How long have you been in the mortgage business and what inspired you to get into it?
I was a Realtor for 7 years and always struggled with finding good lenders to refer to my clients. I had always been interested in financing, so checked with Oregon & Washington regulators and found it easy to get into the industry. I started out doing both lending and real estate sales until I became busy enough and had to choose just one. Stuck with lending ever since 2007 and don’t regret it a bit. Love this job.
Who is your typical customer and what questions do they typically have?
A typical customer is a home-buyer, or homeowner wanting to refinance. Questions always must do with rate and terms, but on the buyer side, they are more interested in the process of getting a loan, the programs available, and having a lender that can be there to explain the borrowing process along the way. I pride myself in the education level I bring to my clients.
What specific steps do you use to help your customers find the best home loan for them?
First, we need to determine where the client is financially … including a review of income, assets, and credit. Then I ask them what their goals are, in terms of down-payment funds available, how long they plan to keep their home, and payment they are most comfortable with.
How long have you been in the mortgage business? What awards have you won?
I have been in the mortgage business for over 12 years, but around housing for nearly 30 years, with those other years as a Realtor and owning a Contractor business. In lending, I have been awarded the 5 star professional designation for 7 years in a row, and also are nationally ranked as one of the top 1% of loan officers in the USA.
What are the pros and cons of a fixed rate mortgage versus an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM)?
A fixed rate mortgage is what most clients choose, due to the security they feel by having a rate that cannot change during the loan term. 90% of clients choose the fixed rate. However, in some cases, an ARM is a much smarter choice. For example, if a client knows they will be in their home for less than the initial fixed term of the ARM, or if they know they will be refinancing in the next several years. If the current loan will be paid off in the next 7 to 10 years, an ARM can make a lot more sense, especially given the much lower rates those programs can typically offer.
Tell us about a specific challenging borrowing situation and how you got the mortgage closed and funded.
Client came to me with only 17 days to close or they would lose the home and over 10k deposit money. Prior lender had failed. I could get an appraisal in just 3 business days, and we approved the loan and sent loan documents for signing in under 2 weeks. Client could close on time. Having an amazing processing and underwriting system in-house was the reason this could happen.
What advice would you give new or first time home buyers?
Don’t be scared to jump into the market and buy. Owning a home is a smart investment. You don’t need 20% down-payment to buy. There are many programs with very little cash down required, and some grant or match programs available. Also, credit doesn’t have to be perfect. My team often can work with credit challenges and help new buyers get into a home.
Tell us about a mortgage product that consumers may not be aware of?
Jumbo mortgages (over 424,100) with only a 5% down-payment required and NO mortgage insurance. Or how about our 3% down Conventional loan where we as a company GIFT another 2% grant towards the down-payment. We have more unique loan programs than any other lender in our local area.
How has the mortgage industry changed since you started, and what would you expect in the future?
Compliance has tightened tremendously. There are very specific regulations on timing of disclosures, fees changes, and the qualifications for most loan programs. The days of getting a loan on “stated” income are over. However, if you can prove your income, we are very generous on the loan programs and terms we can offer. Also, the mortgage licensing laws came into effect in 2010 and weeded out a lot of the shady individuals in the business – that’s a good thing for everyone else.
What part of the home loan process do customers find most difficult and how do you help them through it?
The home loan process IS by nature complicated. However from a client-view, it doesn’t have to be. I spend a lot of time explaining the numbers and costs, so clients understand their payment, and what each specific closing cost is for. I also explain taxes/insurance and how reserve/impound accounts work. Taking that time up front makes the process at the end much easier. One of the most important things I do at the start of the loan is encourage my clients to turn in their info right away. The faster we can review and troubleshoot, the faster we will close their loan. I do set proper expectations up front, that we may have to come back to them a few times for additional information. Best to make sure everyone knows what will happen, and when, from the start, to avoid surprises and delays at the end.
What are the top 3 misconceptions people have about the home loan process?
• That a large down-payment is needed to buy a home - not true, even for jumbo loans
• That credit needs to be perfect, or even very good - simply not true, we can work with less than perfect credit and help clean up past “bumps” that many have faced.
• All lenders have the same rates and programs - definitely NOT true. As one of the top 10 lenders in the USA, we have more loan programs than majority of our competition, and rates/terms that are much more favorable. We can do many things that smaller companies can’t, and we can get it done with better terms for our clients. Size does matter in mortgages.
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?
What Smart Apps do you recommend your customers use for the house hunting process?
I would highly recommending using my App from Guaranteed Rate. It has my direct contact info, a link to apply online, they can search live real-time mortgage rates, and see what their actual payments will look like. For home searches, many of the top realtors I work with have their own Apps with live links into the local Multiple Listing System.
What resources could you recommend that borrowers use to learn more about the mortgage process and how to ensure a successful home closing?
Of course watch some of my videos ?? I have recorded many videos on the process and tips for personal finance preparation, and how to properly choose their rates and programs. YouTube is also full of other useful videos.
What can borrowers do to insure a smooth mortgage underwriting process?
Turn in everything that myself and my team ask for up-front. Don’t leave anything out. In today’s lending environment, if we ask for something, it’s not an option. We ask because we need that item to satisfy underwriting. There are times we can get more creative, but for most, it’s just a matter of turning in all information quickly and in complete fashion.
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?
I am very active in my local church. With over 7000 members, we are always seeing a need for training in personal finance. I organize and lead the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University course for the entire church, plus do one-on-one financial counseling with our members as needed. I also lead various business oriented small groups and participate on the church giving committee, in which we discuss and facilitate giving opportunities for the church and determine where those funds go.
Are you active in any fundraising organizations? What goals and/or success have you helped them achieve?
I have helped a local homeless shelter, as well as groups within our church, so they can serve the local community better. My wife & I love giving our time and resources to help others!
Summary of where you grew up: family, affiliations, college, high school, etc.
I’m a Northwest guy, originally from Washington State, but moved to Portland area at 10yrs old. Graduated Hillsboro High School and then on to Pacific Lutheran University. My immediate family is all still in either Portland or Seattle areas. Mom was a Realtor and got me into real estate at age of 21. That led to contracting business, and back into real estate later, followed by lending. Love lending, so no plans to give that up! I’m a very active member of my local church, both in the leadership and financial/business areas … and also play drums during services a few times per month. Music has also been a huge part of my life (drums & piano). I’ve been married for over 23 years, and have two beautiful daughters who are now both in college.
What provides you with the most satisfaction in your job as a Loan Officer?
More than just getting them a great loan … I love helping others improve their financial standing. Sometimes that includes consolidating debt, or lowering their mortgage rate. In other cases, I provide detailed strategies on how to pay off their loans faster, or leverage their finances to purchase rental property for future asset growth.
What do you enjoy doing most in your spare time when you are not helping people with their home loans?
So many things! I’m a big DIY guy … must be my contracting background. I love building things at home. Last summer I built a deck and an outdoor shed. In the winter, I built a riser for stadium seating in my movie room. I have played drums and piano since being a kid and love playing drums at church. And in the Fall season, there’s those Oregon Duck football games. I love going to the games, tailgating with friends, and cooking for everyone.
Tell us something that makes you unique or something wacky, yet interesting about you?
Hmmm … there could be several answers to that. When in high school, was in a drum & bugle corps touring the country in summers and competing in DCI field show competitions – saw 35 states in those years.
After my contracting business days, I was nearly $1million in debt, but followed the Dave Ramsey program, continued giving to my church, and saw that debt wiped out in under 3 years! Now I teach others about personal finance, and have seen amazing success stories.
Wacky? How about being on the Washington state coast line, driving my SUV on the beach and getting a little too close to the ocean. Tried turning around and back wheels started digging into the sand. Tide was coming in and under 10 feet away. Wheels halfway buried. Two guys walking on the beach ran over and helped push me out just in nick of time. Heart racing!
In business, I LOVE doing videos. I was one of first guys in my area to use video as an educational tool with clients and Realtors. Now we use it during transactions to help everyone understand what is happening and when, plus regular market updates to my past client database. Video is so much fun and an awesome tool to share what I know with others.