RatesAreHot.com is a comprehensive digital portal that provides mortgage solutions backed by an experienced staff of mortgage underwriters. Their services entail helping you figure out how big of an amount you can afford for a mortgage and consequently help you pre-qualify for the required loan. A bonus here is that the services are fast and free.
Ratesarehot.com was co-founded by Lygia deWit and Jeanne Riley, both being very ambitious and successful women with an elaborate background in the mortgage and financial industries. catches up with Lygia deWit for a brief tête-à-tête on the founding of ratesarehot.com.
Kindly give our readers an introduction to your business.
RatesAreHot.com is an online “Mortgage Prequalification Company” that myself, Lygia (Leesha) deWit, and Jeanne Riley created together. We both have been in the mortgage industry since the early 1990’s. Jeanne was a FNMA Mortgage Underwriter and I ran a Mortgage Broker Branch as well as closed loans for an attorney’s office here in Delaware. We started the business during a time when there were no FICO scores nor was there automated mortgage underwriting, and Sub-prime mortgages were unheard of. Everything back in my day was submitted and approved manually. Toward the late 1990’s and early 2000’s when sub-prime mortgage loans were created and adjustable rate mortgage’s were being pushed and everybody including the Pizza man were “getting in the mortgage business” we knew that we had to do something different. I was tired of seeing everybody that walked through my front door with 500 scores be easily able to obtain a mortgage loan yet “not really qualify.” We decided to create ratesarehot.com in hopes of enabling people to feel good about their finances again by obtaining a mortgage loan that they can actually afford. The website will pre-qualify you for a mortgage purchase or a mortgage refinance, whether you are considering a cash out refinance or a home loan refinance to lower your rate, ratesarehot.com can help you. We are staffed with live mortgage underwriters and the service is free to all consumers. Everyone in this country needs to be pre-qualified for an actual mortgage amount that they can afford. It’s all about affordability today. If the result comes back that you do not pre-qualify than you will need to go back and think about your personal finances or save more money for a down payment or not take out as much home equity. The whole point of the website is to show transparency, accountability and clarity to all of our customers. It is possible for you to obtain a dream home maybe not a million dollar dream home but a dream home that is suited to your current financial situation. The point is to help people get pre-qualified for a home loan at an amount that they can afford to pay for the next 30 years.
Kindly give us a brief description about yourself and your colleague as co-founders of the company.
Ms. Jeanne Riley has more than 20 years of management experience in the mortgage and financial industries, and is an accomplished entrepreneur. Ms. Jeanne Riley is the Co-Founder of RatesAreHot.com. Prior to this business endeavor, Ms. Riley spent four years as the co-owner of Amerimore Financial Corporation. In this role, Ms. Riley managed the company’s sales production and tracking. She was also responsible for overhead, capital, and expenses.
Before this, Ms. Riley was the vice president of a leading mortgage net branching company. She also has experience working as a branch manager and sales manager for several established mortgage firms and was a Fannie Mae and FHA Direct Endorsed Mortgage Underwriter. She is also an avid volunteer, and has completed numerous marathons for cancer research.
I, Lygia (Leesha) deWit am the Co-Founder of RatesAreHot.com with a background in FHA, FNMA, FREDDIE MAC and VA Financing. Previously, I’ve served as the President and owner of Amerimore Financial Corporation. My duties included running a branch operation located in Maryland and Delaware and my specialties include Mortgage Underwriting and Analysis as well as Pre-qualifications and Pre-Approvals. Prior to becoming a successful business owner, I was the branch manager of a leading mortgage company. I also served as the residential manager of a leading lender. Before stepping into management, Ms. deWit supervised the accounting department as well as completed settlement transactions for Mid-Atlantic Settlement Services.
What ignited the spark in you to start a new business venture?
When Sub-prime mortgage loans were initiated years back I never believed in it. I was already in the business for quite a while so these new loans started coming out and everybody seemed to qualify when in actuality nobody qualified. On top of that every mortgage company known to man was competing for people with 500 scores. I knew in my heart for years it wasn’t right. That’s why I know ratesarehot.com is right. People are now being pre-qualified the correct way by experienced mortgage underwriters and it’s free.
What three pieces of advice would you give to college students who want to become entrepreneurs?
I would definitely suggest the following:
1) A good educational background in business so you can use it for future management requirements. Education is a must… get educated and stay educated.
2) I would suggest students to write down your strengths and your weaknesses and grow upon your strengths, throw out your weaknesses and keep updating the list. As you grow and get older your list will grow too. But by the time you are in college age you should have a fair idea of what your strengths are.
3) Start young. The risks and the falls are much easier to bear if you don’t have anybody relying on you. Also, do something you love.
What motivates you?
That’s easy. Competition motivates me. I love good competition. I want to win.
How many hours do you work a day on average?
My business is my life when you own your own business the day pretty much never ends.
How do you generate new ideas?
Somebody once told me that no idea is a bad idea and I agree. I try to always keep an open mind and think out of the box. It is too easy to get caught up in day to day activities and lose sight of everything that’s going on outside of your tunnel. I try to concentrate on keeping an open mind and ideas normally come along. I continue to stay focused and work on one thing at a time. I normally plant the seed in my brain and continue to think about it and stuff just flows. I also enjoy brainstorming sessions. I keep a journal and write everything down. Even if I don’t use those ideas, a journal allows me to go back and look at it and that leads to more ideas.
What is your greatest fear, and how do you manage fear?
My greatest fear is failing yet my greatest reward is failing. I used to be so afraid of failing until I failed and now I’m not so afraid anymore. I look at it like a learning experience. I’m actually thankful for my failures as long as no one is getting hurt I look at it as a good thing. I find that the best way to manage your fear is to plunge into it and face it head on.
Where did your organizations funding/capital come from and how did you go about getting it? How did you obtain investors for your venture?
Good question, when we first embarked on this idea we didn’t know anything about seed money or venture capital funding and we spent the first six months researching that. We first went to friends and family and received very little money however, anything helps when you are starting a new business. We soon realized that if we were able to get a substantial amount of money than we knew we could get more. We just kept going to people and continued pitching our ideas. We believed in the idea and were passionate enough about getting this out there in front of people that we knew the money would follow. We also received a lot of no’s from investors so if anybody is reading this and thinking about starting a new business be ready for the no’s however the no’s only drive you until you receive a yes. There’s nothing like your first yes.
How did you decide on the location of your business?
We were chosen to become a tenant in the Emerging Enterprise Center at the New Castle County Chamber Building so that has been our home for a year now.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
Every obstacle we overcome is a satisfying moment for us. There have been so many and each one is less and less celebrated because we are so used to them now. However, when we accomplish something great we do spend time reflecting and learning and growing.
In one word, characterize your life as an entrepreneur.
I would say “Gratifying”.
Where do you see yourself and your business in 10 years? 20 years?
I see my business growing by leaps and bounds within the next 5 years. We have so many fresh ideas that we would like to implement right away but everything takes time. You can’t grow a website business overnight. We are excited and eager to keep moving forward with this mortgage pre-qualification engine and we are excited that it is finally reaching our audience. We have been working on this nonstop now for 3 years.