Roshan Alavi: On the Hottest Housing Markets in 2016

As Senior Vice President and Manager of EagleBank's Residential Lending Division, Roshan Alavi's mantra is “Build a great team, work hard and get it done.” Over the years, she has managed high-producing loan officers, operations teams, and mortgage processing divisions plus provided leadership for various mortgage branch operations. Roshan has made the “Top 100 Most Influential Mortgage Executives” list by Mortgage Executive magazine two years in a row.

Roshan has built a very successful career in the mortgage lending industry, while also juggling a household and family, which includes her husband Hamid Alavi and two sons Cameran and Keane. Her A-Z knowledge of the mortgage industry has led to successful management opportunities throughout her profession. She shares her thoughts on what’s happening in the housing market and trending technologies that could change lending with us at Up Close va Personal:

What are some of the hottest and most affordable housing markets in 2016?

Believe it or not, the list changes all the time, but among the top are major cities in California like San Francisco, San Jose and San Diego followed by Denver and Colorado Springs and even some parts of Texas, like Dallas and Austin. Unfortunately, according to Zillow, 2016 will still be challenging for first time homebuyers in the low to mid-income range, due to stricter loan qualification and credit requirements. However, with rates having hit their three year low just last month, it’s a great time to buy, anywhere.

It's a fact that millennials aren't buying homes. Is that because they think they're unable to qualify or is homeownership not the American dream anymore?

It’s a little of both.  Millennials have not shown much interest in the house with the white picket fence.  They like living in urban areas and do not seem to mind renting.  This way they are not committed to one place or one city.  Recently, I attended a conference and one of the things that was noted was the average age of a homebuyer in 2015.  It was no surprise that the average age was in the low to mid 40’s.  That being said – Millennials make up the largest group of potential consumers/homebuyers that we have ever seen.  They want information to make their decisions and they want it digitally, in real-time.

What technology trends do you see emerging that could change lending? For instance, will consumer behavior data become more of a factor when weighing applicants instead of just relying on credit scores?

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have created their automated underwriting systems to help evaluate the borrower profile based on credit history, income and assets.  That has been around for a few years, but it’s always changing and constantly getting refined to meet today’s consumer.  More and more people are moving towards better technology for loan originations to meet the specific needs of today’s buyers.  In general, communication channels have changed dramatically, no one wants to receive a call anymore that their loan has been approved, they would rather get an email or text. You bring up an interesting observation – with so much electronic data available about individuals – could that be used to judge an applicant’s creditworthiness?  Certainly, electronic data of other types is playing a much larger role in our judicial system and workplace security.  Time will tell.

You've been a rising star in the mortgage industry. How would you characterize your management style?

I believe in hard work and leading by example.  I am not afraid to roll up my sleeves and do whatever it takes to get the job done.  But, the most important thing for me has been that I have built a great team that works hard and gets it done.  We could not be as successful as we have been without our team.  My team of managers are incredible and always support me.  I believe in positive reinforcement and providing a good working environment.

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Roshan and her sons Cameran and Keane Alavi.

As a successful Iranian-American business leader, wife and mother of two, how do you balance your roles as a woman?

Honestly, it’s a hard balance.  When my children were growing up, I worked a lot and my husband traveled a lot for his job.  It was important for me to be there at every soccer game. I volunteered at the kids schools (in Virginia) in the middle of the day and would drive back to work in Maryland afterwards.  I really tried to keep the priorities straight and do a good job at both jobs!  I had a lot of help and support from my family, and was lucky that I had wonderful kids and a supportive husband and parents.

Roshan and her husband Hamid Alavi

What do you like doing for fun to celebrate you?

Now that my kids are in their 20’s, I can actually do something for me!  I am in love with SoulCycle and try to ride at least 3-4 times a week.  It’s a great workout and it frees my mind of all the stress of the day!

Roshan and her parents, Abolfath and Mahvash Ardalan and siblings Faroukh and Babak Ardalan

Roshan and her parents, Abolfath and Mahvash Ardalan and siblings Faroukh and Babak Ardalan