Brandee Stephens, a mortgage broker with Answer Home Loans, has become a top producer by helping the borrowers who are turned away the most. A majority of her clients are not credit-ready when they come to her so she works with them to improve their credit and get them ready to be homeowners. As a Mortgage Broker in the Wholesale Channel, Brandee believes it to be her obligation to educate borrowers and help those that retail operations and banks would turn away. Once she has those borrowers, she goes above and beyond for them. When a borrower didn’t have or know how to obtain a Verification of Employment, Brandee went as far as driving directly to their multiple past employers and getting their VOE herself.
Brandee does not come from a long line of homeowners. Her mother did not become a homeowner until she was almost 40. If it was not for her younger brother, who bought a home at 19, she may never have become a homeowner herself. During the process of buying her first home in the 90s, her interest rate jumped 1% before signing without warning. While buying her second home, her broker locked her into an adjustable-rate mortgage without explaining the difference to her. That is when she knew she could offer a better service. She joined the mortgage industry working at retail banks for 12 years until she made the jump to the broker side in June 2019.
As a Broker, Brandee focuses on helping educate borrowers on the homebuying process. Instead of turning away credit-bruised clients, Brandee works to create a financial plan to help get their credit ready within six to nine months. As part of this effort, Brandee has made it a focus to help Hispanic and Latino borrowers. She recently hired a fully-licensed originator who speaks Spanish to assist her with the effort as well.
Once Brandee has started helping those borrowers repair their credit, she goes above and beyond to provide them the best possible service, and that starts with a customer service mindset. Part of that service is Brandee and her team helping borrowers get their credit in a place where they can purchase a home. They personalize a plan for each borrower and follow up every month to see how the process is going, but it doesn’t just stop there. Brandee once helped a borrower who had been unemployed for 10 years because of a serious brain injury. She broke down the borrower’s career history, year by year, job by job, even going so far as to reach out to the past employers herself. Nothing was going to stop Brandee from doing right by her borrower. “It’s not a job, we’re really changing people’s lives,” she says.
Brandee’s parting advice: Find what gets you up every morning. You can either have a job that forces you to get up every morning or a job that gives you a reason to get up every morning. “Nobody has to tell me to get up and tell me how I’m going to help the next person,” she said. Once you find that motivation, hire people who share it. You can teach people many things, but you cannot teach someone to be passionate about your “Why”. They either are or they aren’t.
Getting into the Mortgage Industry (1:05)
Helping First-Time homeowners/Unconventional Borrowers (5:22)
Helping Hispanic Homeowners (14:28)
Going Above and Beyond for Your Borrowers (19:38)
Parting Advice (27:45)
This episode is sponsored by First Look