A Code Red Day?


Ron White smoking signature cigar
Image via Wikipedia

My wife and I have a guilty pleasure – the Blue Collar Comedy tour CDs.  We’ve seen them countless times and have even seen Bill Engvall perform live.  We’re at the point where we have a lot of the dialogue memorized and yet we still laugh every time we watch them nonetheless.

One of Ron White’s routines involves the alert system for Homeland Security.  Amber, orange, yellow, red – what does it all mean?  His conclusion is that no one actually knows and that the system should be simplified to two conditions:  “get a helmet” or “put on the damn helmet.”  Simple, yet effective.

After a recent viewing I started thinking about the correlation between the security alert system and the mortgage environment I work in every day.  Over the last couple weeks things have been particularly crazy for my assistant, Sara, and myself.  So, I’ve decided at 6 AM in the morning, that what Sara and I need is some sort of arbitrary security coding system to give us an idea of what the day will be like so that we can plan accordingly.

First, let’s start with an ideal day and we’ll call it code green.  Code green is a mythical day in
which there is just the right amount of business – not too much, not too little.  All parties to our transactions are one step removed from sainthood, are reasonable and calm, have 800 credit scores and enough funds to buy several homes using just one of their many checking accounts.  It is obvious upon stepping into the office that our loans will practically close themselves without much effort from us.  We could drink beer and throw peanuts on the floor and then step on them if we wanted to, but we choose not to.

Next on our imaginary loan scale is code yellow.  Yellow days are just to the left of “enough business” or to the right of “too much business”.  Loans are a bit more challenging but overall this is not a bad place to be.  Customers have a few challenges with credit, income or assets but are fun to work with and great people.  We laugh with them and tell jokes that are just shy of inappropriate.  Sara and I get invited to their open houses and block parties.  Life is a bit tense at times but we laugh often and really enjoy working with one another.

Orange is next.  When Smokey the bear describes fire conditions, orange is just one shade away from danger.  Orange days are tough.  Suddenly even our most patient and well-balanced clients morph into Glen Close characters straight from Fatal Attraction. Transactions come together – barely – and everyone needs therapy when the loan is finally closed. Closings are a relief – not a celebration.  Shots of Jagermeister are needed prior to leaving the office.

Red days are just as imaginary as green but enough to make me wake up in a cold sweat when I dream about them.  Every customer wants a 203k loan and has freshly emerged from Bankruptcy court the week before coming to our office.  Their Realtor sets a closing date two weeks from the day the purchase agreement is signed and if we miss our closing date the world will literally end.  Upon closing, everyone ends up on the Jerry Springer show throwing chairs at one another.

In reality, Sara and I have a lot of yellow days with an occasional orange day here and there just to make life interesting.  Overall, we have a great group of customers and working with them is sometimes challenging but always rewarding.

It hasn’t happened yet, but if I ever get to the office and hear Sara tell me to “put on the damn helmet” I’m heading straight home.

Have a great day – I hope it’s a green one.

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