Nina Arnaiz became President of Premia Relocation Mortgage in 2019 after holding several positions within Premia Relocation Mortgage. She is responsible for the overall execution and profitability of the company.
She started with the company in 2002 and was quickly recognized for her abilities to grow production, lead conversion, customer service and referrals. As VP of Sales, Nina was instrumental in testing, designing and implementing of several systems, including Premia Relocation Mortgage’s DigitalMoveTM mortgage platform. Under her direction, the sales team has increased customer service and loan conversion to company highs. Nina is very energetic and has very high expectations when it comes to customer service and earning someone’s business.
Nina holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business and Administration from Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, scuba diving, cross-fit training, and spending quality time with her husband and 3 kids, Andrew, Alessandra and Olivia.
Intro: [00:00:01] Broadcasting live from the Business RadioX Studios in Atlanta, it’s time for Customer Experience Radio. Brought to you by Heineck & Company, real estate advisors specialized in corporate relocation. Now, here’s your host, Jill Heineck.
Jill Heineck: [00:00:19] Welcome to this very special edition of Customer Experience Radio. I’m your host, Jill Heineck, and I’m a business owner, real estate advisor, and customer experience enthusiast. As many of you know, my boutique real estate group has specialized in helping families move with or without a job for the last 20 or so years. Relocation has many moving parts, and it takes experience, expertise and patience to coach our transferees through the process. As relocation partners, we serve as an extension of the company, an outsourced relocation department, if you will. And the main goal is to alleviate the HR. and management team of having to know all things relo. By partnering with experts in each area of the relo, it becomes a smoother and less stressful experience for both the company and the transferee.
Jill Heineck: [00:01:06] So, that’s why I’m excited to have Nina Arnaiz on the show with us today to talk about her company, Premia Relocation Mortgage, and how they’re delivering a great client experience in today’s climate. Premia’s service model is built around serving the unique needs of customers’ relocating due to employment. Nina became president in November 2019 and is responsible for the overall execution and profitability of the company. Over the years, through our trade organization worldwide, ERC, I have come to know Premia as a highly regarded team of people who are committed to delivering at a high level, and all the while maintaining a great sense of humor and sense of calm during what could be an extremely tense time. Welcome, Nina.
Nina Arnaiz: [00:01:49] Hello. Thank you for having me.
Jill Heineck: [00:01:50] Hello. I’m so happy. I’m so happy to see you. How are you and your family faring? Everything going well at the home office?
Nina Arnaiz: [00:01:57] Yes. So far, so good. We’re staying safe and healthy. Everyone’s good. And I think we’re finally past the scary times as I call them. And things are really good. We’re happy. I’m happy. Things are, actually, we’re beyond that month of March and April that was really difficult. And I think I’m just looking forward to the upcoming month. I think things are looking much better. So, I’m happy about that.
Jill Heineck: [00:02:25] Great. I’m so happy to hear that we’re feeling the same way. So, you are based in the Detroit area, right?
Nina Arnaiz: [00:02:32] That’s Troy, Michigan, to be exact.
Jill Heineck: [00:02:34] Okay. And when will you be going back to an office?
Nina Arnaiz: [00:02:39] Good question. So, our office never really closed. We’re looked at as essential, part of the lending. So, I’ve had a few of my team members that have actually stayed going into the office. They just felt working from the office was better suited for them. With their kids at home and the technology, even though we have it, they didn’t feel it’s the best fit. So, they continued going in the office, and we’ve done plenty of precaution there. The rest of us have been working from home.
Nina Arnaiz: [00:03:10] The state has been opened, the stay-at-home order has been lifted, and we’re looking at probably returning back in the office sometime in July on a voluntarily status, if you’d like to come in. A lot of people I’m hearing, they’re done with the working from home with the kids, and spouse, and everything else, and they just feel like, “Okay, I feel comfortable enough as long as we’ve got all the safety measure and the protocols in our office. I’d like to come in back in the office.” So, we’re not looking for a few more weeks. Anybody that would like to come back, they’re more than welcome to, but we’re not mandating it until they feel comfortable to come back into the office.
Jill Heineck: [00:03:48] Well, good. Yeah, it sounds like that’s kind of the overwhelming situation at the moment. Most states are kind of moving in that direction.
Nina Arnaiz: [00:03:56] Yes.
Jill Heineck: [00:03:56] Well, I’m glad to hear it. People are getting to come kind of sense of, “Okay. Now, I’m actually getting to have a change of scenery.”
Nina Arnaiz: [00:04:05] Yes. They’re all looking forward to, to be honest with you, Jill. Seeing each other’s faces and be together under one roof. With the social distancing and all of that protocol but still, at least, seeing the team instead of the Zoom calls, and the conference call, and all that stuff. I think people are getting tired of it a little bit. They want to see real human socialization again.
Jill Heineck: [00:04:25] Absolutely. Well, let’s tell our listeners a little bit about yourself and and your journey to where you are now.
Nina Arnaiz: [00:04:35] Sure. Gosh, it’s a long journey, let’s put it that way. So, I’m not originally from here. Actually, I was born in the Middle East, specifically in Iraq. Technically Chaldean, and it’s the Christian part, small population in Iraq. I moved here when I was young, and I had a little bit of English that I learned through going through Catholic school, but the proper English like pronunciation, “water, not water.” So, that was when one coming in here and try to understand what people are really saying. But still, I was really young when we moved here.
Nina Arnaiz: [00:05:17] It was in the summer, so there was no school, and I pretty much was glued to the TV for about three months. All I did is we lived at my uncle’s house, who’s lived in the country for 15 plus years in the State of Michigan, specifically, and I was literally glued to the TV. I’d sit there and listen to every show, and I would have the closed captioning feature at the bottom, so then I can write every single word down, and try to look it up in my dictionary, and anything I didn’t know or can’t understand in the dictionary what it meant, I’d have a list for my uncle. When he comes in home from work, I’m like, “Okay, we’ve got homework to do.” And I have him actually tell me what it meant and put it to me in a sentence. And that’s pretty much how I learned the language.
Nina Arnaiz: [00:06:05] So, it was it was hard, as you can imagine, like not knowing how to speak it, and the culture, and everything. But going to school in high school here, and going to college, and just working, and being in this country, it really made me feel it’s a great opportunity. Like this was the best decision my parents had make to bring us here. And I was so excited because I felt like you can make a difference on anybody, anyone, men, women. You can make that huge difference, and you can have that opportunity, and be able to be in that work. And I was never the kind of person that I wanted to stay at home and be a stay-at-home mom. Nothing wrong with that. I give so much credit for these moms that do it day in and day out. Now, after quarantine, I was like, “Get me out of here. I want to go back to work.” I want to go back to adult babysitting, not baby babysitting. But it’s a huge difference. And I love my kids, but I was like, “I’m not meant to do this all day, every day.”
Nina Arnaiz: [00:07:10] So, I literally went to college, and I got into the retail sector, and I met one of my customers. I was in the fashion. I worked for a retail store. My job was 100% commission, and it was to pull clothing collection, and build your own clientele, and call them when the collection comes in, and take care of them, and show them pieces, and that’s how you sell. And one of my really good customer was an HR director at a bank. And after working with her for three months, she’s like, “Okay.” She brought me an application and she’s like, “I’m not buying anything until you fill this application. You need to come and work for the bank. We need people like you with tons of energy, just really passionate, loves the customer service.” She’s like, “I’ve been here coming in for three months, and I’ve never been treated the way anybody’s been treated me. You’re on top of your service. You’re running back and forth. These are the people we need in our bank, and you’ll make a huge difference. So, we need you to come in.” And I was like, “I don’t know.”
Nina Arnaiz: [00:08:16] So, I filled out the application because she wasn’t going to buy anything, and I needed her to buy the collection. That’s how I get money. So, she bought everything, I filled out the application, she called me, I went in for the interview, and within a month like I decided, “Okay, I’m going to go work for the bank.” And I went in, and I absolutely love it, and it’s just a great opportunity. I was going to college at the same time.
Nina Arnaiz: [00:08:42] And my manager, at the time, after working, I started there as a teller, obviously, the basic, learning from the bottom, and I became a teller supervisor. And shortly after that, my manager said, “I want to teach you mortgages. I think you’re really good. You relate to people. You hear, you listen. You’ve got excellent customer service skill. You’re really good at teaching someone all the things that you learn, and you kind of simplify it down to someone who has never done something. You don’t take it for granted.” Like we know everything about the business, and I always try to simplify it to people to the degree where I always made the assumption they know nothing about a mortgage, and loved that.
Nina Arnaiz: [00:09:26] So, he taught me mortgages, and I worked at the bank for three plus years. And then, I moved then on to Premia Relocation Mortgage in August of 2002 through one of the people that I actually trained whose friend was a manager at a Premia at the time. And he took my resumé, he called me, and he kept saying, “Come on over, we need you here. You’ll be great.” And I’ve never done relocation. I didn’t know what relocation was all about. I knew mortgages inside out. So, I said, “Okay, I will come. So, I went, and I fell in love with it.” I started in August of 2002, and I was done with training, and I was on the phone in October. And I just found it so fascinating, so different and challenging. And I felt like you can make a huge difference in these people’s lives because beside buying a house and being the biggest investment of someone’s life, it is the relocation aspect of moving someone across the state and making sure you’re getting their family, their their pets, their kids, everybody. You’ve got so many layers and ecosystems to answer to. I love that challenge. And I felt like, “Okay, I’m always excited by something new and something – I don’t know – hard. I love that challenge.”
Nina Arnaiz: [00:10:54] So, I was very much looking forward to it. And I started there at the very basic as a loan officer in that October, and getting on the phone, and talking to transferring, and learning the business, learning all these companies and government agency that we work with. And I remember my boss, the president of Premia at the time, came to me. And shortly after I got on the phone thing, I think it would have been the end of October, and said to me, “Next year, you will be our top producer in production and customer service.” And he’s like, “I guarantee that’s going to happen.” I felt like the pressure was really on. I was like, “Wow, I really need to work even harder than I’ve ever worked,” just because this guy is putting all this faith. Like I’m brand new, I don’t expect to be number one. And I was, to be honest with you. I became.
Nina Arnaiz: [00:11:50] But I think one of the biggest lesson that I’ve learned that you can do anything you set your mind to. And I’ve learned at a very young age, my dad has always told me you’ve got to work hard for everything that you do and it doesn’t come easy. And oops, sorry. I’ve got great work ethics, in my opinion, that is very contagious. I think it plays a huge role today in me working with my team, and managing, and everything that we’ve done for me being a loan officer there, to being a sales manager in charge of a sales team, to a vice president of the entire sales organization, to my role currently as the president had just been me really working extremely hard and putting great emphasis on the overall experience in what we’re trying to do because I think that’s huge.
Nina Arnaiz: [00:12:52] And my model is always treat everyone the way you want to be treated. That’s the way I’ve learned. If I want to fight, pick up the phone, and call, and send an email, or anything, I want someone to take care of me right away, and make me feel comfortable, and make me feel like they can answer my question. And I feel the same exact way how we should be treating our borrowers and our transferees. Especially in the relocation business that we’re in, it’s very unique, as you know, and complicated. So, that’s kind of my journey. And I’ve been with the company for 18 years will be this August, and I absolutely love it, and I would never change it for the world. I love where I’m at. I love relocation. I can’t imagine doing just regular mortgage anymore. As complicated mortgages are, I love that complication and fascination of the relo on top of it. So, it’s a great opportunity.
Jill Heineck: [00:13:50] So, tell us a little bit, how big is your team at Premia?
Nina Arnaiz: [00:13:55] So, we are 68 teammates on. We have our [SIOS] team, which consists of all my loan officers. We have support, obviously, for them. We have our fulfillment team, which is our operation. And then we have my business development and client services team that you’ve interacted with a lot in a lot of regional and conferences that you probably have met. So, that’s all of us. And we work in two locations. The sales team, and support, and some of the client services team sits in Troy, Michigan. I’ve got some remote employees that are across the country. And then, we also have our fulfillment team that’s out of St. Louis, Minnesota. And we’ve got a few also fulfillment that are in remote setting as well.
Jill Heineck: [00:14:47] Excellent. So, why don’t you go into a little bit more detail about what exactly a relocation mortgage is versus a regular purchase mortgage, so our listeners have an understanding of that?
Nina Arnaiz: [00:15:02] Absolutely. So, mortgages, obviously, is a mortgage but relocation adds another layer of maybe a little bit more complicated and a lot more in-depth in terms of what’s happening. We’ve got a relocating transferee, who is relocating by their employer, and their employer could be a corporate client or government agencies that we work with. They relocate that employee for many business needs; obviously, for the talent from one state to another, most of the time. Very rarely that happens within the same state that that would be a relocation. But a lot of times, I would say 99% percent of the time it’s within different states in where we fit in as we speak with that transferee to help them get financing on the new destination home purchase. If they’re looking to purchase a home in a new location, we’re they are to help them.
Nina Arnaiz: [00:16:02] It’s an ecosystem that we work with. And communication is very essential in our business. When it comes to all parties, we work with the employee, which is the actual transferee. We work with the employer, which is the corporate client or the government agency. We work with the relocation management company or we call them RMCs; the relocation consultant, which is the person who is speaking with the transferee; and pretty much going over their entire relocation package and helping them, set them up with pretty much every single aspect of the relocation from home purchase, to home sales, to moving, to packing, you name it, everything, they do everything.
Nina Arnaiz: [00:16:51] Then, the realtor, like yourself, we we answer to all those five people. And our number one goal is to make sure we’re in constant communication, we’re delivering excellent service to all of them. And really, to me, it starts with the transfer. If we are communicating and we’re doing everything possibly we can to deliver that great experience to that transferee, they’re happy, they’re satisfied with us, they’re over the moon, that’s exactly what we’re looking to do because that will translate into a happy employer, happy relocation management company, happy relocation consulting, and obviously happy real estate agent when we give them all of that finish line in simple, easy steps as possible.
Jill Heineck: [00:17:35] So, what I’m hearing is that the communication strategy and plan setup for every relocation is going to be touching all five of those partners, which also includes the transferee. So, what I see for my business as well is that the customer experience really lies heavily on the communication, the level of communication that you have. Obviously, primarily with the transferee, and then also with the rest of partners, right, that are helping move that transferee along?
Nina Arnaiz: [00:18:14] Absolutely.
Jill Heineck: [00:18:14] So, what are some of the tools or strategies that you use to communicate, have your LOs communicate with the transferee along the way? Are you implementing a lot of tech tools? Are you including a lot of calls? What’s trending in terms of communication and keeping everybody in the know?
Nina Arnaiz: [00:18:38] Sure, great question. Yeah, our model in what we do day in and day out is really high tech, high touch. I love technology. I’m a huge advocate of technology and the technology that we have, and we use it tons in baseline and bars in the transferee’s need. But to me, first and foremost is the relationship. It’s the high touch aspect. Our business model, it’s all about our people and our culture. And that’s what we embed with our team when it comes to you being a business developer, a client service, if you’re a loan officer and talking directly to the transferee, or you’re a fulfillment processor talking directly to that transferee and getting them to the finish line.
Nina Arnaiz: [00:19:27] When we start talking to any transferee, we spend tons of time asking tons of questions. Every transferee’s need is different, just like all of us. They’ve got different needs. How long they plan to be in that new location for? How often do they do move? How do they feel about this relocation? How their family feels about the relocation? So, we spent the majority of our time, what I’d call, in the discovery process. Trying to uncover what exactly this transferee feels about the relocation, what their needs are, and customize based on that. Everyone is different. And you try to understand that instead of just going with the vanilla of, “Yup, you want to get a preapproval. Let’s get that going. There’s your 30-rate mortgage and rated product.” That’s not how we do it. We want to know you. We want to build the relationship with you.
Nina Arnaiz: [00:20:18] And we’re very much relationship based, not transactional based. We want to have a customer for life. When someone is done with us, we want them to be like, “I’m never gonna go talk to anybody else except talk to so-and-so at Premia Relocation Mortgage.” That’s really our goal. So, we spend tons of time at doing that to uncover what their needs are, what they’re looking for, what their family is looking for. And then, we start kind of walking through the process of getting that preapproval going. Teaching them how we can empower them when they’re out there working with a real estate agent like yourself and asking the right question, helping them with the negotiation and things like that.
Nina Arnaiz: [00:21:02] We ask for the agent information upfront. We pick up the phone, we call the real estate agent, we introduce ourselves, let them know that we’re here. There’s our contact information. If we have permission from the transferee to share their preapproval letter, we’ll do that as well on their behalf. They’ve got tons of things to do. So, we try to take as much of these things off their plate because they, also, not only have a relocation to do, but they also have a job that they have to do. So, we want to make sure we’re doing it.
Jill Heineck: [00:21:27] There’s that.
Nina Arnaiz: [00:21:27] That’s obviously where they’re getting paid for, we got to make sure we get down from A to Z, and still doing their job, and having to even [indiscernible] to all the bosses. So, it’s huge. So, pretty much, that’s the biggest component. And then, we’ve got our technology. We have our digital move, which is what we call it. It makes it easy when it comes to everything. If someone’s got the time on the phone and wants to get qualified, let’s do it. All it takes is 10 minutes. If someone says, “I don’t have the time, I’d like to do it in the evening, I’d like to do it on my phone, my tablet, my wife would do it for me,” we send them the link. They can go on our website directly, and they can literally fill out of that application in a matter of eight minutes. It’s so quick.
Nina Arnaiz: [00:22:12] And they get into our poll roll. So, they can upload their documentation, they can e-sign. We do the e-closing. And that has been huge, especially in the environment that we just went through to have, at least, not to have to go to a closing table, to have a transferee sign pretty much every single piece of documentation and maybe have to do a remote closing, what we call it, and sign the notary pieces in front of someone, and walk in and walk out in a matter of 10 to 15 minutes signing five pieces of document. And you’ve got a whole car full of kids, and pets, and dogs barking in that van with all the other stuff, it’s a life saver. Especially like with everything with the social distance and not to have to spend an hour or two hours sitting at a closing table in a timely way, that was huge. So, we rely heavily on technology when we need it, but I am a huge advocate of that human interaction. That’s how you build the relationship. That’s how you gain trust. And you can’t replace that by any technology, in my opinion.
Jill Heineck: [00:23:23] No. And what I find in the last 20 plus year is that we all know that something could potentially go wrong. And nine times out of ten, something does. So, we might have a snag here and there. Maybe something is not met, the timeline isn’t met exactly as we had anticipated or somewhere along the line, hadn’t produced the piece of paper or something we needed in a timely fashion, but I think it’s the way in which that we respond, and how quickly, and what we do in order to respond well to a snafu is how the customers perceive the experience, right. So, I don’t know about you, but I always say in the beginning there will be a bump in the road. What I can tell you is we’re going to do our best to either, (A), you’ll never know about the bump in the road; or (B), you’ll know about the bump in the road and the bump will be gone very quickly. So-
Nina Arnaiz: [00:24:26] You might hear about it. You might notice a little bit, but it will be solved very quickly. And I think it’s all about the team. To your point, I think if you’ve got people that you said the proper expectation up front, to your point, and always under promise and over deliver, I think that’s the best thing. And as long as they know you’re there to take them to the finish line with the least amount of bumps, to your point, I think that’s a huge relief for a lot of people, especially in the relocation mortgage industry versus a regular mortgage. None that it’s not difficult and complicated, but this is so much more complicated.
Jill Heineck: [00:25:05] So, when we talk about a relocation mortgage, we’re talking about the fact that a person happens to be relocating while they’re trying to get finance for a new property in their new location. So, is there any other specifics about a relocation mortgage that is different from a purchase mortgage?
Nina Arnaiz: [00:25:27] Absolutely. So, there’s a lot, obviously. For us, because we have been doing a relocation for 33 years, that’s all we do. We have to know how to do it and we have to know how to do it really good and better than anybody, in my opinion. So, we have been able to work really closely with the agencies, the Fannie, the Freddie, the investor, the FHA, the jumbo investors in making sure that we’re able to deliver. The mortgage guidelines are much more streamlined to these transferees because they are being moved by a corporation or a government agency. They’re sponsoring that move. They’ve got the backing. I mean, you’ve got to be a great talent, a great employee to be able to have that relocation offer to you. They want you to be with the company. So, why not be able to have some underwriting left? And that’s one of the things we’ve been able to work on. Getting a regular mortgage, you’ve have to provide paystub, W2, bank statements. A lot of documentation,
Nina Arnaiz: [00:26:29] Let’s put it that way. For us, we have almost every single thing verified electronically. We don’t need paystubs. We don’t need W2s. And I would say that 95% of the cases, we don’t need it. Very few cases that we might have to ask you for a W2, for example, depending on the loan type that you’re going for. But for the most part, we have an electronic, what we call vacation of income. It’s called the DIY, where, actually, all we’re plugging in is your name, Social Security, your date of birth, and we get pretty much your history in terms of where you’ve worked, where you’re currently working, what your position is, how much money you’re making. And we’ll able to use all the money that shows up in terms of base, bonus, commission all electronically. So, that piece.
Nina Arnaiz: [00:27:15] And we’re doing this at the time of preapproval. So, when you’re talking to someone, and you’re getting them a preapproved, and pulling that immediately, as soon as we get that, we’re able to validate and verify with someone that your employment income has already been verified, you’re done. And that comes as a surprise to a lot of people. Like, “What do you mean? You don’t need anything else?” We’re like, “No, we’re good.” And they love that.
Jill Heineck: [00:27:35] That’s huge.
Nina Arnaiz: [00:27:35] It is and they love that.
Jill Heineck: [00:27:35] That is huge. That’s the biggest complaint about most of my traditional purchase clients who are not relocating with a job. And then, they have to spend who knows how long trying to locate the documents, and then figure out how to upload the documents. So, while I’m glad that we can do that and have that access to technology, and most lenders are doing that now, knowing that you can take us with a relocation, that’s one or two layers of things you don’t have to think about, right?
Nina Arnaiz: [00:28:07] Exactly.
Jill Heineck: [00:28:07] And you just get on this call, have a conversation with you or your team, and you can have your preapproval letter right then and there, right?
Nina Arnaiz: [00:28:15] Yes. So, we’ve got that. We’ve got the assets where we don’t need bank statements. We don’t need them to upload any of those documentation. We offer that to all our relocating transport, in addition to, sometimes, we have borrowers that we’ve assisted and we relocated. And then, they come back and purchase a second home or refinance, let’s say, or their co-worker that’s not relocating had heard such a great thing about us, and they want to purchase a home, so they call us. So, we do offer that. We work with that population of our corporate client, what we call our employee base business. and we’re able to offer them that exact same technology. So, they don’t need to go out there and upload application. They go through our verification of asset documentation. It’s electronic. They log in directly to their bank and they’re uploading 60 days’ worth of bank statement right in there, and we go.
Nina Arnaiz: [00:29:06] But beside all of that great technology, we’ve got tons of lift for relocating transferee, specifically on a home purchase when they’re selling their departure home, for example. In the typical mortgage purchase transaction, as you probably are aware of, you’ve got to have that house sold, gone, a closing disclosure in hand in order for a lender to, what we call, exclude that payment from your debt to income ratio, so they don’t count against you. And not everybody qualifies with multiple homes, obviously. For us in relocation, we don’t need that because we have that company-sponsored relocation, because we’ve got the lift that we worked with directly with the investor, we’re able to offer things to transferee where the home is not even sold, and we’re able to exclude that home out of a debt to income ratio.
Nina Arnaiz: [00:29:56] We’ve got tons of guidelines underwriting why it’s lift that we’re able to help transferees on that. And we’ve got subsidy. I don’t know if you familiar with that, but a lot of companies, sometimes, when someone moving from a low-cost to a high-cost area, they offer what they call a cost of living subsidy to get them to adjust to that new high-cost area. We’re able to administrate all that stuff, and set it up on the loan, and take care of it. And that can range somewhere between a three to five-year term. And we set that all up as well.
Jill Heineck: [00:30:29] And that’s commission through the company that’s relocating them, sponsored by the company, adjusting their salary up or down, whatever it is, adjusting based on where they’re going. And then, that kicks in for a certain amount of time while they’re on the new job.
Nina Arnaiz: [00:30:45] You got it. Yes, it’s pretty much, for example, if you’re going from a $1000 mortgage payment to an area that’s going to cost you $3000, let’s say, for example, the company will offset as you are moving, let’s say, from Michigan, where I lived, to California. Much more expensive.
Jill Heineck: [00:31:02] More expensive.
Nina Arnaiz: [00:31:02] Exactly, high-cost living. So, then, the company will actually offset a part of their mortgage payment for you. And most companies will offer it. It goes really high in the first year and gradually drop, they’d need to adjust. Not to mention your company is adjusting, but it’s just a hard adjustment to go from $1000 to $3000. Obviously, that mortgage is one piece. The entire cost of living is much higher. Therefore, we adjusted that.
Nina Arnaiz: [00:31:28] And then, the other piece is direct billing, which is huge, as you’re aware of in the relocation that company allows us to advance funds. So, we actually don’t have the transferee come to closing. All they need to come to closing with is their downpayment, and their escrow, their escrow rate, and their prepaid interest. Their entire closing costs, which can be costly in some areas of the country, we actually advanced those funds upfront. And then, we get that money from the employer when we invoice that to them, and it could be 30, 45 days late.
Jill Heineck: [00:32:02] And that’s assuming if that money is part of their benefits.
Nina Arnaiz: [00:32:07] Yes, absolutely.
Jill Heineck: [00:32:07] If it’s not, then that’s another story but-
Nina Arnaiz: [00:32:09] Correct. They’re eligible for a direct. But sometimes, when they’re not, we also have relationship with these corporate client. So, we’re able to offer a lot of different benefit that they get very low cost mortgage in terms of what we would charge as a lender, for example, compared to what other lenders would be charging outside of the preferred network. In addition to that, they get extremely aggressive interest rate. And it’s all because of the relationship that we have with the client. So, there is tons of benefit there.
Jill Heineck: [00:32:42] Excellent. So, how many relocation mortgages would you say you do in a year?
Nina Arnaiz: [00:32:47] We’re about 2500 as of last year, 2019. And that number continues to grow. And that’s our goal, obviously, but somewhere right around there. And then we do also, like I mentioned earlier, our employee base. So, anybody that’s a nonrelocation, that’s a repeat borrower or refinance, it could be, or a co-worker, friends, family that we’ve worked with. The actual transferee, they were for friends and family over realtors. We work with a bunch of realtor that do relocation like yourself, but also non-relo. And then, walk with we offer, and how quickly we do things, and how efficient we are, and they refer their customer to us as well. So, there’s a lot of avenues there.
Jill Heineck: [00:33:32] Awesome. So, what are some things that you and your team, your leadership team does to empower, motivate, inspire your LOs, and your BDs, and everybody within the organization to deliver this high-level customer experience? What kinds of things are you doing to motivate them?
Nina Arnaiz: [00:33:54] Sure.
Jill Heineck: [00:33:54] Or to inspire them?
Nina Arnaiz: [00:33:56] Absolutely. So, it starts with me, to be honest with you. I have-
Jill Heineck: [00:33:59] I mean, hello, you’re the head honcho.
Nina Arnaiz: [00:34:04] I have very high expectations. Sometimes, they could be pretty tall, I’m being told, but I think it motivates the team. Personally, I think if you work hard and you lead by example, I think people will follow it, to be honest with you. I think I have been lucky for the entire time that I’ve been with Premia, and even not in management in the position I’m in, but just prior even, we have a great team of people, and they thrive. And it’s really, what I hear always, it’s my energy, my work ethic, and my dedication, it’s contagious. And I think I really try to lead by example.
Nina Arnaiz: [00:34:04] One of my biggest thing, if I work 10 times harder than my team, my team will deliver and will get somewhere. I don’t expect everyone to get to my crazy energy and my dedication all the time, but they do an amazing job. But I really try to do lead by example. And I always remind them that there is so much that that transferee is going through, and put yourself in that position, how do you want to be treated? How do you want your phone call to be returned? How do you want to be talked to? What do you want out of this? Trust me, I’ve got tons of people that works for me that have just moved within this state that purchased homes, and they’re like, “Wow, I can’t believe what our transferee we would go through in terms of moving across state lines. I totally sympathize, and get it, and have to do about it.”
Nina Arnaiz: [00:35:42] So, that’s usually my our model is I lead by example. And really, to me, it started the root of it is customer service is key. I think if you take the time to listen to people, to hear what they’re telling you to deliver, it should be a no brainer, in my opinion, for you to be their mortgage lender. I think really, that’s my model. And it’s all about relationship and customer service, and that’s what I live by. We do tons of things to make sure my team, we’re held accountable because, to your point, there is always sometimes bumps in the road, but I want to make sure there is less discovered. Let’s find out what it is, and let’s learn from it, and let’s make sure we don’t repeat it again.
Nina Arnaiz: [00:36:32] We do what we call a mid process survey. So, when we put someone in process, halfway through the process, we send them a one-question survey that just says, “How are we doing in the overall experience that you’ve got so far with us?” And it’s just one question, it’s a rating one to five, four and five being satisfied, very satisfied. Anything less than that, that e-mail comes directly to me, and I pick up the phone, I call that transferee. If anything is less than a four or five, I want to know what did we do? How can we improve on it? And I think-
Jill Heineck: [00:37:08] It’s probably a communication thing. Nine times out of ten, that’s probably what it is.
Nina Arnaiz: [00:37:15] Absolutely. And that’s the key, to be honest with you, for me. You have no idea how many times people, when we’ve called on the mid-process survey, when we survey them at the end as well, have no idea how many times, when I picked up the phone and called, and I’ve asked, “Hey, we’ve got your survey. You’ve rated us three, which is a neutral,” let’s say, “what we could have done better?” Even if we get a four and a five, and there is a comment in there that says, “You did amazing, but…” there’s that, “but,” I want to know what is that, what we could have done better. And it is amazing how often I get from transferee the fact that, “Oh, wow, someone actually read their survey, read my comment, and there to call me.” I’m like, “Yeah, it is.” It’s because they feel like they filled out a survey, it goes to some box.”
Jill Heineck: [00:37:15] And it goes into a black hole, right?
Nina Arnaiz: [00:38:04] Nobody-
Jill Heineck: [00:38:08] That’s what they think.
Nina Arnaiz: [00:38:08] Exactly, but we do. And it is amazing how the conversation people actually appreciate getting that feedback wanting to know what we could’ve done better. At the end of the call, they kind of like sometimes feel apologetic and like, “I’m sorry, I want to make sure you guys did a great job, but maybe this…” I’m like, “No,this is exactly what we want to know to make the experience better.” So, it isn’t amazing in how great and rewarding that is.
Nina Arnaiz: [00:38:36] And like I said, a key to me is communication. And that’s the part where I feel like our sales team does an amazing job communicating with our transferee, and we can always improve, in my opinion. I’m always pushing the envelope. How can we do things better? And then, our transition to our processer. So, it’s a two-team. Only the only people that speak with that transferee is our loan officer and our processer, and pretty much take care of that transferee from beginning to end all the way through.
Jill Heineck: [00:39:06] That’s amazing. So, do you have a great story that you’ve recently, like maybe be in 2020, COVID or otherwise, where, potentially, you’ve overcome something, or you just got a great review, or something that would be interesting, something interesting that our listeners would take away from?
Nina Arnaiz: [00:39:31] Sure. Yeah, we always get tons of great feedback, to be honest with you. And one of the things that always surprises me is as busy as our transferees with their family and the move, when we send them those surveys, they literally write paragraphs of praises about how-
Jill Heineck: [00:39:53] They’re not busy. They’re not busy [indiscernible].
Nina Arnaiz: [00:39:53] I guess not, but it really goes a lot. Like it goes like, “Wow, for someone to take time out of their busy move with what they have going on to sit there and acknowledge a great of a job that the team has done, it makes everyone, not just me, the entire team, when our processor, a loan officer, sees it, they’re like, “Oh, wow, I really made a difference.” It makes him feel like on peace. Like, “I want to go on for the next one.” So, we get tons of those.
Nina Arnaiz: [00:40:21] The most recent one really is one that I just … we had this borrower who, actually went to you, drove across the country – a spouse, two dogs and two children – over the course of several days to get to the new home.
Jill Heineck: [00:40:36] Oh, my God.
Nina Arnaiz: [00:40:36] They arrived the night before closing to a hotel at the destination stay. The next day, they spend less than 10 minutes at the closing table, signed those documents, the dogs barking in the car, the kids are screaming, but all was worth it because while they came there in their hand and walked into their new home. And that transferee literally wrote a huge paragraph about how amazing the process was, how great of a job.
Nina Arnaiz: [00:41:06] And then, like the blow to top it all, like you said, to put the cherry on top of that ice spring is walking into that closing thinking, “This is going to take forever. And even though you guys told that e-closing is so easy, it’s like I really did not think it’s going to be like that. I walked out with the keys. And now, we’re in our home. And the kids screaming excited and the dogs barking or running around. But they were over the moon with all that stuff. And we did tons of those with now with COVID-19, obviously, and even before. So, those are the things that just puts a huge smile on everybody’s face when we see this paragraphs of-
Jill Heineck: [00:41:42] Absolutely. So, did COVID kind of slow you guys down? Did it slow your processes down at all?
Nina Arnaiz: [00:41:50] To be honest with you, slow down from the fact that people were not out and about looking for homes, as you know. When the shutdown happened, we were still talking to people, we were still talking to our transferees, and just-
Jill Heineck: [00:42:02] They just weren’t like pulling the trigger because that’s we were.
Nina Arnaiz: [00:42:04] Exactly.
Jill Heineck: [00:42:04] We’re kind of circling, right?
Nina Arnaiz: [00:42:05] Exactly. We had to do that did actually virtual tours. It’s amazing the things that people-
Jill Heineck: [00:42:11] We were too.
Nina Arnaiz: [00:42:11] … can do. Exactly.
Jill Heineck: [00:42:13] Right.
Nina Arnaiz: [00:42:13] The real estate, it’s amazing. And people’s tolerance and acceptance to go out there and put an offer on a house with just a virtual tour via Zoom-
Jill Heineck: [00:42:23] I know.
Nina Arnaiz: [00:42:23] … or Facetime, I was like, “Wow! I give you guys tons of credit.” But people did it, but not to that degree. But for us, to be honest, we’ve been really busy. We had tons of businesses, and we are lucky to have the partners that we do from our clients, and RMCs, and the realtors, and the title companies. We really did not skip a beat when it comes to having to delay a closing or not being able to meet someone. So, that all went really well.
Nina Arnaiz: [00:42:56] And I would say the month of April was probably the month where there wasn’t tons of purchase transaction, as you probably know. And it picked up at the end of April and then May. It’s been crazy busy in June. It’s like relocation in summer times 10 maybe, times 100. It’s just really, really busy. And people are out there looking tons of homes. We’ve got tons of contract. And you could tell it’s a huge difference that’s picked up. And I feel like whatever we kind of missed, at least, for us in April, we’re going to more than make it in June. Like it is amazing how quickly it’s picked up. And we’re super excited about that.
Jill Heineck: [00:43:39] We’re definitely seeing that latent kind of spring and summer coming on in our market at Atlanta. So, I can only imagine. I’m hearing it from my partners from all over the country that it’s definitely blowing up in most markets. So, that’s a good thing, right? Real estate’s the backbone of the United States economy. So, we want to keep it going.
Nina Arnaiz: [00:44:02] The rates are so low.
Jill Heineck: [00:44:04] I know.
Nina Arnaiz: [00:44:04] I mean, it’s a great opportunity. I mean, oh, my gosh. I mean, it’s a great opportunity to purchase a home right now. Money is so cheap. Rates are so great. And guidelines are still there. I mean, for us, we didn’t have to make any adjustment to the guidelines. We’re still able to offer the zero percent downpayment, three and a half percent unconventional or three percent, I should say, on conventional. Our FHA VA program is still out there, and we’re still able to offer pretty much everything that we were offering pre-COVID 19, which is really great for people.
Jill Heineck: [00:44:39] Well, I am so happy to hear that. I’m glad we’re on the right track. And I want to thank you so much for taking the time to be with us today. I want to thank everyone listening. I am so proud to share this show with everyone as these stories prioritize the customer experience as a legitimate business strategy, reminding us that no matter the business you’re in – relocation, mortgages or real estate – the customer experience should always be the heart of the business.
Nina Arnaiz: [00:45:08] Absolutely. Thank you for having me. I want to thank, obviously, all our partners, our corporate clients and government agency, our RMC, our relocation consultant, all the realtors that we work with. It’s been a great journey, continues to be despite everything that we’ve obviously gone through. And at the end, I want to thank my team. The team has been amazing. They’re really the backbone of our company. And I couldn’t do it, none of us can do it without each other. So, I want to thank them and give them kudos every day for everything that they do day in and day out.
Jill Heineck: [00:45:43] Yay! Thank you, Nina.
Nina Arnaiz: [00:45:45] Thank you so much.
About Your Host
Jill Heineck is a leading authority on corporate relocations, and is highly sought after for her real estate industry acumen and business insights. As a published author, frequent panelist and keynote speaker, Jill shares her experience and perceptions with people from around the globe.
Jill is a founding partner of Keller Williams Southeast, established in 1999, and the founder and managing partner of Heineck & Co. Her real estate practice specializes in corporate relocations, individual relocations, luxury residential, and commercial properties. Jill’s analytical approach to problem-solving, along with her expert negotiation skills and sophisticated marketing, deliver superior results to her clients. Her winning strategies and tenacious client advocacy have earned her a reputation for excellence among Atlanta’s top producers.
While Jill has received many accolades throughout her career, she is most gratified by the personal testimonials and referrals she receives from her clients. Jill’s unwavering commitment to the customer experience, and her focus on the unique needs of each client, serve as the foundation of her success.
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