How long have you been in the mortgage business and what inspired you to get into it?
I've been actively involved in the mortgage industry since 1996 and have the experience and knowledge with a variety of loan programs such as FHA, VA, TaxSmart, Chicago Public Schools Teacher and first time home buyers. I am also a Renovation Loan specialist and enjoy educating other loan officers, Realtors and clients about these truly amazing and timely loan programs and how it can turn an ordinary house into a dream home. Purchasing a home is an exciting time in a person's life and educating a borrower and Realtors is critical to the success of purchasing a home. Even though it can be a stressful and long process, it is my goal to make the home loan process as painless as possible so that my clients are armed with the right information and we can get to the closing table as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Tell us about a mortgage product that consumers may not be aware of?
Many borrowers that I have worked with are not familiar with a home renovation loan. These are great programs for home additions, estate sales, outdated properties, or foreclosed properties that need major or minor repairs. You can use these rehab products on a purchase or a refinance and it allows for rehab work to be included in the loan. There is a conventional loan product and a government insured product. Both are renovation loans with slight variations in guidelines and borrower qualifications. Typically there is an FHA certified consultant that oversees the repairs along with the General Contractor who completes the work. All work must start within 30 days of closing and be completed within six months. A complete rehab of the property can be done as long as the entire foundation systems remains in place. It can also be used to convert or de-convert multi-unit dwellings. I can also secure renovation funds for one unit investment properties.
What are the top 3 misconceptions people have about the home loan process?
"Low down payments are a thing of the past." While it is true that "no money down" loans are restricted to VA loans with full entitlement, FHA loans have down payments starting at 3.5% and also allow gifted funds from family members to help cover the down payment. "I've purchased a home/property before so the loan process should be fast and easy." While you may be an experienced buyer working with an experienced lender, the mortgage industry has changed a lot over the past six years and there are many more lending guidelines and regulations in place these days. Many documents need to be provided up front and verified again before closing. Sometimes there are unforeseen bumps in the road that arise during the underwriting process. The underwriting department needs to again verify all of the information in your file to meet lending guidelines. If they ask you to submit more documents to justify your information, it is important to provide it to them in a timely manner. Also, for loan amounts over $417,000, the lending guidelines are much tighter now. In the past jumbo loan borrowers did not need to provide much information on a loan application. This is a 360 degree turnaround and jumbo loans go through much more scrutiny now. "I had a bankruptcy, short sale or deed in lieu and I need and excellent credit score of 800 or more to qualify for a home loan." Not exactly. The higher your credit score, the more attractive you are to a lender, but a typical qualifying credit score for a loan is between 620-640. But remember, your credit score also affects the interest rate you qualify for, so be sure to check your credit report for accuracy. Also, if you had a bankruptcy you can qualify for a home loan two years after the discharge, and for a short sale or deed in lieu, it is just three years after the date of the short sale.
Summary of where you grew up: family, affiliations, college, high school, etc.
I am a life-long Chicagoan - born and raised on the North Side and have never strayed far from the Windy City. I graduated from Rosary College in River Forest with a degree in Business and then went on to DePaul University where I earned an MBA in Finance. I love working with numbers, so my Masters in Finance is put to good use when determining what loan programs best meet my borrower's individual financing needs. In my free time, I enjoy all things Chicago - cheering on our professional and college sports teams, raising funds for local charity organizations, boating and water sports on Lake Michigan and spending time with my family.
Tell us something that makes you unique or something wacky, yet interesting about you?
I love to wake surf and cook gourmet meals. If I wasn't a loan officer in the mortgage industry, it would be my dream job to be a professional chef.