Bilingual edge sets mortgage broker owner apart

How executive leveraged her mastery of Spanish to excel in the mortgage industry

Bilingual edge sets mortgage broker owner apart

Whitney Bulbrook (pictured), president of Carolina Ventures Mortgage, found her niche in the mortgage industry by chance.

After graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a degree in Spanish, Bulbrook initially had no plans to venture into the sector. However, her Spanish fluency caught her aunt’s attention, encouraging her to explore opportunities to serve the Latino community in the mortgage space.

“I knew nothing about mortgages, or what underwriting meant, or anything really about the mortgage business,” Bulbrook said, reflecting on her early days in the industry. “But I trained and learned and studied. I initially worked with the Latino community doing loans for tax ID borrowers.”

It was her connection with people that drew Bulbrook to the sector, and her proficiency in Spanish made her a valuable asset in the Latino community.

“It gave me an opportunity to figure out that I enjoyed being a part of that,” she said. “Using the tools I have - speaking that second language – I realized that I loved the mortgage industry. So I stuck with it, and I’ve been here ever since.”

As she transitioned from serving the Latino community to more conventional products, Bulbrook has adapted to change and expanded her business.

“It’s just been a lot of hard work trying a lot of different things and keeping at it,” she said, emphasizing the importance of connections. She highlighted that building relationships and delivering on promises are fundamental aspects of the mortgage industry.

“If something’s not working, then you’ve got to try something else, and a lot of this business is very much about connections and just doing a good job for those connections,” she said. 

She attributes her success to organic growth, nurtured by building one relationship at a time, along with understanding the challenges clients face when navigating the complexities of the mortgage process. To address these concerns, Bulbrook has developed sector resources, which have garnered praise across the industry.

“People like the educational aspect of it because, in some ways, mortgages can feel very overwhelming for people,” said Bulbrook. “That’s built from the questions I’ve gotten from clients, just compiling those questions over the years.”

The wiki-style format allows clients to easily access information, such as understanding interim interests or handling remote closings. By offering informative videos and content, Bulbrook empowers her clients with the knowledge they need to feel in control throughout the home-buying process.

Read next: Why did COVID-19 improve Black and Latino homeownership?

“It’s a good intro to agents of ‘let me be your expert on this. You’ve got the real estate side. Let me help you with this. This is what I do.’”

One area she identified for improvement was end-of-process communication. To address this, Bulbrook took proactive measures to ensure clients received essential information, like the closing disclosure and final cash details from the attorney. By taking ownership of this aspect, she enhanced the concierge service and streamlined the process for her clients.

Bulbrook also actively gathers feedback from clients to ensure a seamless and personalized experience.

“It’s about making the process as seamless as possible,” she said. “Adding a concierge aspect to it, I’m really paying attention to the customer experience.” 

Looking ahead, Bulbrook’s primary focus remains on customer experience. As interest rates increase, she places a strong emphasis on the purchase business, embracing the excitement that comes with helping clients buy their first or second home.

Want to keep up with the latest mortgage news? Get exclusive interviews, breaking news, and industry events in your inbox, and always be the first to know by subscribing to our FREE daily newsletter.