Marcy Knue’s path into the mortgage industry started close to home. Her parents used the same mortgage lender to purchase a number of investment properties, and when the company was looking for a loan officer assistant, her mother suggested she apply.
Marcy landed the job, and she spent the next five years learning the ins and outs of mortgage lending – and of marketing on behalf of the loan officer for whom she worked.
“That pretty much set my foundation of who I am today, because it helped me understand how to get business and how to build relationships with real estate agents,” she says. “I was doing that grind for her, it was just her name I was pushing.”
Five years later, she moved to another company and became a loan officer herself, using her marketing savvy to build relationships on her own behalf. Marcy spent some time doing mortgages for a bank, but eventually came to Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation (which owns Home.com) so she could work for a company that focused exclusively on home loans.
Marcy is a top loan officer with Fairway, and she says she attributes her achievements to those early lessons in reaching out to agents, sending direct mail flyers, and pounding the pavement to reach homebuyers.
“It’s always with me,” she says. “A hundred percent of my success is from that foundation.”
That foundation also gives Marcy unique insights she can offer homebuyers, especially when it comes to working with real estate agents. She advises buyers to find an agent they trust, first and foremost.
“You need to trust your Realtor, and you need to trust your lender to get your loan done,” she says.
Rather than working with the first agent you connect with, she suggests meeting with a few at the beginning of your home search.
“Before you start looking for a house, you need to interview a few Realtors and make sure you mesh well and that they understand your needs,” she says. “Make sure you can build a relationship and a friendship with them.”
Because you’ll work so closely with your real estate agent while looking for a home, it’s important to choose one with whom you click. They might be great at their job, but if you don’t communicate well or your personalities are mismatched, the process will be more frustrating. Take the time to find someone who can be a partner to you throughout your homebuying journey.
Related reading: Who To Call First, a Mortgage Lender or a Real Estate Agent?
Marcy has plenty of other insights for homebuyers, including this one: Prioritize your home purchase.
“The number one thing is, when you’re thinking about buying a home, think of that as your largest purchase. And that needs to be accomplished before purchasing a car and other things,” she says.
If you’re considering making multiple large purchases around the same time – perhaps buying a new home and a new car – talk to a loan officer first, Marcy advises. She’s seen people not qualify for a mortgage because they took out a large auto loan that put their debt-to-income ratio (DTI)* out of bounds for buying a home.
A loan officer can help you understand how different scenarios will affect your homebuying ability and help you make strategic decisions so you can purchase a home.
And that matters, because for most people, homeownership is essential to building a strong financial foundation.
“You need to start growing your assets and wealth with a home,” Marcy says. “That’s your best investment.”
Even if you don’t plan to buy a home for another year or two, Marcy recommends establishing a relationship with a loan officer now. They can assess your creditworthiness and create a roadmap for what you need to do to be ready to buy when the time comes.
If your credit score is low or you have a limited credit history, they may be able to connect you with a credit advisor who can offer recommendations on how to improve it.
A loan officer will also explain the different qualifying factors, such as what DTI means or what each step of the process will look like.
While you can, and should, do research on your own, there is nothing more powerful than having a strong relationship with a loan officer before you even start your home search. That person can give you the guidance and information you need to begin your homebuying journey with confidence and clarity.
‘A true passion’
A lot has changed in Marcy’s life since she started in the mortgage business 20 years ago. For one thing, she’s now married and is a mom to 10 children.
She’s also active in her local church and regularly volunteers in the church nursery. When they can, her family also road trips to Florida, where they have a second church community in which they’re involved.
And of course, there’s her work, where she sees divine influence.
“This job has been a perfect blessing,” she says. “I love what I do. I have a true passion for working with homebuyers and working with agents. I love my job.”
*Debt-to-income (DTI) ratio is monthly debt/expenses divided by gross monthly income.