November 16, 2017

Have you ever wondered what it is like to work in the real estate industry? Then read on! Today, we had a chance to talk with our homebuyer counseling support specialist  Wanda Smiling. Wanda has a load of experience in the real estate industry that you can learn from. Wanda worked as a realtor, and now she is a part of HDF’s first-time homebuyer counseling program.

What’s your role and typical day like at HDF?

I am the counseling support specialist. My role is to assist the counselors and to make things easier for them. I input the information from clients into our systems so by the time that the counselors are getting the files, everything that they needs should be there. I help out both the counselors and our customer support specialists.

Another part of my job is helping counseling customers who are going into lending. I make sure that all of their documents get over to the lending department. Each customer may need something different. One may need to answer to things that show up on their credit report; other customers may not. I am kind of a bridge between the counseling and the lending department.

I also do scheduling for our homebuyer education classes and reach out to clients that may have just started an application. In the last few weeks, I’ve helped two customers move forward with the application process when they were stalled. I like that! Knowing that I have helped someone achieve something is an awesome feeling.

How did you come to work with HDF?

I worked for HDF on a temporary basis in late 2015. Later, HDF called me back if I’m interested in a full-time position! I’ve also been a licensed realtor for 8-9 years now – and I like what I do. To me, it’s an opportunity to learn the other side of story when someone buys a home. I knew a little bit about mortgages before because my previous clients would ask me questions, but I didn’t know a lot. For what I couldn’t answer, I would direct them to their mortgage broker. So now I’m learning a whole different scope of buying a house.

Could you explain the difference in responsibilities as a realtor and a broker?

As a realtor, I’m basically helping clients to find their homes. So I’m the one taking you out showing properties, pointing out possible things of concern you would want to address with inspector. But before I take you out to explore properties, I need to know if you’ve been pre-approved for mortgage and your price range. Once I know what you’re looking for, I go search for a property. After clients have found a property they would like to put a deposit on, I begin the process of drafting contracts and presenting an offer to the listing agent. If I get the contract back signed by the seller, I also will give my clients guidance as far as getting an attorney. I’m also a listing agent. As a listing agent, I would compare the prices of houses in the area that I’m listing a property, to keep the seller’s property competitive.

How do you think your background in real estate helps you with your current role?

I’m learning more about lending since I’ve been here. I knew some, such as what the bank would require from your credit score, but it’s the broker rather than the realtor to deal with the finances once homebuyers have a contract. I didn’t have anything to do with that. So I’m finding that now there’re a lot of things in the home buying process that I’ve never got involved with. There’re still a lot for me to learn, especially with the mortgage side of it. I love learning new things – I have always been that kind of person. My thing is that you should learn as much as you can and stick it under your belt. As long as you have knowledge, you’re always worth something. You can never learn too much no matter what it is!

What are your hobbies?

My family. Reading. Going to church. Occasionally I listen to music, but most of the time I love to be in a quiet and peaceful environment. I love watching old classical movies, and I am also a stage manager for plays. I work for a local production company. I have a girlfriend who writes plays, so I’m her stage manager as well 🙂

Thanks Wanda for your insights about the homebuying process and for sharing your experience with us.

Stay tuned for more interesting interviews from HDF’s staffs!

And check out our first-time homebuyer counseling program HERE.