Like many companies, Joe Ferrante’s dry cleaning business struggled during the Covid pandemic. So when it came time for him to move his growing family, he needed a loan officer who could understand the financial situation and needs of an entrepreneur. In stepped NFM Lending’s Jeremy Poling, who went over all of their options and came up with a plan to get Joe the home of his dreams.

Full Transcript is Below:

– Welcome to “Home Run: Great Client Experiences,” a podcast by NFM Lending. I’m your host, Gene DiPaula, and today with me, I have some very exciting guests to talk about, a wonderful case of great customer service delivered by one of our loan originators, Jeremy Poling out of the Frederick, Maryland area. Welcome, Jeremy.

– Thank you for having me today, Gene.

– Sure. And our main guest today is one of our very happy clients who worked with Jeremy on the purchase of his home. His name is Joe Ferrante, and he is in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area. And welcome, Joe.

– Welcome.

– So thank you both for joining me today. The loan process can be difficult, and I think it’s really important that you have a very knowledgeable loan officer who understands the specific situation of the client, and really comes up with a solution that is catered towards that client. And I think that’s what stood out to me about this case. Joe had a very specific employment situation, a very specific need for housing, and worked very closely with Jeremy to get it done and have a successful transaction. So let’s start with you, Joe. Tell me just a little bit about your living situation. Tell me about your family, where you were living at the time, and why you found the need to move at that time.

– So I have a small, growing family, a four-year-old son, six-year-old daughter. We lived in the house I grew up in. Small yard, real tight-knit community, but we felt like we wanted some more space to branch out and just kind of get some more privacy in our lives. So we found the perfect opportunity in a home in O’Hara Township here in Pittsburgh, and we jumped on it.

– So this was the house you grew up in, huh? So how long had you lived, had you lived in that house, like seamlessly, or had you left at some point and come back? How did you end up living in the house that you grew up in?

– So, no, I moved in with my grandmother when I was three months old. When my grandmother passed, I was able to purchase the house from the estate, and then I moved at 37 years old. So when I told my wife we were moving, I said, “It’d better be right, ’cause we’re not doing it again.”

– Wow, so you lived in that house for 37 years, huh?

– Yes, sir.

– I imagine you had a lot of great memories there, huh? So it was just a matter of fact of growing family, you needed some bigger space?

– Absolutely, and what’s funny is when you talk to people, they’re like, “How do you still have all this stuff?” And I said, “Well, when you don’t move, you still have your yearbooks, and, you know, you have no reason to throw anything away. Yeah, that’s great. So you’re up in the Pittsburgh area, and, Jeremy, you’re in Frederick, Maryland. How did you two come to meet?

– So Joe and I have known one another for a good number of years. My family, first-generation immigrants in this country from Italy, decided to settle into a little burg just outside of Pittsburgh. We were just a few streets over. I was very young in the mortgage industry then, when Joe and I had an opportunity to meet one another. He was just starting off on his entrepreneurial path to opening his own businesses and acquiring businesses. Never in a million years did I think, down the road, that we would be working together in such real estate transactions. But I’m very happy that, you know, when the need arose, I’m very happy that he chose myself and NFM.

– Yeah, that’s good. You know, a lot of times, a lot of the stories that we’ve done here on “Home Run,” you know, the loan officer and the client didn’t know each other before. But that’s cool that you guys knew each other and had been friends for a while. Joe, when you were looking for the second house, what were some of the concerns that you had about the mortgage process?

– Well, I think when I first started talking to Jeremy, we had to make it all make sense, because being a small-business owner, it’s a different process, I would assume, than the traditional W-2 employee. And we just, we didn’t wanna fail at this because I was in a position where I needed to succeed. So I think me and Jeremy did a lot of talking prior to actually going through it, and we were able to come up with a game plan and strategize, you know, where, if I had to go to a bank, you know, the fear of hearing no, and then just giving up on your dream is a real reality. ‘Cause to the bank, I’m just a guy, and a number, and a business, but with Jeremy, we did have a relationship previous to this, so we were able to establish, like what we needed to do and what we need, the game plan essentially, before we even got to the process.

– Yeah, and you told me that, you know, like you said, you were self-employed, you had a small W-2, and, you know, even bigger was the fact that we were coming out of COVID, so I imagine that maybe there was a couple of down years, you know, in the bank statements, and, you know, maybe that made it a little bit more challenging. Is that the case?

– Oh, absolutely. The dry-cleaning industry fell off about 75%, and so we reported big losses in ’19 and ’20. And, you know, just in any kind of business funding now, people were like, “Well, can you explain 2020?”

– Jeremy, tell me, when you’re looking at a case like Joe’s, where, you know, you have a self-employed borrower, you know, you have to look at bank statements, and you know his situation where they had a couple of down years ’cause of COVID, what sort of things are you thinking about in order to make sure that the process, you know, goes smoothly, and that, you know, you’re successful for your clients?

– Anytime you’re dealing with business owners, entrepreneurs, self-employed folks, you wanna make sure that you collect all of the information up front and we’re not just throwing, you know, darts with a blindfold on. You really wanna drill down, take a look at, you know, a few years’ average, take a look at, you know, the most recent year to date. But more importantly, you know, the timing of this, we knew there was a great potential for upside for Joe because of the negotiations that were already in place. We knew that there was a lot of equity on the line if he could meet the timeline, right? He was gonna put himself into a very, very, very favorable position with this property. So we definitely were up against a timeline. We were able to pair him with a product that would make the best sense and give us the opportunity to maximize his income. And, you know, we really just take a look at the bigger picture for the consumer to figure out, number one, what’s gonna be the path of least resistance for them, but also giving them the opportunity to have choices in the types of products that they choose.

– Great. And I guess this might be a good time, in case people maybe are a little bit unsure of what Jeremy’s talking about, is to talk about the situation, Joe, that, can you explain a little bit about? So you had actually already kind of moved into the home that you eventually bought. Can you just explain a little bit about that situation and how that came to be, and then how you came to look to actually purchase the home?

– Yeah, so the goal all along was to purchase the property in O’Hara Township. It was very unconventional. I met a an older gentleman that was a pretty old-school guy. He allowed me to go in and work on the house prior to having a sales agreement. So I kind of had to put a little sweat equity and a little bit of money into it. We got it move-in ready, and then we had a two-year deal, rent to own. However, at the end of year one, the gentleman I did the deal with, he had passed away. So it kind of like paused the whole deal for a little bit. But then we were able to start back up at the beginning, the beginning of ’23 here, to start focusing back in. But we put a significant amount of money and time into the home. So, you know, the negotiation process was we agreed upon a sales price before I did the work. And we were able to do a lot of the work ourselves, so we saved a significant amount of money in the renovation process, and it allowed us to build the equity in the home prior to even owning the home. So like, when we say, like, you know, I’d hate to repeat, but time of the essence, I had till December to close. But we had an appraisal done that showed the equity in the home, and with no… I didn’t wanna take too much of a chance of someone wanting to back out of the deal. So we really needed to get it done when we did, and, like we talked about, it was, we got it done, you know? And that was what was important to me and important to Jeremy.

– Yeah, I mean, and so basically, you had a gentleman’s agreement with the previous owner, who had passed, and then his estate basically agreed that they would be bound to that agreement that you had. So, whereas there was nothing official, there was a little bit more anxiety to get the deal done.

– Yeah, ’cause you uproot your family, and you have a great situation, and, you know, if you don’t come through on the full deal, you’re at zero, you know? Right. So one other thing I wanted to talk about, I had asked Joe if there were any other issues that came up during the process, and he said, he mentioned that there was an issue with an old home equity line of credit that he had, small credit issue, and that, Jeremy, you were very instrumental in making sure that that issue got resolved. Can you give us a little insight into that issue that came up?

– There was a previous bank that held a mortgage, an older mortgage, you know, on a property that he had sold. That line of credit was previously paid off. Sounds like somewhere in the interim of, you know, the satisfaction piece, there was a $3 claim or $4 claim on odd-days interest that was not factored in at the title company during that payoff a few years ago. So, as you can imagine, you know, a bank that’s still looking to collect $4 on a mortgage satisfaction, you know, they would normally would resort to just going to the collections or to the credit bureau. So we wanted to make sure that we were able to overcome that challenge, right? Get some of those previous, you know, adverse comments or statuses removed or updated. It’s all part of the game plan. We did factor that into our timeline. We sat down together and really just kind of dropped the pin on the calendar. And we had a date that we wanted to settle by, and we actually ended up going a few days early. Doing that the right way also helps a credit score potentially increase, you know, 50, 60, 70 points, which, in today’s market and current pricing, that means a lot to a consumer.

– Joe had mentioned to me that, you know, he ended up with just getting, he ended up getting a conventional loan, and that, you know, properly declaring business income and making sure all property or everything was properly documented was a big part of it. Can you just talk about how you ended up with deciding on a conventional loan, and what goes into properly declaring business income?

– Not everyone has traditional W-2 income or is a wage earner. So we do have a systematic approach. We look at every file regardless of the income, right? So we could move forward right now and go into an FHA loan, that in his case, would’ve been much more costly because of the type of down payment or the size of down payment that he was looking to put into the transaction. That would’ve been the easy route. Would’ve cost the consumer thousands of dollars more, but it would’ve been the fast Band-Aid to the problem. We had our eyes set on a conventional loan, but we knew to get to the conventional loan type, two things had to happen. We had to address the previous error on the credit report from the satisfaction of the home that he had sold previously. That was number one. Because if we got that removed, got that updated, two things would happen: Credits would increase, and he would then become eligible for conventional financing, and in turn, by doing that, would save thousands of dollars in return. Second thing was it would be a little bit more time to get that done, right? So we had to really analyze disagreement. And as Joey had mentioned, unfortunately, the gentleman’s agreement with the seller, unfortunately the gentleman had passed away, so now we were dealing with an estate. And we weren’t too sure, was the estate going to honor that agreement? Knowing that there were multiple parties and multiple heirs to this property, at any given moment, they could have pulled the rug out from underneath of us and said, “No way, we want more money, or we want to, you know, move forward with, you know, selling this on the open market and let other people bid for the property.”

– Yeah, definitely.

– So we had to really balance that fine line of not only being efficient with our time, but also making sure that we weren’t short-changing the consumer or Joey’s family just by rushing them into a specific mortgage type. So looking at the income, we knew that we were there. We analyzed, we drilled down. Actually, we were able to use a one-year, self-employed tax return, full income documentation program, specific for situations just like this, that Freddie Mac offers on the conventional platform.

– So, Joe, how was it to work with Jeremy and his team?

– The whole process, NFM was very thorough. So I would talk to Jeremy, I would get an email kind of following up our conversation. Stephanie would follow up. I mean, throughout the whole thing, you know, it was pretty much, I could do it from my laptop at work without any real worry, you know? She’d send me something, and then I’d sign it online. Jeremy would have a question, we would go back and find the file that he needed, and we would just submit it through the whole NFM portal. It was pretty seamless. It was easier than buying a car once we got our ducks in a row.

– How are you and the family enjoying the new home?

– Oh, we absolutely love it. So we were in a fortunate circumstance, ’cause I lived in, I still had owned my house that I grew up in while I worked on this house. So anybody that’s ever done home remodel while living on site knows that could be a real nightmare, especially with two little kids crawling around. So we were able to do 90% of the work, up until today, before we moved in, which is an opportunity that not a lot of people have. So that was a very nice transition. And it’s a very nice community that we live in.

– Well, that’s great. I appreciate the time that both of you have given us today to talk about this great story of just perseverance and just, you know, educating the client and really taking the time to get to know your client and their specific financial situation. And it definitely sounds like that was the case here, and just is a great example of how doing that really leads to a successful loan transaction and, you know, making sure everybody’s happy in the end. So, Jeremy, thank you for joining us today.

– Thank you for having me, absolutely.

– And, Joe, thank you for your time as well. Best of luck to you in your business, and enjoy your new home.

– Thank you, Gene. And thank you, Jeremy and everybody from NFM. You guys, you really helped me out on this one.

– Yeah, I appreciate you trusting our team.

– You’ve been listening to “Home Run: Great Client Experiences,” a podcast by NFM Lending. I’ve been your host, Gene DiPaula. Thank you for listening.

– “Home Run: Great Client Experiences” is a production of NFM TV and NFM Inc. NFM Inc. does business as NFM Lending, NMLS number 2893. Jeremy Poling’s NMLS number is 723269. This podcast is for informational purposes only. Contact NFM Lending directly to learn more about their mortgage programs and your eligibility for such programs. The experiences of clients appearing on this podcast are individual experiences of those who have used our services. NFM Inc. does not provide incentives for testimonials or reviews. NFM Lending is not a credit repair company. You should consult with a credit repair company to determine what may be best for your individual needs. This is not a credit decision or commitment to lend. Eligibility is subject to completion of an application and verification of home ownership, occupancy, title, income, employment, credit, home value, collateral, and underwriting requirements. NFM Inc. is not affiliated with, or an agent or division of, a governmental agency or depository institution. Copyright 2023.