COVID-19 And A New Paradigm For Real Estate with Debbie Bloyd
As we fight our way through the COVID-19 pandemic, home quarantine and social distancing measures are having a massive effect on all businesses across all sectors of the economy. Real estate is no exception as lenders and brokers alike are forced to get creative in making and closing deals with buyers while working remotely. Joining host Monika Proffitt today is Debbie Bloyd of DLB Mortgage Services. Working out of Dallas, Texas, Debbie, who has had a ton of experience dealing with various real estate problems acknowledges that these are unprecedented times, and the real estate sector has to make do with what resources it can command to keep things running.
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COVID-19 And A New Paradigm For Real Estate with Debbie Bloyd
How Real Estate Has Been Affected By COVID-19
I’m with Debbie Bloyd, the Owner of DLB Mortgage Services. Debbie, thank you for joining us.
Thanks for having me.
Let me get this straight. First of all, because I’m based in New York City and a lot of times I had these crazy time change differences and sometimes it seems reasonable. I know I’m not talking to you from Singapore, but where exactly are you and DLB Mortgage Services based?
We are based out of Dallas, Texas. I covered the entire state. I’ve got an office in College Station where I’ve been for many years. I’ve got an office up in Dallas where I’ve been for the last year. I get to travel all over the great big State of Texas.
I’m from Texas originally and all my family is from Texas. I bet you, if we dug into our family tree, we’re going to be related.
How did you get to New York?
I’m based in New York, but I’m the weird one. All of my family on both sides. We’re still from Texas. I’m probably related to myself. That is how deeply from Texas all the way back. We go good or bad for that one. Both of my parents were the weirdos that left Texas for Colorado, raised their kids in Colorado and went on their ways. Eventually, I ended up even further North in Washington and then finally out here in New York. I am the black sheep of the black sheep. I go back to Texas about once a year to see all my extended family and I love it. It’s nice to talk to a fellow Texan. I see your background. “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” I love that quote from Pablo Picasso.
I do many different things. I’ve done mortgages for 25 years. I’ve got an insurance license. I’ve done property and casualty and life and health for about several years. I do securities and investing for families and I do a lot of counseling for money. What I’ve decided is I am a money helper. Whatever you need, I can either hook you up with or get you to somebody that can help you.
Are you an RIA?
I am. I’m also a CSA, which is a Certified Senior Advisor. I do a lot of reverse mortgages and that makes them and their families more comfortable knowing that I know how to talk to seniors, I know what they’re going through. We’ve been trained on how to do that. In the mortgage business, we have to have many licenses. I became a broker. I’ve been told about 2008. I went to work for big companies for a while. I became a vice president of a couple of banks. I’m back being a broker because I can offer many and extra products that being in a bank can’t. Banks are in the box. You can’t touch the edges and there are many loan products out there that need to help people but they think it’s unfathomable. Who would ever do that? Customers need that and I worked with a lot of self-employed people. They need lots of options.The big tagline in real estate now is, “If you can find your spouse online, then you can find your next house online.” Click To Tweet
As a self-employed person myself, it is always a challenge. When I think about a refi or what I’m going to do about something, how I’m going to make it happen because on paper is a different portion of reality than anything.
You need a bank statement loan. As a bank statement loan, you would only use your last 12 months or 24 months of the deposits. We don’t count the expenses. You don’t have to give us tax returns, but you’re going to pay a little bit higher rate, about a point higher for not providing tax returns, but that’s the way all self-employed people do it.
Do you cover Texas or do you cover other states nearby?
I’m licensed in Texas and Florida, but I’ve been licensed in Arizona and California. Wherever anybody needs a loan, I wouldn’t say it’s easy, but it’s not as hard as you would think to get a license in another state once you’ve been licensed in one state. You have to take their state licenses. About 2008, we all had to be licensed all of a sudden, they were in background checks. A lot of people that could not make it out here as a broker came a banker. In that way, Wells Fargo or Bank of America, whoever you worked for took on the financial responsibilities, the errors, and emissions, if anything you would do wrong so you wouldn’t go to jail. As a broker, I have to do all that for myself and make sure I don’t go to jail and don’t do anything wrong. It’s a different licensing. Now that we’re licensed nationally, it’s easy to get licensed in the individual states you need. If you need a loan, I’ll get licensed in New York. I can help.
It’s funny because you mentioned many banks in Texas. It turns out one of my cousins, and I always say each cousin is my favorite cousin, don’t tell the other one but my favorite cousin Terry Brotherton is on the board of the Texas Citizens Bank down in Houston. I feel like I’ve already heard so much about Texas banks from the things that he talks about in day-to-day. In the stick Southern drawl, it’s lovely to hear him talk about all the different things that have been at the bank.
Banks are usually set up to do more commercial banking and personal banking.
That’s the case in a lot of banks, isn’t it?
Yes, it is.
We’ve been talking a bit about some of the mortgage stuff that you do, but also the way that COVID and the whole staying in place and sheltering where you are and all of that. This desire to keep our social distancing, not even a desire because it’s driving me crazy. I didn’t realize how much I needed people in my life until this happened. Now, that’s affecting the processes that happened. It’s not just mortgages but buying and selling a real estate. That’s my passion too. I’m securitizing real estate with my business. I’ve always been looking at this from an abstract view, but to see that you are in the midst of processing loans and showing properties, what are the major changes that you’ve noticed in just a short time?
When we first started, lenders were fine, everybody was fine. The business was usual until about a couple of weeks ago. As we got the stay in place, a couple of the bigger lenders quit letting us lock our loans so far in advance. When someone typically buys a house, they want to lock their loan and then we have to close within 30 days. What’s happening is they won’t let us lock the loan until they’re out of underwriting. They’ve had their appraisal and they’re ready to close then we can lock their loans out at a couple of big lenders. I’m not using those lenders. Nobody wants that uncertainty. Everybody wants to find a house lock right away. I’ve had to move to other lenders because some of the big ones needed to free up their credit lines. What was happening is they have many people with lock loans. You know that that loan is locked, they’re going to close and you’ve got to reserve that money. The lines of credit were too big for some of these companies to keep. If they don’t allow us to lock until the end, they don’t need that big a credit line until the end. It frees up their credit. Other smaller companies are fine. As a broker, I’m signed up with different lenders for that reason. Some do bank statement loans. Some do faster underwriting. We have a couple of banks that I’m using that are doing refinances. They’re slow. They’re going to be 45 days to close a refinance, but the rates are spectacular.
If you’ve already owned your home and you call me for a refinance, I’m going to put you with that company. That way, you get the best rate and you don’t care when you close. It’s hard on some of my real estate broker friends that they refer business to me to look at the property and nobody wants to go in the homes. Everybody wants to look at a virtual tour. We’ve seen a lot of social media showing homes and do virtual tours. The big tagline is, “You can find your spouse online, and you can find your next house online.” You’ve got a date a couple of times, probably after that virtual meeting. Everybody wants to walk through their house. A lot of people have a little go list of 5 or 6 homes. They want to see once things free up and we can travel around freely again but until then, everybody’s holding what they have. I have a lot of closings on the board of houses and people that already had contracts in place before this happened. We’re working through the pipeline. No new stuff. After about May 1st is my last purchase, everything else is refinanced.
Refinances are the only thing they can be easily executed because there’s no need to see stuff and go through all that process.
We’ve got title companies in Texas and on a pretty day, they’ve got their tables outside and people are signing outside the title companies. It’s like a big picnic. They’ve got a lot of mobile notaries, but those mobile notaries don’t want to go on homes either. They’re standing people outside. They’re signing on their cars. We’ve gotten creative with where we’re going to sign our paperwork. In the State of Texas especially, I don’t know every other state, but we don’t let you have a notary if you do a cash-out. Those people are still happy to go to the title companies. I went to my last posting and I join it over the phone if they have any questions on there. I keep my phone on my desk going and I get to hear the closing because I don’t get to go. They don’t allow anybody extra in.
You were saying that there was a lot of eSigning of documents too. That’s something that I feel comfortable with but then again, I’ve worked in technology for several years.
The banks and insurance are far behind. I did a pay-per app for a life insurance company and they make you print out all the pages. It’s not even eSignable or DocuSign. Their real estate agents can still DocuSign documents. We can DocuSign a few things but not everything. There are still a few documents in the loan process that has to have a wet signature and then we scan them back in. The financial planning companies, a lot of the big companies still use fax machines to do trades and exchanges. You’ve got to fax it into a number. I have an eFax. Nobody has a fax machine anymore but these companies. It’s still out there. It’s not all technology savvy.
I use the fax machine analogy often when I talk about the way that the internet has evolved because the first wave of the internet was the internet of communication. People were like, “Someday, you’re going to be able to send a message to someone across the world in China for free.” It’s like, “If it’s for free, what do you mean? Are we never going to use stamps again? Are you never going to use a fax machine? Are you never going to use FedEx or UPS? You’re going to put all the mail carriers out of business?” It’s like, “No, mail carriers still have their place, but fax machines have been put out of business for the most part. You don’t use them too often anymore.”
I get many security stuff in with eFax. There are still people that want to fax their signature. I remember when the fax first came out and I was in a bank and they were like, “We can’t accept these signatures. We don’t know who’s on the other end.” They’re like, “You can see them sign the papers.” The banking industry is way far behind. I’m sorry that they’re not technological. They’re much older individuals that run the banks. Some of these small community banks still sit around once a week and vote on loans if they’re in house approval.
That is what Texas Citizens Bank still does. There’s still in a weekly loan meeting.
“Raise your hand if you want Bob to have his auto loan or a loan for cows or whatever,” and they do that. It’s still around.
With The New Trust Economy, we named it this way because with the second wave of the internet, we realized that the big deal here it comes is not going to be that you can send a message to someone in Kenya, but you can transact with someone in Kenya for free. Everyone is saying, “If you can do that, are you going to put banks out of business? You’re going to get rid of all commercial lenders or are you going to get rid of every financial tool?” It’s like, “No, but we are going to be able to transact and send money with your phone instantly like an email in the same way.” The fax machine equivalent is probably something like Western Union, wiring money probably will go away.
With title companies, everybody had a cashier’s check. The Great Crown Prince came in and took everybody’s money on the internet, so title companies went to wires. That was much easier. There’s much wire fraud out there. We’re back to regular cashier’s checks again. It comes and goes. Technology is not our friend in our business.
Technology takes a couple of steps forward and one back, it’s back and forth. You do many things. You’re an RIA and a CSA. What exactly does that mean? What does it mean for having those certifications and talking to people about things like refying or addressing their money situation?
For an example, I did a TV interview here in Dallas on one of the morning shows. By the time I got done talking, I had several clients, people that had called in the station and wanted to know my number. Their biggest question was, “I don’t know what you can do to help us. You sound knowledgeable. We don’t know where to start.” That’s probably how I’ve gotten to this to be morphed into over the years. I was married to a gentleman that had an insurance company. We had it together. When I got divorced, I kept my license and I moved my business to another company. To be in his office, I had to have a license. My kids are going into insurance as well because they think dad works a lot less than mom.
There’s a lot of residual income. I have to recreate that income stream every month. I do have a lot of clients from that. What I never understood was a lot of people want one part of the equation. What happens is you go to your bank and they tell you one thing. You go to your attorney, he tells you something else. You go to a financial planner and your CPA is going to write everything off, but then you can’t buy a house. Wouldn’t it be nice if somebody knew all that stuff upfront? There’s a few of us little people running around that know a little bit about all of those things. A lot of times I have to get my CPA for my client in the same room with a financial advisor in the same room with me to explain to them how all this works.
You get a divorce, the attorney bangs the gavel but they haven’t dissolved all your assets properly. Nobody knows how to take that 401(k) money and convert it into anything. Nobody understands if they have to leave it there and turn it into an IRA. They don’t understand if there are any penalties. They award somebody a house in a divorce, whether it’s the or otherwise, and they can’t qualify to refinance it. Those people are attached still financially, even though he’s moved out of the house. What happens? He goes and finds a new wife. They want a new house, now he’s in the old house and he can’t afford the new house because she can’t afford to refinance because she doesn’t qualify.If this crisis goes on for six months or two months or even for one more week, people are going to change the way they do business. Click To Tweet
This could have all been handled if they had talked to one person that could have guided them through this and then everybody’s mad. You need a lot of trusted advisors to all talk. After I’ve been hired with different attorneys and gone through a divorce myself, you understand how it all fits together. The problem is I love to talk about money and finances. My daughter is like, “Mom, you work too much.” I’m like, “I love what I do. It’s not working.” If you were to come to me, you do what you do, you don’t love what I love.
I have people that come to me and say, “I don’t even know how to set a budget.” I’m wondering, “How did you even exist without knowing how to set a budget?” They are a tech person, they’re an accountant or there’s something else. They’re not me. There’s a lot of people that go through life that are physicians, doctors, dentists and school teachers that do not focus their whole 12-hour days on money and finances and the problem is they don’t even want to talk about it. They come to me and they’re like, “Just fix it.” I’m like, “Do you know what’s wrong?” They said, “No, but it’s not working.”
“No, I don’t want to know what’s wrong. I want you to fix it. Here are all the things. Please make this divorce easy. Please make my refinance easy.” That makes a lot of sense.
I used to say I had little toddlers and I have to make everything simple. Now, I say I have college kids and I have to make things simple. I had to talk non-money talk to people. Probably one of my traits is that as being a vice president of a bank, they always wanted me to be in a suit and sit on my side of the desk and act like I was smarter than everybody. The same thing with the financial planning world. They fill your head with so much gobbledygook that you don’t understand. You just sign to shut them up because you don’t get it. I want my clients to get it. I can boil it down to easy situations that they can understand. Long-term care isn’t complicated. You’re going to get old. You’re going to need help. You need an insurance policy to pay for most of that. Let me show you how that works for your age. It’s a simple premise. It’s ideal and stuff that people don’t want to do. They don’t want to talk about getting old. They don’t want to talk about their investments. They don’t want to talk about losing their money in their stock market. They don’t like certain things that they view complicated. Those are all the things that will save you in the end.
You’re a parachute maker for people.
I am and I’d make them do all the stuff they don’t want to do.
Specifically, so that people know what an RIA versus CSA is?
A CSA is a Certified Senior Advisor. Anyone can be a CSA in the healthcare business dealing with older adults. You can have attorneys be CSAs, healthcare providers be CSAs, home help companies make their people be CSAs. It helps us learn to deal with seniors with all of the things that they are up against. Dementia, not letting their family know about their finances. How they’re scared to confide in people, how we have to help them, explain things without freaking them out and how to talk to the families. A lot of seniors as they get older, they don’t want to tell anyone the good and the bad. They don’t want to tell people they have lots of money because they’re afraid someone’s going to take it. They don’t want to provide for some of the things that they’re going to have to provide for. One lady, she told me, “I don’t want to hear one more thing about long-term care. I am going to die healthy,” but you’re not.
When you die, it means that you suck being healthy enough to live.
One out of ten maybe fall asleep and never wake up, but that’s not the case. You have a stroke, you have a heart attack, you have dementia and then you need money to help take care of you.
I found out by a surprise that I was the executor of my father’s will. I was 39 years old and I got a call. My dad was traveling overseas in Ecuador. “Your father has died.” I have to travel to Ecuador and turns out, I know just enough Spanish to get you cremated. I got him cremated, brought his remains back, brought all of his luggage back with my luggage. That’s more luggage than you’re supposed to have. Why do you have that? I got searched at the border for it. “Whose luggage is this? Did you pack this bag?” “No, I didn’t but the guy in the box did.” Having to answer to those questions and then getting back and finding out, “Where would he have hidden a will? Let me think.” We’re looking around and I finally found the will and then to my surprise I find out I’m the executor of it. I didn’t know that.
You never talked about this before?
We never talk about it. He unexpectedly passes away and suddenly, there’s no time even to grieve because I’m busy. I have to have a probate. It was ridiculous. I definitely had a crash course and it boils down to this. We live in such an individualistic society. We hail the individual. Do well for yourself, but maybe don’t brag about it. If you do show what you’re doing, don’t show too much. All these things that make you a self-contained little unit and maybe you and your partner and that’s it. Other than that, we’re not even supposed to say, “I need you,” to your neighbors, to your family, to your friends, to your heirs or your executor. Because of that, we get to live in this delusion that we’re going always to be self-reliant when some of the more tender moments of living itself are wrapped up when you are interdependent. You admit it and you get to feel caught, held and cradled by other people. You lost track of that.
One of the problems is that people think they’re never going to die. In my business, I’ve always told my staff, “Every file needs to be set up the same. Everything has to look the same. If I die and I get hit by a truck, they still want to close on time and they still want the interest rate I promised them.” They’re going to go, “That’s sad. We liked Debbie, but did I get my 3.25 interest rate for a 30-year fixed?” That’s what they want to know. I’ve always looked at things differently. That’s a blessing and a curse. I talk about all those hard to say things that their families can’t talk to with them. I am brought in to do phone conversations and meet them in person.
Let’s talk about planning your life. Both my parents were deceased already, but most of my friends, they’re still going through their family being older and dementia. Mom is getting old and persnickety. She’s keeping all the secrets and we don’t know what we’re going to do. We’ve got to take care of her. We have many people quitting their jobs to become caretakers. They’re losing out on income for them. They’re losing out on their investments or their 401(k)s or they could easily better pay for a provider to do that so they can keep working. People go, “Debbie is just not about money.” It’s not until it is and then you don’t have enough when you get older.
You need enough money to be able to keep doing the things you want to do. It’s not about money until it suddenly is and you don’t want it to ever be about money. Why don’t you get ahead of it and let somebody else handle that?
It’s because you have money saved up, doesn’t mean you need to flaunt it or buy Ferrari or whatever. Some of my friends are pleasantly surprised their parents have the money, yet they’ve been living like paupers forever. Some of my friends, they get called on like I did to say, “I can’t afford my health insurance. You’re going to need to pay. All the kids are going to have to chip in.” That’s usually about the age where you have kids going to college. You’ve got to take care of your parents and then you quit putting money aside for your retirement. You’re jeopardizing your future by taking care of everybody else. You can get a loan for your kids to go to college. You cannot get a loan for retirement. A lot of my clients forget that.As much as the Internet has been around forever, it hasn’t been used as much at this scale to make people’s lives simpler. Click To Tweet
You can get a loan for and what you got to just plan on the equity side. You got to put in the money.
Being a little bit of everything has helped me with my clients. I’m not an attorney and I’m not an accountant, but I know them and I can get you in touch with them so that they can help you out. What’s happening is everyone’s so diversified, they only know their lane. It’s nice to come to someone like me that knows more lanes. They can say, “You write everything off your taxes. It’s great for you and Uncle Sam, but now you can’t buy a house or now you can refinance your house. You can’t qualify for the $1 million houses you want because you don’t show any income.” Your CPA has done a great job of you can’t do anything. You either pay it to Uncle Sam, you pay a higher interest rate or you get to rent.
You end up paying it somewhere. I feel like you’ve got such a plethora of information. This has been such a great conversation. I’m glad to learn about this. Also, in the middle of the country where I know you’re going over the entire great State of Texas and people are not used to this remote stuff, the distancing thing. As much as the internet’s been around forever, has it been used as much as it could be to make people’s lives simpler in some of these industries? The answer’s clearly just no.
They say that out of by the intonation of your voice and by what you look like. You’re always sized up and people can tell by your tone and everything. Visual is a lot too because people can pick up on signs and tell, but it’s as easy to talk like this with you and me. I wouldn’t have you over for coffee. I’d go out to drink with you. You’re tons of fun and we didn’t have to meet in person to do this. What’s going to happen is whether we stay like this for 6 or 2 months or one more week, people are going to change the way they do business. My daughter and son are both in college. He goes to Ole Miss and she goes to TCU.
He was on a team call with his Zoom friends for nine of them and she gets her eight girls on Zoom calls, they can watch Netflix movies together, they can do all stuff. They can’t wait to be together until in May when they move in together. Social distancing or not at least they’ll be in the same house, but they got their lives cut short right after Spring Break. Their fraternities, sororities, finals, and everything are changed. It’s sad for them, but it’s a new way of doing school. A lot of kids are having trouble, a lot of grownups are having trouble with a distancing, but we’re going to see more of this. We’re probably going to appreciate our friendships a little bit more when you can hug again.
I haven’t always thought I was a solo, introverted person. I worked from home usually. It’s not a big difference for me. I realized, no, but as soon as my workday was done, I was leaving the house to see my friends who worked in a restaurant. To meet my friends in a restaurant, go on a long walk or get coffee somewhere. Go to a movie, see a Broadway show even. All these things I can do in New York City, that’s why I live here. It was in my after a time. It wasn’t that I was commuting to work and that was going to break my heart if I didn’t do it. I am happy not to have to commute to work. It adds two extra hours to my day. That’s not taken up commuting, but the evenings have been bizarre because I’m like, “See you at work.” It’s just the same.
It’s the same as the day. I’ve never worked harder while everybody else’s is at home or they may be furloughed or lost their jobs, but I’m appreciative of the business and knowing that I can help people lower their bills. It’s a big deal.
It’s been a pleasure talking with you and you are definitely one of the hardest working women I have interviewed on this show yet. I appreciate it. I’m sure anybody who’s looking for a refi, you can find your woman.
You and I are going to stay in touch because I’d like to do this again.
I would love it. I feel like we should have virtual drinks sometime. Margaritas over Zoom.
People are doing that all across America. We can do that too.
Thank you so much, Debbie Bloyd the owner DLB Mortgage Services. I’m going to wrap up and we’ll catch you on the next episode. Thanks so much, you guys.
Thanks so much for that.