Fairway loan officer Jen Gile has seen first-hand the generation impact of homeownership. Now, she's helping others realize that dream.
Jen Gile always knew she was going to build a career helping people. But the one she built was different from what she originally envisioned.
Gile studied psychology as an undergraduate, and she had started a master’s degree in child psychology when she decided she didn’t want to pursue that path. Looking for a job, she landed a position with a mortgage company.
“It was a room with a bunch of people on phones,” she recalls of that first job in lending. “It was all men except two women who were the top producers. I copied what they did and focused on building relationships.”
That aspect has been a driving force throughout Gile’s 23-year career. She says she draws energy from being around people and joy from helping them buy their homes and seeing how their lives evolve.
“It took me a long time to understand that a mortgage is just the vehicle that gets people in front of me to be able to help them,” Gile says.
Fusing psychology and home loans
Now a top loan officer with Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation (which owns Home.com), Gile still focuses on building relationships, particularly with homebuyers. And she’s still using her psychology degree.
“The psych degree is very relevant because it’s the biggest financial decision people will ever make,” she says. “You sort of end up being like a therapist and a financial coach.”
The financial coach element comes as naturally as the therapist role, because it’s personal. Gile saw firsthand how homeownership could transform a family’s fortunes.
“I’m only a few generations removed from extreme poverty,” she says.
Both of her parents were teachers by day. Her mom waited tables at night, and her dad worked construction as they saved up to purchase a home. While living in that first home, their equity doubled, Gile recalls.
They used that equity to buy their next home, and then repeated the process to ultimately purchase their dream home.
What’s more, her dad was able to start his own business because of that.
“Our family has been able to change our stars,” she says.
"It doesn’t make sense to try to time the market"
Seeing that, Gile now tries to help others achieve the same in their own families.
Gile encourages prospective homebuyers not to wait, if they’re financially ready to buy a home. As interest rates and home prices rise, waiting could mean missing out on those life-changing benefits.
“If you would have bought a house two years ago, your house would have appreciated 20% or more by now,” she says. “You just can’t find that with any other investment.”*
“To wait could put buyers in a situation where their net worth is 20-40% less because of waiting,” she adds.
If interest rates go up in 2022, which experts predict they will†, homebuyers could find they can afford less home. Interest rates affect buyers’ debt-to-income ratios (DTI), which is a factor in how much money they can borrow.
“The same house now becomes less affordable next year, and becomes not possible for some buyers,” she says.
“It doesn’t make sense to try to time the market,” she cautions.
It also doesn’t make sense to feel like you have to go it alone.
Gile encourages prospective homebuyers to talk to a lender even before they think they’re ready. If buying a home is on your radar, a loan officer can help you understand what you can afford today and what you may need to do to prepare your finances for a mortgage loan.
“Oftentimes, we can find a way to make the money work,” Gile says. Strategic saving, down payment assistance, and other tips can get you into a home sooner than you think. Gile says she and her team work closely with homebuyers to make sure they’re buying homes they can comfortably afford and which will allow them to build their futures.
She’s passionate about helping other people change their stars through homeownership because she knows the benefits go well beyond the financial.
“There’s a confidence that comes with owning your home,” Gile says. “It changes not only people’s finances but also their self-worth. It pushes people to do other big things.”
*The information in this article does not constitute financial planning advice. Please consult a financial planner regarding your specific situation.
†Mortgage rate projections are not a reflection of Fairway’s opinion or guarantee of interest rates in the current or upcoming market.