Sunday, September 26, 2010

Building Bridges as a Loan Signing Agent in San Francisco

On Friday I had my biggest day ever as a loan signing agent with a total of four refinance signings all during the afternoon and evening.  I thus got a little taste of what it must have felt like back in the golden age of real estate when loan signing agents could perform as many signings as they pleased each day. My how times have changed!  I figure I must have gotten lucky to have had a slew of calls on Friday, a few of which I even had to turn down for lack of time.  Some days I get no calls at all so it tends to all even out. 

The reason I chose to be a loan signing agent during the worst time in real estate history is because it's a great way of networking with people in the business community.  People who refinance their homes in San Francisco tend to be successful people.  My strategy has proven correct as I've been asked for my business card a lot.  I also get to visit people at their homes or offices, something I prefer rather then in my own typical office setting. 

For instance, Friday I performed signings for an executive at the Department of Education who lives in Maryland but was visiting the San Francisco office. I also did a signing for an intellectual property attorney at her home in Pacific Heights. I did another signing for a woman at SalesForce.com and another for a couple, one with his own advertising business and the other an employee at UC Berkeley.

These folks tend to share a lot during the signing so it helps me form a better sense of my local community. I learned that UC Berkeley has been laying off employees and is about to do another round as things become more dire.  Pensions are being threatened as well.  I learned from another borrower that employees who work for the Department of Education get a $71 meal allowance each day.  (Whew! What's up with that?)  From the lady who worked at SalesForce.com, I learned she's about to go to Japan for a week.  From the attorney in Pacific Heights, I learned she doesn't purchase her antique collection but gets them at auctions.

I tend to get a lot of other types of interesting information from people I perform loan signings for.  I learn about their home remodeling projects that run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, their travels to far lands and their pets.  Last night one of three large cats plopped himself on the loan signing papers and we all laughed.

People are generally very nice at the signings, especially because they're getting a lower interest rate on their mortgage.  A while back an attorney and his wife who live in a home from 1890 in San Francisco gave me a slew of peaches insisting they had too many from a tree.  I gratefully accepted and made peach crisp out of them.  They were the couple who I had posted about earlier who wanted to frame the bank's description as "padding" of its undisclosed fee.

The best part of being a loan signing agent is being exposed to so many people in the close knit community of San Francisco. When I had an office job at law firms, it got boring seeing the same people each day and it often felt like such a dead end.  Today each day when I wake up I never know who I'm going to meet. San Francisco's swarming with talented highly educated business people and most everyone I meet is a pleasant surprise.

The other great thing about what I do is that I rarely have to go very far and have restricted my signings to certain zip codes.  The other day someone called saying "it's only two miles away."  They responded with laughter when I explained that's far for a San Franciscan to travel.  I wasn't kidding. 

Here's a good Peach Crisp Recipe