Thom is a CPA. He and his wife Lynn operated their accounting business out of their big, beautiful home for over 40 years. 3 years ago Thom was visiting with me about the appraisal we received while I was refinancing his $356,000 loan balance into another Conventional mortgage at a lower interest rate. You see, Thom was still working because he needed to. He and his wife had a large mortgage and quite a bit of credit card and medical debts that had accumulated due to some health issues. By lowering their interest rate and spreading the debt back over 30 years, they were going to save about $400 per month. They sorely needed that extra cash in their back pockets! At that time, I (Mace) managed the New Mexico offices for one of the largest Conventional lenders in the country. I had been working with this company with an effort to develop a Reverse Mortgage division for them as well. So, naturally, during my discussion about his $725,000 appraised value, I told Thom that he may want to consider a HECM Reverse Mortgage as another option.
For a moment, he just scowled at me. At 70, Thom was still a large man with an excellent financial mind who REALLY knew how to scowl. Then he huffed and told me (loudly) that under no circumstance would he be interested in a Reverse Mortgage. Based on his reaction, I could tell that had some major misunderstandings about the program, and I said as much. I told him that I wanted 5 minutes where I get to talk about the program but during my allotted time, he wasn’t allowed to interrupt me. At the end of my 5 minutes THEN he could tell me that he didn’t like the program and I’d proceed with the Conventional loan that I was already working on. He agreed and I got my 5 minutes.
TWO hours and 5 minutes later, he left my office with a spring in his step and a smile on his face. He finally understood the HECM and I never saw him scowl or huff at me again. I was able to remove a $401,000 gorilla off his back. That is a BIG gorilla!
While I had converted Thom, unfortunately his wife, Lynn, was not to be swayed by him that evening. Thom called me the next day and told me to proceed with the Conventional refi. True to my word, since I was given my 5 minutes (and then some) and they decided to not do the Reverse, I proceeded to complete the Conventional refinance and I never uttered the word “Reverse Mortgage” to him again.
A few weeks later, Thom, Lynn and I were sitting at the Title company and we closed the refinance at the lower rate according to the original plan. The loan was closed and they seemed happy.
Any time a refinance loan closes, there is a 3-Day Right of Rescission period, where a homeowner can cancel the transaction. No harm; no foul. On the 3rd day, Thom swung by my office to tell me that he was exercising his Right to Rescind and that Lynn agreed to do the Reverse Mortgage. This was my opportunity to scowl and huff at him. I did it too, but wasn’t successful at concealing my smile for very long. Lynn was with him so we sat down and I gave her the same education that I had already given him a few weeks earlier. She understood everything I told her. She understood that we could pay off her current mortgage and eliminate a $3,165 monthly P&I payment. She understood that we’d also eliminate more than $45,000 of credit card debt and the payment that went along with it. But, she never got excited about getting the HECM and told me that if it were her decision she would not do the Reverse Mortgage. I told her that I could easily enough reinstate the previous loan package, but she told me to proceed with the HECM.
Over the 6 week period that it took me to process the HECM, I had several confidential conversations with her (without Thom’s knowledge) that she was doing the loan because Thom wanted to do it. Usually, I love doing my job. But this is one of the few cases that I just wasn’t happy doing my job. 6 weeks later, we were sitting at the same title company, signing the final Closing Documents. Thom, clueless, had a smile ear to ear and chattering like a squirell. Lynn, sat quietly while indifferently signing the papers.
Lynn liked me, but not the program. Thom liked me too, but he loved the program. They frequented a restaurant up the street from me and popped in to say “hello” to us and give the office dog (Jelly) a biscuit. Thom referred several clients and friends to me and we had long ago become friends (Lynn too). Thom even retired! He passed his business on to his son and no longer needed to work. While I strongly believed that the HECM was in their best interest, in the back of my mind, I was always a little sad that Lynn wasn’t as excited about it as both Thom and I.
On Tuesday, August 18, 2015, Lynn called me. Thom had died.
Over the 3 years I had known them, unbeknownst to me, Thom’s health had gotten progressively worse. His death was not unexpected, but it came too soon. Lynn called me to let me know he passed 3 days earlier on August 15th at 3:44 AM, peacefully and with his family around. She also let me know that she went out to breakfast with her children at Thom’s favorite breakfast joint (Weck’s) before her children headed to the airport that morning.
Over the previous 3 days, she had been keeping herself busy and had family around to distract and comfort each other. It wasn’t until she pulled into the driveway to her home alone, that she cried for the first time since his passing. She was crying because Thom had given her the gift of being able to stay in her home that contained 4 decades of memories. She called me that morning to tell me this and that for the first time in 3 years, she finally understood what Thom had seen earlier. She called to thank me and to tell me that she finally understands what I did for them.
You are welcome. It was my pleasure and I am glad to know you. Thank you for the testimonial, call me anytime and I’ll do the same.