How long have you been in the mortgage business and what inspired you to get into it?
Going on 22 years! A friend asked me to start working for him at a mortgage company as I was doing business to business direct sales for cleaning & maintenance supplies. I think the motivation was having a set salary and not having to walk around downtown Minneapolis during the cold winter months.
Who is your typical customer and what questions do they typically have?
Being in the business this long I don’t have a typical customer as I prefer to help whoever is in the market for any type of loan. Most customers just want to know what to expect. I found that as long as you set up the proper expectations of the loan process up front, there is less confusion down the road along with updates throughout the process.
What specific steps do you use to help your customers find the best home loan for them?
I do a very thorough up front meeting with them either in person or over the phone and ask the right questions that not only helps them right now, but also that we are putting them in the right loan down the road. I think they appreciate the fact that I am very detailed and understand their goals moving forward.
How long have you been in the mortgage business? What awards have you won?
I was the top producer at another mortgage company in 1998 & 1999 and was 12th in the company in 1999. My first child was born in 1999 so my priorities changed and spent more time at home. In 2002 and 2003 I was the top manager for revenue in Minnesota and placed in the top 10 in the country. Management was not the direction I wanted to go so I got out of it in 2004 and focused on my own book of business.
What are the pros and cons of a fixed rate mortgage versus an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM)?
With rates at historical lows, the fixed rate options gives families the security they need if they are unsure of how long they are going to be in the property. The interest rate will stay fixed throughout the loan regardless of the market changes. The downside is that their payment will be more than an ARM in a typical market. If they know they are moving within the first 5-7 years of the mortgage, we would look more at the ARM options for cost comparison.
Tell us about a specific challenging borrowing situation and how you got the mortgage closed and funded.
I had a purchase closing for my own client all approved 3 weeks before closing, but the buyer who was purchasing their home had their financing fall through at the last minute. I was able to get that buyer approved and closed within two weeks.
What advice would you give new or first time home buyers?
I prefer to meet with first time home buyers face to face and go over all the different loan options that they qualify for and answer all the questions that they may have. The advice would be to buy below your means as I always ask up front, “What payment are you comfortable with?”. It’s never, “how much can you qualify for?” as those are always two different answers. Comfortable payment is the goal.
Tell us about a mortgage product that consumers may not be aware of?
The 1% down conventional product we have is one of the best products on the market outside of the VA loan which allows 100% financing and no mortgage insurance.
How has the mortgage industry changed since you started, and what would you expect in the future?
It is much more automated as credit reports took 10 minutes in 1995 and so many more screens to go through on an application. Plus there was an abundance of mortgage companies around 10 years ago and now only the strongest ones are around.
What part of the home loan process do customers find most difficult and how do you help them through it?
At the beginning it can be very overwhelming especially for first time home buyers. Once the process is explained and I take the time to answer their questions, they are much more at ease. I take the time to explain and always offer a face to face meeting regardless if they are a first time home buyer or a 3rd or 4th time buyer.
What are the top 3 misconceptions people have about the home loan process?
That it's going to be real easy. They are making the biggest purchase of their life and lenders are going to want the information that will allow them to lend. I make it as seamless as possible for them and take as much off of their plate as possible, but buying a home is going to require some work. Ten years ago the rules were too loose and it affected the real estate market so I would rather be more detailed than not.
What resources could you recommend that borrowers use to learn more about the mortgage process and how to ensure a successful home closing?
Talk with a lender that they can trust and perhaps came recommended by a friend.
What can borrowers do to insure a smooth mortgage underwriting process?
That is easy. Get us the documentation we requested in a timely manner. If they wait or if I have to ask 2 or 3 times, it could hinder them making their closing date.
Summary of where you grew up: family, affiliations, college, high school, etc.
I grew up in Lakeville, MN. I have one younger sister who got into the mortgage industry in 2001 and she has done very well. I graduated high school in 1987 and attended Mankato State University to play tennis. I transferred to the University of St. Thomas after a couple years and lived at home once my Dad’s MS worsened. I was the first person on either side of my family to graduate from college and am encouraging my kids to follow that suit.
What provides you with the most satisfaction in your job as a Loan Officer?
Seeing the sense of pride and happiness on my clients faces at the closing.
What do you enjoy doing most in your spare time when you are not helping people with their home loans?
I play competitive tennis, watch my sons play sports, die hard Viking fan and have date night with my wife of 20 years.
Tell us something that makes you unique or something wacky, yet interesting about you?
In 1995 I was part of the first team from Minnesota that ever won a team tennis national championship at any level. The next year 3 more teams one and we have won several since but it was extremely satisfying to be the first to do it and still be close with some many of the guys on that team that still play quite a bit.