Mortgage pro talks private lenders’ current priorities in underwriting

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“Our focus as a company since we started at Hillmount has always been, essentially whenever we get involved in a deal, we will always look at: Is this suitable for the client, or does it make sense, or are we actually helping this person, taking them to a better spot?” he said.

“Because [private solutions] are relatively temporary, you have to have some type of an idea of how you’re going to exit, so I think that’s where we’re spending more time with borrowers and brokers. We’ll say, ‘Look, this is what we’re trying to achieve – what’s the plan that we’re going to put in place to make sure you guys get there?’”

That might be a firm strategy for consolidating debt, he said, or a plan to maintain borrowing on unsecured debt at a set amount.  

The importance of keeping borrowers in the know at every turn

Top of mind, according to Popa, is having those conversations with brokers and borrowers up front so that there are no surprises down the line. “I think the preparation part of it has always been big for us,” he said.

“Setting up the expectations and making sure everybody’s on the same page – now more so than before, because it’s harder to go to financial institutions. Because of the increase in prime being able to qualify for a traditional, even A or B lender, is a little bit more difficult.”

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