Launching a new company in the middle of a pandemic, with historically low interest rates driving demand and his family living 6 feet outside his office door, was no small feat for Steve Smith. Yet he more than doubled his lending business during that chaotic time.
“I tend to approach lending from the eyes of a financial advisor or CPA,” says Smith, senior vice president of mortgage lending at Proper Rate. “Maybe it’s nerdy, but really at the end of the day, this is all about math.”
His “math-first” approach is appreciated by the financial advisors, advisor groups, CPAs and Realtors across the country who send business his way. “Clients like that I am an ordinary person,” he says. “Many will comment that I was able to answer difficult questions in a way that they understand, and when it is all said and done, I am the kind of person they would sit down and share a beer with.”
It was rare if real estate wasn’t discussed at the dinner table when Smith was growing up. His mom stayed with Baird & Warner for 25 years, so real estate runs in his blood. Still, he took a short detour before making it a career: Smith worked in pharmaceutical sales for six years before moving to lending. “I didn’t like how distant I was from the end user of the product,” he remembers. “With lending, I can actually pinpoint how many families and lives I have helped impact, and those successes are what drives me to work harder every day.”
Smith loves listening to live music, but he enjoys performing even more. He has played on and off throughout Chicago since 1998 with groups like Tributosaurus. Many people don’t know that he’s also an avid musky fisherman, and every once in a while can be seen on TV fishing.