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I know some awesome people who run their own businesses here in San Diego and I want to shine a spotlight on them!

Every week or two I will interview and introduce a local entrepreneur who has gained my trust and respect, and might be able to help you!

For my fifth installment, I interviewed Sean Courtney who has built up one of the most highly regarded mortgage companies here in San Diego. Sean is a community-minded entrepreneur who is most concerned with making sure his clients are making the right decision for their circumstances. His sincere approach to building his community has led to a solid business, respect of many other business leaders and he has become known as a great resource.

How to reach Sean:


Here is a transcript of our conversation:

Hey. This is Jon with PaintGreen. I’m here with Sean Courtney who’s a mortgage broker who helps me get my loan on my house. It’s part of the series of interviewing entrepreneurs that I want to do and just wanted to shine a spotlight on Sean. So Sean, tell us a little bit about yourself. How long you’ve been in San Diego and what do you enjoy doing around here?

Yeah. Thank you, Jon. I’ve been in San Diego most of my life. I grew up out in Poway. I’ve lived down here in San Diego for about the last 20, 25 years. Went to high school in Poway, went to college at UC San Diego. Just obviously, it’s San Diego. I love being outside, mountain biking, playing soccer, getting to the beach when I can.

You’re one of those rare people that was actually born here and still lives here?

Not quite, almost. So I was actually born in New York, but came here when I was really young. So most of my memories are from here, California.

Oh, that counts. We’ll call you a lifer.

Thank you. Yeah.

So how did you get into the mortgage business?

It was a strange and winding road. Ended up in a time in 2005 when it wasn’t a great time in the mortgage industry. It didn’t have a great reputation, probably deservedly.

Yeah, all of those ARMs, right?

Yeah. Just a lot of … It was a boiler room mentality. If you’ve seen The Big Short, and how they were giving loans away, that wasn’t too far from the truth.


But after the crash things shifted and I’ve learned over the course of my life, in my practice, but also in my everyday life and my family that real estate is a really powerful influencer for families and really a creator of stability when people do own. So I’ve started to apply those lessons in my practice and how I advise people.

Yeah. Right on. We could definitely see that in the way that you helped us get our mortgage and everything. You’re really concerned about us and whether we were making the right decision for our circumstances, rather than just being focused on whatever’s going to help you make more money. You know?

And I think that’s what it is. You know. We have a lot of conversation in San Diego just in general about the real estate market and where things are and how crazy our values are here because they are much different than other places in the country. But I think for most people it’s about figuring out what’s right for them and buying when they’re ready, not necessarily trying to time the market.

So a question that I’m sure you get every day, is this a good time to buy a house?

Yeah. And so, I usually tell people that, is it a good time for them to buy? Are they ready? Are they in a position of stability in their life? What are their goals? What are the things that are most concerning to them and really putting a personal plan together that fits for them. I think the powerful thing about real estate is that we don’t know what it’s going to do in a year or two, but we know what it’s going to do in 10 or 20 years. We know just from looking back over the last a hundred or 120 years that we have information available to us that we know generally what real estate’s going to do over time. And as an individual, you just want to be prepared for any of the things that can happen in the short term.

Yeah. That’s one of the reasons that we chose to work with you for our mortgage is the way that you answered that question was … made us feel that you weren’t just looking at market forces and whether this is a good time in the market, trying to time the market and get the most profit out of a deal or something like that. But it was all about are we ready? Are our finances in place and is this a smart move for where we’re at and what we’re trying to do? So we really appreciated that about you.

Thank you.

So what’s a common misconception that you think people have right now about mortgages or the whole industry?

Yeah. I think, unfortunately, our industry does not do a real great job of educating the consumer. And so, typically when you’re seeing things in the advertising world, it’s about rate and getting a low rate or convenience. So now a lot of the newer companies about how easy it is. You can get a mortgage on your phone. And I think it’s important to think about any major purchase or anything you do in life. But if you’re making a purchase, price is important, but also service is important and sometimes speed is important, right?

So you want to work with someone who’s going to help you achieve all three of those things. In your business, I know that those are all factors that come into play, too, on people’s projects. And so the other part of it is what you refer to is are you getting the right advice and guidance?


Are you getting someone who’s taking the time to sit down with you? Really understand your situation, educate you on the level that you’re ready to be educated around what you’re doing and have a good action plan that you believe in and that aligns with your values and your goals.

Yeah, totally. For somebody who is a first time home buyer, getting into a mortgage and all of the nuances and all of the little details that are so important to understand and to know, I can’t imagine being able to get the same level of knowledge and just the feeling of security that we’re making a right decision by trying to get a mortgage through my phone. You know?


Versus having someone like you walking us through it and looking it over and all of that, so.

Yeah. Well, we get to be a part of a really awesome thing in people’s lives. I compare it to settling down, getting married, having kids, these are major life events, and buying your first home is one of those things. And we’re fortunate to be able to be involved in that process with people. And so, we take that as a position of honor and respect. And so we try and treat it appropriately in terms of the care that we provide and the level of conversations that we have. And we understand that it’s not just about the dollars and cents. It’s about what you’re talking about. Some of the emotions that come with it and making sure that we’re taking the time to address what people’s concerns might be and look at it, not just from the rational side, but from the emotional side too.

Yeah, totally. Well, we had a great experience working with Sean. I highly recommend that everybody else, if you’re looking at getting a mortgage or buying your first home, talk with Sean. At least interview him and his team and see what they can offer. And Sean from Community Mortgage, thank you so much for coming out and being a part of this.

Thanks for having me, John. I appreciate it.