Jerry Berry: First Jobs, Career Changes and the Lending Business
About This Episode
Go With John as he sits down for a fun conversation with Jerry Berry. Jerry is the Executive Vice President at First Heritage Mortgage and a Preferred Lender for Stanley Martin Custom Homes. Before he got into the lending business, he was a bowler, tortilla chip maker, and car salesman! In this episode, John and Jerry discuss first jobs, and how sales experience and building trust with clients leads to success in business.
[00:00:01] In case you missed it, here’s a clip from Episode two with Lillian Jorgenson, who is my mother and one of Long and Foster’s top realtors.
[00:00:11] So when you got into the real estate business. Did it turn out to be what you thought it was going to be or did it turn out to be something completely different?
[00:00:19] No, I never thought it turned out to be anything that I thought because I didn’t know what it was going to be. I just knew selling. Yeah, I just knew intelligence to put it together had the right answers. But I knew one thing for sure, always to do the right thing, always to make sure that you can look yourself in the mirror and just always, always your reputation is all you have. Absolutely. Start going off your reputation. So I would go a long mile around to make sure everything was always done right. To this day, yeah, that’s fantastic.
[00:00:55] Hey, I just wrapped up my episode with Jerry Berry and really enjoyed hearing his stories about how he went from milking cows to bowling to selling tortilla chips to becoming a very successful lender in Northern Virginia.
[00:01:14] I know you’re going to enjoy this episode with Jerry Berry.
[00:01:20] All right. So, hey, welcome. We got Jerry Berry sitting down with us today. So thanks for coming in, Jerry.
[00:01:26] Thanks, John. My parents didn’t think I’d be real bright, so they gave me some easy to spell of change.
[00:01:30] The first letter and my name works. I’m Jerry Berry. Yeah, that’s right, everybody. You know what?
[00:01:36] And every time you say it to somebody, you say, hey, you got to give Jerry Berry a call. And they’re like, Are you serious?
[00:01:43] Yeah. So it’s yeah. It’s a great icebreaker, that’s for sure. If for sale. Yeah. It’s gotten you far. It has everything. That’s about all I got going for me. Yeah.
[00:01:52] Well so you know, I think you got a lot going for you. So let’s talk, let’s talk about a little bit about you and then we’ll talk about some of the crazy stuff that’s going on in the world today. So. So you used to be a professional bowler?
[00:02:04] I did. I did. I’m from the Midwest. I have a little town outside of Springfield, Missouri, town of about 2000 people. My whole family’s dairy farmers. I was a farmer. Yeah. He sold the farm to my grandfather and then was hauling milk for a couple of years. He wrecked his truck two years in a row on the ice storms and got mad and sold his route. And they just happened to build a bowling alley right across across the road from where? From where the house was. Wow. So Dad said Dad knew the guy that built the bowling alley and this is sixty four. Yep. And and so Dad went to Brunswick Mechanic School and started work at the bowling alley. Wow. So the way I grew up from about fifth grade on I. Would ride the bus home on a small gentlemens farm, dad milk in the morning, in the car after school by hand. How many can get? One cow, one cow? Just enough for us. We always had hogs and chickens and we ran a couple of cards on it to feed the family, obviously, but ride the bus home. And then I’d I’d ride to town with mom and mom and I would would run the snack bar. Yeah. During the during the leagues. Yeah. Well while Dad ran the bowling alley and that’s how I grew up, I pretty well was in a bowling alley every day with the exception of a few weekends, maybe from the time I was in sixth or seventh grade on until I was about 25.
[00:03:27] Wow. Yeah. Wow. So how did you transition from being so so first I was just going.
[00:03:32] Let’s talk about the farm for a second, because you surprise me with that. Just a gentlemen’s farm that’s so proud of yours. Yeah, I understand. I understand.
[00:03:42] But so but there’s a there’s a lot of work to do on a farm. I mean, I don’t you know, I mean, so you came home from school every day and you had to tend to the animals. I mean, that that probably. How did that contribute to your work ethic today?
[00:03:55] I mean, that’s well, I mean, all my mother’s family, all dairy farmers, and that’s seven day a week job. My dad my dad is younger men had a dairy farm also. I was too young to remember all that. But I mean, that’s just kind of what you did, right? You know, again, when you run in a bowling alley, it’s seven days a week. There’s yeah, there’s there’s no time off associated with that. And that’s pretty well what I did until I was about 25 years old. And so I guess you just you just learn I mean, going to high school even in the summer when bowling was slow, you know, we hold hey. Yeah. And that’s a lot of hard work. That’s, you know, Dad worked every day, never complained about it. So I don’t think any of the rest of us ever complained about it.
[00:04:39] So, you know, the funny thing is because I sat down with my with my mom here a few weeks ago and I chatted with her and about how she grew up and all that from the time she was five years old, she would work in her parents store. They had her they had a grocery store and she had the same thing. And then when she went to school, she would come home from school and she would go to work. And it’s just I mean, it’s an interesting parallel now that you bring it up. Right. Right. You know, just just having that having to work when we were young to to support the family with whatever it was at the time. So. All right. So let’s go to the bowling. So, OK, so how did you end up getting into the professional bowling world?
[00:05:21] You know, I mean, obviously being in the bowling alley quite a bit, I, I obviously bowled when I when I had a chance.
[00:05:29] It wasn’t till I went to college, though, before I realized I really didn’t know how to bowl, that you did know how to do that. I did know how people. Yeah. So.
[00:05:40] Going to college, obviously, my parents didn’t have a whole lot of money, so I worked at a bowling alley while I worked while I was attempting college. Yeah. And so then that’s when I started bowling. So I bought my purse, my first professional term. I was 18. Wow. Didn’t didn’t make any money that day. The second professional, I made money and then pretty well everyone after that I did make money, I finished second and these are reasonable PBA tournaments but they were good tournaments, guys like the Webers and and those guys were in that region. So, you know, I traveled around with Pete Webber for a while and was pretty good. Bowler. Yeah. Bowler. Yeah. But once I got married and that was that was early on. I was 21 when I got married to my high school sweetheart. And after that I pretty well thought I was just going to run bowling alleys and then that, that kind of move past. Once you got a family run, the bowling alley gets pretty tough. So, yeah, there I moved. I moved out of that industry.
[00:06:38] Yeah. And then is that what brought you into lending.
[00:06:42] It is not OK. Is not OK. So I was at a bowling alley when I was running a 40 lane bowling alley in Fayetteville, Arkansas at the time.
[00:06:50] Right. Hired me to run that. I’ve been there about a year and a half and this guy just kept bugging me. I just he just happened to be on my team. I was bowling on. Yeah. He kept bugging me, said you need to come and go to work for me. Said you you need to do this, blah, blah, blah. He kept bugging me. So I end up going to work for him and the story’s going to get a little bit long, right.
[00:07:09] Yeah, well sure. So do you go to work with him. Doing what?
[00:07:12] So we were making tortillas.
[00:07:15] OK, and tortilla chips. I say it was a big operation.
[00:07:20] Well, that makes perfect sense because you sell chips at the bowling alley, right? You know what? You have to connect the dots. And when you. So we’ll keep that you’re not number three. Right? Dairy farmer, bowling alley tortilla chips. I got I got several dots. OK, fortunately my my dots lined up nicely for me, but yeah.
[00:07:39] So he said I need a a shift manager for, for his, his organization. It’s a big organization, about 400 people. And they made corn and flour tortillas for Taco Bell. Mm hmm. Sold to PepsiCo’s delivery system up and down the the the Midwest there. So I went to work for him and the owner of that company. This is actually how I got out here. The owner of that company sold that company to Tyson’s. Right. It’s that company still around is called Mexican Original. It’s a division of Tyson Foods now. So the owner of that company started consulting. And that’s actually how I got out here to the to the East Coast where we are now. I came out here to to show a guy how to make tortilla chips, fried tortilla chips.
[00:08:25] They were good. Yeah, they’re good. Yeah. And then so. So how long did you do that for? Oh, probably a total of about five years. OK, that’s a good long time in that industry. Yeah.
[00:08:38] Because I was with Mexican Original for probably three before we started consulting and then another couple of years I was in Tampa, Florida, Toledo, Ohio, and then I ended up out here running a guys showing a guy how to make tortilla chips.
[00:08:49] And then I met my wife and my second wife. I can say that. Sure. And then decided to this is where I was going to end up.
[00:08:57] Yeah. Makes perfect sense. Yeah. So so what was next after tortilla chips.
[00:09:03] After tortilla chips. I was I was getting married and then a friend of my my wife’s family said, hey, I need a finance manager for my car dealership.
[00:09:13] OK, so which car dealership, if you want to say it was it was down in Washington. OK, I helped Joe Jacoby open it.
[00:09:22] Oh yeah. OK, this dealership. Dealership down.
[00:09:25] Right, right. Yeah. It’s the first dealership was actually Rick Ford. OK, she’s no longer that’s Sheehy, Sheehy bought about ten years or so ago. So I was I was a business manager for Joe Jacoby and then during that time another friend of the family said, you know, you really should be doing mortgages. He said, I think you do really well. He said if you’re any good at all, I bet you can make seventy five thousand dollars a year.
[00:09:51] Yeah. Coming coming from the bowling alley in the Midwest and. Right. You know, that’s real money. That was real money at the time. Yeah.
[00:09:58] So, yeah, that’s how I got in the mortgage mortgage industry. I started the first business day of 1994. OK, that’s a little while ago. Nineteen ninety four. Twenty six years.
[00:10:09] Wow. That’s a long time. So you’ve seen a lot of changes in the industry. Yeah.
[00:10:15] You’ve been through quite a few cycles I would say. Absolutely, yeah.
[00:10:20] I remember driving around in my old Volvo with my bag phone and call it on real estate agents like you and me to giving me loans. Yeah. Yeah. The better phone.
[00:10:31] You’re the second person to bring up the bag phone. Yeah, yeah, yeah. That’s the first bag phone. Yeah.
[00:10:37] Got stolen out of a car.
[00:10:39] In Chantilly one night, yeah, and we were lucky, could go into technology because we’ll talk about that in a minute. But you were lucky if you could get maybe you were supposed to get like an hour of talk time on a fully charged bag, but which you never really got that you were lucky if you got about 20 or 30 minutes once you unplugged from your bag, from your car.
[00:11:02] So you had some quick calls on those things. So.
[00:11:06] So we had a beep or two. Oh, you get a pager. Yeah, because that pager was our lifeline.
[00:11:12] Yeah. The you know, I think almost like the pager better than the mobile phone because the pager somebody would basically page you, but then you could call them back when you had a moment to speak. It wasn’t like the intrusion, like the phone is now where the phone rings and you’re just constantly answering, driving it all day.
[00:11:32] Yeah, I remember the pager think that the pager too. If you wanted to go on vacation, you give the pager to a friend. Yes. And then and then you actually could could take your take a little time off and not feel like you’re doing something wrong.
[00:11:45] Yeah. And if you were any good at what you were doing, your friend was always very eager to give the pager back when you returned.
[00:11:51] He always was. Always was. Yeah.
[00:11:54] So so let’s talk about lending and finance. So so what are so so tell me about how did you get started in lending and how did you get your first customers. And I think one of the things I try to do on every one of these episodes is, you know, want to talk to the folks out there that maybe are thinking about getting into the sales field or getting into lending or getting you know, what what kind of things did you do to get started?
[00:12:22] Because I know things have changed, but the fundamentals, I think, are always there. Right. The the fundamental things that you have to do to get started and succeed don’t change to build those relationships can can be tricky.
[00:12:36] Yeah. You know, currently right now, probably even a little more tricky since you don’t have that one on one relationship with a lot of even the agents you talk to, you’re talking to him over the phone. So it’s probably even a little bit harder right now because of the covid, because because of the ability not to go out and have lunch and write and meet people and get to know them. But I. I knew a few people from being in the car business. Mm hmm. That is a great Segway. And I knew numbers pretty well. Numbers have always been pretty good to me. Pride goes back to keeping score in the bowling alley, right?
[00:13:11] Well, it is not over 300, I can say pretty quick.
[00:13:15] Yeah, 300. Your favorite numbers. Yeah, exactly. So you know that that was always pretty, pretty easy for me anyway.
[00:13:22] The whole math. So by the way, for the folks that may not know, 300 is a perfect score in bowling and. Yes. So that’s the significance. 12 strikes in a row. Yeah. All in the same game in this day. Right. That’s important. And somebody has to as somebody has to watch you do it.
[00:13:38] Yeah. Nobody sees it. Right. Right. Right. Yeah, exactly.
[00:13:42] So relationships, car business.
[00:13:44] And so you start out I knew a couple of people actually had some people want me to get in the real estate side of it in time, but I’d already started the finance side and I knew I didn’t want to. Nothing is a car business, by the way. I knew I didn’t want to stay in the car business, but I would recommend everybody sell cars for a year to learn how to be a salesperson, learn how to talk to people.
[00:14:07] Well, you know, it’s funny. That’s where I got my start as well. I started out at Koons in Falls Church, and I recommend that exact same thing. To many people. It is a great experience to try to get on the front line with the folks that way.
[00:14:22] I mean, the sooner you can you can you can make someone trust you that you’ve already won the game at that time. And I think that goes back to the way I grew up, too.
[00:14:30] Because you didn’t know a stranger, because everybody that you that you met was relatively new growing up in the bowling alley and meeting people and having to accept all sorts. Yeah. So, you know that that means a lot in the sales game, right. Because you and I both know that, as I said, just maybe as soon as you can, you can convince that person across from you that you’re trying to help them. You’re not trying to sell them. Right. Then then you’re going to win. Right. You know, and that’s why that’s all that’s what it takes to create those relationships. Yeah. It’s that that that ability or that humility, let’s say. Right. To to really care about the person sitting across from you. Right.
[00:15:05] So back in the day when you got started, what kind of things did you do to go out and meet people and build relationships, drove around again in 1984, Volvo.
[00:15:14] That wouldn’t really go straight, kind of worked. Keep it on the road.
[00:15:18] Have my bag phone I, I, my first loan was with an agent by the name of Jamie Herek. Like I say that, sure, I still do loans for Jamie Herek to this day. Wow. She worked in a little century 21 office at the time out in Buellton. Mm hmm. And I went in there one day and they said, you know, no one’s ever been in here on a case of someone will fax.
[00:15:41] It’s a receipt, but no one’s ever been in this office.
[00:15:46] We’ve never seen a loan officer come in there because having worked in Washington, it was too far from haunting and not knowing anybody.
[00:15:52] And in Northern Virginia and honestly being a little bit intimidated by some of the people in Northern Virginia, because they you know, I wasn’t there wasn’t how I grew up. And it’s different spirit.
[00:16:01] Well, Washington is definitely more of a country based than Northern Virginia. So most of my rescue, if you were lost, they tried to get me to spend the night.
[00:16:12] They did. They take it home. Right. That’s hilarious.
[00:16:16] Yeah. But I still do loans to this day for Jamie. So that was the first agent I ever did a loan for another lady out of that that office. But she she she left the area. Sure. Since then, because I’ve been doing this for a long time. So a lot of people have, but, uh, yeah, that’s but I just drove around to real estate agents, real estate offices. Right. Walked inside and started talking to people and say, you know, this is what it is. I trust you. Yeah. They’re going to give you loans. And then as long as you perform, as you well know, just as long as you perform in that client that you’re performing for is happy with that with that performance, then you’re it’s it’s going to grow because, you know, correct me if I’m wrong, but really all you want on your side of the business is for that transaction to happen without problems.
[00:17:06] Exactly. And for that client to be as happy with that lender as they are with the services you offer because you’ve had to work hard to meet that client yours also. Right. And now that your share is that client, right?
[00:17:16] No, you’re exactly right. You’re exactly right. So it’s it’s yeah. The realtor, the realtor lender relationship and the builder lender relationship is really it’s really important because you don’t want to do all that work on the front end and then have things go sideways on the lending side. That’s for sure. That’s for sure. So how many people thinking back do you think you had when you were out there? Kind of I say beat in the street. Right. You know, spending shoe leather, whatever you want to say. But how many people do you think you had to go out there and talk to before you started picking up clients? Do you think you were getting one out of every ten that you met? One out of every twenty. Were you getting arrested personally?
[00:17:59] I got a pretty high a pretty high relationship rate. Yeah. From the people that you actually had got to spend time with, the more the there. I mean, there were people that that I never ended up getting getting loans from.
[00:18:15] But as a rule of thumb, I caught on fairly quick with that group of people and you don’t have to. And for you guys getting in the business new in the business. Yeah. You don’t have to have that many good agents, right. To be successful. The matter is, you get you get two or three good agents, people that are that are actually selling a few homes a month. Yeah. You know, that’s a career for a lot of people as it is. And as I said before, if you do a good job, that particular agent’s going to recommend them, recommend you to to other agents they walk into, because the reason they’re successful is because they do the right things and other people look up to them. Yeah. So from there, it just kind of it just kind of grows. And obviously after twenty six years, it’s hopefully I’ve done a pretty good job.
[00:19:00] He’s got a business. Yeah, exactly.
[00:19:07] Michael Schnitzer here, president of Stanley Martin Custom Homes. During these unprecedented times with covid, we offer virtual platforms to bring our customers through the process safely. These are the same processes we’ve used for years with our overseas buyers. To learn more about our processes, pricing and floor plans, please visit us at we build on your lot dotcom. That’s we build on your lot dotcom.
[00:19:44] So so let’s fast forward to now. So how did you end up at first Heritage Mortgage?
[00:19:49] So the gentleman that got me in the business, a guy named Alex Wish, who was friends of my wife’s family, we’re still together. Yeah, we took over a company in 2000 called First Heritage Mortgage on October of 2000.
[00:20:04] There were five of us. Now we’ve got a couple of hundred people working somewhere amazing. And we’ve got some really, really great relationships. Yeah, relationships like like the one that you’ve got with Stanley Martin. We’ve got also and then several other builders that that we have relationships. And that’s really helped me tremendously being able to have those those builder relationships. One thing it does do one thing I think first Heritage is really good at, because we we do meet with a client today and settle alone nine months from now or six months from now. Right. It gives you the opportunity to create loans. Right. It gives you the opportunity to to help people do what they need to do. So they’re successful in the loan that they get down down on down the road.
[00:20:54] Right. You’ve got a long relationship with them. We say a long burn time. Right, because you’re working with that client for a long time before it actually goes to its final close where where the relationship is completed.
[00:21:07] Yeah, right. So, I mean, we we get to take people that maybe today couldn’t get a loan and then and then show them what they need to do, make sure that they can’t get a loan. Right. Whether it’s save money, whether it’s work on credit, whether it’s work more or those kind of things. Yeah, there are things that we can do to help them qualify for the mortgage once it gets there. And that’s that’s really gratifying. And that creates some really good. Yeah. Hirota.
[00:21:33] Yeah. No it does. It does. Well there’s a lot of folks that we’ve sent your way that still talk about you and the service you provide. So yeah.
[00:21:44] So, so what, what’s your favorite part about your job now. So you’ve got you started out, five of you, Alex and three other folks. Right. Right. And now you’ve got a couple hundred folks over there. Right. First heritage more. So obviously your your job responsibilities have changed over the years. So what do you like most about what you’re doing now?
[00:22:07] I, I still originate. Yeah. So Alex got out originating, but actually only just a few years ago because we always that’s what we’re that’s what we’ve always been good at. So I still originate and then I try to help other people originate. So I’m more on the production side, the origination side of the operations. Right. Alex and a couple other people, obviously, they take care of the actual day to day work and and see in all that part of it. So I don’t have to get too involved in that. Right. But I but I do train loan officers help loan officers with problems and and make sure that everything goes smoothly as far as the loan officers are concerned.
[00:22:46] Right. So from a training perspective, what kind of training are you? Is it is a coaching personality coaching or is it training? Technical training?
[00:22:56] It’s more so technical training, OK, it’s more so technical training, making sure they get I don’t know because I still originate. Right. I don’t really just just train because I do I do originate and I have a great team of of of five people total kind of myself that that originate my loans. Right. So that gives me time to help the other loan officers, but it’s more so just train them on how to do things.
[00:23:19] Yeah. Teaching them on how to use products properly, guidelines, that kind of stuff. Yeah. And that’s always changing too. Yeah. Yeah, yeah.
[00:23:28] So, so what. So let’s talk a little bit about covid and how is, how is the whole situation. 2020 It’s just been a bizarre year. You know, it’s maybe I mean it’s funny. We actually we’re actually recording this up on the main level of of a home.
[00:23:45] And we spent most of 2019 building a state of the art recording studio that we can’t use because we need more space and more air. And, you know, so so our whole plan changed on a dime. But how is how is covid affected you? And it’s really, you know, another just another thought to throw out there while you’re answering this. It’s kind of a bizarre situation, isn’t it, that we have a pandemic? The whole world is shutting down, but we’re so busy in our industry.
[00:24:14] It’s in it’s insane. It’s like a it’s a divergence of logic, almost. Exactly. Yeah.
[00:24:21] With technology that had already been in place, we had already seen the ability to to not have to be in the office as much with laptops, you know, cell phones, all that technology. So we already had loan officers that really didn’t come into the office that much. Our production staff, the processing team, underwriting team, they all. Pretty well stayed in the office together, right? But even then, just because of size, we would have a good underwriter move to Florida. We had a good underwriter move to California. We want to lose them. Right. So so because of that, we would let them work remote anyways, right. We’d already realized that we had the technology to do some of that. Yeah. So other than having to purchase a lot of equipment and set people up at home and we didn’t have to make a big shift now, the person home had to have good Wi-Fi. Yeah. And there was the expense of us, us giving everybody basically another workshy, another workspace which is right in with with the type of work we do. You need three monitors to get it off one laptop, but you need to have several screens open to. Yeah. To to look at the stuff that we have to look at to keep up with everything. Right. So, you know, there was expense associated with that. But as long as a person had good Wi-Fi in their home. Yeah.
[00:25:35] With, with VPN these days and the origination softwares that we use, as long as you’ve got that, you can kind of do your work from anywhere. So we did learn a good lesson in that. We don’t all have to be in the office.
[00:25:48] You know, we do I do two conference calls a day. So nine o’clock every morning with your with your team, nine o’clock every morning. We do a video conference with with the five of us on my team right here that we that we know what everyone needs to be doing that day and keeping who needs this help? Who needs this help. Right. What help does our processors need? Those type of things. So we do that call and then we have a two o’clock call the management team. Yeah. Myself and and seven other people that we do what we do. A management call that’s pretty into two o’clock every day. That’s pretty intense. Yeah. It’s used to be you can walk down the hall. Yeah, right, yeah. And and answer questions or bring up ideas and those kind of things.
[00:26:32] So I think actually this is going to be surprising. Mm hmm. I think it’s actually helped. Yeah. Because before as a management group, we didn’t set aside 45 minutes or an hour a day to talk to the other managers in the group.
[00:26:47] Right. About what we needed to do as a group to to make things that we do. Yeah. So I actually feel like our management team is, as is operated, better because we’re having to have this two o’clock call every day. I know it certainly has helped relationships and understanding where that frustration is and where this frustration is right. Between processing and underwriting and all those things. Right.
[00:27:12] And originations. So, yeah, it’s actually actually kind of made us more efficient on a management group. It would be nice to have all those people back in the office. And you’re exactly right. We’ve been so busy.
[00:27:22] Mm hmm. Most of our efforts have been making sure that we weren’t too busy and that we could. I mean, I think we’ve hired I don’t want to throw the wrong number out there, but I want to say about 40 people in the last four months.
[00:27:34] Wow. And that is the some more.
[00:27:37] That is crazy. Yeah. As you know, we’re were growing pretty rapidly. We’re now lending we have offices from South Carolina through Maryland now. Yeah. And we have some other growth that that continues to go on that you’re kind of involved with. Right. Indirectly, too. So it’s been wonderful. Yeah, absolutely wonderful. Yeah.
[00:28:00] What about what about the intensity of the workday, do you find? Because I used to spend a lot of time in the car. I would go to a meeting, I would drive, I would go somewhere else, I would drive.
[00:28:10] Now I was on the phone, you know, with clients and staff and the team in between.
[00:28:15] But I feel like I have very, very little downtime during the day now, you know, is one one meeting after another after another, and you’re zooming in or your Microsoft teams or Google Hangouts or whatever it is.
[00:28:28] And the level of intensity that I live with now is probably double what it was pre covid. Are you experiencing any of that?
[00:28:38] You know, I can I can I can certainly see that. I know now, you know, there for a while we were back in the office pretty well. Now at least several of us are. But that’s really only been over the last three or four weeks. Right. Right.
[00:28:51] Um, I know when I was not leaving the house to go to the office, that my my inclination was to get up and get on the computer. Right. Right. So you didn’t have that even that. Twenty five minutes.
[00:29:04] It takes you to drive the office to wake up a little bit of downtime, you know. Yeah, it is, yeah.
[00:29:10] Case in point, I’ve always been pretty good about working out a lot. Doesn’t really tell but yeah it’s been pretty good about working out. So I would go to the leave my house at, at six o’clock, be in the office at six thirty. Yeah. I’ve got a gym in the basement, work out for forty five minutes at my desk at seven 45 every day religiously for the last five years. Right. I’ve worked out since college started. Wow. Because what I found and I do actually have the ability to do that. The house. Yeah. But what I find is that I would get up and go get on the computer. Yeah. And once you’re sucked into that. Yeah. Then you can’t, you can’t pull yourself away. And then when you add to the fact that we have the lowest rates in the history of mortgages. Yeah. And the most home sales that we’ve seen since went zero for three. Yeah. I’m not sure if we’re back at those levels. Yeah. Pretty close, but I you if we had more homes to sell we probably would be. What exactly. We don’t have the homes to sell right now. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
[00:30:03] It’s funny you bring up the working now thing. I’ve got the same challenge and actually one of the very, very first things I did when covid hit was I set up the home gym downstairs. But it it’s not the same as I’m getting better at it. I’m getting back to it. It’s it’s a totally different experience. You know, when you go to the gym and you put your phone in the locker and you put your shorts on and you go to the equipment and you’re at it and you’re in your own zone and there’s nobody interfering with what you’re doing, you can get in a good workout. And when you’re when you’re in your house, it’s definitely it’s not the same experience and the same level of of intensity with the workout.
[00:30:48] That’s generally. Yeah, yeah. I completely agree. Yeah. Plus the whole waking up thing. You’re exactly right. Yeah. It’s hard to walk down the stairs and get on the equipment. Yeah. If you had a cup of coffee you’re on your way to the office. Yeah. Yeah. You’ve got time to get a little more motivated so. Yeah exactly. Yeah. So that’s the excuse we’ve got right.
[00:31:04] Yeah. Exactly. Exactly. Oh ten pounds and we’re going to ride it, we’re going to ride that pony all year long. All about. But I blame everything on covid. Right.
[00:31:13] You know what everybody is. Everybody is it’s that’s crazy is the definitely the excuse of the year. You should be covered twenty. Twenty instead of covid-19 now. Yeah definitely. So what.
[00:31:24] What about your what about your team, you know, have you noticed has everybody on your team done OK or do you have people, you know, just to kind of throw something out on our organization? I think I think we initially all went into shock. I think we we didn’t really know what was coming, and we made a lot of very quick decisions, and then we had to deal with upgrading some laptops and we had some technology issues. Right. We had webcams that weren’t quite up to par. And, you know, so we probably spent about three weeks, maybe a month going through that. And then I noticed that some of the folks on our team just started almost I don’t want to say went into depression, but I think the reality started to set in like the world had changed, you know, but we didn’t have time. Did you go through anything like that on your team?
[00:32:15] Did some folks have struggles or did everybody just adapt easily?
[00:32:20] You know, I mean, I’d like to think that we really didn’t miss much.
[00:32:26] We haven’t had a chance to say, well, you know what, Ferreti? We haven’t had a chance. Fair enough. You guys probably never, ever got a second to catch your breath.
[00:32:34] Actually, we actually had some pretty good downtime, I think in the very beginning of this that we didn’t, we didn’t have it went right into, you know, rates dropping all time lows, just about, you know, what we talked about March, right?
[00:32:47] Yeah. February and March when it all started. Rates were already low at the time. So we already had a lot of business. And then you drop into to where rates are just amazing. Yeah. And then they just kind of stay there and, you know, all indications are they’re probably going to stay there for a while longer.
[00:33:03] Yeah. So just a great time for anybody being in the real estate industry. Yeah. Whether whether we’re selling homes or whether we’re financing homes or whether you’re your clients selling homes or buying a home. Right. Couldn’t be a better time to to be doing that. Totally agree with you. Tell you what, it’s a real nice relief to to see people finally making a little bit of money on the homes that they purchased a few years ago. Yeah, because that’s what was missing for a long, long time, you know, no, I agree with you. Going up to 2004, you owned a home. You’d made some money on it. You could move into that four bedroom house and sit down if you wanted to because you had a hundred thousand dollars to put down. Yeah, that was missing for a long time. Mm hmm.
[00:33:43] Now, that’s true. And that’s coming back. Yeah. We’re going to get some more price appreciation, I think also. No, I completely agree. Good, good.
[00:33:55] Like what you’re hearing on the Go with John show. Please share it with your friends. They can sign up at Go with John Dotcom. So let me shift gears on you. OK, so any back to Bolinger Kowsar, we know and I know we’ve moved up, but you know what is so funny? It’s just so funny. I, I actually sat down a few years ago and chatted on on microphones with a dairy farmer out in Shenandoah County, and she spent her whole entire life milking cows twice a day, 2:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m..
[00:34:42] And I was like, yeah, I mean, she’s she’s she’s 80 years old now and she’s still my neighbor and I still see her. But it’s really a you know, she’s never gone anywhere, never gone on vacation. And she’s been there for the cows her whole life. And it’s really an interesting thing. So when you brought that up, it kind of caught my attention.
[00:35:00] Yeah, I mean, it is. Yeah. And even even as a kid growing up, just having the one cow that was. Yeah. That was still a big responsibility because if she didn’t get milked within a certain amount of time, you know, real quick you start yelling at you.
[00:35:13] Yeah. But yeah. And you had your dad doing it in the morning. You only had to get the one shift. Right. I’d do it.
[00:35:18] You kept a lot of times dad would wake me up on the weekends. Come on. Milk for me would you.
[00:35:24] Most time I got up and milked for on those days we’d we’d trade and I’d do it in the mornings. Yeah. Yeah. Because he wanted to, he wanted to stay in bed but no doubt I don’t blame him. Yeah.
[00:35:34] Why have kids if you can’t shed some of your responsibilities on him. Right. Yeah. Yeah, yeah.
[00:35:40] So, so any challenges or any, any obstacles that you hit along the way that you feel like you can chat about and, and maybe how did you overcome them. Did you hit any struggles along the way? You know, I think in the real estate industry we obviously had the financial collapse of 2008.
[00:36:02] I don’t know how that impacted you, but you know, any other that’s definitely the biggest thing that that that we saw hit our industry in that and that we’ve had that we had to work through was that 2007, 2008 cycle where pretty well everything everything went away. Production for me probably went to about 40 percent. Fortunately, my my production that was still I was still a great little boy, so I wasn’t too concerned about that. But but that was definitely tough. And there were definitely times when, you know, you didn’t know if the company was going to make it. Yeah. You know, you got all this overhead. You don’t have a lot of business.
[00:36:39] So that’s a pretty stressful situation. I’ve been in that boat a few times. It’s after after 9/11, I had some challenges with my marketing company. It was really tough to get through that.
[00:36:50] And that’s that’s a hard and, you know, we sit here and talk about it for five minutes, but when you’re living in it, you’re talking about going to work every day. You know, when we were when we went through that cycle, Mike Schnitzer and I were in the office pretty much seven days a week. You know, we were in there with clients on weekends and, you know, solving problems and working through you know, we had to work probably ten times as hard for every sale, I think, because folks were scared. I mean, it was a really difficult time to buy a home because the financial markets were going crazy, the all the things you were going through. So, you know, take us into that a little bit, if you can. So when you’re going to work every day and you’re you’re trying to put on a happy face for the customer. Right. But then you got to turn around and look at your books, you know?
[00:37:42] Well, of course, there was business during that time period, so it wasn’t like there wasn’t business. There were rates after the that period dropped. So there was actually a little bit of re5 boom to from a lending standpoint, to work it out.
[00:37:54] What what was so difficult for lenders at that time was that if you sold a loan that that someone foreclosed upon, you could have what’s called a buyback where you had to basically buy back that two hundred thousand dollar loan or whatever it was.
[00:38:09] Right. And what does that mean exactly? So if you have to buy it back now, you have to pay.
[00:38:13] You have to come out of pocket with a thousand dollars, right? Yeah.
[00:38:16] So you have to have enough enough income to to to generate to keep going. And that’s why a lot of lenders didn’t make it during that, during that phase. Very proud of the fact that we did make it. Yeah. For one thing, we didn’t do a lot of the the loans that that that were sent back to lenders because they weren’t they weren’t done properly. You know, all the loans that went went through at that time. Yeah. The No doc loans that you could walk declared income. Yeah. If you had a 700 credit score, you could walk in and and you could do a hundred percent financing. And we have to verify anything. Right. You know, and it wasn’t really our fault because you would have the big companies, the, the Countrywide, the Wells Fargo come and said, hey, on that second trust, I don’t want to I don’t even know if they’ve got the assets right. You know, if they got a 700 credit score, they’re never going to default on. Anything I blame the whole thing, obviously was a lot of greed involved the sharks, the the bonds and everything that were available. But I blame the whole thing on credit scoring. Mm hmm. Maybe one of the few people that do that. But the industry felt like at that time, if you had a 700 credit score, you would never default on your loan. Mm hmm. Right. And then a lot of people do. Everything was good. Yeah. Yeah, everything’s good. You had a seven credit score. You can walk in. We could give you an 80 percent first with one company, a 20 percent second with another company. You could do 100 percent financing. You could do no, doc, you didn’t have to verify anything in those loans. You know, it got so people weren’t buying houses for houses. They were buying houses just as investments. Right now we don’t have that right. People are buying homes for homes. Yeah, they’re not. Although I’m sure there are some some speculators out there that are that are buying homes in hopes that they can sell them rather rapidly, not necessarily flippers, but but other people, too.
[00:40:00] But, you know, at that time, they weren’t buying a home or a lot of people weren’t buying homes as as homes. They were just buying as as investments. Yeah. You know, you’re not crazy. You got.
[00:40:10] Yeah. So, yeah, some folks would buy a home in a new community. I was under construction and they would pay 600000 dollars for it. Absolutely. And they would own it while it was being built and they locked in their price and by the time it was delivered to them, they could turn around and sell it in some cases for eight hundred thousand dollars. I mean, it was going up that much in the cycle of a year. Right. And then and then when the music stopped. Sure. And you had people who bought homes for eight or 900000 and all of a sudden the market crash. Now, they couldn’t sell them and they owed more on them than they were worth and couldn’t make the payments.
[00:40:50] Yeah, and it wasn’t just the new home buyers they were, but there was a whole industry of folks out there that just absorbed inventory and drove the prices up and the lenders and the appraisers and it all just worked together. And bam, there you have it.
[00:41:08] And then you also got into to the the word of mouth where mom and dad, who worked really hard and and had never made a whole lot of money, you know, the normal person like you and I were their friend had made sixty or seventy thousand dollars keeping it keeping a house for six months. Yeah. You need to do this. Yeah. We’re going to do it again. Right. And then so that all just snowballed into people that weren’t even speculators that turned normal homebuyers into speculators. Right. So I mean, I’ve got my and it was years later for some of these people where we’ll get rid of those homes and and a lot of people didn’t walk away. Right. You know, you’d like to know that a lot of people didn’t lock away. A lot of people held the investment. You took the beating and then sold it when they could.
[00:41:51] Yeah, but yeah, I have friends that got caught in that, you know, there at the end. Yeah. This guy just made that much. I’m going to buy this house. Yeah. You know, they, they were the ones that got got stuck holding the bag.
[00:42:04] Yeah yeah. Yeah. Makes it. No it’s all about bad times though. Yeah. No no no no.
[00:42:09] It’s about you know it’s about but it’s about getting through it. Right. It’s about you know surviving is so so, so I think one thing that I could say about you for sharing your whole organization over there is everybody came to work every day just like we did. Yeah. And we met with the clients and we worked our way through it. And we just took one day at a time. And it was it was a struggle for probably about eighteen months. I mean, I think it it was. Yeah, yeah. I think I think it was a really, really tough time, but, you know, and then it becomes the new normal and then you kind of work your way out of it, which is kind of going, I’m going to find ourselves in here this time.
[00:42:43] I think probably on the lending side, we were probably a little more fortunate than you guys were. Oh, yes, absolutely. We did have those refinances to to help pay the bills during those times and keep you busy and have some good days in between the bad news.
[00:42:57] Yeah, that’s for sure. That’s always works that way.
[00:42:59] Yeah, definitely a good industry. You know, the thing that.
[00:43:05] That that keeps me doing it, John. Yeah, tell me, is is I really genuinely like that person that I get to meet on the phone and I’ve gone to trying to set up phone calls. That’s fun. Yeah, it’s fun getting to getting to getting to know somebody and learn about them and find out whether you have something in common or not. Exactly. I agree. That’s what does it for me. So we pretty well try to have two people that that will set up calls for me now. Talk about scheduling call so they’ll schedule calls. And I try to do the video call with everybody that I can just so they do see in and. Again, if you care and I feel like I do care if you care about that person that sat across the desk from you, then they know that. Mm hmm. And that doesn’t come across if you don’t get to meet them. So I think that’s very that’s very important. But I really, really thoroughly. I know not just making that up. Of course, Joy, that I enjoy that. And, you know, whether that person across from me does enjoy that or not. Right.
[00:44:08] Well, you can’t be in this business and not enjoy it. I mean, you’re you’re talking to I mean, we’re we’re you and I are probably talking to I mean, you’re probably talking to more people than I am at this point. But you’re probably how many people a day do you think you meet new people?
[00:44:23] Oh, I knew people a day or a week.
[00:44:28] Yeah. Let’s let’s say five a day. Five a day. So you’re twenty five people that I really talk to. Yeah. And then you and then you probably have how many. Two or three or four conversations with them over the course of. Yeah. Yeah. So. So that’s 25 new folks a week is. Yes. Yeah. And I think I’m solidly doing about three to five a day. About the same on that. Yeah. It’s, it’s, yeah. It’s pretty, it’s definitely, it’s definitely a grind for sure.
[00:44:55] I if I firmly believe that that’s, that’s the big trick to sales is not selling anything. You know, the exact big trick to sales is, is helping people seek to understand you achieve what they want to achieve. Yeah. Yeah.
[00:45:10] So do you have any any advice for the folks that might be listening, so about being a lender, about being a dairy farmer, about being a bowler, you know, any words of wisdom, any messages for your for the youngsters that might be listening out there that are wondering what to do with their lives?
[00:45:29] Do I go to college? Do I not go to college? Do you know? Did you go to college, by the way?
[00:45:33] You know, however you did for a little while. Yeah. And I decided I want to be a professional bowler.
[00:45:38] Right, right. Right. Yeah, yeah. How many years of college you go to. Yeah, I just went to one. Yeah. So at the time you left school, were you scared. Were you like I might make it a big mistake here. No, no, no.
[00:45:48] Because I was working at the bowling alley which is all I’d ever done. So you were good, you know, I mean, it’s all I had done. I had a lot of experience in that, so I wasn’t worried about that. Right. And I always thought that I wanted to own a bowling alley. Yeah. That would probably be where I ended up. Dad never owned his. He just worked at one. Yeah.
[00:46:05] Do you ever regret not going to college, finishing it out no matter what? I never did. Yeah. I didn’t go to college either and I regret it either. It was not it was not my space at the time.
[00:46:17] You could actually made me better, John, because I had to work really, really hard, you know, when I was in the tortilla industry. Let’s talk about that for a minute. Yeah. I mean, you’re you’re at the you’re at the plant at five o’clock in the morning. Yeah. And you’re trying to get 100 people to do things they really don’t want to do.
[00:46:34] Yeah. You know, for the next eight hours. Yeah. Because you’re running that particular shift. Yeah.
[00:46:38] And none of the work that they did was a lot of fun. So that was really hard work. The bowling alley was seven days a week. Uh, the car dealership, same thing. You know, it’s that was that was, you know, six days a week at the time. Yeah. I have to say that mortgages, it’s by far the easiest job I’ve ever had. And obviously I’ve been doing it for 26 years, so. Yeah, but I think that’s I think there are some experiences that that young people need to have to develop the work ethic necessary to to make any type of sales position work for them. A lot of people can have that that ability to to to connect with people and and create those relationships. But you still got to have the work habits to make the rest of it happen. There’s still a lot of other things in there. It’s not just about meeting that person. You’ve got to be able to to perform once you’ve done that. So I would I would highly recommend anyone to to be in the sales field, whether it’s selling real estate, selling, selling mortgages, whatever, whether whatever they’re selling. I mean, I think that’s a great way because you and I both know we reap what we sell.
[00:47:49] Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. If you work hard, you’re going to be successful, guys. Oh, I totally agree with you. Absolutely. No matter what you do, you just got to work hard at it. Yeah. Yeah.
[00:48:00] So so college is not for everyone, that’s for sure. You know, and if it’s not for you, find your own path, cut your own path and. Yeah. And but yeah, I agree with the work ethic. I think work ethic is everything.
[00:48:13] I think that’s the one thing that all the successful people that I meet along the way, the one thing they have in common is they’ve got a strong work ethic. You know, some folks took the college path, some folks didn’t.
[00:48:27] You know, some folks are entrepreneurs, some folks are doctors, some folks are lawyers, but they all work hard.
[00:48:33] All I had to work hard to get there. And even if they did stay in college, you start talking about some of these other professions. You had to work hard to be able to do that profession, you doctors and. Yeah, and those kind of things. A lot of people went through college and just breezed through, they didn’t have to work hard, they didn’t have a goal. So, I mean, if you have a goal and and to reach that goal, you need to go to college. And I highly recommend that.
[00:48:56] Absolutely. Well, there’s no question. Yeah. If you want to be a doctor or a lawyer, you got to go to college. Yeah. You want to be an engineer or absolutely.
[00:49:04] Yeah. But if you don’t know what you want to do. Yeah. I can’t necessarily say that college is the right place for you. Maybe the first couple of years, but then by then you haven’t found your special purpose, then it might not be for you. Yeah. There’s a lot of different training programs out there. I folks can get a hold of now I hear you. Well Jerry, anything else you want to add? I think I’ve added quite a bit.
[00:49:23] I think you have to do a fantastic conversation. You did great. Well, listen, so we had Jerry Berry here today with First Heritage Mortgage. Fantastic conversation. Thank you for sharing your story with us.
[00:49:34] And we’ll have some information online so the folks can find you. And again, thanks, Jerry, for coming in.
[00:49:41] It’s a pleasure working with you, John. John always has been. And I look forward to the future.
[00:49:45] Me too, Jerry. Thank you. All right. Take care.
[00:49:54] Hey, I hope you’ve enjoyed this episode of the Go with John show, please subscribe on the podcast platform of your choice and keep up with our latest episodes and what’s going on with the show at Go with John Dotcom. That’s go with John Dotcom