How long have you been in the mortgage business and what inspired you to get into it?
I started in 1999, but moved wholly to originating in 2004. I fell into the business by accident when a friend who had been tasked with taking over a new mortgage company asked me to join him – even though I had no experience -because he was impressed with how I handled a challenge in a situation with a different company.
Who is your typical customer and what questions do they typically have?
Although I deal with a lot of high-end clientele and sophisticated businesspeople, my customers fall within a wide range. My goal with answering their questions is not necessarily about the questions clients ask, but rather the questions they don’t know enough to ask yet.
What specific steps do you use to help your customers find the best home loan for them?
As with the above, my job is to educate them as much as possible about all the options. And to think about those options beyond the obvious or emotional answer. This all starts with my asking them questions and understanding them and their needs and goals.
How long have you been in the mortgage business? What awards have you won?
I have been exclusively originating for 11 years. I have been a member of President’s Club for several years running at every company I worked for. I have also been in the top three for average loan size for several years as well. Lastly, I have achieved the highest ratings for Realtor and Customer satisfaction for a number of years.
What are the pros and cons of a fixed rate mortgage versus an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM)?
What are the pros and cons of chocolate vs. vanilla? It depends on the person and situation. There are a myriad of factors from pricing to loan size: for example, it’s a lot easier to do a free 30-year fixed vs. an ARM on a conforming loan. In other words, there is no simple answer.
Tell us about a specific challenging borrowing situation and how you got the mortgage closed and funded.
A recent victory for us was a $2.3M loan on a second home purchase with $50,000 of income on the tax return and a 610 FICO score! We got the mortgage closed by doing detective work and documenting and packaging the file to a degree that only a handful of professionals in the industry are willing and capable of going to.
What advice would you give new or first time home buyers?
Educate yourselves! Start working with a professional loan officer well ahead of looking for properties. Sometimes you may need to start working a year ahead of time. Also, don’t worry about missing lots of properties, it’s a process. Lastly, the house matters a lot more than the financing. It’s a lot easier to change loans down the line than change houses!
Tell us about a mortgage product that consumers may not be aware of?
I think most people are aware of what’s out there and we’ll let them know if not, but I think what’s important is for people to be open-minded about creative options. Sometimes we need to do loans in two steps where we might have one loan for purchasing the property, but have a plan to refinance out of it in 6 months or so. It sounds like a long way to go, but a) it’s usually not that hard and b) sometimes that’s by far the best option in terms of both price and securing the property.
How has the mortgage industry changed since you started, and what would you expect in the future?
It has changed by leaps and bounds, some of them good, a lot of them not. What I hope for in the future is more licensing and education. A lot of the big banks are going to a model of call centers, but that deprives people of true professionals which are often needed both from a standpoint of they are the only ones who might get the job done and because many people would much rather pay a professional than deal with the stress of navigating the process with someone who is not true professional and who does not understand them and their situation.
What part of the home loan process do customers find most difficult and how do you help them through it?
Educating them about options, about why to use a professional, about how much paperwork is required - and that we don’t make the rules, we just help clients navigate them.
What are the top 3 misconceptions people have about the home loan process?
That they know what’s best! I know it sounds silly especially if people are educated and have gotten loans before, but the business changes so rapidly and there are so many variables that unless you’re doing several loans month in and month out, there’s no way anyone really knows.
Another big one is that there is any common sense or logic. Lenders behave according to a certain set of rules that do not make common sense or logic.
Lastly, that when we ask for something it’s not something we really need. Believe me, we understand the above, if we don’t really need it, we won’t ask.
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?
The GR app is the only one they need on the mortgage side and whatever ones their realtor recommends for the home side. I do not pretend to be an expert in anything but mortgage!
What resources could you recommend that borrowers use to learn more about the mortgage process and how to ensure a successful home closing?
Myself and my team. Plus anything on the GR websites.
What can borrowers do to insure a smooth mortgage underwriting process?
Tell me everything and get us everything as quickly as possible. The more information we have, the better we can package and present a file so that it sails through quickly. Unfortunately many people in this business still throw mud at the wall and hope is sticks, but that is a recipe for disaster at best and needless stress at the least because then you’re getting more headaches and ups and downs later in the transaction. We want to do all the hard work up front so that files sail through as smoothly as possible.
Summary of where you grew up: family, affiliations, college, high school, etc.
I grew up in West Los Angeles and graduated from UC Berkeley. I have been in Santa Barbara since 2001 and have been pursuing a Masters in Spiritual Psychology.
What provides you with the most satisfaction in your job as a Loan Officer?
Educating clients so that they understand how a mortgage impacts their goals and finances. Helping people navigate the Byzantine loan process with the least amount stress – especially those who couldn’t get loans elsewhere – is a close second.
What do you enjoy doing most in your spare time when you are not helping people with their home loans?
My sons are first and foremost for me. Beyond them singing brings me more joy than anything else. The ocean, writing and good European-style meals that go on for hours with laughter and interesting people are right behind.
Tell us something that makes you unique or something wacky, yet interesting about you?
I’m writing a book on the interplay and shifting dynamics between the Masculine and Feminine – and what I think is needed in today’s world to bring happiness to both sexes and in their relationships.