By Stacy Bromley Hamilton
Grace Wilkins Maxwell used a chance meeting at a random Thanksgiving dinner table to fall in love with her future husband Jim and their partnership and love of horses would open many new conversations and opportunities for the pair. Jim, who has a background in law and accounting, began to introduce Grace to his friends and clients. As others came to know Grace, they found a dedicated equestrian who makes her career in the mortgage industry as a Loan Officer for George Mason Mortgage.
This unique combination of life in the horse world with a lending background presented Grace with many opportunities to solve complex residential lending challenges for her equestrian friends.
Some days it helps to be an equestrian
Grace says there are rarely dull days in her industry. She recently enjoyed a good laugh when one of her loans returned from Underwriting with a red flag because the borrower had many regularly scheduled payments to a single person via Venmo. To the processing staff, it appeared that the client was most likely making payments to satisfy a debt. When Grace heard the person’s name who was receiving the payments, she laughed out loud because her client was actually sending payments to her farrier. Her client’s show horse has an expensive, four-week farrier rotation, but to the underwriter it appeared to be an undisclosed child support payment. Grace knew how to help move the file through the process because she understood the circumstances and could speak to the regularly scheduled farrier payments.
In the equestrian world, financing property can be a huge challenge where strict loan guidelines with no room for exceptions is the norm. Grace uses her expertise in equestrian sports, as well as the mortgage industry to help guide her clients through unique residential mortgage lending territory with ease. Working closely with George Mason Mortgage and its parent bank, United Bank, Grace has been able to unlock a wide range of funding options for unique properties including equestrian facilities.
A recent client made an offer on a home with an equestrian farm in northern Virginia. Lenders were cautious approaching the situation and even appraisers had declined to offer an appraisal because of the acreage, size of the home, full barn apartment, hot water, wine cellar and various outbuildings. The property had many features and it was difficult to find a suitable lender. Fortunately, George Mason Mortgage was ultimately able to provide the financing on this property with one of its specialized portfolio products with the help of the client’s loan officer, Grace. The client now calls a beautiful horse estate home.
Grace loves to ride but more recently has refocused from her own training to her toddler son’s horse experiences. Just this summer, she watched him compete in the Leadline class at the Upperville Horse Show as the next generation of Maxwells in the show ring. Grace says the long, hot day was all worth it because the pictures were priceless. Grace currently has two horses under her care. After seeking a young horse to serve as her own mount and striking out in the search, the Maxwells ended up with Pongo, a 10.2-hand Pony of the Americas. Pongo seems to be the perfect first pony for her son to learn the sport. She recently secured a young colt that she will be training as he matures.
Grace can easily navigate between the challenges of the equestrian world and the mortgage needs of her clients, many of whom are in a situation where they need the expertise of an attentive and problem solving lender. Because of the strong backing of her team at George Mason Mortgage and United Bank, Grace can bring mortgage solutions from normal properties to even the very challenging ones. In the end, she says, “I always enjoy working with horse people.”
*This story was originally published in the September 2021 issue of The Plaid Horse. Click here to read it now and subscribe for issues delivered straight to your door!