Reverse mortgages have long been a source of confusion and fear with many consumers and brokers faced with misinformation and a lack of education. Reverse mortgage expert, Christina Harmes, sees reverse mortgage loans becoming an increasingly commonplace type of loan that can be utilized more fully as the retirement tool it’s meant to be. There is no doubt in Harmes’ mind that brokers are more than ready for the challenge.
What interested you in starting a career in the mortgage industry?
I wanted to help people by translating the complex into the simple and guiding people to good financial decision making with their home equity and mortgages.
What’s a career highlight you’re most proud of?
From 2016 to 2020, I helped build the Reverse Mortgage Division from the ground up at C2 Financial, the largest mortgage brokerage in the nation.
What are some challenges unique to reverse mortgages?
Many clients do not use technology, and since the loan process itself can be very complex, you need an expert level of knowledge to really do right by the client and their entire financial situation. Seniors have more life events that affect credit and income, so there’s more critical thinking needed to be able to help people.
What’s unique about your business?
I am a leader in the Reverse Mortgage space – I only do reverse mortgages and have built a team of expert caring women who help seniors through this process as smoothly as possible.
How has the perception of reverse mortgages changed over the course of your career?
It is still transforming before my own eyes, but in general, people and professionals are realizing this is a really versatile financial retirement tool. People are seeing that a reverse mortgage should not be the last option but instead incorporated into the retirement plan early on to help all assets last longer.
If you could change one thing about the mortgage industry right now, what would it be?
The concept that you can push a button and get a mortgage. This idea skips a large part of the financial planning aspect a true mortgage advisor can bring to the table. A mortgage advisor can help someone accumulate wealth and use the best tool possible for their situation. I have seen first hand how a mortgage advisor can really help someone create the right strategy to get ahead and stay ahead.
What is your personal/business philosophy?
Treat every client as if they were your own parent or grandparent. Never put someone in a mortgage you wouldn’t want for yourself if you were in their shoes.
What is one thing that would surprise your coworkers or clients to know about you?
I am heavily involved in an entrepreneur coaching mastermind group. I bring what I learn there to the reverse mortgage space and building my business. The outside perspectives have given me huge growth in how I approach my business and my clients. I am constantly striving to bring the best customer service practices from other industries to my reverse mortgage clients.
If you could go back to your first day in the industry, what advice would you give yourself?
Passionately promote what you love without fear sooner than you think you are ready to.
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