Every so often we’ll come across a client that we know we’ll never forget. Don’t get me wrong, we remember all our clients, despite doing this for 13 years and working with hundreds and hundreds of homeowners. But there are some where it might take a minute or two to recall the exact details of them or their transaction and there are others who we’ll remember everything about in a second – either for good or not so good reasons. Some of those highly memorable ones include the guy who had three separate families (none of which knew of each other), a divorced woman who couldn’t be in the same room as her ex at the closing, a well-known Hollywood actor who couldn’t have been nicer, a model who insisted on physically dropping her documents off instead of emailing them (no one complained) and an attorney whose intimidation tactics caused us to consider calling the police on him or a therapist for him, or both. And just last week, our highly memorable list got a little bigger after we closed a loan for Felix.
Felix (we changed his name for this) was born and raised overseas and came to America when he was 22 years old. He didn’t have a lot. He worked two jobs and put himself through school to get a business degree. After working for two companies over 10 years, he and a former colleague started their own business in the medical supplies space. It’s a long story, but after 6 years Felix and his business partner had a falling out and Felix got the raw end of the deal. He was bought out by his ex-partner for significantly less than what he should have been owed. He went into some credit card debt at this time and his credit score and savings started to take a hit. This was around the time I met Felix.
We met at a networking event that his friend brought him to as he was working on finding his next endeavor and getting back on his feet. When he learned that I’m a mortgage broker, his eyes lit up. He said I need your business card immediately. He said it’s always been his dream to own real estate in NYC. Felix even carried around a laminated card in his wallet that listed his goals, which included, make $1M in a year, take care of his family back home, travel to all 7 continents, get married, and buy a home in NYC. He said he learned how to speak English by watching Friends and Seinfeld and he’s always wanted to own a home in New York, maybe even a couple. He’s one of these people with an incredibly infectious personality. When you speak to him, he’s focused on every word you’re saying – very refreshing in a world where we’re constantly diverting our attention to a ding or vibration from the tiny computers in our pockets. I received an email from Felix that night that said it was great meeting and when he’s ready to buy a home, he’ll call me.
Two years after that meeting, almost to the day, Felix called to get pre-approved. This was nine months ago. He had been working for a major pharmaceutical company and had a good salary, but his assets were a bit tight, and his credit was a 637. He was told by multiple people in his sphere that he wouldn’t be able to get a mortgage. He called us anyway. We helped him repair his credit, coached him on the assets he needed for the down-payment, closing costs and reserves, and walked him through the potential pitfalls we may encounter and how to avoid them. He was a big notetaker and you could hear him writing things down as we talked. We talked every couple weeks as he was getting himself in a position to be financeable. We got him there and got him pre-approved. A few weeks later, he got an offer accepted. Things were moving quickly. He found a coop in Greenwich village, the same area he had been renting, and he couldn’t have been more excited.
The process was moving smoothly, and after getting the appraisal and the commitment letter, Felix submitted his board package for approval. He could taste his dream of homeownership at this point. But after a month, the board came back with news that shocked us all – he had been declined. He was devastated. That’s kind of an understatement. He was crushed. After communicating with the brokers on both sides of the transaction, it seemed as though the board didn’t like his credit score and the funds that were coming from overseas – although a lot of this was speculation. We didn’t know for sure but we knew he was declined. It was a big blow and Felix wasn’t sure what his next step was going to be. As crushed as he was, Felix had this “everything is going to be OK” attitude. He even said, “if this building doesn’t want me, then I don’t want them.”
I didn’t hear from him for about a month, and then on a Sunday, I received a text from him letting me know he found a new place. This time, a condo. For this one though, the sellers would only accept his offer if he would agree to close in 30 days and waive any appraisal contingency. This was risky, but after due diligence he agreed to proceed. He was nervous, but we gave him the confidence that he could get this done.
The listing agent pressured us throughout the transaction to ensure things were moving in a timely manner. Felix checked in quite frequently to see if he could do anything more than what he already had done. There were a few hurdles we encountered regarding the building and that was the last piece of the puzzle, as his income, assets, and credit were ultimately all approved. We finally got the last few questions answered by the management company that we needed for building approval – and a day later, Felix’s file was cleared to close. He was going to be a homeowner. I don’t think I had ever been so excited to call a client to give them the news that their file was cleared and we could schedule the closing.
Scott: Hey Felix, it’s Scott
Felix: Hi buddy (that’s what he called me), hold on, I need to step into a conference room.
Scott: No problem
Felix: Ok, what’s up?
Scott: Your file is cleared for closing, we’re done. You can schedule the closing. Congrats my man!
Scott: Felix, you there?
Felix: (sobbing), I can’t believe it. This is incredible. Thank you thank you thank you.
He was beyond overwhelmed with emotion. He texted me right after that call and reiterated his appreciation. We try hard to educate our clients on this process but in this case, I think we were the ones who received the education. Felix taught my team and I about persistence, staying positive, believing in yourself, following through on a dream, how to deal with the ups and downs of life and how to always keep moving forward. In our world today which consists of so much negativity, Felix’s presence in our lives came at the perfect time and gave all of us on the transaction hope. He made all of us want to be better versions of ourselves and I hope this story does the same for you.