Karma Herzfeld will be the first to admit she really doesn’t mind a challenge. In fact, if her 11 years’ experience in lending have taught her anything, it’s those challenging loan scenarios which have pushed her to be the determined and customer-focused loan originator she is today.
The more challenging the loan, the more driven she is to dig in and get the job done for her customers. And while the digging, deep diving, and a never-ending loop of follow-up phone calls may seem like too much for some loan originators, Herzfeld’s willingness to go the extra mile and always do right by her customers is what sets her apart.
Taking a leap from mortgage banking to mortgage brokerage
That’s why when Keith Pike, broker owner of RE/MAX Elite (a four-office strong RE/MAX franchise), asked her to grab coffee to hear more about his plan to open his own mortgage brokerage, she knew she had to listen.
“When Keith laid it all out, what really appealed to me was getting to be the initial loan originator for a new franchise,” Herzfeld explains. “I really enjoy the operational side of running a company, from improving processes to implementing new systems, I knew I needed to do it.”
Having worked as the executive director for Habitat for Humanity of Saline County in Arkansas for 10 years, and as a loan originator for a local bank, her expertise in the homeownership process made her the perfect candidate for a new mortgage brokerage office.
Herzfeld’s ultimate decision to leave bank lending and join a mortgage brokerage was rooted in two things—a real chance to make an impact with a new franchise and the opportunity to help customers find more ways to get into the homes they love.
The real advantages of a mortgage brokerage concept
One of the biggest advantages Herzfeld has found as a loan originator with a mortgage brokerage is the sheer number of options available for borrowers, including those with credit challenges.
“With a bank, it felt like every borrower had to fit into a box and that’s not the reality. With a brokerage concept like Motto Mortgage, we have so many more options at our disposal to help borrowers, especially for those with low credit scores,” says Herzfeld.
“Another really great option is the bank statement program. I’ve closed several for individuals who are self-employed and have previously had difficulties qualifying for a mortgage.”
Making the leap from mortgage banking to mortgage brokerage has its learning curves, Herzfeld admits. Having so many options, while great for the borrower, sometimes makes it difficult to navigate what she, as a loan originator, can or cannot do, due to the “grey” areas in lending and constant changes in the mortgage industry.
“It’s not black and white. As much I love being able to tell someone, ‘yes this will work’, or ‘no this will not’, it can be murky and sometimes it’s simply trial and error,” Herzfeld says. “Sometimes the best you can do is submit and see what happens. I really appreciate that I can submit a file to an underwriter for review, especially if I have a difficult income calculation or if I’m unsure how all the income pieces I have can help qualify the borrower.”
One more undeniable perk of mortgage brokerage? Dedicated account executives from each wholesale lender are often seen as a Motto Mortgage loan originator’s right-hand man (or woman) who are equally as invested as Herzfeld in helping the customer get home.
Motto Mortgage has done a great job with their model in setting us up with wholesale lenders who have experienced account executives which not only makes my job more efficient but also keeps me happy as a loan originator,” says Herzfeld. “It feels like we’re all on the same team because at the end of the day, they want to see the loan succeed too.”
A little borrower education goes a long way
The mortgage process is often confusing and overwhelming for borrowers. And for many first-time homebuyers who don’t have a clue where to start, it can feel like being in a foreign country without a tour guide. That’s why Herzfeld takes the time to answer any questions a borrower may have, regardless of where they are in their home loan search.
“Before I was in the business, I had no idea how all the pieces worked together, like for instance how debt-to-income ratio is calculated. Consumers just don’t know that,” explains Herzfeld. “I make sure to walk them through how we calculate certain things, why we need to hit certain criteria and how they can improve if they’re currently not quite there yet.”
Taking the five or 10 minutes to explain the details not only helps Herzfeld’s borrowers understand all the pieces but also helps them understand where she’s coming from when she can’t get the results they’re looking for. In some cases, there may not be an immediate solution but Herzfeld says she always tries to give a recommendation, goal, or step to take so they can start moving in the right direction.
“I love hearing from my customers who say, ‘You were the only one who took the time to sit down and walk me through everything I need to do to get myself ready for a loan’,” Herzfeld says.
“Feeling like I’ve accomplished something and really helped someone get into a home they love is what drives me at the end of the day,” Herzfeld says with a smile. “I am incredibly motivated by proving to people that I can get the job done. And when I know I’ve done the best job I can for my customer…then I’m satisfied.”
This isn’t an offer of a franchise. We only offer franchises through our Franchise Disclosure Document. Minnesota Reg. No. F-8089; Motto Franchising, LLC, 5075 South Syracuse St #1200, Denver, CO 80237, 1.866.668.8649. Each Office is Independently Owned, Operated and Licensed.