When we’re ready to buy our beach home, we’re going to talk to Julie Nichols at Guardian Mortgage. Why? Because not only will Nichols be able to find the best loan for our situation, but she also knows where all the best beaches are!
Nichols, who has lived in the Dallas area for quite some time, is a real bright spot at Guardian Mortgage, thanks to her experience as a project manager in the IT industry and her detail-oriented approach when helping her clients find the best mortgage for whatever the situation. Whether it’s a first-time homebuyer, a luxury-level client, or a vacation home that’s been a lifelong dream, Nichols takes a nuanced approach to every situation, and it’s earned her a ton of repeat business!
Take some time to get to know Nichols and her love of coastal sunsets and find out why this dynamic home mortgage professional is this month’s “Guardian Angel.”
CandysDirt.com: How did you get into the mortgage industry?
Julie Nichols: Twelve years ago I felt it was time to try a new career after 22 years in Information Technology with Corporate America. I have a love for numbers and analysis, so the Mortgage industry seemed a natural fit and in hindsight was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I plan to live past 100 and have strong genes in my family (my grandfather just recently passed at 103 and my grandmother turns 100 this year). You only get one chance at life, so why not try as many things as you can!
CD: How do you approach each new loan or customer you work with?
Nichols: I get to know each customer’s short- and long-term goals for their family, as well as their housing expectations, in order to present the best available loan scenarios for them to choose from. I sit down with them and show them the cost of money over time in order to guide them towards the best financial solutions for them.
Additionally with my project management experience, I treat each customer as their own project — identifying the start and end dates, with all the steps in between that need to be accomplished. I provide status updates at each milestone to keep everyone in the transaction informed. This helps to greatly reduce stress and frustrations from all involved parties.
CD: We understand that you have a true affection for beaches and sunsets. In fact, you collect photos of these breathtaking scenes on your travels. What sparked your love of these coastal scenes?
Nichols: During my childhood years, I lived on both the east and west coasts. My father has a love of water and we spent nearly every weekend on a boat or at the beach. Once settling in Texas, the weekends were spent on lakes, but I missed the ocean smell, which is why the ocean is always my first choice for a relaxing and stress relief vacation getaway.
CD: Are you a native to the Dallas Metroplex area?
Nichols: My father’s job involved government contracts, so we moved around to different states while I was growing up, but I have been in the Dallas Metroplex since 1973. I don’t think I have a Texas “accent,” but my relatives and friends in other states beg to differ. While I was not born in Texas, I do consider myself a “Texan” now, officially.
CD: What advice do you give first-time homebuyers? What about those looking to purchase a second or vacation home?
Nichols: The most important thing is to KNOW the borrower. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all mortgage. Knowing if this is a starter home for a few years as the family grows is a completely different scenario from an older homebuyer who is looking to downsize in their forever home.
A mortgage loan can literally be configured hundreds of different ways, but knowing the borrower(s) is what allows me to hone in and provide the best recommendations for their specific scenario.
Many customers believe it’s only about the rate since that is what most other lender’s advertising focuses on. Sometimes the lower rate scenario is a better financial option, but many times I have shown borrowers how a scenario with a higher rate actually saves them more money over time for THEIR specific situation – it just depends on the borrower’s short- and long-term goals.
CD: What drives you to do what you do every day?
Nichols: I love to help people accomplish their goals. I hear too many horror stories from borrowers, real estate agents, title companies, financial advisors, etc. about how stressful and frustrating the mortgage process was when working with someone else previously.
Servicing our loans means I can still help the customer AFTER closing, which allows me to build relationships with my clients. I now have families where I have now done loans for 3 generations in the family! Knowing that over 70 percent of my business comes directly from customer referrals and repeat customers makes me feel good and when I receive the thank you note or endorsement on my website after a successful closing, that is what it’s all about.