How long have you been in the mortgage business and what inspired you to get into it?
I have been a loan officer since 2002. I have many clients and Realtor relationships to thank for continuing to enjoy this wonderful career. I was inspired to get into this business knowing that I could help people achieve their dreams of home ownership. Nothing satisfies me more than helping people out, and making a positive difference in their lives.
Who is your typical customer and what questions do they typically have?
I have an extremely wide variety of customers including first time home buyers, retirees purchasing their dream vacation home or second home, and even investors looking to maximize their return on investment through income producing rental properties. I don't just offer purchase loans as many of my customers are refinancing now in order to take advantage of the historically low interest rates. Furthermore, I am well versed in the guidelines of all of the well-known and little known mortgage products in order to find my customers the very best fit for their needs. I offer the VA Interest Rate Reduction Loan (VA IRRRL), FHA Streamline, USDA, Conventional JUMBO, Fannie Mae's Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP 2.0), and Freddie Mac's version of the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP 2.0).
What are the pros and cons of a fixed rate mortgage versus an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM)?
This is a hot topic in today's lending environment and I often discuss the differences between a fixed rate and adjustable rate mortgage with my clients. Usually, an adjustable rate mortgage will have a period of time where the rate is fixed, after which, the rate will become variable and subject to change. Generally, the shorter the fixed in period of the ARM, the lower the rate will be. The question on whether to get into a fixed rate mortgage or an adjustable rate mortgage often depends on how long you intend on staying in the home. If you do not intend to stay in the home for over 5 years it may be wise to consider the benefits the lower payment the adjustable rate mortgage can provide. This is usually very popular with the military where assignments and military stations at different bases change periodically. It is important to check the floor rate, adjustment margin, yearly adjustment cap, and the index where the mortgage is calculated from. An adjustable rate mortgage can serve as very beneficial for certain customers in certain circumstances, however, interest rates for fixed rate mortgages have never been lower. I always discuss the pros and cons of both the fixed rate and adjustable rate mortgage with my clients.
What advice would you give new or first time home buyers?
The best advice I could give to a first time home buyer would be to start the mortgage financing process early. Let me review your income, credit, asset and type of property you might be interested in buying in advance, so I can help you make the best decision. A home is most likely the most expensive purchase of a consumer's life, let's make sure we get everything in order first. I find that most of my clients that work with me early end up savings money long term and make more confident decisions.
What are the top 3 misconceptions people have about the home loan process?
The top 3 misconceptions people have about the home loan process are: 1. You must put down 20% to buy a home: We have products for home buyers in which you can put as little as 3% down and get a great rate. 2. It is very difficult to get a mortgage. Getting a mortgage is difficult only if you are not prepared. Getting a Pre-Approval and realistic expectation of documentation requirements and underwriting criteria makes the whole process much easier. 3. Self Employed borrowers cannot qualify for a mortgage: Not true, it is just as easy for someone who is self-employed to get a mortgage, as it is an employee of a business.
What can borrowers do to insure a smooth mortgage underwriting process?
I always try to set the right expectations up front with my clients. The lending environment has gone through some drastic changes over the past few years and things continue to change. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are the two Government Sponsored Entities (GSE's) that put forth underwriting guidelines for mortgages in the United States. Because of recent changes there will be items required that were never required when someone may have purchased their last house or refinanced several years ago. I try to explain that certain items are required so mortgages are "investment grade" and we do not make the same mistake twice with the mortgage meltdown that took place several years ago. That being said, it's fairly easy to get a mortgage even by today's standards. The difference is, the customer has to put forth a little work up front and be thorough and detailed in compiling the list of items needed to process the refinance or purchase transaction. If the work is done up front and most importantly, in a timely manner, the process will go smoothly and we will take it from there!
Tell us something that makes you unique or something wacky, yet interesting about you?
When I'm not working I love to spend time doing volunteer work in the community, playing tennis, but mostly I enjoy spending time with my wife and two grandchildren. I also enjoy teaching the grandkids Spanish as I am bilingual and want them to also understand the benefits of knowing another language.