How long have you been in the mortgage business and what inspired you to get into it?
18 Years. It actually fell into my lap. After college, I worked as a mortgage loan processor for a year, but realized I was more interested in the sales side of the industry than ops. I loved the monotony of different product guidelines, structuring the perfect loan and holding the hands of my clients through the process.
Who is your typical customer and what questions do they typically have?
I don't really have a typical client. My clients are all over the map. They include, but are not limited to, millennials buying their first home, Gen Xers upgrading to their second or third, Baby Boomers downgrading to something smaller, anyone who can afford it buying a vacation home and foreign buyers investing in US real estate.
What specific steps do you use to help your customers find the best home loan for them?
We discuss current and long term financial goals, budgets, and how long they believe they'll hold onto the property. From there, we decide together which product, payment type and term would best fit their needs.
How long have you been in the mortgage business? What awards have you won?
Guaranteed Rate'sPresident's Club - 2012, 2013, 2014 & 2015
Top 200 National Mortgage Originators – 2012, 2013, 2014 & 2015 (National Mortgage News)
Top 1% of Originators – 2011, 2013 & 2015 (Scotsman Guide)
Elite Women in Mortgages – 2013 & 2015 (MPA)
What are the pros and cons of a fixed rate mortgage versus an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM)?
Fixed rates are great for conservative clients. There's nothing safer. But many of my clients do not keep their loan intact for 30 years. They wind up refinancing or selling within 5-7 years. Therefore, many benefit from an adjustable rate product that yields a lower rate that will not adjust before they refinance or sell.
Tell us about a specific challenging borrowing situation and how you got the mortgage closed and funded.
There are so many. One that comes to mind is a client who went into contract on new construction two years prior to completion. By the time it was time to close and their lives had changed. They needed far more financing than they first thought. I was able to obtain an 8MM loan at 80% financing by cross collateralizing another property they owned that had a lot of equity.
What advice would you give new or first time home buyers?
Work with someone recommended by someone you trust and read that loan officer's past client reviews. They speak volumes.
Tell us about a mortgage product that consumers may not be aware of?
Asset depletion. Clients that have a lot of liquid assets don't necessarily have recurring annual income. They don't need to work! Several of my lenders allow me to take their post closing liquid and sometimes retirement assets and annuitize them to derive qualifying income.
How has the mortgage industry changed since you started, and what would you expect in the future?
When I started in the late 90s, there were a lot of stated income and asset products. Even for clients that were not self employed. It was simply the function of the lender's underwriting engine. If you had good credit, a debt to income ratio below 45% and a few months of post closing reserves, they barely asked for any income and asset documentation. And then the market crashed, which didn't surprise me. Today, we are properly documenting income, assets and credit, as it should have always been.
What part of the home loan process do customers find most difficult and how do you help them through it?
The paperwork. As I mentioned before, we have to properly document income, assets and credit. But that means lots of paperwork. Clients should be prepared to provide proof of their current income, income for the past 2 years, assets spanning the past two months, payments on other real estate owned and explanations for various items, such as credit inquiries, large deposits, etc. My team and I try as hard as we can to ask for everything we think an underwriter will request upfront to minimize additional requests down the line, but they always come up. Patience is a virtue and responsiveness is a must.
What are the top 3 misconceptions people have about the home loan process?
That they have to have a large down payment. FHA allows 3.5% down and a credit from the seller to cover closing costs. VA allows 0% down and the same seller credit.
That interest only products no longer exist. I have several interest only products available for conforming, jumbo and super jumbo loans amounts.
That piggybacks no longer exist. I have several lenders who offer second mortgages up to 90% financing. In fact, I have one who offers an 80% interest only first with a 10% interest second on 1-4FAM properties. That is a home run for the right client.
What 2 or 3 mobile apps would you recommend for home buyers or house hunters, and why? What Smart Apps do you recommend your customers use for the house hunting process?
Guaranteed Rates Digital Mortgage App. it is so easy to complete and is available 24/7. Don't have time for a call during the day? Fill it out at your leisure from your phone, tablet or computer. It also gives you access to Transfersafe, which is our secure doc transfer portal. And also gives you access to your Guaranteed Rate home page where you can monitor the status of your application and to do list 24/7.
Street Easy if you're searching for properties in NYC. INYC doesn't have an MLS system, but this is pretty close. Almost every property for sale in NYC is listed on Street Easy. And it offers a plethora of information on the building and specific unit.
What resources could you recommend that borrowers use to learn more about the mortgage process and how to ensure a successful home closing?
First, start by reading your loan officer's VP page. Get to know who they are, how long they have been working in the industry, what they specialize in, and most importantly, their past client testimonials.
Next, speak with your loan officer about the fees associated with closing on the property you're purchasing. Are there any out of the ordinary fees associated with your purchase? i.e. Buyer paid city and/or state transfer tax for new construction and sponsor sales, mansion tax (it can trigger at a price of 982K in some instances), the Peconic Bay transfer tax for properties on the east end of Long Island, the capital funds contribution for new construction, etc.)
And speak with your attorney about the ins and outs of the contract of sale and various contingencies. i.e. mortgage contingency, funding contingency, post closing possession, personal property, etc.
What can borrowers do to insure a smooth mortgage underwriting process?
Be responsive. When your loan officer or their ops staff request something, provide it quickly. Help them keep the file moving forward, rather than slowly and risk a bottleneck.
Are you active in any local associations or community groups, and at what level? What goals and/or success have you helped these groups achieve?
In my spare time, I am a health advocate for people suffering from thyroid disease and exposure to toxic mold. I am very familiar with both.
Are you active in any fundraising organizations? What goals and/or success have you helped them achieve?
I regularly donate to the Guaranteed Rate Foundation, the ASPCA, St. Jude's Children's' Hospital and Children International.
Summary of where you grew up: family, affiliations, college, high school, etc.
I grew up on the South Shore of Long Island and moved into NYC about seven years ago. I went to Hofstra University where I earned a bachelor's degree in Business Administration with a minor in Marketing.
What provides you with the most satisfaction in your job as a Loan Officer?
Making mortgage magic. Whether it's locking in a great rate and putting a huge smile on my client's face or truly performing mortgage miracles for the toughest scenarios, I love the end result. A happy client for life…
What do you enjoy doing most in your spare time when you are not helping people with their home loans?
This is easy. Cuddling with my 4.5 pound Maltipoo, "Dash". I work from home many days and there is nothing better than typing away furiously on my laptop while he's napping without a care in the world in my lap. The best of both worlds! I also love being mindful and taking care of "me" through yoga, meditation, walks in the fresh air, listening to peaceful music, cooking organic food, turning to holistic remedies, etc.
Tell us something that makes you unique or something wacky, yet interesting about you?
I'm a Virgo! Some might say that makes me more wacky, than unique, but it's my favorite part of "me". It's the magic in my wand. I'm extremely organized, proactive, diligent and nurturing, which makes me an awesome loan officer.