Melissa Mueller has not let the COVID-19 pandemic dampen her first year as a wholesale mortgage professional but has, in fact, been perhaps one of the most impressive rookies in the industry. Her people-centric approach to the process is one that will serve the channel well as mortgage brokers continue to increasingly become the go-to resource for the lowest rates and fees.
What’s a career highlight you’re most proud of?
I’m proud of closing 29 loans in my first year through Covid-19.
What’s unique about your business?
Our owners are always focusing on people over profit. We do tough deals that no one else wants to do and we want to empower our borrowers to feel confident in the process. We don’t treat them like a number.
How have you been able to make an impact so quickly in the mortgage industry?
I often get borrowers who have been denied from other lenders. If I can’t pre-approve them, I work with them to get pre-approved even if it takes months. I teach them about their credit and how they can use homeownership as a way to build wealth. Many are first-time homebuyers and never thought homeownership was even possible for them.
What’s the biggest obstacle you’ve faced in your career?
There are so many players involved in real estate that are uneducated and inform the borrowers incorrectly. It really is a disservice to clients and causes a ton of confusion. When those individuals get involved, it takes a ton of effort to assure the borrower that you know what you are doing and that they were told incorrectly about whatever topic it is.
What is your business philosophy?
I want to help people break the poverty cycle. Financial literacy is not something that is discussed in school and society teaches us about consumerism. As a result, everyone is in debt and many don’t know how to get out. I like to help others build confidence through the process of obtaining a home.
What skills are the most important for new loan officers or broker owners in order to be successful?
Effective communication with the borrower and setting expectations with everyone involved in the deal so that you can build relationships with partners long term. Being detail-oriented is also extremely helpful. Learning how to find an answer through the resources that are accessible to you is key especially with tough deals.
How has technology played a role in your early success?
Being able to use a CRM to stay in front of clients and partners is key as well as staying organized by having all of the client’s information in one spot.
How do you handle obstacles?
I try to understand the other person’s perspective when responding to a situation and I try to focus on the facts to see how a solution can be resolved for everyone.
[Text Wrapping Break]What are the biggest challenges facing mortgage brokers and what’s your advice for overcoming them?
I think the biggest challenges are the larger companies out there that take advantage of borrower’s lack of information on the process. Companies charge excessive fees and I think they shouldn’t be allowed to do so. I think it’s important to create a reputation for doing an excellent job and communicating the process effectively.
What is one thing that would surprise your coworkers or clients to know about you?
I love traveling and am currently learning a third language. I do 10 minutes of French every day!
How do you see the mortgage industry evolving in the future?
I hope that it continues to involve for the better in the future regarding empowering borrowers and teaching them that they do have a choice. Consumers should try to shop local for a broker and that by choosing a local company to work with, it reinvests more into the local economy.
If you could go back to your first day in the industry, what advice would you give yourself?
Be more patient and forgiving with myself. I want to be the expert on day one and it takes a lot of time and experience to know what you are doing.