This months contest/challenge "December Challenge: Your Craziest Transaction" is being hosted by Carol Williams and Anna Banana Kruchten CRB, CRS. We are being asked to share our funniest, most unusual, or challenging transaction we have had. I have had my share of of all three, but there is one which was not only the most challenging but most special as well for me. It was a loan I did back in 2011, and this Borrower not only had me pulling for her, but everyone who was involved in the transaction as well.
I try to give each and every one of my Loans 100% of my attention, but every once in a while a Borrower comes along whose situation is such that I need to go beyond the 100%. This usually happens when it is a Borrower that is of a lower income, and desperately trying to create a better living environment for their family. I tend to get emotionally attached to these situations because, that was the case when my mother and father purchased their first house. I grew up in a neighborhood that there were fights, robberies, and shootings. My parents saved every penny they could in order to be able to purchase a house, in a better neighborhood, to take us out of environment we were in, and into a safer one.
Such was the case with this transaction, only this Borrower's situation was even worse than my parents, because she was a single mom. She lived in a very ruff section of Hartford, Connecticut, where she and her five kids had to deal with frequent shootings. Too top it off her youngest child was beaten up regularly at school, and would miss school because of it.
Her loan was a challenge from day one, because of income. She did not make much at her present job, and child support payments were hard to document. She also did not have a lot of money in the bank, and I wanted her to be able to hang onto most of it in case an emergency arose after the loan closed. This meant we had to try to do a Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA) Loan with Down Payment and Closing Costs assistance. This meant we had to document the heck out of her file to be able to use, and justify every penny of her income. The Debt-To-Income Ratios on CHFA Loans are lower than other loan programs, making this loan even more difficult. This was not going to be easy, but she wanted her family out of the environment they were in, and was willing to run around and get us whatever we need to be able to document enough income to make this work.
The loan went into process, and it was not long before I was not the only one who was emotionally invested in this loan. My Processor, and Underwriter became emotionally invested in it as well after talking to her on the phone, and becoming aware of her family's situation. I had seen them work hard on a loan before, but not like on this one. They were actually giving me a hard time, if they thought I was not getting them everything they needed quickly enough (it was usually the other way around). They put a lot of time and energy documenting this file, so the strongest possible case could be made for approving the loan, and in the end we got approval from CHFA, and were able to approve the loan.
The smile on this Borrower’s face was from ear to ear, as was the smile on her children’s face when I told them the loan had been approved. The closing was a pleasure to attend, and very gratifying to see her get the keys to her first house. My closing words to her once she had the keys to the house in her hands was, “a lot of people went to bat for you to make this happen for you and your family, don’t let them down. Show them all the work they put into this was worth every second of their time”.
After the closing sent me a card saying the following:
Thanks so much for making it possible, you didn't give up on me. People ask me "how in the world you own a home", I can't believe it myself. My kids are so happy, I owe it to you. God bless you and your family
This made my day, and was worth far more than the commission on any loan.
The Loan was not about the loan size or commission, the sales price was less than $100,000. But it was more satisfying than if it had been a $1,000,000 loan. Christmas came early for this Borrower and her children that year, and in many ways it came early for me as well.
Two years later on the 1st day of the month, my office phone rang. It was the receptionist, and she said a lady was in the lobby and wanted to speak to me. As I approached the lobby there she stood with as big a smile as the day I told her the loan had been approved. She asked to see me, because it was the two year anniversary of her loan, and she had not only not missed a payment during that time, she made everyone of them on the first of the month. She looked at me in the eye and said "thank you for believing in me when no one else would". I don't choke up easily, some may even say if they cut my chest open they would not find a heart. This is a tough business, and there are times we have to deliver tough news. But when I heard those words, it took me a little while to reply.
My parting words to her were, "you have kept your word, and should be very proud of that. You have made me proud of what you have been able to do for you and your children". Some times we do have special successes, this one was right there at the top of the list.