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Residential Department: From the Editor: February 2012


From the Editor

Although being a jack of all trades has its appeal, many people simply want to find their niche. Of course, that can mean a lot of different things.

For some, it may simply mean finding a home in the mortgage industry after trying other fields. Or it may mean specializing in one property or product type and becoming an expert on it. For others, it may mean finding a market segment within the industry that is not only fruitful, but fulfilling, as well.

Mary Anne Ehlert, president and founder of Protected Tomorrows Inc., tackles that subject in this month’s BackSpace feature on Page 66. There is a growing number of families in the U.S. that include members who have special needs — from those living with Alzheimer’s disease to physical disabilities that raise accessibility issues. These families also need to finance their homes, and mortgage brokers and originators who understand the issues they face can help.

Helping others while also improving your business is at the heart of cause-related marketing, according to the PenFed Foundation’s Dan Schenk. On Page 56, Schenk describes how partnering with a nonprofit organization can increase the reach and success of your marketing efforts. On Page 30, Calyx Software’s B.J. Bounds discusses how establishing yourself as a specialist and marketing your niche can help focus your business.

But before marketing their niche, brokers should explore the options available to them. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Section No. 203(k) loan program is another growing niche that may be an opportunity for brokers to expand their business. This product allows homebuyers to finance the renovation or rehabilitation of a home as well as purchase the property. On Page 21, the National Association of the Remodeling Industry’s Morgan Zenner explains why, although repair work can be done by any contractor, partnering with experienced 203(k) contractors may be the most beneficial to all involved.

Collaboration also is emphasized as a key ingredient for success in the distressed-property niche by Suzanne Ball of America’s InfoMart Inc.on Page 26. When working with foreclosed properties, Americor Mortgage/Vacation Finance’s Bob Waun advocates that brokers think outside the boxon Page 42.

Regardless of whether you specialize in a particular property type or if you prefer to keep your options open, finding financing is always the goal of mortgage originators. If you’re unfamiliar with the opportunities that hard-money lending can present, check out the basics from HML’s Yanni Razon Page 33.


Jennifer Garrett was an editor at Scotsman Guide. For questions on this article, call (800) 297-6061 or e-mail

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