The Human Barometer Of The Real Estate And Mortgage Markets

The Human Barometer Of The Real Estate And Mortgage Markets
Reading Time: 4 minutes

By:  Rick Marschall

“Hard Work, Dedication And A Passion To Help Others”


Quick… what is Flint, Mich. known for? What do people think about first when they hear “Flint”? We will never be the first to say it, but a lot of people in the area and around the world might refer to the Water Crisis, or a heavy burden of social needs, or the residue of the shrinking auto industries and shuttered factories.

Wake up, people, far and wide.

Flint is roaring back. People are fast to cite negative statistics, but readers of Innovative Health Magazine know that there are many bright spots these days—the Water Crisis subsiding, a revitalized downtown, and lively programs and attractions.

There is a human barometer of Flint’s environment, and we are happy to introduce her to you. Who better to sense the changes happening and about to happen? Whose business is it to spot trends and respond responsibly? Who needs to understand the underlying basics of a local economy and the promises? To know what is underfoot… and over the horizon?

The answer to our quiz is: The person in the trenches of the real estate business and home mortgages. And the embodiment of that professional—what we call Flint and Genesee County’s “human barometer”—is Dione Oliver of Ross Mortgage.

Dione is not only a “barometer” of trends. She is a walking encyclopedia of facts and stats and values and the latest regulations of banks and government—old, new and those changing. Beyond these talents, she has optimism and creativity in her portfolio. She sizes up situations, sees the best paths for home buyers to consider, and instills confidence.

Any of these skills could serve as titles, but Ross Mortgage calls her Senior Loan Officer and Branch Manager (Flint office). And customers have called her “The Mortgage Lady” so often that it’s right there, on her business card.

Her affinity for all things Flint comes naturally, as the 40-something powerhouse was born in the Vehicle City. Her parents met in church and married right out of high school. She was 14 when she met her boyfriend… and her first marriage was also out of high school. She took classes at Baker and at Mott and worked in various office jobs, until a phone desk job at a ReMax agency brought her to real estate.

“Hard work, dedication and a passion to help others is how I have gotten where I am,” Dione said. “I was raised in a home with hardworking parents who always encouraged me to do whatever I set my mind to, and never to settle for anything less than what I deserve. I’ve had trials and tribulations like we all have, but I knew I wanted something different and something better for myself and my son.”’

Curiosity about a sales person who frequently left the real estate office with gifts in her arms—performance bonuses— led to conversations. When the sales lady started her own mortgage company, she remembered the magnetic enthusiasm of Dione, and hired her to work, at first, part-time. She soon graduated to Loan Officer, and was the company’s Rookie of the Year. This was 2003.

“The market was extremely saturated when I made the decision to become a loan officer. There was a great deal of competition,” Dione recalls, “and nonconforming loans were the in thing. However, I was encouraged to go after the government and conventional business by my mentors. I was trained to seek out referrals from real estate offices and other sources that would outlive any refinance boom and the nonconforming market.”

No surprise, but Dione moved up, and moved on, to other mortgage companies and broker positions in the area. In 2008, an appraiser friend recommended Ross Mortgage as the top of the line in her game. She worked in Ross’s Grand Blanc office, until 2016 when she became the Miller Rd., Flint Branch Manager… and most stories like Dione’s will say, at this point, “the rest is history”… but she made history and is still making history.

For instance, at the comparatively early point in her career at Ross Mortgage, she garnered awards and recognition. She rose to become a top-producing loan officer in the entire company. Dione disagrees with claims that Flint and Genesee County is a depressed market, as she consistently goes toe to toe with her Oakland counterparts for most units sold per month.

Among her awards are Ross’ “President’s Club”/Platinum Lender (three years in a row). The “bonuses” she once saw an agent carry to her car years ago have been replaced, in Dione’s case these days, by incentive awards like a trip to Aruba.

Ross Mortgage, which is an exclusive residential lender, has offices throughout Michigan, headquartered in Troy, but also has a network of offices in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Maryland, Delaware and Florida. Founded in 1949, the company has underwriting authority and retains control over entire real estate transactions, assuring competitive rates, quality service and fast responses.

Dione’s team in the Miller Road office in Flint Township is five people at the current time: Cindy Langston, Ericka Rudolph, Judith Parsons, Lisa Ragsdale and Donna Creason who is a senior loan officer as well. There are plans to enlarge both the office and the staff as business increases, and to provide work stations for borrowers who need help going online and getting documents from their banks and employers.

The increases are numbers that Dione knows by heart, and reflect the housing shortages and construction books in the local residence market. “There is a lot of overbidding,” Dione says, evidence of a tight market. “MSHDA – the Michigan State Housing Development Authority— has helped home buyers with aspects like down-payment assistance, virtual silent second mortgages, and, ultimately, minimal out-of-pocket starting figures.” And that is only one option for home buyers to consider.

If that all sounds dicey, remember that home mortgages were traditionally minefields for years…but somehow Dione Oliver knows and explains every step.

Beyond explanations to clients and borrowers, Dione is generous with advice for people who behold her rise in her chosen business, and what they should do to succeed as she has.

“Protect your name and reputation, as well as Ross Mortgage’s, in everything you do. Do your due diligence with pre-approvals… dot the i’s and cross the t’s. If you say you’re going to do something, do your absolute best to do exactly what you promised. Never tell someone what they want to hear. If you don’t know the answer, admit it and let the customer know you’ll get back to them with an answer as fast as you can.

“That’s how you earn the trust of customers, real estate offices and other industry partners.”

Dione Oliver is passing on life principles and helping borrowers find success along the roads to homes that she is happy to enable them to find.

Dione Oliver
“The Mortgage Lady”
Sr. Loan Officer/Branch Manager
NMLS # 169474
Cell: 810-625-7381
Office: 810-228-3823
eFax: 810-354-7511



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