How long have you been in the mortgage business and what inspired you to get into it?
Since about 1997. I was motivated by the fast pace, and service oriented sales.
Who is your typical customer and what questions do they typically have?
I enjoy working with all types of borrowers, from first time purchasers to savvy investors who know exactly what they want. I have learned that I must be responsible of the trust they bestow onto me as much as if they were my parents or family members. That is truly how I approach each and every client. My clients often deal with aggressive sales people. I never want to come across as one. I want to come across as their trusted friend. Their questions vary, but all can be categorized in one overall question; “Are you going to look out for my best interest?” and of course my answer is an absolute yes.
What specific steps do you use to help your customers find the best home loan for them?
4 parts to this answer: 1. Listen 2. Listen 3. Listen After that, be available to deliver exactly what they asked for and when they asked for it by establishing accurate expectations and going the extra mile whenever I can.
How long have you been in the mortgage business? What awards have you won?
This is my 20th year in the business in one capacity or another. I have been the highest producer a number of times but in complete honesty, awards on the wall mean less to me than the compliments I have received from the many friends I have made through this business.
What are the pros and cons of a fixed rate mortgage versus an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM)?
It all boils down to making certain that my client understands their own expectations. Sure the ARM loans may have a lower interest rate, but if a borrower absolutely is convinced that they are buying their dream home, I must advise them that the cost of refinancing at some point down the road, because the rates have fluctuated, may be a financial disadvantage. Equally, if my client tells me that they are frequent movers, and have other plans, we can look at the strategic advantage of an ARM and its potentially lower rate. It all boils down to knowing the facts, and the risks and benefits each option brings to the table. It is my job to help them figure that out.
Tell us about a specific challenging borrowing situation and how you got the mortgage closed and funded.
I had a retiring NYPD detective, who was moving his family to NC. He and I worked together for months until the right home was found. We submitted the loan for a USDA loan and despite it being a great loan with great borrowers, the Underwriting team denied the loan. However, I knew the guidelines well enough to stand for my clients and asked for the underwriting team to re-evaluate a number of factors including information I obtained from the regional USDA office. In conclusion, the loan denial was reversed and the borrowers closed the loan on time. I still proudly wear the NYPD detective shirt that my friends gave me; a shirt normally reserved for detectives and family.
What advice would you give new or first time home buyers?
Trust your gut and instincts in choosing the right realtor and the right lender that works with your expectations and personalities. It is important that you are working with professionals who are not uncomfortable taking time to explain the details that first time buyers need and deserve. In that regard, I look at my job as part financial professional, part educator.
Tell us about a mortgage product that consumers may not be aware of?
A favorite strategy for me to introduce to buyers is the ability to put a mortgage structure together that would create a first and second mortgage; a strategy that would eliminate in most instances, the requirement to pay Private Mortgage Insurance. As most would know, Private Mortgage Insurance is required on loans where the amount borrowed is greater than 80% of the purchase price or value of the property. This Private Mortgage Insurance can be an expensive addition to the borrower’s overall monthly mortgage budget and is required to be on the loan so as long as the balance is above 80% of the value of the property. By putting a structure that allows buyer to acquire two mortgages; a first mortgage at 80% of the purchase price, and a second mortgage at 10 or 15% of the purchase price, the borrower can put 5 or 10% down and avoid paying Private Mortgage Insurance. This structure we refer to as a 80/10/10 or 80/15/5. This means, there is a first mortgage at 80% of the purchase price, and a 2nd for 10 or 15%, and borrower puts down 5 of 10%. As with all loan programs, it’s important to look at the pros and cons of each option we evaluate for our borrowers.
How has the mortgage industry changed since you started, and what would you expect in the future?
The industry has changed in the sense that it is a better structured and regulated industry now. This is good overall, because in the nearly 20 years I have been in the business, I have seen some unscrupulous activities by companies and individuals, that perhaps were acting within the law, but perhaps outside of our own individual moral convictions. Either way, the industry has created a structure, requiring professionals like myself to be properly educated and licensed so that we can give a degree of confidence to our clients, in that we have a fiduciary responsibility for the protecting of their interests and financial well being.
What part of the home loan process do customers find most difficult and how do you help them through it?
I believe the most difficult part of the home loan process to a client, is understanding the timelines associated with the process of obtaining and approving a home loan. We as loan professionals of course, are culpable in setting the correct expectations, as well as education our clients. However, I have seen often that when a loan does not close on time, which in my view is the most frustrating potential aspect of the loan process, it is often due to avoidable circumstances. It is therefore very important for me to explain in full detail to my clients, what is needed for the approval, and to set clear expectations of the timelines involved of getting things like home inspections and appraisals completed and through underwriting. It is always about setting the correct expectations and explaining the details of the loan process.
What are the top 3 misconceptions people have about the home loan process?
1. That if one’s credit is less than perfect, that they will not qualify for a home loan
2. Since the 2008 financial collapse, that if you do not have 20% as a down payment, that you cannot purchase a new home.
3. There are many misconceptions about how income is calculated in qualifying a borrower. There are too many details to share in writing here, but that often borrowers misunderstand how income is calculated and how underwriting will look at it. It is therefore our job to accumulate all applicable information and explaining the process as clearly and completely as possible to our clients.
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?
I honestly do not recommend any currently. There is a lot of information online, and Bankrate.com has some good resources. I mostly recommend that my clients become aware of accurate mortgage calculators and how to best understand what their total mortgage obligations will be for the home they are interested in and to become proficient in using that calculator.
What resources could you recommend that borrowers use to learn more about the mortgage process and how to ensure a successful home closing?
The best resource for borrowers can use is a trusted lender. Sure there are a lot of articles out there, but a good professional will provide all of the essential information and guide the borrower through the home loan process.
What can borrowers do to insure a smooth mortgage underwriting process?
I always tell my clients that they should create a new separate file and filing system, during the home approval process and they place all applicable documents necessary for the underwriting, as requested by a loan officer like myself, within that filing system. After the loan process, they are welcome to replace the files in whatever manner they previously keep it. I also ask my borrowers to provide more than the minimum required documents, because sometimes, additional documentation becomes a benefit to push a file through underwriting faster. Lastly, I explain that third party involvement, such as appraiser, home inspector, closing attorney are all necessary parts of the loan approval, and closing process. Sometimes these third parties and their process could create delays or scheduling conflicts. Please do not put off anything during the loan approval process and be as expeditious as possible.
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 stay close to my own network and that is about it. I think the younger guys and gals may benefit from this, but in 20 years in the business, I have built some amazing business contacts and resources, and I am loyal to them and with time often being limited, I believe it is more advantageous for me to stick close to my well established network.
Are you active in any fundraising organizations? What goals and/or success have you helped them achieve?
I have been a part of several fundraising and crowdfunding initiatives and currently am working on one to help create opportunities for the homeless.
Summary of where you grew up: family, affiliations, college, high school, etc.
I was born in Turkey and came to the US when I was 8 due to an ill sister and our family’s goal of getting her the best treatment possible. After losing her, we as a family decided to make a new home here. We have been in NC for the last 30 years. I went to Broughton High School in Raleigh and UNC Greensboro where I studied business with a heavy concentration in economics and marketing. I was a proud member of Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity, and I am an avid weight lifter, and love all forms of exercise and outdoor activities. I am the father of an amazing 5 year old who is my world. I have been a single father most of her life, but soon that will change as I have met the woman of my dreams and we are planning a life together.
What provides you with the most satisfaction in your job as a Loan Officer?
Nothing can quite beat the smile and accomplishments felt by all involved parties at a loan closing. That is why I try to attend as many closings as I can, where I can shake the hands and hug those individuals that trusted me with a very important part of their lives.
What do you enjoy doing most in your spare time when you are not helping people with their home loans?
I spend most of my free time with my daughter, and teaching her about life.
Tell us something that makes you unique or something wacky, yet interesting about you?
We are all unique, in our own special way.