Kelly Yale from Intent Marketing had a virtual chat with superstar loan officer Ali Dubois from Atlantic Bay Mortgage on how she managed to make mortgage an approachable and fun process to clients and real estate agents alike. To watch the video, scroll on down!
0:00:06.5 Kelly: Hey, everybody is Kelly, At Intent, and I am more than delighted today to introduce to you Ali Dubois from Atlantic Bay Mortgage. I have known Ali for a long time, almost 10 years now I guess it’s really a long time.
0:00:21.8 Ali Dubois: I think seven years, yeah.
0:00:23.3 Kelly: Seven years.
0:00:23.8 AD: But basically 10.
0:00:25.7 Kelly: It’s been unbelievable to watch Ali’s success mostly because one of the things I admire so much about Ali is the way that she literally created her own path through her career, she has blazed her own trail, she knew who she wanted to be in the mortgage space and it’s just been so cool. So Ali, thank you so much for joining us, I’m delighted to talk to you today.
0:00:52.0 AD: Well, thank you for having me.
0:00:53.8 Kelly: Of course. Okay, so just to give people a little bit of background. So we’ve known each other for this length of time because we used to work together at Fairway and when I first met you, you were on your way for a successful loan officer who worked at Fairway.
0:01:06.1 AD: Yep.
0:01:07.0 Kelly: And you had the opportunity to basically be handed a book of business, and you were like, “No, I think I’m gonna blaze my own path. [chuckle]
0:01:19.6 AD: Well, yeah that, but also I was terrified to sell, I thought it was super scary to be in a loan officer role, I was happy being an assistant and I thought that it seemed like a very overwhelming and stressful job, so I didn’t feel ready for it. And then fast forward things changed and I felt ready and I was happy I was kinda able to do it my own way.
0:01:45.6 Kelly: But now what was interesting to me was that if I look back at your career five years ago I feel like the things that you were most nervous about were just things that you hadn’t really developed your own sense of style within. Does that make sense?
0:02:03.2 AD: For sure.
0:02:03.4 Kelly: You had mentors who showed you how they did it.
0:02:07.1 AD: Yes.
0:02:07.6 Kelly: Who were incredible mentors.
0:02:09.5 AD: Yes.
0:02:10.2 Kelly: But it wasn’t your way.
0:02:12.2 AD: Nailed it, yeah, yeah.
0:02:14.1 Kelly: So one of the things I love, and Ali is phenomenal to follow on Instagram, it’s Queen City lender, is that correct?
0:02:21.8 AD: Yeah.
0:02:22.4 Kelly: Agreed. Your Instagram for being a loan officer to me is absolutely phenomenal, because you have such a great way of not only teaching the people who are following you how they can buy a house, but also connecting with your real estate agents and promoting the things that they’re doing, but in a really fun way that’s relatable to people. Talk to me about how you exist within that Instagram world.
0:02:48.6 AD: Wow, thank you. So let’s be very honest, mortgages are boring, they’re not super exciting and it’s not something that the average person knows a lot about. And so I try to make my social media and my business in general very relatable and easy to understand, so that people feel like they are empowered to make smart decisions. I want people to feel comfortable and confident to reach out to me any time they have a question, and so I try and encourage that through fun social media and partnering with my real estate agents, to promote them and try and make… Especially the first time we realized that it is something that’s totally doable.
0:03:39.0 Kelly: Well, and one of the buzzwords for the last forever, especially the last five years is millennials, millennials, millennials, how to sell to millennials. And I’m like well, millennials are humans so we’re just selling to human beings who happen to be of a different age bracket, but I also see the pictures of your closings, I see who you sell to and all of those people are your age.
0:04:04.0 AD: Yeah.
0:04:04.7 Kelly: Do you think that that comes from a little bit of just… I think that it’s… And obviously I want your opinion, but it seems like people are able to relate to you and they’re not intimidated to ask you questions whereas they might be… They wanna feel like they’re going to mom and dad’s banker.
0:04:21.9 AD: Right, yeah, exactly. Yeah, I try very hard to explain things in a way that I would want things explained to me. Because before I got a mortgage, I didn’t like numbers very much, I didn’t find mortgages very interesting. But if you’re buying a house, is something that you need to be educated on, and so I pride myself in being able to explain it and make it something that everyone can understand. And also if humanly possible, make it fun, so that it’s not grandpas mortgage banker.
0:05:00.6 Kelly: And I think that that is an element that truly you embody but that people really need to grab a hold of, because that’s the key to relating to your audience. Obviously geographically in Charlotte you live in a place where a lot of younger people live, and it’s a different vibe, and it’s fun and it’s relaxed, and that’s what you wanna feel like, you wanna feel like you’re talking to somebody who’s really smart but somebody who really understands you.
0:05:27.1 AD: Yeah. Sometimes it’s scary to ask a question to someone who seems so much older and so experienced, because you don’t wanna feel like you’re asking them a stupid question. But if your mortgage banker is your age, then you can fire off a quick text and say, “Hey, this may be a silly question but just curious,” it’s just so much less intimidating, and I feel like that’s where I really relate with people of my own age.
0:05:53.1 Kelly: Would you say that the majority of business you do is first time home buyers?
0:05:57.1 AD: Yeah, I would say it’s a majority is first time home buyers or move-up buyers. So people that I helped with mortgages a couple of years ago are already ready to move into something else. It’s kind of my clients buy condos uptown and then they live in them for a couple of years and then they buy a dog or they get engaged and they need more space and then they move into a home in one of the neighborhoods that are surrounding uptown. So yeah, I’d say it’s majority first time buyers starting to buy one.
0:06:23.4 Kelly: And really from a loan officer’s perspective that’s gotta be the ideal, right? You’ve got people who are young and buying, who then three to five years they’re gonna move into a bigger place, refinance their places, refinance their place, move into a bigger place. And so that’s kind of a pipeline that as long as you are really respectful to the relationship that you have and you’re adding value to that relationship, that’s one that’s gonna go on forever.
0:06:46.7 AD: Yeah. I totally agree and that’s why it’s just so incredibly important to stay upfront for those people as they go through those life changes whether it be through CRM or gifts, or social media, whatever it is, that will allow me to be a part of all of their future changes and transitions.
0:07:07.8 Kelly: So, I actually interviewed Jenny Steiner, who we both know, I was talking to her about coaching. But the thing that I always, always believed, and she believes so strongly, is in this concept of having a realtor squad, a group of friends who are not afraid to be friends with other people who are in competition with them. And you are so amazing at truly forming friendships with the people who you respect in the industry, who you wanna work with, who you end up getting along with, can you speak to that a little bit?
0:07:43.4 AD: Yeah, it’s funny. My fiance Trey always says that all of my friends are realtors now, but a lot of them really are. I love my realtor partners. And so, yeah, I think I’ve been blessed to find people that are very like-minded, people that are similar in age, have similar interests, have similar ways of wanting to handle transactions, we’re all a little type A and we wanna make sure they’re perfect, and that our clients have an awesome experience. And in finding those people and forging friendships, they’ve all forged friendships with each other, and I just feel like we’ve got such an awesome community, of people who work together, not necessarily in competition, but in building each other up. I feel like it’s just such a blessing, everybody wants to support each other, not compete with each other.
0:08:36.9 Kelly: Absolutely, and there’s something… What you said, they were so smart. And I agree with that wholeheartedly. It’s not even so much about like, “Oh, I’m gonna refer you to one of the lenders that I work with.” When your real estate agents are referring their customers, not only do they trust the transaction is gonna go well with you, but they can relate to you so well, and have zero problem saying, “You can trust this person. I completely trust this person.” So, I really think that’s great. I know this will probably… I’m not sure it might be a little embarrassing, but hopefully not. One of the things that I always think about with you, and obviously we’re friends and you always know that… I don’t think I can point to anybody who’s a loan officer currently who I could be more proud of their journey. But it’s so amazing to me to think back to the first time we ever did video, and you were so nervous.
0:09:34.0 AD: Oh, yeah.
0:09:34.5 Kelly: And I was trying to convince you you were gonna be amazing, and you were like, “I don’t think so.” And then we turned the camera on and you were so great. And I was like, “Are you watching this?” And you were just like, “I don’t know.” And now, you are the queen of videos. So, tell me about how great video has been working for you.
0:09:51.1 AD: Yeah. So I am actually now a big proponent of video. I still get nervous, it’s uncomfortable for everybody to get on video. I don’t think anybody loves going on video, but I think it’s key, because I feel like when I’m putting videos out on social media, or I’ll send some videos to my referral partners with updates of what’s going on in the industry, I feel like every time that somebody sees my face, they feel like they know me, and in a sense they trust me. It feels like we’ve been on 10 meetings because you’ve seen me 10 times. You’ve heard me talk, it’s just so much more relatable than reading an email, or a text message, or even just talking on the phone. On the phone, you can at least hear a tone, but on a video, you can see someone’s face and really make a connection with them. And that has been super key for me. I can’t tell you how many times people will reach out and say, “Oh, my gosh, I actually know you from the video that you posted on Instagram, and my friend shared it.” And it just gives us a connection off the bat, where it feels like we’ve kinda had a little bit of friendship forged before we even met.
0:11:04.8 Kelly: Oh, yeah. One of the things we have always coached people up with is after you have that initial phone call, just turn your phone around and just do a quick video and be like, “Hey, here’s how you can put the name to the face. This is who I am, so excited to work with you. It’s gonna be an awesome transaction.” That move takes 60 seconds of your time. But then they really do get to see you, and exactly who you are, and it makes a huge difference when you send something like that. That’s absolutely true.
0:11:31.2 AD: Totally agree, 100%.
0:11:33.6 Kelly: Talk to me about Atlantic Bay. Why do you love it?
0:11:37.1 AD: Oh, wow. I love Atlantic Bay. So, I moved to Atlantic Bay in March of this year, and I would say my favorite thing about Atlantic Bay for me as a loan officer, is the culture. And all of my co-workers are such good people, but also supportive of each other. We are constantly in contact helping each other, if we run into a situation, which is all the time in mortgages, where we see something that we’re not quite sure how best to handle it, we send it out to everybody in the company and everyone chimes in with referrals and suggestions and opinions on how to help each other through situations. And it feels like for my clients, instead of just having one set of eyes, or one opinion on a situation, I’ve got the support of everybody in Atlantic Bay diving in to help me figure out how to best make the situation perfect for our clients and realtor partners.
0:12:37.6 Kelly: That’s awesome. And you have always had a very strong opinion about how your team works. And because you’ve got a great partner in Melinda, and talk to us a little bit about how your team dealt with Melinda.
0:12:56.3 AD: Yeah. So, Melinda has been doing mortgages for decades. Melinda’s got all of the knowledge and experience. She is so into problem solving, and she loves to be in the files, looking at the details, and I love being client-facing, and I love nurturing the clients and the referral partners and really being their liaison through this entire journey, like the liaison between the client and the mortgage company. I like to be a friend and helper to them and willing to do work in the files. And so, our partnership is perfect for us because when we have a new client apply with us, Melinda is in the background and she is pre-reviewing all of the documentation, scouting bank statements, looking at pay stubs and detail, reviewing tax returns, and making sure that we have very accurate numbers, so that when the client’s file goes into underwriting, it is polished and clean and perfect. And so underwriter loves our file, and the client has an easy experience because she reviewed everything in such detail in advance.
0:14:06.7 Kelly: And I just think that it’s… Not only is it really smart that you have formulated your team like that, but I also think it’s clearly been highly successful, I won’t ask you numbers because I’m sure that that’s rude, but let’s just say that it’s been highly successful because you’re a no joke loan officer. You put up some serious numbers now, and it is incredible, and you do that because of the heart that you bring, but the team that you build in the way that you guys work together, and now you have Atlantic Bay behind you, supporting that, and the sky for me with you, is obviously the sky is the limit for you.
0:14:44.0 AD: Alright, great, thank you so much. I appreciate it.
0:14:46.8 Kelly: So obviously, 2020 has been a weird year. Okay, it’s been weird. You basically started in Atlantic Bay when COVID made its debut here, it’s been a strange world. For the people who are thinking about buying their first home or think that they can’t, what advice would you give them if they’re thinking about it, right about now?
0:15:12.1 AD: Well, I would say now is an excellent time because of the fact that rates are the lowest that they’ve ever been. So, you can qualify for a lot more house and have a lot more affordable payment now than you would have just a couple of years ago, and who’s to say what’s gonna happen a year from now? There is also so much opportunity for people to list homes right now because inventory is pretty limited. There is so much competition for housing in Charlotte, which is a great reason to be a home owner because you’re building equity so rapidly. I mean, real estate is so hard to come by here that if you can own a piece of it, you have the opportunity to make so much money in equities so quickly. I would say that it is important to talk to a loan officer as early as you can in the process, so that you can get your docs in rule and then the loan officer can kinda guide you on when it probably makes most sense for you based on your financial situation. If you can do it now, it’s a fantastic time to get in on the rate.
0:16:15.8 Kelly: That’s been one of the most interesting things I think about. For me, having entered mortgage eight, nine years ago, from a marketing perspective, one of the things I never understood was how people went from the realtor to the loan officer, but also just how simple conversation can be when you’re not really sure what your goals are. So, if you’re living, if you’re renting a house, you’re renting a town house, whatever you’re renting right now, and you’re thinking to yourself, “I wanna make this move, but I don’t know how,” a conversation with a loan officer can change your life, right?
0:16:50.0 AD: Oh, for sure. And it’s like 10 minutes, in 10 minutes we can say, “Okay, hey, this is definitely an option for you, or not quite yet, but these are the steps that you can take to get where you need to be, so that when you’re ready to pull the trigger and buy a home, you’re in the best financial situation, and you’ve got the best credit possible, so that you get the best terms.”
0:17:10.3 Kelly: I think people are like, they feel like somehow, if they have that conversation, that they have to have awkward conversations about their credit score or whatever it is, but you don’t have to do that…[overlapping conversation]
0:17:25.2 AD: It’s just literally like a 10-minute intro call to just kinda figure out where you stand and answer your questions, and then if it sounds like you’re a candidate that should proceed with pre-approving, then you just do a little application again, it’s like 10 minutes super quick. And then you can figure out what your parameters are, what programs are available to you, what your max price is, more important than that, figuring out what price point you should shop in to have a payment that’s gonna be in your comfort zone, all those things. And whenever you talk to a loan officer, there’s not a commitment, there’s not a cost, it’s just, we’re paid to try and help you figure out how to get on the path to home ownership.
0:18:03.5 Kelly: Yeah, absolutely. Okay. So, I would love just to end with one question, which is, what would you say is your biggest personal win for 2020?
0:18:17.1 AD: I would say the biggest… It’s not work related?
0:18:19.4 Kelly: Not work-related.
0:18:22.7 AD: Oh, I feel like work has consumed my 2020 ’cause I’ve been so busy. Personal, I would say just keeping a positive attitude, despite all of the hurdles that we’ve been thrown through 2020, obviously it’s been such a weird year with a lot of uncertainty for people, related to the health and their finances, and the election, and just all of the things that are going on, I feel like my biggest win of 2020 is just being able to keep a general positive attitude throughout the whole process, and I’ve had a good year despite all of the craziness, I feel like it’s still been a good year. That’s a win for me.
0:19:03.9 Kelly: That’s awesome. Well, listen, I so appreciate you taking a little bit of time because I know there’s a lot of young people, young women who are thinking about going into the business or new to the business, who are trying to get their foot on the door, and trying to figure it out, in fact… And you’re just one of those people, we had dinner a couple of months ago with a young lady who is just an EVAC going out on her own, and you were so happy just to pour into her, and those are the kinds of situations that these videos are great for people who maybe don’t have those resources. And I think people just love to learn from people who have [0:19:36.0] ____ that have been really successful. And like I said, I just couldn’t be prouder. And if people wanna get a hold of you, they can always look you up @alidubois, you work for Atlantic Bay Mortgage, but tell us what your email address is.
0:19:48.6 AD: It’s firstname.lastname@example.org, or just DM me at the Queen City Lender on Instagram.
0:20:00.2 Kelly: And just follower Queen City lender, honestly, because it should give you a lot of tips on some really fun ways that you can make your audience interact with you about a topic that no one wants to talk about, because how can you make mortgages fun? I’m not really sure, we try our best, but I love when you ask a random question, you’re like, true or false, is this thing and I’ll answer false and it’s true, and I’m like, “Oh, I gotta quit my job. I didn’t know the answer to that.” That was true. Yeah, alright, from a… But making it fun, I love it. Alright, thanks so much, friend.
0:20:31.4 AD: Thank you, bye.
Approachable Mortgages – An Interview with Ali Dubois