For many years, Becky Koontz, CRMP, was a certified pedorthist who provided specialized footwear and supportive devices to help people cope with conditions that affect the feet and lower limbs. She worked throughout New Mexico and served more than 1,200 clients prominently in rural clinics.
In 2006, Becky was diagnosed with a condition that prevented her from continuing as a pedorthist, so she needed to explore other career options. She thought about reverse mortgages after suggesting to her mother-in-law that she get one to supplement her income. “The company sent a 20-something-year-old who didn’t have a clue about the needs or lifestyle of an 80-year-old,” said Becky. “She of course wasn’t comfortable after he had given her incorrect information.”
Becky went to the president of the state mortgage brokers association and told him she wanted to specialize in reverse mortgages. “He told me to learn everything I could about them and come back when ready,” said Becky. “A week later, we met again. He grilled me on reverse mortgages and after the meeting I became his reverse mortgage specialist. Since my background was working with seniors with my clinic work, I was working with a population I loved working with, and I understood their needs and could relate to them.
That was 11 years ago. Today, Becky is still actively originating loans for Senior Reverse Mortgage, Division of Better Home Loan LLC in Albuquerque. Weekly Report sat down with Koontz to get her perspectives on selling reverse mortgages.
Weekly Report: How are you adapting to today’s reverse mortgage market?
Becky Koontz: I have added forward mortgages as part of my business. I am also working on more HECM for Purchases after meeting a realtor who recognizes he can expand his business by working with seniors.
WR: Has the conversation changed at all between you and your clients in terms of helping sell the product?
BK: Not really. More often they are short of funds, which leads to a lengthy discussion on how they will come up with the funds.
WR: What is your favorite reverse mortgage story?
BK: Five years ago, a 98-year-old borrower wanted to do a reverse mortgage to start a missionary program at her church. She was still driving. In fact, she drove daily to church. The drive to my office was 25 miles! She wanted to buy a computer and take computer lessons so she could manage the program. When she looked at the amortization schedule it of course showed her age to 99. She looked at me and said, “I don’t think so.” She was right. She is still living, going strong and still driving.
WR: How do you all reach consumers today? Social media?
BK: Word of mouth, past clients’ referrals and realtors.
WR: What is one (positive) take away for the coming year?
BK: I constantly remind myself that why I love doing reverse mortgages is that it helps seniors. So, while business is slower, every borrower is one more that I have helped.