How the Heck to Buy a House Today, Part II

How do you connect with a home-seller who’s into nudie pics? I found out…

What About the Naked Pictures?

An interview with Envoy Mortgage’s fab mortgage banker/Hollywood insider, Christina Gobe, continued.

Just the Assistant: Okay Gobe. In part one of our interview, you were in the middle of answering my question about how to buy a house in this market. Give us some more scoop.

Gobe: Next, I recommend for buyers to get pre-approved for a loan instead of pre-qualified.

JTA: Now, wait a minute. Why come? I thought getting prequalified is legit.

[JTA Note: Here’s a post where I explain the difference between pre-quals and pre-approvals. Blah Blah Blah.]

Gobe: Let’s say I’m selling my house, and I have three offers that are very similar in price, and I see that two of the people have been pre-qualified for a house, but the third person has actually been pre-approved. I’m going to accept the bid of the person who has the best chance of actually securing the financing to buy my house.

JTA: That makes sense. Okay, what else?

Gobe: Finally, I would tell people to not be afraid of writing a cover letter when they put in an offer.

JTA: I’ve heard of these. It’s like a love letter, but about a house, right?

Gobe: Yeah, kind of. When we put the offer on our house last year, I wrote a letter to the buyer and told her how I was really looking forward to raising my kids there, and how I’d always wanted a white house with black stutters. Then I complimented her decorating, saying “I hope I’ll be able to decorate it as beautifully as you have…”

JTA: You suck-up! So you think that helps in the “multiple offer” situations?

Gobe: Yes. Like I said, if they have two offers that are pretty similar, the seller is going to look at other factors. And most sellers want to sell their house to someone who will love it and take care of it.

JTA: So people shouldn’t write stuff like, “I can’t wait to redo that nasty kitchen of yours.”

Gobe: Exactly. I’ve even heard of people sending a picture of themselves or their family. You should just try to find a connection with the sellers.

JTA: That happened to a friend of mine when he sold his house. Some lady wrote him a letter after spying a guitar in his living room and claimed she was all into music.

But answer me this, Gobe. A couple of years ago when I was house-hunting, we saw this one house where the owners had naked pictures of themselves on the walls of the hallway.  And they’d made one of the shots into a hologram. I’m not making this up.

House Hunting

Censored for sensitive readers

Can you  please give me some advice on writing a cover letter for this family? Like, how do I connect with that?

Gobe: Well, ah…Maybe you could say something like, “I, too, appreciate the human body. Not really my own, but human bodies in general?” (Laughing) Or you could tie in the idea about sending a picture.

JTA: Ha! You’re the best, Gobe. Okay, I know you’re busy, so while you go answer all your phone calls, I’m going to work up a quick draft of a cover letter our reader(s) can use.

Dear (Homeowner’s first name, or a nickname you give him/her but not like a sexy nickname, unless you’re into that sort of thing, and in that case, let me know how it goes),

Is it weird to say I am in love with your (townhome, house, bungalow)? While walking through each room, I couldn’t help but picture my (child(ren), dog, cats, alcoholic uncle) growing up and learning how to (walk, sit and stay, sleep more?, hide his drinking habit from his boss) within these walls. Once I got to your bedroom and saw your (wedding photo, pistol, handcuffs, Bible) on the nightstand, I knew we had a deep connection. I’m (married, afraid of intruders, into that stuff, a Christian) too!

With that, please know that though my offer on your house is (full asking price, a little under full asking price, insultingly lower than asking price, twelve dollars), it is the best I can do, and I hope you accept so that I can turn your home into my home!

Thank you!

(Your first name, Your first name plus your kid(s)’ name(s), Your first name plus your dog’s first name plus a paw print, Your first name plus your cat’s first AND last name, Your first name plus your uncle’s name)

How the Heck to Buy a House Today, Part I

My mother has a mild addiction…to Goodwill stores.

When she visited me over Thanksgiving, I dropped her off in the Heights one day to peruse the trendy little shops along 19th Street. Two hours later when I called to see if she was ready to come home, she instructed me to pick her up at the Goodwill she’d found a few blocks away. Once back in my car, she said, “The polo shirts were four dollars! I need to go back to Florida. My Goodwill in Florida has them for two dollars.”

With that, when I found this cool blog yesterday –  written by this chick who knows everything about thrift stores and decorating your place for cheap, I sent it to my mom. And then I spent two hours reading all the tricks on how to decorate your entire house for like seven dollars.

Okay, now that I have solved all of your life problems concerning decorating a house, I will now solve all of your life problems concerning actually getting your house. And that’s why I have snagged an interview with Christina Gobe, also known as Hollywood Insider Gobe (girl loves her some TMZ… and mortgages).

What About the Naked Pictures?

An interview with Envoy Mortgage’s fab mortgage banker/Hollywood insider, Christina Gobe

JTA: Hey Gobe! The last time we checked in with you, you’d just been “rewarded” your own office since you’d done like a thousand loans, but since then you’ve switched offices. Do you like this one better?

Gobe (looking around): Well, this one doesn’t have a column in the middle that blocks me from moving my chair. So I’d say it’s better. I know you’re all into standing while you work these days, but I like to be able to scoot in my chair.

JTA: Sitting is killing America, I tell you. Now then, have you had any crazy borrowers lately you can dish on?

Gobe (pondering): Well, not a crazy client but I did have a client that called me every day, three times a day throughout his loan process. He was pretty funny. He liked to talk… a lot.

JTA: Did you answer the phone every time he called?

Gobe: Of course! Even when it was late and he wanted to know where to get a refrigerator, and what I thought about scratch and dent places, I answered.

JTA: That’s hilarious. Like, “This lady knows a lot about mortgages; I’ll bet she has some good insight on Whirlpool appliances too.”

Gobe (laughing): Yeah, uh, I guess scratch and dent places are okay?

JTA: That’s great though. It shows that people really trust you. Okay, Gobe, listen. At the top of this post I gave people a link to a neat blog I found on decorating your house, so now I want to give readers some tips on actually getting the house.

So here’s my question. I’ve heard that homes in Houston are selling, like, the day they go on the market, and that people are offering more than the asking prices. First of all, is that true, and second of all, if it is true, what should people do?

Gobe: That is happening. Sellers are getting multiple offers from buyers, so it’s a very competitive market. As far as what to do about it if you’re a buyer, there are a few things.

Boss James (entering office and rudely interrupting my interview so that he could ask Gobe a mortgage question): Hey Gobe, blah-dit-y blah blah bleh?

Gobe (rudely pausing my interview to answer the question): Bleh blah blah-di-tada.

JTA: Gobe, I think you’re the smartest mortgage banker I know. Can I take your picture?

Gobe: No!

JTA: Why?! You never let me take your picture! You look nice. Can I take one if I stick Heidi Klum’s face on top of your face?

Gobe: Well if you’re going to do that, you could use someone else’s body for the picture, right?

[JTA Note: Told you she’s smart.]

JTA: True. JAAAAAMES! Get back in here!

Heidi-James-Gobe gets work done...

Heidi-James-Gobe gets work done…

JTA: Okay Gobe, back to the question. How the heck are people suppose to buy a house these days?

Gobe: First, I would tell homebuyers to work with a real estate agent that specializes in the area you want to move to. Because if they specialize in that area, they’ll have a heads up on houses that are about to go on the market, and can sometimes let you see a house even before it goes up.


[JTA Note: Dear readers, Gobe and I eventually found ourselves in a very deep discussion concerning naked people and their role in selling houses. Yes, there is a connection there. But here’s the thing. I’m already at like 800 words on this post, and I know good and well that normally functioning humans have a limit on just how much they’ll read a mortgage blog; and besides, I need a snack. With that, I will post part II of this interview on Friday. In the meantime, if you need a realtor for a certain part of town, or have a question regarding the Bieb’s latest shenanigans, contact Gobe – and she can give you the hookup. And if you find anything worth noting at Goodwill, let me know so I can tell my mom.]

Game Play

I just walked into the office and placed my lunch, phone, car keys and cardigan in the refrigerator. Other than that, there are three things happening…

The Flirt

Hollywood Insider Gobe is being flirted with by an obnoxious client. Says Gobe of her suitor, “I just act like a dumba$$ and pretend I don’t get that he’s flirting with me.” She didn’t get her own office for nothing, folks.

Gobe Doesn't get it

The Steaks

Last week a steak salesman came to our office. Our front desk wonder lady Christi escorted him in and said, “Excuse me everyone. We have an announcement.” I thought maybe we were all getting raises or something so I stood up from my cube to hear the big news. Instead, this guy is like, “I’ve got marbled steaks, center cut steaks, rib eye…” That’s when I sat back down, mouthing “vegan” and giving him a little nod on my way down.

Online Dater Mortgage Banker Jason was on the phone during the cattle presentation. As I was about to give the meat man the slit my throat motion so that he’d shut up and quit interrupting Jason’s call, Jason says into the phone, “Hold on one sec,” and then to the steak man, “You said you got center cut?”

Four minutes later Jason is knee-deep in negotiations in our foyer…

Steak Negotiations

And six minutes after that we all had to step over Jason in the foyer because there he was, pawing through this big cooler of raw meats. In the foyer.

Now this is what our freezer looks like. I made Christi pose with the meat since she let the guy in here in the first place.

Steaks in the Freezer

It’s $200 worth of beef, by the way, on which Jason notes, “Considering how much meat I eat, it’s actually saving me money versus going to the store.” Not willy nilly with our money here at the mortgage office, folks.

The Games

The ole Boss James thinks we’re all getting chubby (probably due to the meat salesman episode) so he’s making us compete in a weight-loss challenge. Oh kidding. James wants us all to be healthy so he’s offering the opportunity to compete in a health challenge. So in addition to working on home loans, everybody is all writing down everything they eat and slapping each others’ hands when somebody reaches for the cheesy puffs. We get points for stuff, like drinking a certain amount of water and getting enough sleep. The first day of the competition I drank like half a gallon of water before breakfast, scared that I wouldn’t be able to squeeze it all in. By eleven AM I’d met the hydration requirements and was so full of water I didn’t want lunch. Kidding. I always eat lunch. But I drank a lot of water that day.

Below, James spies on encourages his employees.

James Spying

I’m pretty sure Online Dater Jason will be earning the total possible points for recording what he eats each day as it shouldn’t be too complicated (“steak, meat, hamburger…”).

Alright folks, you all have a happy week and I’m off to jot down my organic oat consumption for the day, right after I fish my notebook out of the refrigerator.

Welcome Back, Gobe! (Kind of)

The ole Boss Chad is getting nervous (what’s new?) about the Save the Blog party (that y’all better come to or I swear I’ll lose it).

Ole Boss Chad: What if, like, 200 people show up?

Just the Assistant: Ha! That’s your problem, buddy. This wasn’t my idea. Ha! I hope I do get 200 people.

(I’m at forty but I didn’t mention that.)

He has other reasons to be nervous though. He’s about to lose one of his best mortgage bankers if he doesn’t pull out a vacuum and learn how to organize a bit better.

Here’s the thing. Hollywood Insider Gobe is back. Y’all might remember that Hollywood Gobe was pregnant a while back, and while she was busy giving birth and raising an infant, she took a few months off. Well, not only is she back, but she gets a big swanky office! (I think she closed like a thousand loans or something and it’s her reward).

Doesn’t that sound great? A nice office with a view of downtown? (A very distant view, mind you. We’re not rolling in the dough over here.) Hollywood Insider Gobe thought it was going to be great, too. She probably kissed her baby goodbye that first day back and whispered, “Mommy’s getting a swanky office! Now gimme some sugar!”

Too bad Gobe came back to a big old copy machine and an overgrown dead plant and about a dozen other pieces of crap (specifically a three-hole punch, this giant stapler, a stack of paper for the copier, four rolling chairs and an exercise ball) piled up in her “office.”

Oh, and the lights don’t work.

lights out

The ole Bosses made a big to-do of presenting it to her too, thanking her for her stellar performance, and she was like, “Um, thanks.”

The thing is, the ole Bosses had stuck the copy machine and anything else they didn’t know what to do with in Gobe’s new office while she was gone, thus turning her office into the copy room. Let me poll you all. Do you think it was a good idea or a bad idea for the ole Bosses to leave the copy machine and a bunch of other junk in their top producer’s new office once she came back? (Mind you, the reason Gobe got this office is because she does tons of business.)

Spanish-Speaking Richard enjoys the new resident in the copy room.

Hacienda las copias!

I managed to squeeze into Gobe’s new office to ask her a few questions:

Just the Assistant: Nice office, Gobe! How did you close so many loans last year?

HIG: I don’t know. I just worked.

JTA: Well that’s just fascinating, Gobe. Our readers will be thrilled, I swear.

HIG: I don’t know. I just worked and followed up with clients and got deals done on time?

JTA: Girl, you need to take some bragging classes from Online Dater Jason. So what’s your plan now that you’re back?

HIG: I’m just building up my business again. And I’m going to have a happy hour for my realtors in a couple of weeks.

[Realtors go nuts over this lady.]

JTA: That’s so fun! Realtors go nuts over you. They should send you leads to welcome you back! Okay, you get back to work and I’m going to make some copies, okay?

While Gobe gets back to work (in the dark), you all comment below and tell me you’re coming to my Save the Blog party. Now, off to screw something up to ensure the ole Bosses never “reward” me with my very own office.