Blueleaf Lending, An Equal Housing Lender — NMLS #512298
Steve Dunnett builds his brand organically.
“Your best friend telling you I did a great job for them is better than any commercial,” says Dunnett, a senior mortgage consultant with Blueleaf Lending. Dunnett serves a variety of clients at all price levels, and particularly enjoys working with first-time homebuyers. “If you can walk them through the process while communicating, avoiding surprises and delivering on expectations, you’ll have a client for life,” he says, noting 81 percent of his business comes from past clients. “You’ll also get invited to housewarming parties, which is nice.”
To avoid any surprises down the road, Dunnett has loans pre-approved for clients before they start looking. “It makes sense to me, but I assure you it’s far from the norm,” he says. He also relies on active communication, giving clients a weekly update to let them know the status of their loan.
Dunnett developed an interest in lending at college. For a real estate class, he had to appraise a house. He chose the two-flat he lived in and found out the owner bought it the previous year for $18,000, fixed it up and rented it out for $2,000 a month. “That was a pretty good return,” he says. “Then, I was hooked.”
A major reason why he works in lending is the satisfaction he feels at closing time. “The best closings are the ones where you know the client busted their butt saving their hard-earned money to get the house and their family will be better off because of it,” he says.
Dunnett is most proud of the work he did for a client who came to him after getting denied by a big bank. It was two weeks past the original closing date, and because of a poorly written contract, the client risked losing $40,000 in earnest money. Dunnett called all the parties involved to explain why he could do it when the previous lender could not. “I asked for two more weeks and we closed 10 days later,” he says, noting the client got his house and didn’t lose his earnest money.
Throughout his 17 years in the industry, Dunnett has earned numerous awards from his employers. Still, he is most grateful for his family and the work-life balance lending affords him.