Meet Mia Ferraro Schultz
I had to laugh when Mia referred to her self as a "mortgage therapist", because that's exactly what real professionals are in this business.
Pattern of Excellence
Our primary goal with the Expert Interview series is to shine a light on professional problem solvers that have chosen the mortgage industry as their career.
If you have ever had the unfortunate experience of getting tricked into working with a call center mortgage lender, you will notice a night and day difference when talking to a professional loan officer like Mia Ferraro Schultz.
We believe that once you are introduced to experts like Mia, you will be empowered with the knowledge of how a true professional works.
Armed with Mia's knowledge and experience, you can better avoid the trap of big box lenders and telemarketers that just want to run your credit first, then answer questions later!
What I Learned About Mia
It makes complete sense now that Mia got her start in the hospitality industry.
I first met Mia when she and I were both in the process of becoming experts at helping out folks that experienced a past hardship like bankruptcy, foreclosure, short sale or a deed in lieu.
Service (and therapy) is in Mia's DNA. She loves to help people, and is always there to listen to your goals and challenges before exploring what options might best match your specific situation.
Get Your Questions Answered
If you are like most people that visit this website, you’ve got a mortgage problem or an unanswered question and you’re having trouble getting answers.
We are here to help you get the right answer, the first time, and connect you with an experienced loan officer that can help if necessary.
Asking Your Question is Easy
- Email me Directly: Simply click the email at the top of the site. These questions come directly to me and are answered very quickly.
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- Find an Expert: Tell us a little more about your situation by clicking "Learn More" below. I will then be able to match you with an expert that can help!
Scott Schang: Welcome to the Find My Way Home broadcast, or Find My Way Home Podcast. This is my expert interview series where I do an interview with some of the loan professionals that we've connected with over the years on Find My Way Home that are just amazing at what they do. The whole purpose of Find My Way Home is what we specialize is the stuff that a lot of these lenders ... Like if you've heard of a lender or you saw a TV commercial you're not going to meet people like Mia, she doesn't work for a call center. She is a professional loan officer, she's been doing this for years, she's a professional problem solver. It's people like Mia and the other folks on our network that you really need to know that they're out there because there's a lot of misinformation, there's a lot out there that doesn't represent the level of complexity that just normal folks have to deal with when they're trying to qualify for a home loan.
Mia good morning.
Mia Schultz: Good morning Scott. Thanks so much for having me today.
Scott Schang: Oh you're welcome.
Mia Schultz: The website and the information that you put out there has been helping so many people and I'm so glad to be a part of your team.
Scott Schang: It's so fun because I was trying to think now I think we've probably been working together for almost five years. Was it about-
Mia Schultz: Yes.
Scott Schang: ... 2012-2013?
Mia Schultz: Yes.
Scott Schang: It was funny because you and I were going down parallel paths of trying to become experts at the guidelines around helping people back into houses after bankruptcy, foreclosure, short sale, deed in lieu. You were doing your research and I'm doing my research, and I think you found the site and you called me, and we started talking. I think you were my brother from another mother rhythms better, but you're like my sister-
Mia Schultz: Right.
Scott Schang: ... from another mother because we were on almost the exact same path and we were having the exact same results. I'm really excited about this and really just talking to you. To be honest, you were the person that made me realize that there's people like you out there and that we've got to connect these people somehow because we get so many people come to the website, it's maybe not the nicest way to say it, but most people come to our site with bleeding necks. So-
Mia Schultz: Correct.
Scott Schang: ... They're on their last leg, they've been told no, they're frustrated but they're not giving up and they're Googling like crazy trying to find somebody. They've realized that most people that say yes don't always mean yes and that most lenders will say yes without knowing whether they should say yes or not. A lot of them are saying no just because they don't know-
Mia Schultz: Exactly.
Scott Schang: ... and they don't have the experience. Then people like you and I we're just crazy, and we don't take no, and we keep researching until we can find the yes-
Mia Schultz: Exactly.
Scott Schang: ... and it's usually out there, right?
Mia Schultz: If the yeses aren't now then they're down the road, what people need, once they finally find their website and they get connected with us, they've done more research than half the loan officers that they've dealt with. I find that a lot of them know more or just about close to what you or I know about the subject and about getting a mortgage and they can't understand why they've been turned down so often. Most of the people that come to us, like you said, bleeding necks, they've been around the block three, four, five times, turned down. Just like you and I, I don't take no for an answer, when there's a will there's a way and you really just got to dig in. There's not a lot of people out there that want to dig in to these types of situations.
Scott Schang: No, but luckily we found a handful of you out there, we turned over enough rocks that we found the good ones.
Here's my leading question that I ask everybody on our network, nobody in their right mind has ever set off saying, "When I grow up I want to be a loan officer."
Mia Schultz: No.
Scott Schang: So, how did you end up here?
Mia Schultz: I think originally, I grew up in the hospitality industry. My family is in the hospitality and restaurant business, so with that background, being single and young that was great, however, married and kids doesn't fall into that lifestyle so well. After being a stay at home mom for a while I had a friend that was in the business. I think that's how a lot of us get hooked in, you have a friend in the business. Originally it was something I can do at home and still be available for my family. Before I knew it, this was about 11 years ago now, before I knew it it was becoming something that I excelled in, that I enjoyed, that I wanted to make a full-time career out of. Just stepped up, well 10 years ago, 11 year ago got my license and just kept rolling from there.
Scott Schang: Wow.
Mia Schultz: I've now moved companies and I'm with a company that supports my drive to help these people as well, so I've got great underwriters, great processors behind me and we're making a difference.
Scott Schang: See, I have a feeling that we're going to go longer than I usually go just because you say so many things that make so much sense. One of the things we talk about on the website sometimes is that when you find a loan officer of your professionalism and your caliber you work for a lender that can accommodate your passion for helping people and your desire for helping people. That's the difference between when you see these TV commercials and they say you can do a loan with no effort, and push a button on an app, and all this stuff. They don't realize that they're going to a room full of cubicles with 20 year old kids sitting in front of computers just reading whatever's off the screen and have no idea what goes and what doesn't go. Nobody ever says, "I need to find a loan officer." Everybody says, "I need a lender." What I don't think that they realize is they're looking for Mia, they're not looking for the company that Mia works for. Mia's already taken care of that, she's already found the company that's going to allow her what she needs to do to go out there and help people.
Mia Schultz: Exactly.
Scott Schang: Which brings me to my next question for you which is what's your super power? It seems like every time I talk to people or I talk to loan officers like you there's this one thing that you stumbled into that you just ended up being great at, it fits your personality, it fits your brain, what's your super power?
Mia Schultz: I think I've started coining myself as the mortgage therapist. We do mortgage therapy. When people come to me, as we discussed, they're worn out, and tired, and sad. Homeownership for people who have owned a home and people who are rand new into it after they've gone through a lot of the bad stories that you hear going around the block and they get to me they're wiped out. I think I excel in making people feel comfortable. I know that isn't necessarily right down the mortgage process, that's not usually part of the job description, but they need that. They need to know that somebody's going to be there to help them through this rather than say, "Yes you're approved," "No you're not and bye-bye." I'm more in that-
Scott Schang: That seems really [crosstalk 00:08:46] and that seems really consistent with your hospitality experience-
Mia Schultz: Yes.
Scott Schang: ... in just who knew that you had a super computer for a brain and you were just awesome with doing loans as well and-
Mia Schultz: I say that all the time about the hospitality industry I think has worked really well for me to have that type of background and bring it into a financial world, and put the two together where you actually have someone with financial sense and compassion. There's not a lot of that out there.
Scott Schang: Another thing that you really point out is it's that listening for what the real issue is. When you get to the therapy you've really got to understand you've got to be able to put yourself in their shoes and really understand where they're coming from. It turns out instead of trying to close loans or do loans and make a living it ends up your job just ends up being how many people can you help because that's the only thing that matters. As soon as you have a conversation with them it's like I can't let them down. I feel bad. I know I'm the only one that's going to listen long enough to do this. Okay well-
Mia Schultz: I do feel that way 100% about I'm the only one, aside from you and our team that we worth with. I don't feel like if I let them go that somebody else will help them, so I don't give up.
Scott Schang: That's perfect, goes into my next real question then. What is that like? A new customer, and the people that are listening or watching this, I want you to think about if you've ever reached out, or called to a loan officer, or called the phone number on the telephone, or whatever, when you're first introduced to a client what's that initial contact and that initial conversation like? What should it be like?
Mia Schultz: Generally upon first conversation it's really just to get to know you. We talk, my first question is generally how can I help you. They're-
Scott Schang: And listen.
Mia Schultz: ... spilling their guts. They go into their story and everybody's got a story. Everybody's got a pain I guess you can call it. Finding out what that pain is and what they've been through is the most important part, finding out the details of where they want to go. I guess after you find out the pain then we go down the next road of where do you want to be, what's your goal, what are you trying to do.
Scott Schang: Wait a minute, you don't make them just fill out an application and then you'll talk to them?
Mia Schultz: Oh my gosh, I don't fill out applications until we've spoken probably for an hour on the phone. The application is irrelevant until you have the information. That brings out a good point, they tell me in so many of these conversations that, "I called this loan officer. He took my application, he pulled my credit, and then threw me out the door." Well I'm not going to do that.
Scott Schang: I could have told you-
Mia Schultz: I'm not even going to pull your credit until we talk. Let's talk. We're human beings and people forget that. These are human beings with lives, with families, with jobs, with goals, and you have to find out what's going on with them before you can start looking at the paperwork.
Scott Schang: This sounds like an easy question but this is a hard one for a lot of people. War stories, what's your best save? Give me one of your best stories of somebody that you maybe didn't know it was going to go until it went.
Mia Schultz: A lot of them I don't know they're going to go until they go. I say that knowing in my heart that they're all going to go but generally, again, with these types of stories there's always going to be a hiccup. There's always going to be something that's going to be dropped in your lap when you thought you've covered every base, but we go back and we attack that too.
Oh my gosh, I've had a couple. I had a woman that came to me, I think I was her ninth loan officer and they drilled me. I had talked to the wife first and next day got on the phone with both of them to have a conversation. As the husband was stalking-
Scott Schang: They don't believe you, do they?
Mia Schultz: No, the husband drilled me. He started talking to me freely and then all of a sudden he's like, "Mia, I've heard this so many times. I've had loan officers that have told me." "But I'm going to help you. Let me just pull your credit." I had to go down the road with him to explain to him that, "I know I'm telling you that I'm different, but you're not going to know that until you start working with me, until we talk for a little while. You're not going to understand what I can provide to help you get across the finish line. What I can tell you is that I'm not going to let you go." With people like that who have been down the road they need that reassurance. I'm not going to let them go. "I know what I'm getting into when I pull your credit. I know the troubles that you've had already and I'm not going to let you go until you get in a house. If we can do it now then we're going to do it now. If there's something that's holding us back then I'm going to work with you and give you the steps that it takes to get to the finish line."
There's many people that I have that I'm working with on a regular basis to get them to the finish line. It doesn't always happen overnight. With this gentleman and his wife after I explained my process to him for a while he, I don't want to say gave in, but he felt more comfortable.
Scott Schang: He let himself trust you.
Mia Schultz: Yes. We went down the road. I worked with them for several hours that day about things we need to correct and work on so that we can get them to an approvable stage. The next day the wife called back, broke down and just said, "Mia, I'm so sorry we gave you a hard time yesterday," which of course, I didn't mind, I understand, and just started crying. It breaks my heart that they're that emotional. She's like, "I really feel like we're going to be there this time," and we did. We closed them in a new home and they sent pictures of the house and the baby saying, "Thank you," in their new bedroom.
Scott Schang: Oh my god.
Mia Schultz: That is why I do this. That is the reason. I-
Scott Schang: It makes it all worth it.
Mia Schultz: ... live for those videos, for those thank yous, for that satisfaction to know that we helped a family ground themselves and build a foundation to start the rest of their lives.
Scott Schang: That's a great one, that's a great one. I bet you have so many of those that are like that. Again, I'm always trying to pull out of this if somebody's just watching this, I'm trying to pull out what are the nuggets, where are the things that I think people should really tune into. It's the fact that somebody who doesn't have that confidence there's a difference between trying to talk somebody into the sale-
Mia Schultz: Right.
Scott Schang: ... and trying to get somebody to feel comfortable with the fact that you're going to fight hard for them.
Mia Schultz: That's huge.
Scott Schang: It's funny because I tell people, I said, "You really have to trust your gut because your gut will tell you whether somebody's just telling you what they think you want to here or-
Mia Schultz: Right.
Scott Schang: ... or if they're really trying to connect with you. I think what most people don't understand, because again, if you watch TV commercials you think this stuff is easy-
Mia Schultz: Right.
Scott Schang: ... and it's not. It can be incredibly complex. Humans being are incredibly complex. Everybody's different, everybody has a different situation and you and I don't make the decisions, we're middle men.
Mia Schultz: Right.
Scott Schang: Our job is to tell your story to the underwriters to make them feel comfortable, help them put together the story and just assure everybody that if you let them buy this house they're going to make their payments, everybody's going to be happy.
Mia Schultz: Exactly.
Scott Schang: Sometimes that's the hard part, is getting everybody else to be as passionate about the client as we are and that's what you're really good at.
Mia Schultz: Thank you.
Scott Schang: So...
Mia Schultz: One of the girls that works with me after she started realizing and feeling the emotions and the stories of a successful transaction she sat there and looked at me and said, "I am so glad to be here with you. It is so different working here than any place else that I've worked." She goes, "I always knew that I'd be helping people. I just never knew that mortgages was going to be the way that I would get that [inaudible 00:18:10]." When you talk about not having that feeling that you call somebody up, a loan officer, and it's not to knock other loan officers, but it's a sales job in most areas and you get treated like you're being sold until you meet with people like us.
Scott Schang: The crazy thing about this is all of the lenders that everybody knows about are not real lenders. They put all of their money into advertising and they put very, very little money into the personnel. They're a machine and they put stuff in one end of the machine and if it is has no flaws it will come out of the other side of the machine perfectly.
Like that little video that I made that we did the conveyor belt, like if your load isn't perfect it drops through the bottom of the conveyor belt. That's exactly what it's like and people just don't understand that. There's nothing that makes me angrier that trying to convince people that a green muppet while get you the best loan. That makes me want to just scream. I get so mad when that commercial comes on and I'm like why are you letting a freaking muppet tell you how to get a loan? It doesn't work that way. You don't push a button, you don't talk to a puppet, those things don't work.
Okay, two questions, well, two similar questions. First time home buyer, what's the best advice you could give to somebody who's thinking, "I wonder if I could qualify for a home."
Mia Schultz: Stop wondering, call. They have to make that first step and I think that's the hardest thing because they're afraid to talk to a financial person. I think, especially for first time home buyers, that it's an intimidating process, they're going to be dealing with people that they feel are in a roll so unfamiliar to them speaking in terms that are some unfamiliar to them.
Scott Schang: Right, judging you. Saying whether-
Mia Schultz: Exactly.
Scott Schang: ... And not just judging you on the surface, "Let me see your bank statements. Let me look at your credit. Let me see your income."
Mia Schultz: Yes.
Scott Schang: There's a lot to it.
What would be the single most important thing that you think people should be doing?
Mia Schultz: Well I want to say obviously, but it's not always obvious, make your payments on time, and just come in and talk, and the first step is always the hardest. Look at your financial situation, but you got to make that first phone call.
Scott Schang: That's a really good point though. I'm not quite sure how to tell that story because when they think of their first phone call they think of the last TV commercial they saw. This is, I guess I'll push a little bit in the direction that I wanted to go in, how do you find you? One of the things that I tell people is that even though you don't pay a loan officer out of your pocket, you're not writing them a check and they're doing work for you, you're hiring them and they have to do a job for you. If they don't do the job they need to be fired and you need to find somebody else, but nobody interviews lenders or loan officers, they shop rates. They think the interest rate is important. The interest rate is whatever the market is whatever you qualify for. Interest rate is going to vary very, very little from one lender to another and most of it doesn't have to do with the lender, it has to do with the timing because the rates change every single day.
Mia Schultz: That's absolutely correct. People don't shop for people. I think they need to start treating this process like you would if you needed a specialist for a doctor-
Scott Schang: I use that all the time.
Mia Schultz: ... or a lawyer. It's so true. Start Googling for information, and reviews, and find that person that you can click with. Find me, that's obviously who I want you to find, because I'm here to help you.
Scott Schang: You can't always say it out loud but I always want to say if you shop for doctors like you shop for a lender you'd probably be dead.
Mia Schultz: Oh gosh, yep.
Scott Schang: Seriously because-
Mia Schultz: It's true.
Scott Schang: ... You are 1 in 100, or 1 in 1,000, or 1 in 10,000. It's probably even greater than that and I know it sounds depressing but those 10,000 are sitting in a call center in Michigan somewhere just answering calls. It's really not that hard just to avoid that.
Mia Schultz: Exactly, exactly. That may seem quick and easy, but just like everything you get what you pay for and if you're going to go down that road because you think it's easier it's unfortunately going to turn into a mess after you're too far in. But-
Scott Schang: It could, it's just that the risk is so incredibly high because if you are absolutely perfect, if you have perfect credit scores, you've been at your job for 20 years, you don't have overtime, you don't have commissions, you don't have a second job and you've never had any problems there's a very, very good chance that you will survive that process and get a loan on the other side. But you would never think, "Oh hey I'm going to refer that person to everybody that I know," you'll just make it through to the other side.
Mia Schultz: Exactly.
Scott Schang: Unfortunately, life happens and most of us can't do that, we don't have that perfect cookie cutter life and there's some stuff we got to explain potentially and some stuff is-
Mia Schultz: Exactly, I don't know many people who have that cookie cutter life. There is not a lot out there.
Scott Schang: That only happens on TV.
Mia Schultz: Right?
Scott Schang: Yeah.
Mia Schultz: Exactly, on Facebook.
Scott Schang: That's the fairytale world or Facebook. Well, everybody on ... Yeah, we're not going to go into that. Everybody either shares the worst thing that happened to them or the best thing that happened to that but nobody's [crosstalk 00:24:51]. There's no just like, "It was an okay day."
Mia Schultz: Yeah, exactly. I made it through.
Scott Schang: Survived.
Homeowners then, what's the best advice you would give? Now this isn't necessarily how do you apply for a refinance loan, but this is more in terms of how do you view homeownership and buying and managing your real estate to build long-term wealth for your family. What kind of advice ... Once you get somebody into their first home what kind of things are you telling them about what the long-term implications and what they should be looking for, when they should look at their loan, what does that conversation look like?
Mia Schultz: Generally, I think the norm is for people living in their houses is so much shorter of a timeframe than it ever used to be and people do make changes with jobs, with babies, with marriage. So many things are changing their life down the road. There's lots of opportunity to take advantage of the market to make a change in your housing situation, whether it's through refinancing, or purchasing, or moving up. When we put somebody in a good position when they're buying then hopefully 2, 3 years down the road, or 10 years down the road then they're in a much better position to expand, to take advantage of their equity, to grow. Their home ownership is generally the biggest purchase that they ever make and it's the most safe way for them to increase their wealth.
Scott Schang: Most people they don't realize that every month you make your mortgage payment you're putting money in the bank because you're paying yourself back essentially and home values just go up, so your home you have a little bit more money in the bank just because you drive up your driveway every day. Every month when you make your payment you're paying down your loan, so you're building that wealth. I have a friend of mine, really, really conservative school teacher, he bought his home 15 years ago, couple years ago. He refinanced into a 15 year mortgage, he had a ton of equity and he was outgrowing his house. A year ago November, Thanksgiving, I went up and saw him. He lives a couple hours away. We were talking and I said, "Well, you know you could probably take some of the equity out of your home, go back into a 30 year fix, take some of the equity out, buy the home you want to retire in and rent this home out, and that might work." This guy is mega conservative. Then he called me in a couple of months and he's like, "Hey, I found this great house in the mountains." He's a mountain man kind of guy, he wants to go off-
Mia Schultz: Oh, that's fantastic.
Scott Schang: ... the grid. We took his house, he took out enough money to put 20% down, he still has 20% equity in his house. In California rents are crazy, he's actually making $500 a month from renting out his home and now he has 2 homes with 20% equity, which is about half a million dollars in equity, and he's making $500 a month income, and he's in his home. He calls me like once a week and just say, "I can't believe we did that. I can't believe that was even possible."
Mia Schultz: That's fantastic.
Scott Schang: You run into that and that's the kind of thing that you and I know about that sometimes people don't think about that you can leverage those types of things and make that investment work for you. I think that's the advice that you'll get from somebody who mostly cares about helping people. We know that if we help enough people that we'll make a good living in our profession and we can continue to do it.
Mia Schultz: Exactly, exactly.
Scott Schang: Well, Mia we are just about at the end of our 30 minutes. We wanted to keep it about to that. Do you have any last words for anybody who's watching this, some sage advice-
Mia Schultz: Some sage advice.
Scott Schang: ... from the mortgage yoda.
Mia Schultz: The mortgage therapist, yoda, whatever.
Scott Schang: Mortgage therapist, yeah. I do have a question, is there a couch in your office? Do you make them lay down when you have a [inaudible 00:29:55]?
Mia Schultz: No, that's going to be my next purchase. Sometimes you feel like you just need that, I think they need that.
Scott Schang: Sometimes they just need that, "I just need to lay down."
Mia Schultz: Yes, yes. When you're out there and you're starting your search, and you're trying to get this whole mortgage situation settled for yourself find somebody that you can talk to. Find somebody who's actually listening to you. You go to Best Buy to buy a stereo and I think you had mentioned it with another example, you're spending more time learning about which guy at Best Buy knows more about the product you're looking for. You need to do that when you're finding a mortgage lender as well, somebody who's going to be able to give you ideas, not just stick you in program because that's the easiest one to get you through, but one that actually makes sense of your situation. There's a lot of ins and outs to our business and find somebody who you can talk to. Find someone who cares.
Scott Schang: Find the relationship first. Find the connection first and then get the loan.
Mia Schultz: Exactly and you'll know in that first conversation. I think you call up two, three, four people and you're going to know based on the conversation whether this is the person you want to deal with or not.
Scott Schang: Well with any luck at all, with the power of the inner webs and Facebook hopefully we can get enough people to see this so that they get exposed to people like you and they know that people like you are out there, so they ask more questions. It's really just about contrast. I don't know, I don't have a few 100 million to spend on TV commercials to spread this message. We're just trying to grassroots this thing and tell as many people to find out as we can. I think it's just so important that you share your story, and that you get out there, and I really, really appreciate it. You're one of the big reasons why we are what we are. I didn't know if what that website was going to be, but it is what it is today in big part because of you, because of meeting you and building those connections, and realizing that we have a real opportunity to help people on large scale out there.
Mia Schultz: I am so excited. Things happen for a reason Scott, we connected and-
Scott Schang: They absolutely do.
Mia Schultz: ... here we go.
Scott Schang: They absolutely do.
Mia Schultz: Thank you so much.
Scott Schang: Well you have yourself a wonderful day. Thanks Mia, we'll talk to you soon.
Mia Schultz: Alrighty, take care.
Scott Schang: All right, bye-bye.
Mia Schultz: Bye.