In only four years as an agent, Sandra Barnes is on pace for over $50 million in volumes and, making it all the more impressive, it’s in a heavily-regulated environment.
On pace for higher volumes than last year, the DLC Dominion Lending Edge Financial agent’s strategy is largely predicated on understanding lenders’ guidelines and restrictions. Agents and brokers may be limited in where they can place their clients, but understanding policy provides wiggle room.
“Meeting with those lenders and making sure we understand their policies is important because there have been a lot of changes and not every lender has the exact same guidelines,” said Barnes, an agent since 2014. “They all have different restrictions and you have to know the different lenders and what they’re offering on any given day.”
Regular meetings with lenders are paramount to not only staying on top of their product offerings but also fostering familiarity.
“Being in contact with them through different scenarios and keeping open lines of communication is important because when you call or email, you’ll get your answer quickly.”
In 2019, helping clients preplan will become a necessity like never before, says Barnes.
“I met with someone today and they have a $100,000 in income but, with other debts, they still only qualify for a maximum $500,000 purchase, which is sometimes hard to find. Moving forward, we’re going to have to help our clients in their preplanning stages, like what to pay off and guide them on savings. It’s going to be a longer process with them, working to help them achieve their goals.”
Rising rates, too, will continue straining buyers next year. If borrowers choose variable rate mortgages, they’ll have to be mindful about what their monthly payments have the potential to balloon into.
“It’s one thing to qualify with the stress test, it’s another to make monthly payments, so budgeting is going to be important for them. What’s their net income, their expenses, and what will the whole picture look like.”