Catina Smith is a realtor with EXP Realty in Nashville, Tennessee, and also a GREEN member. For Catina, real estate is more than a job; it’s more like a calling. In significant ways, her work as a realtor is like a social mission that involves helping others attain the American Dream of home ownership using tried and true financial practices that lead to positive, stable, and lasting experiences of home ownership.
One particular group that Catina endeavors to help is people who have less-than-perfect credit. In many cases, these people actually earn enough to own a house. However, because of poor life choices or lack of education in the area of personal finances they need help to “get their house in order” so as to be able to become home owners.
For these people, Catina transcends being customer-focused and becomes a mentor and life-coach for her clients, teaching them about credit and credit repair, budgeting, and goal-setting. What are the best upgrades/ special touches to add to a home that can be enjoyed while living there but also pay off when homeowners decide to sell?In each case, the end game is to position these people for home ownership that is based on a clear, balanced, and responsible understanding and management of their personal finances.
GREEN was fortunate enough to get invited to tag along with Catina as she conducted a Home Buyers Class, particularly intended to assist people with credit issues. The following is a series of excerpts from this seminar held at Logan’s Steakhouse in Cool Springs, Tennessee.
Catina discusses the initial examination of the potential home buyer’s credit situation. What kind of debts do they have and what can be done to pay them down? How do student loans impact a client’s ability to buy a home and what options are available?
It is important to understand the ins and outs of one’s personal finances. Catina urges her clients to sit down and do a budget, listing in detail exactly where their money is going, so that they can better manage their money. One technique she recommends is that they create (and regularly fund) an emergency account… just in case.
Goal-setting is yet another piece of the puzzle. Often, people have vague hopes and dreams but they never seem to get around to converting these dreams to life goals. One must name these things as goals, then sit down and evaluate what resources are available and what is still needed. Finally, one must create an action plan for acquiring the needed items so that it is possible to move forward.
Clearly, the world is a complicated place. We do not always have all the resources we wish we had. What can be done? Catina outlines a number of strategies. As Winston Churchill once said, “Life is the art of the possible.”
…and she expands on these ideas…
As Catina wraps up her discussion of the process of preparing the potential home buyer to be an actual home buyer, we get a glimpse of her personal convictions. For Catina, it’s about treating people as you would wish to be treated and creating a good situation for her clients. Simply stated, she wants to put people in a good home in which they can thrive.
Here at GREEN, we are proud to count ethical and committed realtors like Catina among our membership. How you treat people matters. And be assured, ethical business practices can be very successful too. Just ask Catina, who cleared six figures in income last year!
So, if you want to buy a home and you are in the Nashville area, but need some help getting your personal finances straightened out, feel free to contact Catina Smith!