How long have you been in the mortgage business and what inspired you to get into it?
I was a Real Estate Broker in the 80s, and I wasn’t at all happy with the service I was receiving at that time (my mortgage reps were over promising and under delivering). In fact, mortgages were my Achilles heel. Mortgage Reps throwing my deals on the wall to see if they would stick, and in order to provide good service to my customers I had to learned how to prequel my own customers. I knew it could be done better, so I applied with Fleet Mortgage and got the position. With my background I immediately championed the Realtor’s purchase business.
What specific steps do you use to help your customers find the best home loan for them?
I thoroughly interview my customers after I have thoroughly reviewed their financials to uncover their goals, animosities, and any details of their finances that can help or hinder our success.
My goal is to land them on a program that will take them with the very best rates, closing costs, and ease of processing as close as possible to their goals. I am also mindful of avoiding any pitfalls that can be created by bad structuring strategies.
Teamwork is what separates me from my competitors. The better I understand my customer' needs the more likely we will make their dream happen. The more my customer understands our needs as a lender the more successful we will be. Hence, we always have a discussion about how they should manage their finances during the processing of their mortgage, so they don't impede our progress.
What advice would you give new or first time home buyers?
Buying Real Estate for the first time is a very serious matter, so do your homework and don't assume anything.
There are special first time home buyer programs out there like the Mortgage Credit Certificate program that can put a stack of money in your pocket every month if you know how to find a lender or mortgage broker that is approved to help you with the processing. When I close these transactions the closing agents are generally mystified, because it is a first for them.
You will find an abundance of mortgage and Real Estate advice online, but keep in mind it is not always reliable. For instance, advertised mortgage rates generally portray the best case scenario for very qualified borrowers who are applying for a fairly substantial mortgage. You can find reliable first time home buyer counseling provided by nonprofits and government affiliated organizations. This is going to be a far better choice if you are looking for responsible recommendations.
If you are not a housing professional then for Pete's sake hire a bonded and insured home inspector to look over the home you are intending to purchase. The appraiser is not qualified to do this for you, and you can lose tens of thousands of dollars if you go it alone.
There aren't too many situations more frustrating or heartbreaking than going through the mortgage process only to get rejected due to a preventable mistake. While your loan is in process, you must be mindful not to alter your financials (move or spend assets, acquire new credit, change employment, fall behind on credit payments, etc.). If you have any doubts about your actions ask your loan officer for an opinion before you proceed to alter your situation.
You got this. Keep your chin up and follow my suggestions, and you can join the ranks of homeownership without ever having to sing the blues.
What part of the home loan process do customers find most difficult and how do you help them through it?
The most difficult part of the home loan process is the documentation. The new government guidelines and investor overlays make it very difficult for the laymen to comprehend what they need to provide their lender to get a mortgage approval. I have always been successful in helping my customers to understand what the underwriter will need to approve their mortgage application. I do this by going into very specific detail when I request their documentation.
At Guaranteed Rate, we have two technologies that help tremendously. Whenever possible, I begin the process by sending my customer to my digital mortgage portal. This technology separates us from our competitors. My borrower can enter their own information into our system. This is not only safe and convenient for them, but it also eliminates the errors that are often created by miscommunications over the phone. Once the application downloads into my system I can determine precisely what documentation we will require and request it from my applicant. This is a huge advantage over the generic list presented by most lenders.
The other technology I referred to was Transfersafe. With this system, I can send my borrower a a detailed customized list of the documents I will need to get their loan approved, and a secure portal for them to upload the documents to. This is huge advantage over emails and faxes which can be risky and cause documents to get lost or end up on the wrong desk.
Because I have these technologies at hand, and take the extra time to send detailed custom lists to my mortgage applicants, they are spared a lot of wasted time and anxiety during this highly stressful time in their life.
What can borrowers do to insure a smooth mortgage underwriting process?
Communication is king, so pay close attention to what documents your lender is asking for, and return complete documents (every page whether you feel they are relevant or not). If you do not respond quickly to their request you are going to delay your closing, so move on it right away.
Once the application has begun, do not consider changing any aspect of your income, assets, or credit without first consulting your lender. This includes making credit inquiries even if you are not going to establish any new credit, cosigning for someone else’s loans, changing, spending or depositing money to any account that you have listed on your application. Changes like these can create a huge setback to the processing of your mortgage, or even be a cause for your denial.
What provides you with the most satisfaction in your job as a Loan Officer?
My number one reason for loving my career is the satisfaction I get from helping families get the home of their dreams, especially if I was able to use my 20+ years of experience to provide a creative solution when my competitors were unable to do so.
What do you enjoy doing most in your spare time when you are not helping people with their home loans?
One of my main focuses when I am not busy helping families achieve their dreams of home ownership is writing. I am an aspiring science fiction writer. I began with the help of a writing coach a few years ago, and now I am hooked. I haven't written any blockbusters yet, but my goal is to watch one my creations on the silver screen.
Tell us something that makes you unique or something wacky, yet interesting about you?
I have an unquenchable interest in science, technology, and human behavior. It is why I have always been driven to work directly with the community, read continuously, and now write science fiction. To support my passion, I completed an electronic engineering degree a couple of years ago. I was the oldest graduate in my class, yet I graduated cumma sum laude and phi beta kappa.