Broker misses refi wave but has no regrets

Post-burnout, she found her voice

Broker misses refi wave but has no regrets

Amid the dark days of the COVID-19 pandemic, refinances emerged with the power of a sonic boom – with some $430 billion extracted in home equity as rates hit historic lows. It was low-hanging fruit for loan officers, but not everyone was able to partake.

Melissa Puckett (pictured), of Nexus Mortgage Lending in Idaho Falls, Idaho, missed out on the refi wave. And yet, she has no regrets as she expressed to Mortgage Professional America during a recent interview.

“It’s quite funny, and a story I own up to,” she said. “In 2020, 2021 and even 2022, when a lot of people were really riding that refi wave, I was not. It wasn’t good because up until about that point I had been working my business so much and had really been focused on doing things a certain way, that I actually worked myself to complete burnout.”

She missed out on the refi wave

Puckett realized what she missed out on: “While a lot of people were really enjoying those refinances and an influx in business, I was actually kind of struggling during that time – which was kind of weird, I admit it. I don’t wanna say I was struggling, I was definitely fine but my volume was definitely not what it could have been.”

To gain some perspective into what Plunkett missed out on, one turns to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. All told, researchers noted, 14 million mortgages were refinanced during the pandemic.

Find out what does a refinance do in this article.

Instead, she focused on herself

“I was in that recovery mode from having put myself into that state of burnout,” Puckett said. “But I’m actually quite grateful for that because it led me to bigger and better things I could not have had otherwise.”

While others profited, she focused on herself: “I was able to take that time and focus on my own personal and professional goals,” she said. “It really did transform me, so I am grateful for that. It’s crazy how things tend to work out.”

As it happens, the refi wave from which so many profited has left a different set of challenges in its wake. Homeowners are now unable to move given higher rates that have dissuaded potential first-time homeowners. It’s a far cry from those refi-happy times spurred by historic declines in mortgage interest rates of nearly 200 basis points.

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York notes the implications of the refi wave have just now begun to be realized. “In the end, 14 million mortgages were refinanced during the COVID refinance boom, and these refinances will have effects on the mortgage market for years to come,” researchers wrote. “The end of the most recent exceptionally low interest rate period leaves homeowners somewhat disincentivized to sell or change properties: Owners now looking to move will face increased borrowing costs and higher prices, with current home prices being more than 36% higher than they had been pre-pandemic.”

Loan originators are having a tough time now post-refi given a housing market that has since turned sluggish. Others had trouble making a pivot to the purchase market. “Some of them are still struggling,” Puckett said.

For her, it’s been a positive development: “I started focusing on building those relationships and actually focusing on myself and my strengths,” she said. “When I first got in the business, one of the things that I had struggled was the way we approached our clients in a salesman-type way. While it’s worked really well for my male counterparts, it felt, for me, unnatural. But it was what I was taught to do – shake hands, kiss babies, go to luncheons, all those things that you do. I did it, but it didn’t seem to flow for me very well.”

And then it hit her with the force of epiphany: “I did it for a long time, and then a few years ago, something switched, and I thought this is not working for me. I decided two things: Give myself permission to say that I was really good at what I do and then secondly, I decided to be myself.”

She may have missed out on the refi wave. But in the end, one might say she found herself.

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