Young broker recalls 'highlight' of her career

It was a rush to get an important deal over the line…

Young broker recalls 'highlight' of her career

Helping people achieve the American Dream of homeownership is one of the rewards of being a mortgage broker – particularly in cases where the deals are a bit more complex than run-of-the-mill transactions.

In celebration of National Mortgage Brokers Day earlier this week, United Wholesale Mortgage solicited inspirational stories from its broker ranks – selecting 100 among them to descend on the New York Stock Exchange to help company officials ring the closing bell. The resulting narratives covered the breadth of human experience as it relates to buying a home.

Anais Fowler (pictured), from Nexa Mortgage, told of helping a military veteran overcome obstacles to buy a home for the first time. It took some doing, but the new homeowner came out ahead in the end, Fowler explained.

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A race against time

“She’s a veteran who was based in Alaska and decided to come home,” Fowler told Mortgage Professional America during a telephone interview. “Two months into her lease, her landlord died of COVID. The estate gave her 30 days to vacate the property or purchase it.”

It became a race against time. “She wanted to use her VA entitlement, but the home wouldn’t pass VA inspection,” Fowler related. “It needed some TLC, if you will.”

With Fowler’s direction, she turned to Freddie Mac’s BorrowSmart program. “She was able to put down 3%, got closing costs assistance up to $2,500 and between basically the lender credit, financial assistance and even the seller giving her a concession, she actually walked away at closing with a check for $450.”

The best part: The home to which she had grown accustomed as a renter was now hers outright. “She was able to purchase the home she had been living in,” Fowler said. “She got a good deal. She walked in with $30,000 worth of equity. She’s a first-time homebuyer who served our country, so she deserved it for sure.”

BorrowSmart is targeted at low-income borrowers

The Freddie Mac BorrowSmart program is a low-down-payment option that offers a credit toward the down payment of qualifying very-low to low-income homebuyers. The product can be used alone or in conjunction with other down payment assistance programs. The product is offered in certain cities where it is hoped it will have the most impact – including the Chicago area that is Fowler’s base.

Adding to the deal’s complexity, the targeted home was a planned unit development – known in the mortgage nomenclature by its acronym, PUD. This is a special zoning designation adopted as an amendment to an area’s zoning rules to create a new residential or commercial development. Once the city council approves it, a PUD zoning change transfers with the property to any future owners.

BorrowSmart was created for markets like Chicago and Detroit,” Fowler explained. “I’m in Chicago, Cook County. It’s very difficult to find an FHA-approved PUD and condominium. The borrower purchased a PUD, so the stars aligned perfectly for her, and I definitely do love the program.”

Fowler is in her third year as a mortgage loan officer, and has also been licensed as a real estate broker for four years. Additionally, she’s also a pre-licensed instructor. “So just doing whatever I can to bring real estate brokers into the industry, to educate them on the types of loans to get the clients to closing. I’m teaching brokers, I’m selling real estate and, most importantly, I’m doing mortgages.”

Fowler said she derived much fulfillment in having helped the military veteran borrower, and she considers the case the highest point in her career thus far.

“I think it was probably the highlight of my career,” she said. “We’re not in this for the highest loan amount or the highest purchase price. We’re here to make a difference in people’s lives. She’s a first-time homebuyer, and she didn’t think she could do it. It was a very frightening experience just because she didn’t have a lot of notice in making a life-changing decision. The fact that she trusted me with that, I will be forever grateful.”

Given her nascent career, Fowler is likely to have many more such highlights ahead.

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