Tell readers about yourself and how you discovered Flagler County.
Flagler County offers everything you need within arm’s reach, in a diverse melting pot with near perfect weather. St. Augustine Beach was my home for twenty-plus years. I looked south to Palm Coast to find the housing I desired within my budget. A commute from Palm Coast to Daytona or to Jacksonville is quicker than from most areas of St. Augustine because of the heavy traffic. Palm Coast has all the conveniences I need in my daily life. If I need more services or shopping, it is easy access to I-95. Palm Coast living just makes sense.
You have a fascinating story about how you got into the lending industry. Would you share it with readers?
I have a background in strategic marketing and public relations. As with many mothers, I made choices to maximize my time with my children. Banking seemed like an obvious choice. I would have never considered banking in my future as a younger person because I thought it was all about my dreaded subject – math. What I learned is that mortgages are about problem solving. Structuring a purchase or a refinance properly can change lives. I closed a lot of loans and bought a lot of nice things in the first few years. However, bad things happen to good people. I personally experienced ‘the perfect storm” when I had a serious health crisis, job loss, housing bubble, divorce resulting in bankruptcy and foreclosures while being the matriarch to 3 teenagers. It took me several years to stabilize my health and return to work. During this time, I was reduced to living in a government assisted apartment on disability, rebuilding my health and credit. I re-entered the work force a few years ago. Because of the losses I endured, my pinnacle of recovery was to buy my own home.
My passion is reverse mortgages or more properly called the Home Equity Conversion Mortgages. Having personally experienced devastation, I realized that “options” is the most important strategy when life strikes. A reverse mortgage can help you ride out the storm when “life” strikes you down. Older people don’t fear death nearly as much as they fear running out of money. I want to assure people that they can age in place with their dignity and independence intact. If the reverse is not an option, I can assist them in evaluating all of their options.
As women we often have to overcome a number of obstacles professionally while managing our personal responsibilities. What advice would you give women in this situation?
As nurturers, we often become the last resort to our families. The problem is that often our parents never let us be part of their plan. It is not easy to plan a career path around raising children. It is frustrating when a mother gets her kids out on their own then needs to be caregiver to her in-laws, grandchildren, and other family members. Many of our mothers burned their bras so that we could have equal opportunities. We as women, were inspired to get the best education we could afford, and we set high standards for ourselves. Even if we planned for our children, we didn’t necessarily plan to take care of our older relatives. Our older relatives don’t want to be a burden. People didn’t anticipate inflation, health crises, and living longer. Typically, the burden falls on the matriarch. I want to give women the tools to evaluate the situation with techniques to achieve financial transparency and relieve financial stress. Talking to your loved ones about their finances is tricky. Sometimes they are fearful or controlling. I have some techniques to have these necessary but difficult discussions.
Since becoming a member of the mortgage industry, what are the biggest challenges you help families with and what are some of the insurmountable obstacles that could delay home ownership?
The biggest problem that I see with families buying their first home is student debt. Bonds and grants are available, but the debt ratio is the biggest hurdle. There is a quagmire with women wanting to get an education and have families at the same time. When we meet women who have accomplished this, we are inspired. What we don’t see is the difficulty to succeed in a career and raise a family. The obstacle in Flagler County is that the criteria (income vs debt) to obtain these loans does not line up with the price of housing. The health of the community depends on electing officials that value providing for our young families. Housing costs here do not allow for young families to pay off debt to qualify for the excellent first-time homebuyer programs available in this area. There are ample city and county grants funded and available to qualified applicants. My best recommendation is for young people to get free credit counseling which is available through Mid-Florida Housing Partnership.
What is your favorite thing about being in the industry and who is your ideal client?
Financial stress is paramount to health stress. I may not be able to get everyone in a home, however I can give them the tools so that they can get there. My favorite memories are the times when I was able to get someone into a home when everyone thought it impossible. Any loan officer wants a homebuyer with a 740-credit score and 20% down however that is a rare gem. Many of my conversations are less about loans and more about life strategies. My favorite referral would be someone over 62 that would like to see how retirement would look to them with a reverse mortgage. Options can relieve you from the financial stress that keeps you awake at night. When life happens, it is always good to have plan B and plan C in place. My time is free for consultation. I only make money when the borrower wins through buying or refinancing a home.
Reach Cindy at email@example.com or visit www.homepridelending.com.