Christina Harmes Hika of Amerifund Home Loans in San Diego, Calif., previously outlined for RMD the perhaps less discussed benefits of the reverse mortgage business specifically for young mothers. However, the constraints she sees from professionals in the term/traditional mortgage broker and originator communities are not limited to this attribute alone. For many who might be predisposed to seek a career change, however, reverse mortgages simply don’t come to mind.
That’s why Harmes Hika took it upon herself to try to introduce the possibilities of a career in reverse mortgage through a new business venture; someone involved in coaching professionals and telling them how they can find a rewarding career in a company they may not have considered before.
With a traditional mortgage business under a kind of stress that isn’t presently present on the reverse side, a lot of the principles she spoke about were about her interactions with the industry as a mother – particularly in terms of career latitude and the ability to balance different personal and professional priorities — might have the potential to cause new professionals to back down, she says.
Reverse Mortgage Stress and Opportunity
While her own experience is naturally shaped by parenthood, Harmes Hika still sees many professionals in the communities she is involved with going through the same things that make her grateful to be the other way around.
“I see young mothers in the broker and loan officer communities who are totally stressed out,” she says. “Whether it’s young mothers or anyone else, they’re very stressed. The inverse is a challenge to complete, I’m not going to say it’s as easy as turning your inverse talent into a day. But if you start now, you can start a business so you have the time and flexibility you want. »
While her children are still very young, looking ahead and thinking about how much she wants to be present with her own children is something she thinks the reverse is good for, and she doesn’t see the need for that. kind of flexibility disappear as her children get older.
“Won’t I want that kind of flexibility when they’re five, six, 12, and 18?” she asks rhetorically. “It’s not like that need for flexibility goes away with age. And that’s what I told people.
In the professional circles she frequents, Harmes Hika says people are very aware of her reverse advocacy. When paired with his shared anecdotes, a flood of incoming calls and emails came asking him to explain to them what it takes to update inside out. The correspondences became so regular, in fact, that she no longer thought she could handle them casually.
“The demand for education, training and mentorship that people were asking for took me too far away from my own work,” she says. “It literally started because I couldn’t take one more 15 minute phone call just to take care of the reverse. I’d already taken a ton a week, and I was overtaking my income because I had spent so much time on the phone for free giving people advice, and I hadn’t made enough of my loans.
A unique gap in the market
Immediately, Harmes Hika identified a gap in a very unique market that could also serve a long-standing goal of the reverse mortgage industry: bringing more new professionals into the fold. This effort has also helped people realize exactly what they know — and what they don’t — about getting to grips with the nuances of the reverse mortgage sales cycle.
“I started a series of masterclasses for advanced loan officers to learn the reverse,” she says. “It’s more than courses for lenders. I love courses for lenders, but what I’ve found is that loan officers on the back don’t understand what they need to do as an originator on the back because it’s different. There are more steps.
There are also many other specific differences and scenarios that a forward-only professional may not anticipate having to deal with, particularly with respect to the more consultative nature of the reverse mortgage industry, as well as customer details. which may need to be taken into account such as the health of the borrower, she said. Still, courses from traditional lenders are certainly helpful in teaching loan details.
“A lot of the lender courses are very topical, and we ended up with a lot of people who took the lender courses and became familiar with the details of lending,” she says. “But they had no idea and are sitting there frozen in fear of what to do with this prospect who just called asking for the loan. And so, that was a gap in the market that I saw that I wanted to fill.
Some of the content and discussion his course helps oversee includes the first steps to take after receiving a product request from an interested senior. There are step-by-step guides that can gradually lead a person to an ongoing loan, she says.
Overcoming Persistent Misinformation
One key to the future, according to Harmes Hika, is for new reverse mortgage professionals to speak out about what sets reverse mortgages apart and become visible in their local communities.
“I teach these loan officers to speak loud and clear and become the face of the reverse in their local market,” she says. “That way people can ask questions and get direct, real answers. I think that’s really the biggest problem: really experienced reverse mortgage agents don’t need to market a lot. But then the big companies market in a very generic way, which doesn’t really help solve a lot of education problems.
Then there are other adjacent professionals like financial planners, lawyers, term mortgage officers and others who just don’t understand reverse mortgages, and the needle may not be moving. pretty fast in that regard.
“There’s just this disconnect where education is key,” she says. “And I know we say this all the time, but it’s not just about educating in an individual format. You need to come out and talk about your reverse stories. Storytelling has led to a lot of success for me personally because people can see themselves in these true stories. We all know how life changing setbacks can be, but no one else does. Part of my mission with this coaching business is to stop [reverse mortgages from] being the best kept secret.
Learn more about the program at LearningReverse.com.