How long have you been in the mortgage business and what inspired you to get into it?
I started in the mortgage business in 2002 as a stable way to earn a living while also helping people. I am definitely a people person.
Who is your typical customer and what questions do they typically have?
My customers range from first-time buyers to homebuyers in an affluent "Two River" town, like Rumson or Fair Haven (since our Jumbo rates are notoriously low). Most of my business comes through referral so most of my incoming prospects let me take the lead and let me explain the process in my simple & understandable way. Usually, when I'm through, believe it or not, their questions were answered!
What specific steps do you use to help your customers find the best home loan for them?
First, I send my clients to our awesome Digital Mortgage! This is a huge time saver for both of us, and it is a fast and easy way to get me the information I need to better understand what the situation is and where to start with the conversation. I always call them upon receiving the application to my system to polish things up and I use that call to get us on the same page by perhaps digging deeper on unique circumstances and having a discussion that will ultimately prevent us from having any issues along the way. I take a lot of pride in my ability to be thorough, and ask the right questions to ensure a smooth process.
How long have you been in the mortgage business? What awards have you won?
I have been in the business for a long time, earning President's Club awards (2010), Five Star Professional award (2015), and "Best of Monmouth" awards (2014 & 2015). I truly care about my clients and then they become my friends...and then my friends nominate me for these awards! It's really a great job!
What are the pros and cons of a fixed rate mortgage versus an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM)?
The 30-year mortgage is a very "safe" loan product, but not always the best choice. Most people are in a new mortgage within 6 - 7 years of closing, yet the majority of applicants prefer the 30-year fixed. They want to know that if they do stay in the mortgage long-term, that they are going to always know what their payment will be. Interestingly enough, you don't know what your income is going to be either. Most people's income rises over time, as they climb the company ladder, and build their book of business or their experience and value to their firm. So, on a 7-year ARM for example, even if the rate rises after 84 months in the mortgage, the loan balance is lower which reduces the impact of a higher rate, and your income is higher. Furthermore, refinancing is always an option. So, the lower % on the ARM can be very nice savings for that first seven years, and then you can parlay that savings into investments or into paying the loan down further, and keep the future payments down (on the same mortgage or a new one). That being said, I never push product. I want my clients to sleep at night & be happy with their decision!
Tell us about a specific challenging borrowing situation and how you got the mortgage closed and funded.
I worked for six weeks on a condominium approval. No other lender was lending in the complex and I was determined to make it happen. After a lot of time, effort, and energy, the client was thrilled with my work and so was the agent. Although it was difficult, I think even I learned about how talented I am at finding a way to get a deal done when everyone else can't do it.
What advice would you give new or first time home buyers?
Prepare and plan. I would tell ANY home buyer to talk to a mortgage professional and discuss the financing process and your situation at least six months prior to application. When you have just a little time like that to sew up loose ends in your credit profile, or save a little more $, it can save you thousands of dollars through more favorable loan terms. It also is a great way to mentally prepare yourself for what you are going to need and get acquainted with the processes.
Tell us about a mortgage product that consumers may not be aware of?
Our "Make It Yours" product is tremendous and under-used. It's a renovation loan product that allows you to buy a home that you may not think is perfect, yet is in the perfect location! This product allows you to finance the renovation work into the mortgage! It is really a great product and I am fortunate to work in the same office as the National head of our Renovation Department for the entire company. We have a great team that really can make a house into the perfect home for our clients!
How has the mortgage industry changed since you started, and what would you expect in the future?
This business has gotten much tougher for people to become loan originators. The regulations and rules and guidelines are not only way more intense than they were when I started, but they are ever-changing! For me, however, I feel very fortunate to work for a company that pushes me to be a better loan officer and has an incredible training platform to keep me up to date on all of the changes and make me an absolute professional. I am proud to say that although it's a tougher business, I have become so proficient at it and I'm a much better loan officer than I ever was before! It's a big reason why I am even more gratified each time I make someone's home buying experience a great one!
What can borrowers do to insure a smooth mortgage underwriting process?
Borrowers can ensure a smooth underwriting process by getting me all of the paperwork I ask for within 24 hours of me asking for it. The faster they work, the faster potential problems can be identified and workarounds can be executed. I just took an application yesterday, and the client is fabulous. He sent me 24 different documents, which I've already reviewed, and was able to diagnose a problem with a large deposit from a bank account he should not be using for the transaction. We've already remedied the issue and I can confidently tell him how great everything looks!
Are you active in any fundraising organizations? What goals and/or success have you helped them achieve?
I am the President and Founder of a 501(c)3 charity, The Believe Project. Our mission is "Delivering Christmas Magic and Holiday Cheer to children who need it most." I couldn't possibly tell you all of the things we have done thus far, but can happily refer you to the home page where you can learn more about the organization and even make a donation! Visit www.TheBelieveProject.org.
Tell us something that makes you unique or something wacky, yet interesting about you?
I am a sports fanatic. I was a three-sport athlete growing up (soccer, baseball, and basketball). I played baseball in college, but soccer was always my passion, and now I am having so much fun playing soccer with my sons, Aidan and Keegan, and watching them go nuts for it! I am also very talented at Karaoke. My best songs are actually Muppets (The Swedish Chef's "The Wanderer") or Cartoon Characters (Olaf's "In Summer"). I have no idea why, I'm so good at it, but it's pretty hilarious.