, and events that make this part of the world so special.

To learn more about Eugene, Lane County, and western Oregon, visit 365 and More Things to do in Lane County, Oregon on Facebook.  You'll see hundreds of pictures and links to discover the beauty and attractions of this special area.


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