By Clay Neely
Buying a home is a defining moment in a person’s life.
With that transaction comes a wide range of emotions – hope, excitement, fear and uncertainty.
For more than a decade, Ray Evans has been a top producer and branch manager with an emphasis on streamlining the mortgage process to a flexible, transparent process.
Because there are many lending options available, Evans said it’s important to showcase what makes Element unique – the availability and service level of a local company that controls the process from A to Z.
Clients needs and wants can vary, so Element is designed to meet them where they are. Some embrace technology while others prefer a personal touch.
“It’s a scary transaction for many people,” Evans said. “We want to alleviate the fear of the unknown, pull the curtain back and give people a clear understanding of the process –what to expect – and answer any questions they may have.”
With a background in real estate and technology, Evans joined Element Funding in 2007, right before the housing crisis decimated the industry. Evans said those lean years taught him it’s not about simply putting together a mortgage plan for clients, but also acting as personal consultants.
“The industry itself is very competitive and cutthroat, much like real estate and cars but with very similar margins,” Evans said. “That makes you showcase what makes your company so special.”
Since opening their doors, the privately owned company has lent over $6 billion and remains debt-free. Each month, Element maintains a $1 billion credit line. But in the end, Evans said it’s not about how much a client qualifies for – it’s about what fits their needs.
“A lot of people don’t have a financial plan and may not understand the ramifications of creating that debt,” Evans said. “They may not know their needs until we explain the process. We look at their budgets and help them reach their goals – both short and long term.”
It takes several moving parts when constructing a mortgage. With comprehensive access to attorneys, CPAs, homeowners insurance and financial planners, Element is designed to create a total solution for any client.
“During the process, it’s important to touch them in ways that make a difference,” Evans said. “Through education and answering any questions, it helps reinforce what they’re doing.”
The culture of respect isn’t exclusive to Evans’ Newnan branch. For him, it’s a top-to-bottom approach that sold him on working for the company over a decade ago.
“I respect the leadership of this company, doing things for clients they didn’t have to do,” Evans said “We offer more options than most and with those, it gives our clients more flexibility. We provide everything we can and set expectations appropriately.”
With the number of options a potential client has for obtaining a mortgage, Evans said the strengths of Element lie in its flexibility and hometown approach.
“We’ve tailored our company to be a high-powered mortgage company, but with a hometown feel,” Evans said. “Our office is a family home and that’s an environment we’re trying to foster.”
With the company headquartered in Atlanta, Element’s branch locations have local decision-making authority to offer mortgage loans for residential properties primarily in the southeastern U.S., and the ability to handle mortgage financing in a total of 49 states.
Evans is personally licensed in Georgia, Florida and Alabama, helping customers purchase not only their primary residence, but investment and vacation properties as well.
“We provide more flexibility than bigger companies, which means we can close quickly, but make any adjustments that would normally take our competitors a little longer,” Evans said. “
On May 30, Evans and the Element family are inviting the public to an open house to get a glimpse of the vision they’re building. Strategically located between Newnan and Thomas Crossroads, the office is designed to be a cozy, accessible place for all clients.
“For us, it’s about exceeding expectations and ming a transaction a pleasurable experience,” Evans said. “Our biggest job is listening. We facilitate – we don’t sell.”