Designing the “road map” for future homebuyers

by Heather Turner14 Jul 2016
When Jonathan Lee, Susan McHan and Mark Duvall founded Opes Advisors in 2004, they believed the last thing the world needed was “another mortgage company.” Instead, they decided to take a more enterprising route and blended their respective backgrounds in technology, mortgage and wealth management to create a unique company that focused on the financial decision of purchasing a home.
And that’s where Opes Advantage came into play; what started as a relatively simple process to document clients’ finances has evolved into a complex proprietary software system that shows clients a detailed road map of their financial lives that stretches decades into the future.
“Opes Advantage allows us to gather all the pertinent information that makes up a client’s financial life, something that other mortgage companies don’t do,” says Susan McHan, CEO. “Doctors gather information to help their diagnosis, similarly we feel gathering pertinent information is essential to a client’s financial health.”
“Then, using that information, we show clients what their financial future looks like and we can do it before they buy a home,” added McHan. Working together with a mortgage professional and a wealth advisor or one of Opes Advisors’ Personal Finance Advisors, clients can see the impact various “What if?” questions will have on their finances.
What if a couple is planning to have children, for example? Opes Advantage includes an index of averaged expenses associated with children – from private schools for younger children to college savings – in addition to a multitude of other life expenses so clients can see how the purchase of the home gels with their life’s goals. Opes Advantage shows clients how much home they can really afford. It can also account for market conditions, inflation, deflation, taxes and other financial factors when laying out a client’s financial “road map”.
“Our brains are pretty adept at approximating a single variable’s future consequences but we find it difficult to predict the outcome of numerous variables,” says Susan. “It becomes too elaborate a calculation. Opes Advantage shows the relationship between the variables and lets you see your life in all its complexity across a multitude of different situations.”
“For example, people often want to see what their retirement will look like. We can show them how their assets will support them through retirement,” said McHan. “So when clients fix that big cost of buying a home and see how it affects their future, it really gives them confidence that they’re making the best decision.”
To compliment Opes Advantage, the company is introducing its first mobile app, OpesView. “The app puts analysis into clients’ hands, so they can instantly and easily see the impact of changes in down payment, purchase price and lifestyle expenses on their day-to-day cash flow and future plans,” says McHan. “It’s the perfect complement to the work we do together.”

Related stories:
Buying a home is a financial decision – so what does it mean to be “financially responsible”
From schoolteacher to mortgage banking maven


Should CFPB have more supervision over credit agencies?