Tarrah sees a story in every property she inspects and underwrites as an underwriting associate for the Freddie Mac Multifamily Small Balance Loan (SBL) program. Each building has its own character and everyone she meets has a story to tell, bringing the property to life.
"It makes me see the property as more than a building. It's a home. That's why it's so important to meet the tenants and get their perspectives on where they live. Small balance loans can help improve the properties, and that's the biggest driver for me to see these deals through," Tarrah says. SBL helps provide low- and very low-income families with affordable rental housing. The loans generally range from $1 million to $7.5 million and provide financing for buildings with five to 50 rental units.
"Some people like to call the underwriter an investigator," she says. "We make sure all the pieces connect, that everything meets our guidelines, the property condition supports the loan, and that the borrower has the assets and liquidity to pay back the loan. We evaluate the risk of giving the borrower a loan for the property."
Tarrah came to Freddie Mac Multifamily as member of the Western Region office in Irvine, California, as part of the SBL team. SBL launched in 2014, and Tarrah says it's been fulfilling to see the team grow, work together and help each other improve and become better in their field — and to see growth in herself, too.
Tarrah has dyslexia, but she hasn't let the learning disability prevent her from finding professional success. Since she was a young child, Tarrah's parents were diligent about getting her into after-school programs that taught her to overcome dyslexia's challenges. Tarrah's dyslexia affects how she interprets words, and it's still a factor in her everyday life.
"I have to really focus and read things more than once — probably three or four times — just to make sure I fully understand what I'm reading. And I ask others what their interpretation is and compare it with mine. I also re-read the emails I write before I hit 'send,' because I want to make sure people will understand what I mean. Those are some habits I learned that I use every day in my work," Tarrah says.
Tarrah says she doesn't use dyslexia as a crutch. Instead, it's a platform to better herself. "I've taken so many classes on improvement. It's taught me to always be open for growth no matter what. Dyslexia hasn't prevented me from moving up professionally. I might read an appraisal a few more times than others, but I'm no different from anyone else. I get things done."