Most clients are looking for a speedy and suitable loan solution and low, low rates. Senior Loan Officer Brian Scott Cohen, with his team at Guaranteed Rate Affinity, manages to clear his clients to close in less than 30 days.* In fact, Cohen says he made the move to GR Affinity–which is relatively new to the NYC market–to better serve his clients.
Since venturing into the mortgage business back in 2004, Brian Scott Cohen has helped more than 7,000 homeowners in and around New York City, funding more than $5 billion in loans. In 2020 alone, Cohen managed to close $820 million in total loan volume. That’s not an easy feat in one of the nation’s most complicated and competitive housing markets; but it was Cohen’s strong work ethic that helped him become one of the most recognized mortgage professionals around. While Cohen just recently joined GR Affinity as a senior loan officer after 15 years with a national bank, his career-long philosophy has always been the same: be honest and consistent with clients.
“Being able to do what you say is important,” says Cohen. “When you tell a client, ‘We can give you this pre-approval letter’ or ‘We can lend in this building’– to actually be able to do it is really important. Personally, along with GR Affinity as a company, I stand behind what we tell our clients. It’s all about being honest. If I can’t do something, I’m the first one to say, ‘Hey I can’t do this, but let me help you find something else that might work.’ Doing this consistently over my 20-year career, you get to know the real estate agents, the buyers, and the referral partners. And once they trust you, they keep coming back.”
In the Customer’s Shoes
Born in Westchester County in New York state, the award-winning loan officer has been a proud New Yorker since his high school days in Manhattan. He considers NYC his backyard and loves that people are excited to move to the city. What he also loves is meeting with clients in person, but since the pandemic has led to an increase in online encounters, Cohen has been especially excited about GR Affinity’s array of innovative tech tools, which provide clients the option of engaging through a digital mortgage experience.
“GR Affinity has a lot of tools and technology that are hands down the best in the industry,” Cohen points out. “It comes from the top down through our CEO and our management. Their goal is to ensure clients have a great experience, and to make it as efficient as possible. “At GR Affinity, which specializes in condo and co-op lending, we have over 150 different loan programs. I want my clients to have more options and more flexibility with down payments. I want clients to know that when we search for a mortgage, we’re searching the whole market, not just looking at one place. We work with a lot of different investors.”
Although Cohen has risen to the top of his field, he hasn’t been going at it entirely alone. As a motivated, goal-oriented person, Cohen surrounds himself with a close team of like-minded individuals.
“Your team and the people you surround yourself with are super important,” Cohen says. “That’s for any industry and even in life, right? You want to surround yourself with good people. We understand that putting ourselves in the customer’s shoes is super important.”
And while putting the customer first is crucial, experience certainly counts for a lot in the mortgage business. Cohen says that the recent increase in the number of mortgage providers means that potential clients need to be more discerning having substantial experience in the field is what makes all the difference when it comes to choosing a loan officer.
“I think the competition is great, but I’m helping educate clients on the difference between working with me and working with someone else who has not been in the market for the last 20 years, because there’s a big difference,” Cohen points out.
Cohen has always loved the challenge of helping people to work through what is probably one of the biggest transactions of their lives. And the compliments he’s received over the years indicate that his clients certainly do appreciate Cohen’s help. One satisfied client remarked, “You will not find a more professional, intelligent, helpful, knowledgeable, competent and stellar loan officer than Brian Scott Cohen. As a first-time home buyer, I was utterly overwhelmed with the process until being referred to Brian, who instantly put me at ease. His strong work ethic, attentiveness and ability to collaborate with others made the process progress quickly and seamlessly.”
Another client notes Cohen’s incredibly fast delivery of results: “He cleared the co-op mortgage for me in 10 business days, from our first conversation by phone until ‘cleared to close.’ Unbelievable!”
But it’s not just clients who are raving about Cohen. More than a few well-known real estate agents in NYC have come to rely on Cohen as their “go-to” loan officer, whether it’s to secure a client’s loan or for help on dealing with any loan-related issues. One agent recently described Cohen as someone who “performs miracles and always gets the job done and usually in record time. It’s unbelievable. He doesn’t miss a beat.”
Making the Move to Home Ownership
Cohen sees it as part of his job to educate people on home ownership. New York City rent is famously expensive, and Cohen points out that there are times “when you can borrow money on a mortgage, and it’ll cost less per month than it does renting.” In the last 12 months, Cohen has seen plenty of new homeowners, especially renters wanting extra space due to the shift of working from home and generally spending much more time at home. And, there’s currently a lot more flexibility in down payments and certain credit scores, something Cohen hasn’t seen in years.
“Historically, there’s always been this myth of ‘I need 20 percent down plus closing costs,’” he explains. “Yes, that does help, because we’re in a competitive market with low inventory. But, at times, there are properties that are sitting longer and will take more flexibility, and we have products where down payment options start at 3 percent. It’s totally free to call us and find out what our rates are; it’s nothing to be afraid of.”
Above all, Cohen believes in the simple truth of making connections with people: “Treat everyone like an actual person instead of a business transaction. Build relationships. That’s my rule of thumb.”
Please feel free to call Brian at 646-584-8009 or email him at [email protected]
*GR Affinity cannot guarantee that an applicant will be approved or that a closing can occur within a specific timeframe. All dates are estimates and will vary based on all involved parties’ level of participation at any stage of the loan process. Applicant subject to credit and underwriting approval. Contact Guaranteed Rate Affinity for more information.
Operating in the state of New York as GR Affinity, LLC in lieu of the legal name Guaranteed Rate Affinity, LLC
GR Affinity NMLS: 1598647, Brian Scott Cohen NMLS: 410024 [16 Arcadian Avenue, 3rd Floor Unit C-6, Paramus, NJ] Equal Housing Lender. For licensing, go to www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org.