Making Homeownership Possible

Written By: Bonnie Wilt-Hild

I know everyone has read an article or two in which I have stated the importance of the social aspect of why we underwriters do what we do. Homeownership or the preverbal roof over our heads is one of the most important aspects of human civilization and over the past couple of weeks I learned from a personal standpoint just how much this and a few other things that we often seem to take for granted mean to us as people and to our families.

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A couple of weeks ago, the glorious State of Maryland in which I reside were pummeled with a few weather events and a small earthquake which caused enough mayhem for me at least to last a lifetime, or at least a year. It started three weeks ago with the small earthquake, which by the way never occurs in Maryland, occurring on a sunny Tuesday afternoon. There I was, in my kitchen during the last week of August, having just sat down after doing a few things around the house and suddenly I realized that that was not my son’s stereo making the floor shake. My dogs bolted for the back door when I heard the glasses begin to rattle and just as I jumped up, it stopped. I ran in to the living room thinking I was losing my mind and asked my son if he had felt that tremor. He of course said yes and that he thought it was an earthquake. The concept of an earthquake seemed a little over the top for me but when I went outside, my neighbor confirmed what my son had said, it was an earthquake. Everyone was of course fine but when I walked to the side of the house I notice that my chimney had detached from the wall of the house and finally looking down that my back porch had slid forward on the concrete block and the steps had cracked. Ok, so I was going to have to have that fixed.

I went into the office the next day and my manager began talking about a hurricane named Irene. Now I will say that for the most part I tend to live in my own little envelope, my world is a lovely place, but I do occasionally emerge for current events. Needless to say, I wasn’t really concerned about the hurricane; those things never hit us either, until of course Irene. Long story short, I woke up Sunday morning, 5 days after our little earthquake, to 5 or 6 inches of water in my basement, no electric, a downed pear tree which demolished by fence and tore all of the electric cables off the back of the house and a few other things that pale in comparison to the big stuff. In the end, I was without electric for 6 days, no hot water, no lights, and no way to wash clothes or even really begin to clean the water mess out of the basement. Now all of this sounds really trivial compared to what a lot of people go through during natural disasters but I have to say after a week of not having these things, just some basic stuff we take for granted, I was becoming pretty unsettled.
This past Friday evening, electric was finally restored and I was able to do some wash, start cleaning up the house and of course make a pot of coffee. I have to say, not having the use of a coffee maker was far worse than not having hot water. Not that having to boil water for a bath is fun either but really, no coffee? At any rate, by the end of Friday evening I had finished the wash including washing all of the bed clothes which were beginning to smell musky from all of the dampness that permeating the house and when I finally decided to go to bed, I can’t beginning to tell you what an overwhelming feeling of well being something as simple as clean sheets and blankets can give a person and it really made me think about what an impact we as underwriters have on a person or families overall sense of well being. It does not just own a big house or a small house; it’s about a safe haven, somewhere clean

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And warm to care for your family, make your meals and yes sleep and if it belongs to you, it seems to be far more secure.
When you pick up that next file, don’t approach it as case or the next file in the drawer, look at it as someone’s request to own a home. Don’t just look at the credit score and appraisal because people and communities are more than that and deserve greater consideration then a three digit number. Finally, remember the decision you render on the case will ultimately affect how your borrower lives so decision the loan carefully. I am not saying that all borrowers are ready to own their home but for those of them that are, be diligent about helping them to achieve that. Happy underwriting all and have a great week.

About The Author
Bonnie Wilt-Hild
- As an NAMP® staff writer, Bonnie currently serves as a senior instructor for FHA Online University ( as well maintains a full-time mortgage underwriting position as the Senior FHA DE Underwriter for a major lending institution. With over 25+ years of senior-level FHA/VA Government underwriting experience, Bonnie is considered the "Queen of FHA Loans". If you're interested in becoming a writer for NAMP®, please email us at:


Opinion-Editorial (Op-Ed) Disclaimer For NAMP® Library Articles: The views and opinions expressed in the NAMP® Library articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect any official NAMP® policy or position. Examples of analysis performed within this article are only examples. They should not be utilized in real-world application as they are based only on very limited and dated open source information. Assumptions made within the analysis are not reflective of the position of NAMP®. Nothing contained in this article should be considered legal advice.