Sofia Nadjibi is a Bridge Loan expert from Tiburon, California focused on helping homeowners be “cash buyers” by leveraging the equity in their current home to buy their new one. She founded her company, Golden Gate Lending Group, in 2015 and since 1998 she has helped over 1,000 homeowners make a move.
In 2020 alone, Golden Gate Lending Group closed 44 Bridge Loans, representing 88 realtors that closed on deals that would not have been able to close otherwise. Of the homes that they helped close in 2020, 80% received an offer that was higher than the estimated value.
Most astounding of all, 75% of her bridge loan clients walked away with $100k more in their pocket, even after calculating the cost of home preparation, staging, realtor commission, and the Bridge Loan cost itself.
50% of those homeowners didn’t have to use any money from their savings, they came in with no down payment and they leveraged the equity in their current home into the new home.
Here are the excerpts from a recent interview we did with Sofia:
How would you summarize “what you do?”:
The way I like to say it is: “I create a bridge from heart to home as we educate HomeOwners and Real Estate professionals about the power of Bridge Loans.”
Here’s what that means: if somebody feels stuck in their home with no realistic lending solutions, or they have no down payment, we solve that problem with a Bridge Loan. A Bridge Loan helps you unlock the equity tied up in your current home to purchase your new home, and you are able to buy before you sell.
How did you get into your industry? How long have you been involved with what you do?
Back when I was in college I got a part-time job as a commercial mortgage underwriter and honestly, I hated it because it didn’t focus on people. That being said, I quickly grew to love mortgages and the opportunity to help people. Back then, mortgages were extremely creative and fun! But when the ‘08 crisis hit, loans became much more plain vanilla, and the creative aspect where you really got to help people went away.
I was pregnant with my third child at the time so I decided to take a step back and see where the market was going and where I could help people the most.
When my husband and I decided we wanted to move in 2010, we found our perfect home and used a Bridge Loan to help make the transition work. Because we used a Bridge Loan we had no sale contingency, got a discount on the house, and ended up netting money. After I saw how powerful Bridge Loans could be through my own experience, I knew they could be extremely helpful for others.
What makes you different from the majority of lenders out there?
I have been in the mortgage business for 25 years and I understand the ins and outs of very complicated lending scenarios. We believe that “there are no problems, only solutions” and our entire company focuses on this every day. Our area of expertise is Bridge Loans and we have a deep and sincere care for every customer we work with. I want to help retirees move when they don’t think they’ll be able to. Help families who have children and don’t have enough space and need to move. Really, I want to help anybody whose life can be changed by doing a Bridge Loan and we are always here to offer advice, whether we do the loan or not. We also have a strong network of other lenders that can help when we are not the ultimate solution and our goal is always to connect our clients to the best funding source possible.
What’s your driving force to do great work in your industry? What inspires you?
I’m inspired by partnering up and creating relationships with realtors and other mortgage professionals and educating them about the amazing possibility of Bridge Loans.
I have a client right now who is in contract on a home and got declined with a traditional lender. The client is pregnant and needed a larger home for their growing family. They called me in tears, but in less than 24 hours, we got them fully approved for a Bridge Loan. Now they can close on their new home and take their time to prep, stage and sell their old home for top dollars, and immediately after they sell, pay off the bridge loan.
Being able to help them and other people like them actually move into a new home that is going to improve their life is what drives me.
How have you gotten to where you are? What’s your key to success?
Simply put, it’s waking up every day and making a choice to do things right with a smile. I take my reputation EXTREMELY seriously and I am quite selective of the realtors, clients, and mortgage professionals I work with. I only accept excellence and we only work with highly ethical professionals.
I decided 3-4 years ago to ruthlessly live with the mindset “I’m going to give without expecting anything in return.” I want to leave my legacy as a giver, somebody who was always there for people.
What are some tips you provide to those who would like to be successful?
It all starts with your mindset. My dad in Sweden is my role model and he told me from an early age: “Be the most positive person you know and like being with yourself. If you don’t, no one else will.”
Throw your ego out the door and be a giver.
Focus on the only person you can control: yourself.
Reputation and relationships are everything in this world and remember that people will forget what you said, but people will never forget how you made them feel. Take that seriously: Be nice and take care of people!
Is there anything exciting that has happened in your business recently?
For all California homeowners over the age of 55, Prop-19 was just passed and goes into effect on April 1st. This means that homeowners over the age of 55 can move their tax base to anywhere in the state of California. If you have been thinking about making a move, you can now use your well-earned equity and use it anywhere in California. That’s really exciting for anybody in that demographic who is looking to relocate and wants to use Bridge Loans to make it happen since our loans are not income-qualified loans and work perfectly for someone on a fixed income and lots of equity.
To learn more about Sofia, visit her website follow her on:
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