Nobody goes to college to become a mortgage broker, and this is not something kids in kindergarten say they want to be when they grow up. I never did, but then I never wanted to be a ballerina either. So, who knew?
I do know I wanted to be famous, but I was probably thinking Washington D.C. or Hollywood fame, not lecturing on real estate or teaching people about finance kind of fame. Nevertheless, after about 100 dog and pony shows on real estate and finance, I realized that I was good at it and pretty funny too!
I teach real estate seminars with a funny side. I wrote the book, and now I am almost famous, in that “how-to” sort of way.
Here’s my history. As my brother says, we came from a modest background. (Think Macy’s, not Bloomingdales.) I grew up in middle class America, living in New Jersey until I left for a college in Connecticut. I had what you could call a “normal” family upbringing. My parents were strong and supportive in whatever we did, which is why I am where I am today. I inherited my father’s ability to be a kind and honest salesperson and my mother’s strong convictions and beliefs. (You could say I’m doubly strong!)
Most importantly, I learned from my parents the value of a dollar, how to live within means, and how to save for the future. I consider myself a tad more than frugal these days.
I live by my own conservative financial guidelines and advise every client and student I meet to think about these guidelines and follow my example. I do practice what I teach although I slip up every once in a while when I see a pair of shoes I must have. But I like to think of myself as someone with good money sense.
After graduating from the University of Hartford (not Harvard) with a degree in business, I continued on to get an MBA, concentrating in finance. After that, I was off to law school even though I knew I would most likely never practice law. I was not ready for the real world yet. After graduation, I thought I would get a job at a talent agency until I couldn’t find one that actually paid. At that point in my life I thought I was going to start at the top.
I did practice real estate law for two years after graduation only to conclude that it was truly not for me. After that, I dabbled in real estate investing, home construction, and land development, only to find my path to real estate finance. I loved the art of the deal and the challenge of negotiating. I do owe thanks to a short, fat guy named Bill in upstate New York. He taught me what I know about home construction and working with lenders and contractors, which led me into the world of finance.
From there I found my way into wholesale mortgage lending and then consumer/retail mortgage lending. I have been there since around 1995, helping thousands of consumers and families buy homes and obtain mortgages. I have held many, many hands and lectured many, many people on the fatal desires of buying too big and the drawbacks of owing too much.
I have a tough love posture and speak to folks as a friend and mentor as well as an expert advisor. People trust me, and, hopefully, they hear me. I have turned away more than a few people that do not heed my advice and want to borrow more than they should. I have had one client foreclose out of a thousand mortgages, and that was due to divorce—a bad one.
In 2000, I was invited to be a guest lecturer at Baruch College in New York. Since then I have been an adjunct professor there. Recently, New York University, Schack Institute of Real Estate, hired me to teach my New York peers a course called Mortgage Loan Originator Certification—and I have written many books on the selfsame subject. Truly, that is much harder than a consumer book because it is teaching people how to do something and do it right. The Banking Department now requires all loan officers and any person in the industry that has direct contact with the borrower to take this 18 hour course. I say, it’s about time!
Here are some of my credentials:
- I am a lawyer (Thanks, Mom!).
- I have assisted thousands of people to get the right mortgage for their home.
- I have been quoted in over a hundred articles as a financial expert.
- I teach the stuff about real estate that you want to know.
- I want you to learn and do it right.
- I am really funny.
I found my calling! I like to spread the word (the right word) on homeownership and personal finances. I felt it was my personal duty to lay out the real information to the consumers who really need to understand the process before they dive into it.
I also know this stuff is boring and dry, so I make it light and funny. I tell you lots of great anecdotes about how people got screwed and make you laugh at their expense. This method is proven to make you not forget the bad stuff that happens to good people. This way, you can stop it before it happens to you.