When Stephanie Arcelay was growing up, she wanted to be a celebrity. She wanted a career where she would love what she did every day; something that would bring about feelings of passion, excitement and fulfillment.
While life may not be as glamorous as a leading mortgage broker specializing in loans for medical professionals, Arcelay experiences the rock star vibe when helping her clients get into their homes.
“I feel the same sensation as what I think a performer feels on stage. It’s so satisfying to help someone accomplish the dream of owning a home,” she said.
Arcelay started in the mortgage business almost 18 years ago after a negative experience buying her first home. She wanted to create an experience where no matter the size of the loan, each client would receive a high level of customer service. As soon as she entered the industry, she realized how competitive it was and knew she needed to find a way to stand out.
As she recalled, there were so many products that she decided almost immediately she needed to find her niche. She browsed through the catalogue of loan programs her bank offered and zeroed in on the ones that got her excited.
“The doctor loan program really stood out to me because it was a unique benefit for a special group of people, and I felt passionate about sharing it with them,” said Arcelay.
Narrowing focus to a program, becoming well-versed in the area and building relationships within a specific community is how Arcelay became the go-to person for medical professionals looking for mortgages. She became a well-known expert in the program, so much so that she once closed mortgages for eight dental students in the same cohort.
“Anything you sell, whether it’s mortgages, houses or paper plates, the market already exists, and thousands of people are already in it. You have to find what makes you different,” she said.
Arcelay recently accepted a new role as first vice president and physician loan specialist at TD Bank, after spending the past six years at SunTrust Mortgage as assistant vice president of mortgage lending. She moved to TD to help launch their medical professional mortgage program to help the bank better serve physicians and dentists across the country. Being a part of a new program was motivation for Arcelay to take on a new challenge.
“They wanted feedback on what was working and what needed improvement. Any business is as good as their employees. When you speak and you’re heard, it makes a big difference to know you are making an impact,” she said.
Nothing is more rewarding than having a past client that she helped get into a home during their residency reach out again years later to ask for help moving into a new home, she noted.
To new mortgage professionals entering the arena, her biggest piece of advice is to the area that resonates within, whether it involves construction loans, community redevelopment loans or mobile home loans.
“It’s not always going to be easy. You have to be willing to put in the work but finding something you can sell with passion can make all the difference,” she said.