The Financing Playbook (Ep.17) w/ The Mortgage Quarterback Jeff VanNote

Posted by Casandra Properties on Friday, October 23rd, 2020 at 9:59am.

Episode 17: The Financing Playbook w/ The Mortgage Quarterback Jeff Van Note

On the 17th episode of the Casandra Properties podcast, James Prendamano and Rebecca Matulonis sit down with “The Mortgage Quarterback,” Jeff Van Note. Jeff also hosts his own podcast called Deposit That, and he has extensive experience in the mortgage and loan industry.

Jeff Van Note grew up close by in New Jersey. As a kid, he competed in almost every sport except for soccer. He excelled in football, basketball, and baseball, but then dropped the latter two to focus on his dream of being in the NFL. In fact, Jeff’s uncle and namesake, Jeff Van Note played for the Atlanta Falcons in the ‘70s. Sports and competition run deep in his blood.

Jeff says he grew up going to Giants and Jets games, but he was never “a fan of a specific team.” He respects individual players, and he respects the hard work and the talent. However, remarks Van Note, if I had to pick a favorite team, I guess I’d have to say the Greenbay Packers. They have a vested interest in their community. That’s how I think. The NFL is run by privately held entities with a lot of money behind them. I treat it for what it is now a money play. It’s growing increasingly hard to stay fan these days, James Prendamano agrees.

Jeff Van Note was already doing mortgages and not yet even out of college when he witnessed Lehman Brothers collapse . .  I was a senior in college eating Halal take-out, and I was watching grown adults carry their lives in boxes out of Lehman Brothers. It was so surreal, everyone agrees. Behr Sterns had gone down a few months before that. I watched huge Wall Street corporations dissolve in the blink of an eye. Jeff adds, “All I kept thinking about was I never wanted to be ‘that guy.’ I never wanted my destiny to be in someone else’s hands ever. No one is going to tell me the ship is going down; that’s why I steer the ship.”

An empath, Jeff Van Note emphasizes he has a lot of compassion for people, therefore, he tries to help them, prepare them. Everyone was blamed for that crisis – the real estate industry, the banks, the mortgage companies, the consumer. At the end of the day, says Jeff Van Note, everyone needs to take responsibility for it. “It all stemmed from a lack of education and a ton of greed, said Van Note, and it started on a governmental level. People were being pressured into homeownership, instead of ‘let’s educate them and help them get a job,’ it was ‘Let’s get them a loan on a home and they don’t have a job .’

Everyone in the podcast studio agrees that when all is said and done, we will not be judged on how much volume we moved – but how much we did to serve and give back to the community.

“You should feel impelled to leave a mark in your industry, impelled to leave a mark on the community,” says James Prendamano.

Jeff Van Note agrees. “While the accolades and awards are nice,” he says, “I measure my success based on what I’ve done for my clients – like the families in the Bronx who had previously denied mortgages, now own homes. People who reach out to me today, whose homes we closed in 2008, 2009 . . . I think of the number of people and families I’ve been able to help and it makes me feel good.”

Jeff, however, is a little hard on himself when it comes to his own financial success. Rebecca Matulonis vehemently disagrees, noting of all of his past accolades, including several national ’40 Under 40’ Awards.  

 “You have to live through mistakes in order to become more intentional,” says James Prendamano. “We all have those ‘would have, should have, could have’ moments. As you become more intentional in what you do, that’s when you really see the dividends multiply. You will see how all those relationships in the next ten years will flourish and everything will click into place.”

James Prendamano emphasizes that you have to go through challenges or crises – like Hurricane Sandy, like the crash of 2008, like Coronavirus -- in order be successful -- in order to grow as an individual -- in business -- or both. These crises are what build our character, tenacity, and problem-solving skills.  

In fact, everyone thinks that should be the new measure of success and/or a critical question the banks should pose to their borrowers. . .

A return to local banks, grassroots banking on the Northeast is necessary. In addition, Jeff Van Note stresses the importance on preparation and accountability. You need to advocate your clients; you need to fight for them against arbitrary issues with the banks – who use a one-size or several-sizes-fit-all model. Rebecca Matulonis and James Prendamano agree.

Because of liquidity issues, the big banks may not be able to provide you with a commercial mortgage loan within the time frame you need. Private lenders and creative financing are options are also viable options.

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