How long have you been in the mortgage business and what inspired you to get into it?
I have been a Sr. Loan Officer for 13 years and was drawn in by one of my best friends, who was very successful and loved his job.
Who is your typical customer and what questions do they typically have?
Over the years, I have seemed to specialize in high value homes in the Tri-State area. These include coops, condos, single and multi-family dwellings, also many 2nd homes in the Jersey Shore.
My typical client is an upper income, credit worthy business person. As with all loans, my clients want the best rates, but want to know their options for lowering rates and payments through shorter loan terms (such as 15 year fixed loans) and lower rates, such as ARM loans. Almost all clients want to know their closing costs. Many are leery of hidden costs, which is why I try to be as transparent as possible, explaining all fees and possible costs in detail. Also, clients want to understand the process and timing to loan closing.
What specific steps do you use to help your customers find the best home loan for them?
I spend a lot of time with my clients and ask a lot of questions. These may focus on the reason they are buying or refinancing now, how long they expect to be living in the property, what their financial resources are and what their financial plans and goals are, moving forward.
What advice would you give new or first time home buyers?
First time home buyers need to be especially aware that they have many financing options available to them. which may or may not be a 30 year fixed loan. They need to realistically assess their current and projected income to see what loan amount and mortgage product will be most affordable. They need to also be aware of the additional costs of home ownership besides their mortgage, such as taxes, homeowners insurance, home maintenance costs and utility bills. I try to counsel them on not only the initial financial aspects of owning a home, but the ongoing costs and implication for their finances.
What part of the home loan process do customers find most difficult and how do you help them through it?
I think the period from the initial approval to final closing can be somewhat stressful for borrowers. After the initial approval (often know as credit approval), certain conditions may be imposed by the underwriter. At this point, the loan application and approval is looked over carefully and borrowers can be unnerved by the request for seemingly minor additional documentation. An example of this is the need to "trail" or account for "large deposits" to any of their accounts. As a loan officer, my job is to allay their fears, explain that it is normal to the process and help them find and submit these final items so the loan can be "clear to close".