Women's Retirement Radio

Brian Yearwood, Owner at Custom Mortgage Services - Why You Should Always Work with an Independent Mortgage Broker - Episode 39

November 08, 2021 Russ Thornton Season 2 Episode 23
Women's Retirement Radio
Brian Yearwood, Owner at Custom Mortgage Services - Why You Should Always Work with an Independent Mortgage Broker - Episode 39
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode of Women's Retirement Radio, I'm joined by Brian Yearwood.

I've known Brian for many years and in addition to working with him personally, I've referred several clients, friends, and family members to him for help with their mortgage financing. 

Brian is an independent mortgage broker and we discuss why that's so important. We also cover how mortgage financing can complicate things when it comes to the marital home in a divorce settlement. 

For more on Brian, please check out these resources:

Get in touch and let me know what you think or if you have any questions.

And thank you for listening.

Visit my website to learn more.

Disclosures

Russ Thornton:
Hey, everyone, Russ Thornton. Welcome to another episode of Women's Retirement Radio. Today, I am joined by a long time friend and colleague, Brian Yearwood. Brian is my go-to residential lending professional for mortgages, refinancing, things like that. I've used Brian personally. I've sent probably, I don't know, at least a dozen, maybe more clients to Brian over the years. Had great feedback, great experiences, personally as well. So Brian, welcome to the podcast.

Brian Yearwood:
Thanks for having me, Russ. Good morning.

Russ Thornton:
Clearly you and I have known each other for a while now, but for those that aren't familiar, why don't you introduce yourself? Tell us a bit about who you are and what it is you do.

Brian Yearwood:
Well, I've been in business for 20. My business partner and I started this 20 years ago this year. We're a mortgage broker. Not many partnerships last 20 years. A lot of marriages don't last 20 years.

Russ Thornton:
No kidding. Congrats.

Brian Yearwood:
Thank you. But I was in the wholesale side of this for about five years ahead of time. Previous to that, I graduated college with an accounting degree, so I swore I'd never do accounting again. And then I found myself right back in it. But it has served me well in this industry. So, we're mortgage brokers, as opposed to mortgage lenders. We're actually a licensed lender. That's getting pretty detailed, but we broker every deal we do because we've got the ability to shop with different lenders and find the best deal for each unique individual. That's a little bit about us. We kill what we eat, and a two-man shop, and we've been doing this for 20 years, and I think we'll do it until we die.

Russ Thornton:
I was trying to think back how long it's been since you and I first got in touch with each other. I got to think it's been 10, maybe 12 years, maybe longer than that. Do you even have any guess?

Brian Yearwood:
I think it's been longer than that. And I was trying to think of that yesterday, how you came to me. I think it was either a mutual client or somewhere. And I chuckled, I remember the first deal I did for one of your people, you were in touch with me more than they were because you want to make sure before you referred anybody, you were going to make sure it was done right. And I appreciated that, and knew you were taking good care of your clients. And I think that's why we've worked together so well over the years. But I got to think it's been 10, 12, 13 years.

Russ Thornton:
Yeah, I went back and was doing a little bit of digging myself ahead of this call. I think I found you originally through a group called the Upfront Mortgage Brokers Association.

Brian Yearwood:
That's it, that's exactly it. And I'm looking now in my records. I did your brother's loan in 2009, so we know it's been at least 12 years. But yeah, Upfront Mortgage Brokers was a phenomenal group that handled their business in a more transparent way. Now, I still get leads from that group from time to time, but it's been disabled, because now the government requires that same transparency, and has for the last six or seven years. So, what we felt like was important 15 years ago in how to run our business, everybody else got on board and now we all are held to that same standard. So, it was a good group for a lot of years.

Russ Thornton:
And while the transparency has improved, and maybe helped level the playing field, I want to hammer home something you mentioned when you were introducing yourself, and it's the fact that you're a broker and not a lender, or in my mind what I think of as a captive lender. I'm probably over simplifying and you can set me straight here, Brian, but in my mind there are brokers like yourself who can act as independent agents and shop around and look at different underwriters and lenders and loan deals on behalf of your clients. Then there are maybe the more traditional type lenders that work for a bank or for a specific lender, and they're really limited to whatever that bank or that specific lender has to offer or can bring to the table. Is that fairly accurate?

Brian Yearwood:
And the keyword there was, you said captive lenders. I tell people when they ask the difference between a broker and a lender, I tell them if you want a washing machine and you go to a Maytag store, if Maytag had their own store, all you see, all you have to choose from are Maytag. I'm Home Depot. I've got Maytag, LG, GE, I've got all of it under one roof.

Brian Yearwood:
Well, then their next question typically is, "Well, if you're a broker-" Now, remember, we're a licensed lender. There's much more compliance with that. We do have the ability to lend our own money or use a warehouse line. We got that designation purely because a lot of real estate agents would always say, "Are you a broker or are you a lender?" They think being a broker is bad.

Brian Yearwood:
Well, we got that designation and became a lender, but we still choose to broker everything out. We might make a quarter point higher profit if we were acting as the lender, but we also incur a lot more liability and a lot more risk, so that's never been worth it for us to do.

Brian Yearwood:
But the next question, when I tell people, Hey, I'm basically the distributor instead of the manufacturer, "Well, you're a middleman then. Does that cost me extra?" And 99% of the time, it actually costs people less. Because big lenders, I'll give you one example, and I don't want to get too boring with this, we were SunTrust's biggest broker by volume in the Southeast. And remember, we were a two-man shop. SunTrust was a regional bank, very big, they're Truist now. Well, you could walk into any bank and get a mortgage. That's called retail. They did a lot of loans and have a lot of exposure in the Southeast. They got into wholesale coming to people like me and letting me sell their money, to spread their risk.

Brian Yearwood:
So they did wholesale on a nationwide basis, and they did retail focused in the Southeast. And the reason for that is, what if there were a particularly bad hurricane season or a natural disaster in the Southeast? Their portfolio was focused in the Southeast, and they could take massive losses. This way they spread their mortgage portfolio out nationwide. So you can't do third-party origination, i.e. brokers, and not be competitive. You can't go into a SunTrust bank and get a rate of 2.75, and then come to me and I can only offer a rate of 3%. They have to allow us to be competitive and compete with them, or we're not going to be selling their money. So most of the time I'm going to be cheaper than that bank.

Brian Yearwood:
But now I've bored you to death on the difference between a broker and a lender, but you're right, bottom line is, I can shop your particular loan to 10 different lenders, find out the lender that is buying the market that day, and get you the best deal possible.

Russ Thornton:
Yeah, and whether you're talking about a mortgage or your insurance or other financial products and services, I always advocate using a independent broker that is not limited to a single product manufacturers inventory, that can shop around and find the best solution for you and your situation, regardless of what that may look like. I don't think there's a way to eliminate the conflicts.

Brian Yearwood:
I 100% agree.

Russ Thornton:
That certainly reduces them.

Brian Yearwood:
Absolutely. I tell people, for instance, Jumbo products, Super Jumbo products, $2 million loans and above, there are going to be banks that focus on that and that cannot be competed with. And when I get a Jumbo deal, I want to know that I'm competitive before I quote that deal. There will be six months throughout the year that a big bank will just own the Jumbo market and destroy everybody. And there'll be six months out of the year where my banks are competitive. And what I don't want to do is quote something when I'm a half a point off. So I've got contacts with the bank, that I have him quote the deal, and if I'm competitive, I say, "Thanks for the information," and I quote, the borrower my deal. if I'm not competitive, I make the handoff and pass that on to that person at that bank, because they are known for being notoriously aggressive on their Jumbo product for part of the year.

Brian Yearwood:
So, there are some banks that will have some specialties, and I try to steer people to that bank if I can't do it as well. I get paid when I do someone else's loan, but I build relationships when I help that person find the best deal possible, even if it's not me.

Russ Thornton:
Right. And just to clarify for our listeners, can you explain the difference between a what's a Jumbo loan, what's not a Jumbo loan, and how does that impact pricing, loan term, or does it?

Brian Yearwood:
It does. So, a conforming loan is, well, I guess the proper term is conventional loan. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, you've heard of those agencies, they set the conforming loan limit. And right now, that conforming loan limit is $548,250. If you bought a house for a million dollars... Hold on, I can't do it that quick in my head... And you put down $448,250, I think I had fat fingers there, but you get the point. If you put down $452,000 you can get a conforming loan. If you buy a house for 600,000 and you want to put down 52,000, you can get a conforming loan.

Brian Yearwood:
Any loan amount above that will not be backed by those agencies. And then you've got to go to banks or alternative lenders to get that loan that is higher than 548,250. And there are a lot of banks that do it, but you're typically not going to get as competitive of a rate with a Jumbo loan as you are a conforming loan. So most people try to avoid Jumbo if they can. If you're buying a $1.5 million house and you've got $500,000 to put down, that's a big down payment, but you need a Jumbo loan.

Russ Thornton:
Got it. Yeah. Thanks for that. Thanks for going into the details there.

Russ Thornton:
So, the times you and I have talked or touched base over the last year or two, you've just been crazy busy, which is understandable with interest rates continuing to be at historic lows. And you and I both I think said for years now that rates are going to go up, and at some point they will, but it hasn't happened yet. So can you talk a little bit just experientially about what's been going on with the interest rate environment? What's that meant for mortgage lending, maybe even touch at a high level on the real estate market? I'm not asking you for a prediction because nobody knows what's going to happen or when, but how do you see this shaking out? Or how could you see this playing out in the, let's say next year or two or three, given the environment we're in right now?

Brian Yearwood:
That is so hard to say. Three years ago we had really, really good rates. And we always work with a sense of urgency here when rates are low. You want to refinance as many people as you possibly can. And being self-employed, in our world you've got to make hay as much as you can while the sun's shining. And it seems like for the past three years, I've told my wife and kids, "Hey, we'll go on vacation when interest rates are higher." And we haven't been on many vacations in the last three years. It's been a prolonged period of low interest rates. COVID really threw everything for a loop, and really dropped them like a bomb.

Brian Yearwood:
I've been doing this, like I said, for over 20 years. It reminded me of the 9/11 effect. Rates really, really dropped after 9/11 because there was so much uncertainty, and the same exact thing happened with COVID. You factor in a lot of other economic factors, and that keeps rates low.

Brian Yearwood:
The real estate market, that's baffling to me because to me it seems like it's purely just an inventory thing. It's not a bubble like it was in 2007, 2008. It might be a little bubble-ish, who knows, but I leave that to the people much higher than my pay grade to analyze it all. We just react and try and get all we can.

Brian Yearwood:
And it's funny right now, we're not doing a lot of purchase loans. There's not much inventory. I had someone, an agent, give you an example recently, said, "Buying a house, it's like going onto a car lot right now, with 100 cars on the lot, but there's 300 car salesmen." There's just not much inventory. And that seems to be, at least in North Atlanta, what's driving this boom. I don't see inventory catching up anytime sooner.

Brian Yearwood:
Also, I can't put my finger on exactly how it's going to trickle down, but I think there's going to be an effect in years to come on real estate, because so many people now are at 2% on a 15 year fixed, 2 ¾ on a 30 year fixed.

Brian Yearwood:
And I give myself an example, when my wife and I bought our first house, it was 2200 square feet. We paid $290,000 for it, and we had a baby there. And then we got pregnant with another baby and then realized there was no way we were going to stay married with two small children in a 2200 square foot house, so we did the move up. We sold that house and made about a $50,000 profit, and then we bought a more expensive house, which we're in still today, 21 years later.

Brian Yearwood:
So the move up buyer. People buy their first home, and then that's their starter home. And then a few years later, they move up. And they may move up again, maybe they don't. I see so few people doing that these days. And I think it's going to be exacerbated in years to come. Because if you're in that starter house, or maybe your second house, and it's got some wear, you would normally buy another house. Well, what if rates are 6%? You're going from your $400,000 house to a $600,000 house, you're a 2% on your 400, you're going to go to 6 on your 600, your mortgage payment's going to double or triple.

Brian Yearwood:
And I really see a lot more people now, and think it's going to start happening, where a lot less people move, which will help with the inventory issues in years to come. But more and more people are putting more money into their house, putting that pool in, finishing that basement and making it their own, because they just are not going to be able to afford to leave that interest rate.

Brian Yearwood:
Now, that that gets into your area of expertise. If they own their house outright and they've got the financial ability to be a cash buyer, they're going to be great in years to come with mobility and being able to move and upgrade their house. But I just think in years to come there's going to be a lot less inventory, well maybe more inventory because there's going to be a lot less buyers as these rates go up.

Brian Yearwood:
So, I don't know where it's going. All I know is if we get another couple years of low interest rates like this, I might not care.

Russ Thornton:
I hear you. And I know, based on our conversations and your helping out some of my clients, a lot of people have had the opportunity to refinance two and three times over the last, say three, five, seven years or so, as interest rates keep trickling down. And they may be pulling some cash out, they may not. Do you have a rule of thumb, Brian, where let's say somebody currently has a mortgage at, I'm just making up a number, 3½%, and they're in a house that they plan to stay in for the foreseeable future. Is there a rule of thumb on when it makes sense to refinance? If they can get a half a point lower on the rate, so in that example if they could go from 3½% to 3%, does it typically make sense to refinance at that stage, or are there other factors that go into that decision making process?

Brian Yearwood:
Well, you said is there a rule of thumb. And the rule of thumb is call a professional. And I'll give you some good examples. That's a great question.

Brian Yearwood:
Clark Howard, he doesn't have his daily show anymore, Clark Howard knows a little bit about a lot of things. And they quit letting me get through to his show when I would call, because it made me furious when he would tell people it's not worth refinancing your mortgage unless you can bring your interest rate down a full point. What has been in place for the entire time I've been in this business is the ability to do most loans with no closing costs.

Brian Yearwood:
And I'll give a simple example, like I do. I have to explain this concept to just about everybody that calls. They'll call and go, "What's your rate?" Well, I can get you a 30 year fixed at 2%. You're going to pay $30,000 in closing costs. The par rate that the lender wants to get might be 2.75. And at 2.75, you're going to pay all your closing costs, let's say $5,000.

Brian Yearwood:
If I look at 2.875, that lender is going to make a little more money off that interest rate. A mortgage is nothing more than a bond, and they're going to yield more on that higher interest rate than they would at the lower interest rate. So they will pay a premium for that mortgage. And at 2.875 they'll pay a premium, at 3 they'll pay a bigger premium, and 3 1/8 they'll pay even bigger. Now, it caps out at some point.

Brian Yearwood:
So let's say I can do your loan at 2.75 with $5,000 in closing costs, or I can do it at 3.125 with zero closing costs. And let's say that payment is $80 higher. If you take that higher rate, it saves you $5,000 in closing costs, but you pay 80, well, let's say $70 a month more, that's a more appropriate breakeven point. So 5,000 divided by 70 is 72 months. It's a six year breakeven.

Brian Yearwood:
For most people, I present multiple rates. And I've got three conditions that I like to see met before I would choose that lower rate.

Brian Yearwood:
Number one, do you feel like you're permanent? Well, I'm not permanent in my house. My youngest graduated high school in 21 months, and we will leave his graduation ceremony and come home, and there'll be moving trucks backing me up because I will have mowed the lawn for the last time in my life. So I'm not going to be permanent.

Brian Yearwood:
But the next house we buy is probably going to be my last house, so let's pretend we're two years into the future. Are you going to be permanent? Well, for all that I know, yes.

Brian Yearwood:
Number two, are interest rates are really, really low? And these interest rates today are really, really low.

Brian Yearwood:
And number three, is that breakeven point less than 60 months? Well, right now it's not. That breakeven point is 70, 80, 90 months plus, because long-term bond yields are better than short term bond yields. That's a complexity we don't need to dive into.

Brian Yearwood:
But I try to present different options. So if somebody owes 500,000 and I can bring them down three-eighths of a point with no closing costs, it's going to make sense. $500,000 times .00375 is almost $2,000 a year in interest.

Brian Yearwood:
So, that's the way I looked at it. I first do the math and see what a no closing costs loan would do. And if that moves the needle, then we explore those lower rates.

Brian Yearwood:
Now, I get these calls all the time, somebody will owe 60,000 on their mortgage, a widow, retired person, somebody that's been in their house obviously a long time. They never refinanced and they're at 8%. And I'll spend an hour on the phone talking to them out of refinancing because the lesser you owe, the more you've got to move that needle to make it make sense.

Brian Yearwood:
I bet half the people that call me to refinance I talk out of it. I talk them out of it because it just doesn't make sense to do. And there's a lot of banks that would be glad to talk you into it, but each one matters, and if somebody that's 3.5 right now, and they owe 4 or $500,000, and they think, "Well, rates are great, I just refinanced nine months ago, no way does it make sense," it probably does make sense.

Brian Yearwood:
So, I handle my clients a little bit different. I set a target rate for them, and if rates drop to a certain point, I try to be proactive and reach out to them to say, "Hey, there's something here. I think you can save some money."

Brian Yearwood:
But to answer your question, there is no rule of thumb. It depends on how much you owe. And a good mortgage professional can tell you in about two minutes if it's worthwhile to refinance, but they need you to have a mortgage statement in hand, and it's an easy drill.

Russ Thornton:
And hearing you explain all that, Brian, my takeaway is beware rules of thumb. It depends. And as you said at the top, that's the benefit of talking to a professional, somebody that's willing to take the time to dig into your specific circumstances and figure out what may or may not make sense for you, given where you're at, given your plans to stay in the home longterm or not, given the interest rate environment, et cetera.

Brian Yearwood:
Exactly. And there's a lot of people that call where it doesn't make sense to refinance. They're on a 30, it doesn't make sense to refinance to another 30. And we chat, and a lot of times they ended up going for a 15 because the 15 is going to have a much lower interest rate. And I'm refinancing somebody now that's at 3% on a 30 year fixed; they're going to 2 1/8 a 15 year fixed. That gets a little deeper into the financial planning side of what they're doing. But, if they're participating fully in their 401k and every pretax retirement option they have, I have that conversation about a 15. If they're not participating fully in their 401k or whatever pre-tax plan they have, and they want to do a 15, I discourage that a lot of times and tell them, "Let's focus on that retirement bucket, because it pays off much better than a 15 year fixed does. So, I delve into what you do a little bit, but I leave that to the professionals that know more than me.

Russ Thornton:
Well, you bring up an interesting point. I know we just dispelled the idea of applying rules of thumb. I think that the benefit of dealing with someone like Brian, or I'd like to think dealing with someone like myself, is having someone that's going to take the time and energy to learn about you, your situation, figure out exactly what you need and what's the best solution for you.

Russ Thornton:
And when it comes to mortgage lending, in I would say 9 out of 10 cases, I recommend that my typical clients, who again are usually in their fifties and sixties, they're usually in or will soon be in their forever home, I usually advise them to go with, either on a purchase or refinance finance, to a 30 year fixed loan, because it gives them the lowest required monthly payment, with the intention that they're going to pay more.

Russ Thornton:
So my thinking is, and I'd love your thoughts on this too, Brian, but my thinking is for someone that is going to buy or refinance a home, that's going to be in that home for the foreseeable future, I'd say 10, 15 years or more, I like to see them go with a 30 year fixed so they've got the lowest required monthly payment, with the option that they can always throw more money at the principal if they're willing and able to. Versus going with a 15 year fixed where they're locking in at a much lower rate, but they've got a much higher required monthly payment.

Russ Thornton:
So, admitting upfront that it's going to depend on each person's situation, what are your thoughts on that, going with a 30 year with the ability to pay more, versus maybe a 15 year, if they have the willingness and the ability to handle the cashflow difference?

Brian Yearwood:
Sure. Totally agree with your stance. When I deal with younger couples maybe that have just bought that move up, they're making good money, they've gotten margin, I strongly recommend the 15. I'm 56 years, and my greatest financial regret was when I bought my house when I was 35, that I didn't do a 15 year fixed mortgage. I could afford it. Just didn't do it.

Brian Yearwood:
At some point we all go through the point in our life, whether we need a new car or need a new house, can you keep my payment the same? We manage our finances based on cashflow. The sooner you flip that switch and manage your finances based on how it affects your net worth, the better off you'll be in the end.

Brian Yearwood:
So, I've got a client that, he bought a house in Florida, I think he's 78. He had the money to pay cash. His financial guy didn't want him to pay cash because interest rates were so low. And same thing, he wanted me to do a 30. And the guy said, "Well, geez, I'd like the house paid off. I'm not going to live for 30 years. I'd like to have it paid off." And we chuckled. I said, "Let that be your kid's problem. That doesn't need to be yours. you're living on a fixed income. Why spend 2,500 a month on your mortgage when you can spend 1300 a month on your mortgage? And there'll still be equity left for your children, but it gives you a lot more to live on.

Brian Yearwood:
It just depends on everybody's circumstance, how much longer they're going to be earning. I'll probably work another 10 or 12 years, so if I bought a house now I'd probably go ahead and do a 15. If 10 years from now we found that permanent house, I'd probably do exactly that and do the 30, and let my kids deal with it when I got hit by a bus one day.

Brian Yearwood:
So, it depends on everybody's circumstance, but the younger they are, the more I try to push them a little bit towards the 15. Because I've never done a 15 for anybody and had them regret it. It depends on the circumstance.

Brian Yearwood:
But the other issue right now with that, Russ, the spread between a 15 and a 30 in a healthy market is typically a half point, sometimes even less. So if you do the 30, and you can do it at 4%... Well, let's use today's number, you can do it at 2.75, you might get that 15 at 2 1/4. That spread's bigger now. It's 2.75 on a 30 and 1.875 on a 15 if you're paying the closing costs. So I always give people the difference between the two, and that difference is more significant now than it has been in the past. But I just try to give options and see what fits best for them. And a lot of times people do opt to do that 30 and just pay extra. And that's a fantastic plan too, because you can always scale back to that lower payment if you hit a rough patch. It depends on how much margin that person has.

Russ Thornton:
Well, and I think this idea we keep coming back to of it applies whether you're talking about mortgages or retirement or financial planning, or I'll say it again, and probably won't be the last time I say it, but beware of rules of thumb.

Russ Thornton:
Speaking of it depends, many clients that I have referred to you in the past, Brian, are women in their fifties, sixties, they're maybe going through a divorce and let's say they're awarded the marital home. So they're married, they live in a home, they get divorced, and they have the option to keep the home that they've been living in. And let's say there's still a mortgage on that house. That introduces some complexities, and some decisions, and some things to think about, both from an income and cashflow standpoint, as well as whose name's on the mortgage and things like that. So I know that's a big question, but could you maybe just talk a little bit about how maybe a woman dealing with divorce might think about a mortgage maybe as part of a divorce settlement attached to the marital home?

Brian Yearwood:
Yep. We deal with it all the time. And unfortunately, we're trying to clean up with a lot of these. It's been my experience in these 20 years we've been doing this, that divorce attorneys, I'm dealing with one of these right now, husband and wife will come to whatever agreement they're going to come to, the attorneys write it up, get everybody to sign it, file it, then they come to me.

Brian Yearwood:
Well, the one I've got recently, is the husband's going to stay in the house in this case. He's got 30 days to refinance the house, or he's got to list it and sell it. He can't refinance the house, because with the child support he's now got to pay, his debt ratio doesn't work. You can never go wrong when it's inevitable. Now, this needs to be before someone files. But if someone has not filed yet, but you're at the stage where you know it's going to happen, you need to have a conversation with a mortgage professional.

Brian Yearwood:
Let's use the example of a woman that that does not work. She left the workforce years ago to raise her kids, and her kids are now grown and she never returned to the workforce, and thought everything was great, and suddenly finds herself going through a bad situation. Well, that attorney may say, "Okay, you can stay in the house, but you need to refinance it within six months to get it out of so-and-so's name or three months to get it out of so-and-so's name."

Brian Yearwood:
Before that settlement is made, we need to be able to tell, is she going to be able to refinance? We need to do a pre-approval of sorts for six months down the road to know if that person's going to be able to. And if that person's only source of income is alimony/child support, you can't use that as reliable income until it has been received, exactly the amount that has been called for in the court order, for six months. So if both parties agree that the wife will refinance the house within three months and get the husband off the mortgage, and she doesn't work, her only source of income is alimony and or child support, you've just come up with an agreement two people agreed to, but it's impossible to carry out.

Brian Yearwood:
And that creates a lot of messes then, because now the husband might be looking to buy another house and he can't buy that other house because this payment is still going to count against him.

Brian Yearwood:
It also depends on the length of the marriage. Younger people got divorced, maybe there's infidelity going on, the husband wants to start his new life somewhere else and wants to buy a new house as soon as possible. Later in life, you've been married for 30 years, you probably don't want to get married again if you didn't make that one work out. In that case, you don't necessarily have to refinance it. If my wife left me next week, it would be heartbreaking, but I wouldn't make her refinance the house out of my name. I would just, "All right, you guys stay in the house and I'll move along and buy another house." So it depends on where they stand, how the divorce went.

Brian Yearwood:
It does require a lot of planning though, and I wish these divorce attorneys would recommend first thing, "Hey, before we commit anything to paper, before we file anything, you need to see how this is going to look with a mortgage guy, to see if this can be done." Because there's just all too many of these that are written and the wife has no option to refinance, and either has to get a concession from the ex-husband to stay there longer, or they have to sell. And if kids are involved, most of the time Dad will grant that concession and say, "Okay, let's do this for another six months or another year, because I don't want to upset the apple cart with the kids," but it just depends on the situation. It's never going to be wasted time to talk to a mortgage guy for 30 minutes before you go through with it.

Russ Thornton:
Yeah. That's a great point. And I can make the same argument when I've seen the aftermath of some divorce settlements with regards to investments and accounts and things like that.

Russ Thornton:
But with regard to homes and mortgage balances and things like that, if you're listening and you take nothing else away, there are a lot of moving parts there. It makes a whole heck of a lot of sense to talk to someone like Brian to get a lay of the land before you get knee deep into an emotional divorce settlement negotiation. Because once the judge signs off on the court order, it's super expensive to go back and get those things adjusted, or try to get things changed after the fact. So the more planning or forethought you can give these types of matters, even if, as Brian mentioned, even if it's just an informational, just to like, say, "Hey, this is what I might find myself facing here in 6 or 12 months' time. Is there anything I need to think about? Is there anything I need to discuss with my spouse or our attorneys or anything like that?" I think would be time and energy well spent, and could save you a lot of headaches, and potentially even a lot of money down the road as well.

Brian Yearwood:
Absolutely. Yep. Always, always get counsel in that area. Because I would guess that 50% of the divorce or the settlement agreements I see are nonsense, because the wife cannot qualify for a mortgage, and it was just written that way. These divorce attorneys, people trying not to spend a ton of money, they're trying to do it amicably and use one attorney, and the attorney wants to get the agreement written and signed and filed and move on to the next one. So you got to do a deeper dive to make sure you're not stepping in deep water.

Russ Thornton:
Yeah, exactly. A moment ago, you mentioned that you might work another 10 or 12 years. I'm curious, since a lot of what I talk about on these podcasts episodes with folks like yourself ties back to retirement, specifically as it relates to women, but also just retirement generally, so if you've got another 10 or 12 years in you, what does retirement look like for you and your family? Brian, have you thought that far down the road yet?

Brian Yearwood:
Oh, yeah. I'm a little bit older than you. As you get to be my age, you start thinking about it. That was a little tongue in cheek, 10 or 12 years. I don't think I'll do well with retirement. I'm like a toddler, I need structure. And if I have a long weekend, it's bad enough. Especially this time of year, a lot of golf, and hunker down for college football, and that's eight hours in the same chair, but I love it. But I've got to have some structure. So I do think I'll be doing mortgages until the day I die.

Brian Yearwood:
But retirement for me is probably scaling back, getting an assistant. Because like your business, Russ, we worked years and years and years to build a book of business, so our phone rings from referrals. So walking away from that, you can't ever go back to it. So I would probably hire someone that wanted to learn the mortgage business, someone that would handle my clients the way I do, but I would still stay active. And my goal is to not touch my retirement, and hopefully one day leave a legacy for my kids. Who knows if I'll be able to work that long. But boredom doesn't work well for me. I need some structure.

Russ Thornton:
Well, and hearing you put it in those terms, is it fair to assume that you enjoy what you do, enjoy the mortgage business and working with your clients?

Brian Yearwood:
Oh, absolutely. It's such a relationship, and I've developed so many friendships. I know I've done your loan, your brother's, and a lot of your clients'. We had 31 loan officers at one point. And I realized I didn't like managing, I wanted the relationships. I went to every single closing I had, as long as it was within even a two or three hour drive. Well, COVID happened, and for the first time in my career, I was not able to go to closings. And it tore me up a little bit. Going to closings cements that relationship. It's a very intimate transaction that takes about a month to do. You get to know somebody quite well, and then at closing, you actually put a name with the face, and you really ice down that relationship, and that's hopefully a relationship you've created for life.

Brian Yearwood:
Well, suddenly we couldn't go to closings because attorneys wouldn't let non-signers in the room. Boy, I found out you can be a lot more productive not taking 9 or 10 hours of your week attending and driving to and from closings, and you can do a whole lot more volume. But I do miss that. Maybe you are cementing that relationship, I don't know, only time will tell. But I've enjoyed the relationships.

Brian Yearwood:
I'm now doing a lot of business for the children of past clients. And not a lot of people have jobs that can be gratifying, especially pushing paper. I really get a kick out of a long term client that I've had 10, 15 years calls me and says," Hey, my son's buying a house. I told him I'd help him with the down payment, but only if he comes to you for the mortgage." And then I can get my hands on that kid, start trying to help them. I go way deeper than just the mortgage. We get into spending and some Dave Ramsey principles. And I really do enjoy creating those relationships and working with people to try and make their life better. If somebody had gotten hold of me in my early thirties, I'd probably be able to retire right now.

Brian Yearwood:
So, I do enjoy what I'm doing. I do. I do feel like this is the way I serve. And therefore, I'm not afraid to tell somebody when they're doing something bad either, because I'm not worried about doing that particular loan. So I've really been blessed with what I do for a living. And my only regret is I didn't do it 20 years earlier.

Russ Thornton:
Well, I appreciate you sharing that, because I think at the end of the day, so many people I think see retirement as this finish line, and they just want to be able to stumble across the finish line and get out of work that they don't enjoy, or maybe they find just soul crushing or things like that. Not only are you self-employed, which while it puts a lot more burden and responsibility on your shoulders, it also gives you a lot more flexibility, but you're self-employed doing work you love. So I think it's a great opportunity that you get to make a living doing well, doing good by people, but doing something you enjoy. Because as long as you're not killing yourself and you can strike and maintain some level of work/life balance, and you talked about scaling back in the future, why would you stop? So I think that's a great perspective on retirement.

Russ Thornton:
And as I talk to more and more folks on this podcast and elsewhere, I continue to see just this idea of retirement, where you retire and just sit on the couch and watch Price is Right or whatever, that seems to be increasingly a thing of the past. So I think that's a refreshing perspective, and I appreciate you sharing that, Brian.

Brian Yearwood:
Glad to do it. It's not really retirement if you enjoy what you're doing. That's where I'm so lucky, I do not ever hate going to work in the morning.

Russ Thornton:
Well, and if you really enjoy it, it's arguably not even work at that point. It is, but it's not, because it's something you-

Brian Yearwood:
I'd still rather be on the golf course or at the lake, but as far as work goes, this isn't too bad to have.

Russ Thornton:
Yeah. So, listen, this has been great. We've covered a lot. I appreciate you sharing your expertise and your experience in the mortgage and residential finance business with our listeners. We've covered a lot. We could probably continue to talk for another hour and not have any trouble doing so. But is there anything that I didn't ask you that you wish I had? Or is there anything else you wanted to cover before we wrap things up today, Brian?

Brian Yearwood:
No. The only thing I'd tell people is, and you I'm sure you tell them the same thing, don't self-diagnose. Because so many people think they need to refinance, but they don't.

Brian Yearwood:
I play a lot of golf at my club, and I'll get put with a couple of new guys, and somebody will say, "Oh, you're in the mortgage business?" "Yeah." "What are rates doing these days?" And I tell them and they're like, "Wow, I didn't know interest rates were that well."

Brian Yearwood:
I think your mortgage guy shouldn't just be the bank, some nameless, faceless person at the bank. It ought to be somebody you can check in with once a year, even just a little email to say, "Hey, I hear rates are really, really low. Do I need to be looking at this?" Hopefully they're being proactive with you, but I would encourage people to make that relationship a bit deeper than just somebody doing one transaction and then taking the can down the road. Consider them like your insurance agent or your financial planner. You're going to have a lot less contact with them, but somebody that you can check in with. I would put it into my calendar once a year, "Hey, check in with so-and-so and make sure I don't need to do anything with the mortgage. You never know.

Russ Thornton:
And I think that just reinforces an important word you've mentioned many times throughout our conversation, which is relationship. I can speak personally, having worked with you and having worked with you on behalf of my clients over the years, that you don't look at a mortgage as a transaction, but you look at it as an opportunity to build an ongoing relationship with someone. And you've shared some great stories throughout our conversation today, which I think reflect that. So I think that's a great phrase [crosstalk 00:44:23]

Brian Yearwood:
Your mortgage is one component of your overall financial picture. And a lot of times, people look at it as a product and not as a tool. That's why it works well, you and I working in concert with your clients, because we approach it a little bit different. So yeah, look deeper than just the surface.

Russ Thornton:
Yeah, absolutely. Clearly, if someone listening wants to talk to Brian, get in touch with me, I'm happy to connect you, as I've done many, many times in the past. But Brian, if someone listening wants to reach out to you direct, what's the best way for them to get in touch, or to learn a little bit more about who you are and what you're working on?

Brian Yearwood:
Best way just good old fashioned telephone. We're old school. We don't have a very robust website. We just have one because everybody has to have one. I like a conversation. My phone number is (678) 992-7100. And If I don't answer the phone it's because I'm on another call, but I will call you right back.

Russ Thornton:
And I will be sure to include your phone number and a link to your website in the show notes for this episode. Thanks again, Brian. Always enjoy speaking with you, and I'm happy that we were able to share our conversation with our listeners today. So, thanks for joining us.

Brian Yearwood:
Well, thanks for having me, Russ. Have a good week.

Russ Thornton:
And everyone out there listening, thanks for joining us for another episode of Women's Retirement Radio. And we look forward to catching up with you again next time.