Who is your typical customer and what questions do they typically have?
1. A first-time homebuyer who asks how long the process takes.
2. A current homeowner who asks how much cash he can take out of his house, in order to invest.
3. A current homeowner who is looking to buy a vacation home or investment home.
What specific steps do you use to help your customers find the best home loan for them?
I put all options in front of my clients and explain the advantages and risks of each loan product e.g. 30 year fixed vs. 15-year fixed, 7/1 ARM vs. ARM with I/O, FHA vs. Conventional, with or without points to pay down the rate, Cash-out refinance vs. Home Equity, etc.
I will never steer a client towards or away from a particular loan product. I simply put the options in front of my clients, explain each one thoroughly, and let them pick whichever one suits them best. I have always practiced the dictum of, "Let your friend's money be as dear to you as your own," and put the customer first.
This is in line with Guaranteed Rate's core values of always putting the customer first, and key to success.
What are the top 3 misconceptions people have about the home loan process?
1. That you need to put down 20 % for a house.
2. That you always need mortgage insurance when putting down less than 20 %
3. In New York many people do not realize that closing costs are so high because of the mortgage tax.
What resources could you recommend that borrowers use to learn more about the mortgage process and how to ensure a successful home closing?
There is a plethora of information available on the web which can be quite helpful. However, considering that guidelines and laws are constantly changing, information could be outdated or inaccurate. For example, many people do not realize that mortgage insurance on a FHA loan now stays for the life of the loan, and will not simply disappear once you pay down principal to 80 %. The only way to get rid of the mortgage insurance on an FHA loan is to refinance into a conventional loan (or sell the property.)
I would recommend you speak to a mortgage professional with experience that you trust, who can advise you accordingly with the most up-to-date information.
What provides you with the most satisfaction in your job as a Loan Officer?
The knowledge that I am helping people navigate the mortgage process, whom would otherwise feel overwhelmed.
That people trust me with one of the biggest and most important purchases of their lives, and that they trust that I will give them the very best loan terms available. When clients share pictures of their first day in their new house all smiling, this gives me great satisfaction!
When clients refer me to their friends and family, that is the ultimate compliment I can receive.
What do you enjoy doing most in your spare time when you are not helping people with their home loans?
Frequent lecturer/public speaker at local synagogues on miscellaneous topics.
Ben has written many scholarly articles, his works have received wide acclaim, and been published in a number of media outlets.
Tell us something that makes you unique or something wacky, yet interesting about you?
I once stayed up until 1:30 AM talking with a client who was nervous about closing the next day, and was getting cold feet.
Today he is a happy homeowner who has referred 3 co-workers to me!