Launi Cooper has an extensive career in the real estate industry dating back to the 1970’s as a young student working for her mom. As a college student, she worked in the lending industry specializing in government-insured loans. After graduation, she accepted a position as an appraiser trainee, later going on to own her own appraisal company with a partner. In 2009, after seeing what a reverse mortgage did for her parent’s life, Cooper started originating reverse mortgages for Wells Fargo. She later worked for MetLife, Security 1 Lending and, since July 2015, for Retirement Funding Solutions, in Roseville, CA. Weekly Report sat down with Cooper to get her perspectives on the current reverse mortgage landscape.
Weekly Report: How are you adapting to today’s reverse mortgage market?
Launi Cooper: Change is our constant in this business! I thrive on change and I use the change to help clients understand the innovations that have been made in the product over the years…at the same time, I also use it to set expectations. None of us can predict the future; home values, interest rates, the program, but we can talk about what the HECM can do for them today.
WR: Has the conversation changed at all between you and your clients in terms of helping sell the product?
LC: I’ve definitely seen a change in borrowers over the past ten years, as more and more are using reverse mortgages as a part of their financial plan. There are fewer needs-based clients and more strategically focused clients. It can be challenging to create urgency, as there isn’t an immediate need. But helping the clients see the peace of mind in having the HECM in place before a need is critical. Sharing stories of previous borrowers’ success is great for clients to help visualize the “what ifs.”
WR: What is your favorite reverse mortgage story?
LC: There are so many, but the one I share the most is about my own parents. They are the reason I’m doing this today. They did a HECM in 2009 and eliminated a $1,500 mortgage payment. Almost 11 years later, they have more equity in their home today than they did in 2009 and they haven’t spent $195k in mortgage payments in that time! The HECM allowed them to maintain their active lifestyle and preserve cash flow.
WR: How do you all reach consumers today? Social media?
LC: I have social media accounts but it’s not a big tool for me. I’ve always believed that it’s “Who you know.” So, I spend time and money on being involved in my community. I’ve served on several Boards for local associations and attend 5+ networking events every week.
WR: What is one (positive) take away for the coming year?
LC: I’m a pretty positive person. When I look forward, I don’t see the purpose of what we do changing. People are still retiring too soon, saving too little and living too long! (I borrowed that from a teammate, Mike Bowers!) But, it’s true! We really do provide something unique that should be part of every retiree’s plan!