Written by Michael J. Weltman, as originally published in The Reverse Review.

When I got the call from Karen, a local Realtor friend who understands reverse mortgages, she had a very excited client who wanted to meet with me to talk about HECMs for Purchase. Karen’s new client was finally moving out of her apartment and buying a home with her retirement savings. She was shocked to learn about an FHA-insured program that would help her buy a home. Thinking this was too good to be true, the client asked Karen to arrange an appointment with a reverse mortgage specialist to learn more.

So I found myself in the conference room of Weichert Realtors in Tallahassee, Florida, with Karen and her client. Of course, the client always thinks that the money they have saved is going to be enough to pay for the house they want, and they often tell the Realtor they want to pay cash and have no mortgage payment. But then I told this client that with a reverse mortgage she was free to shop for a house that costs nearly twice the price of what she had saved—and she would have no mortgage payments. Well, we were lucky to have people standing by because she could have fainted from the shock. She even began looking around the room, thinking this was an episode of What Would You Do? or Candid Camera, or something like that. But there were no cameras—this was real. And best of all, it was FHA-insured and made possible by the HECM for Purchase program.

So after we picked her up off the floor and she stopped hugging Karen, she went shopping for a new home. If I remember correctly, we closed on a $162,000 home for her. She brought $67,000 to the closing, and because of the Purchase loan she never has to make a mortgage payment. Since then, I’ve been invited to see her beautiful new home that she purchased from Jeff at Capital Property Consultants/Premier Construction, another Realtor who understands reverses. Jeff has done two other reverse mortgage loans on new-construction homes and Karen has also

closed a few with me in the last couple of years.

This situation has proved to me that my relationship with Realtors in my community is invaluable to my business. So how does one link up with smart folks like this? I suggest you visit your local real estate board and consider joining as an affiliate member, and also check out your local chapter of WCR (Women’s Council of Realtors), attend an SRES-designation class (Seniors Real Estate Specialist), and visit the local Builders Association.

Well, you would think my story couldn’t get any better—one satisfied customer and a solidified relationship with two Realtors interested in utilizing HECMs for Purchase to help their senior clients. And then it did. Eight months after I closed the client’s loan in Tallahassee, I got a call from her sister in Tampa. When she told me who she was, I thought, “Light-bulb moment! How many seniors do I help who have brothers and sisters who might also need my assistance?” It was one of those aha moments when you’re sitting in your office and you just want to get up and high-five someone.

As luck would have it, I was planning to visit the Tampa area for a recruiting trip and to attend an MBA convention the following week. While in town I visited the sister and sat down with her to explain the details of the reverse mortgage program. As many of you with sisters or brothers know, no two siblings are alike, and this is true when it comes to a reverse. The Tampa-based sister was not interested in a Purchase loan, as she already had a home; she wanted to know about the other reverse mortgage programs that might help her stay in her home without the burden of a monthly mortgage payment. Encouraged by her sister’s claim that I had worked miracles to help her buy a new home, this woman called me to ask if I could help her too. “My sister said I better talk to you before I do anything,” she said. “He’s a man I know and trust, enough to recommend him to family.” I couldn’t have been more humbled and honored to have the opportunity to walk these two sisters through the details of a reverse mortgage loan and help them achieve financial security.

In closing, I want you to remember that as reverse mortgage professionals, we are equipped with knowledge about important tools that can help seniors and their families solve their financial challenges. When you meet a senior who needs your help, make sure to inform them about all of the possibilities offered by the program—the Purchase, the Refi, the Libor and the Saver. Only one program will be right for them, but perhaps they will remember you when a friend—or a sister—needs your help too.