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Stand-Up Broker

John DeKoven originates by day, does comedy at night

February 15, 2005


How many real estate agents does it take screw in a light bulb? Ask John DeKoven, who hates agents but loves comedy, and he'll probably come up with a pretty good answer.

Stand-up comedy has become DeKoven's afterwork passion. The 39 year-old part-time comedian is creating a stir in his little hometown of Pleasanton, Calif. but he said he would keep his day job, even if Jay Leno called.

"I'm not doing it to try to be a (professional) comedian," DeKoven explained. "To do that you have to sacrifice a lot, live on the road and sleep in flea bag motels -- I'm not into that."

The mortgage broker's comedy act is based on his real-life marriage/divorce experience, and he pokes fun at the length of time it took to get divorced. "I was only married for two years," he told MortgageDaily.com. "And it took two and a half to get divorced!"

DeKoven, who's favorite saying is, "They say the first year of marriage is the toughest. I disagree...it's the last year," said, "Here I was the owner of a mortgage company and I couldn't even refinance my own home -- because she wouldn't sign the papers!"

photo of John DeKoven
John DeKoven at club
In addition to running Platinum Lending Corp. in Pleasanton for the past three years DeKoven bought a franchise real estate business, Help-U-Sell. "I opened my own real estate business because I hate real estate agents," DeKoven said in a monotone matter-of-fact voice.

DeKoven said there is no conflict of interest from owning both the mortgage company and real estate business. "We disclose to the borrower that we offer the service but we don't pressure anyone to use it," he said referring to himself and the two other loan officers at Platinum. "But 90% of the time we can beat any rate out there because I don't need to make a ton of money on the loan. I'll make it on the real estate end and there's no one I have to split the commission with either."

He said most of the broker business Platinum does is by referral and is residential in nature with a higher percentage of jumbo loans. Platinum works with both 'A' and 'B' paper, DeKoven said, and utilizes only about ten different lenders. "I'm approved with a lot more," he explained. "But I'm loyal to only a few. Service is important, I'm not worried about negotiating an eighth of a point."

Last year, Platinum closed about $75 million, DeKoven said. "The median price of a house here is over half a million," DeKoven added. "The average loan size is pretty high and lately most of the purchases have been 100% financing."

DeKoven's latest venture is a production company, Laugh-A-Lot Productions that hires comics and produces variety acts. Along with his stand-up gig at the Main Street Brewery in Pleasanton he said he would also participate in some of the production company's upcoming events.

Paula Parisot is a freelance writer for MortgageDaily.com. In addition to 4 years' journalism experience at other news publications, Paula has worked in the mortgage industry. Email Paula at: [email protected]

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