60 REALTOR® SEP TEMBER/OCTOBER 2015 REALTORMAG.REALTOR.ORG
Steady Supporter on the Way to Stronger Credit
Like many would-be home buyers, Jarvis
Luster and his wife, Amy, of Aurora, Ill.,
were afraid their credit histories would
prevent them from buying a home. He
was beset by $195,000 in student-loan
debt, and past financial hardships still
plagued his wife’s credit rating. Their
credit scores hovered in the mid 500s—
well below many lenders’ requirements.
The couple had been paying $1,800
to rent a house. They knew owning would
be cheaper but weren’t sure how to boost
their scores. They found the help they
needed from their real estate agent, Sue
Wiskowski-Fair, CRB, CRS, broker-owner of Realty Executives Premiere in
Aurora. She connected them with agencies
that could help them repair their credit.
“They were really determined to
make this happen,” Wiskowski-Fair says.
Following her advice, the Lusters began
working with a company in June 2014 to
better allocate their debt payments and
raise their scores. It took nearly a year for
them to qualify for a mortgage. At every
frustrating turn, Wiskowski-Fair was there
to smooth their journey.
“She listened to us, told us where to
go and what to do, and didn’t try to sell us
on anything we didn’t
want,” Jarvis says.
Once they found
a home they wanted,
counseled the couple
on the extra mea-
sures they would have to take to satisfy
lenders, including showing proof of rental
payments dating back one year.
Now in their new home, Jarvis says
his credit score is in the high 600s, and
Wiskowski-Fair’s guidance was a crucial
part of attaining that goal. “We actually
miss hanging out with Sue,” Luster says.
“There were a lot of laughs along the way,
and she made the journey personable
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Timely Sisterly Guidance
Lillie Mary Adams had no clue what she
was getting herself into when she and
her husband, Terreance, decided to buy
their first home earlier this year. She had
just started working as a nurse, and the
couple and their two children were living
in a small house he owned in Chattanooga, Tenn. They decided it was time to
trade up, but their hectic schedules made
the idea of a home search overwhelming.
Although Adams’ husband was already a home owner, his credit score had
fallen over the years. So Adams had to
take a lead role in buying their next home.
She soon discovered how unprepared
she was. It was helpful, she says, that her
agent, Brandi Pearl Thompson, CRS, GRI,
Keller Williams Realty
in Chattanooga, was
also her sister.
“I let them know
what to expect,” says Thompson, who
also offered tips to avoid closing delays.
“She never realized what it was like
handling all of this. She has a different
respect for it now.”
Given her $20,000 in student loans,
Adams had to work with a mortgage loan
officer to figure out how much additional
debt she could reasonably take on. While
they prepared for their purchase, Thomp-
son also guided them through the pro-
cess of selling Adams’ husband’s home.
“I was shocked at all the little things that
are crucial in making it to closing,” Adams
But Adams considers it all a valuable
life experience. “Brandi taught me about
different loan options, things to look for
in a contract, and even how to get home
owners insurance,” she says.
Adds Thompson: “It definitely became
very stressful at times, but my sister will
be a much more informed buyer in the
Through Thick and Thin
When hurdles make the homebuying process difficult, real estate
professionals help clear the way.