This year at Thanksgiving, I find myself up against the same challenge as every November — how to keep the pedal to the metal and avoid succumbing to the seasonal slowdown that will send the unprepared and uninspired in my industry to the couch for a nap that could last until Super Bowl Sunday. So this year, like others before it, I am grateful for the grind. Grateful that my work can be difficult, stressful, complex and often thankless.
I am grateful for call reluctance, having learned long ago that successful people make a habit of doing the things that unsuccessful people don’t like to do. I am grateful for contracts that ratify on Friday evening, then hit my inbox on the Monday morning of a short holiday week (like this one…) and have a 10-day financing contingency. I am grateful for real estate agents that forget to include a price addendum until after the appraisal has been completed.
I’m grateful for those rare clients who stick us for the cost of the appraisals — telling us to rush their order and then deciding to go with another lender later in the process, because, you know, it’s the best thing for their family. We are grateful to sometimes learn via appraisal that construction on the property has begun or that there’s an illegal second unit below. Credit reports? I’m grateful for the prior-to-funding variety that reveal the buyer bought a new car a week before close of escrow. And I am grateful for employment terminations that occur after financing contingencies have been released.
I am grateful for the self-employed, especially the not-self-employed who become self-employed during the loan process. Grateful too for borrowers who pay off debt with gift funds — before they ask for my advice on whether permissible. I am grateful that some of our old-school anti-bank customers volunteer to take a picture of themselves depositing the cash at the teller window as proof that everything with their money is on the up and up.
Because despite all of the above, I gratefully accept that real estate transactions are inherently complex. Most often, everyone with whom we transact business is earnest, hard-working and wants to live the dream of home ownership. I’m grateful my team and I have the skills and expertise to address their problems and surmount them in the vast majority of cases. I am grateful for the fact that most people are good and that despite what we see in the news on a national level, the vast majority of my clients and business partners highly value my steadfastness to the truth on very local level.
I am grateful for this amazing career I am fortunate to have built, loan by loan, brick by brick — the one whose value is often found in the impossibility of its reason. At any time, an entire deal and weeks of effort can evaporate for any cause, especially those beyond our control. We are never guaranteed anything in life and the home loan industry does great job of reminding me of that. We are as good as our last effort and endeavor. If mortgage lending was a country, our JFK would ask not what you could do to help us, but instead, “What have we done for you lately?” We are the ones who gain trust in drips and lose it in buckets.
This year, on Thanksgiving, as we gather with family and friends, with more than I ever imagined and certainly more than my education background could have foretold, I enjoy the immense pride of having helped my fellow man with a kind heart and ever-vigilant skillset. So indeed, I am most grateful for the grind. Without it, I would be unmoored from the purpose that makes each day worth experiencing. “If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.” It ain’t easy, alright — thank you very much.
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Vice President of Mortgage Lending
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