How long have you been in the mortgage business and what inspired you to get into it?
I broke into real estate in 1984. First, as a property manager. Then selling residential and investment real estate. In 1986, I was recruited to be a commercial loan officer. After “Black Monday” I switched to residential mortgages.
Who is your typical customer and what questions do they typically have?
I kind of straddle both ends of the market in that I work with a lot of first time homebuyers, while at the same time working with a fair number of self-employed buyers.
What specific steps do you use to help your customers find the best home loan for them?
I work with my buyers to objectively access their financial situation and goals.
How long have you been in the mortgage business? What awards have you won?
30 years as a mortgage banker. During which time, I’ve helped thousands of people to buy and sell their homes. The best “reward” that I have received as a loan officer was when I got a young couple, who had been turned down by a number of other lenders, approved to buy their first home for their growing family. About a month after we closed, they sent me a “first baby” pic and introduced me to their son, “Mitchell”: They named their kid after me!
What are the pros and cons of a fixed rate mortgage versus an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM)?
I’m a big fan of fixed rate mortgages, except in very limited circumstances such as when the borrower doesn’t expect to (and is confident in) that they won’t own the home for longer than the adjustment period.
Tell us about a specific challenging borrowing situation and how you got the mortgage closed and funded.
The loan for the young couple who ended up naming their kid after me was a case in point where common sense needed to applied to the situation, as opposed to viewing guide lines as rules.
They had worked for over 8 years paying off collection accounts that were the result of having had a child get sick when they didn’t have health insurance. The kid, who eventually died, racked up about $100,000 in medical bills before he passed.
Instead of simply declaring bankruptcy and moving on, this couple felt that it was their duty to pay those debts off and they did. Over a period of 8 years.
When the other lenders saw the slew of recently paid collections, they turned them down out of hand. I contacted an associate who worked in the underwriting policy office of Fannie Mae and explained the situation to her. She ran it by the executive committee and they decided to buy the loan on a one off basis.
What advice would you give new or first time home buyers?
Make sure that you are properly prepared for homeownership and have proved to themselves that they have the financial discipline to successfully own a home.
Tell us about a mortgage product that consumers may not be aware of?
Down Payment assistance programs.
How has the mortgage industry changed since you started, and what would you expect in the future?
The industry has let commonsense take a back seat to policy and technology. What were once guide lines are now rules. I expect it to get worse as time goes on.
What part of the home loan process do customers find most difficult and how do you help them through it?
Understanding exactly what is going on with their loan and why we ask for the things that we ask for.
What are the top 3 misconceptions people have about the home loan process?
1) That it will be easy to get a loan. (2) That we should be able to use any and all income that they receive. And (3) all lenders are basically the same…that mortgage are a commodity.
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 like the Realtor app because the buyer can use it to find homes. Other than that, I’m not a big fan of real estate and/or mortgage phone apps.
What resources could you recommend that borrowers use to learn more about the mortgage process and how to ensure a successful home closing?
Be careful in researching your agent and don’t just use one that you happen to bump into or that you are related to. Then pick a good agent and stay loyal to him or her. Take their advice in picking their lender as opposed to playing Russian Roulette with mortgage bankers.
What can borrowers do to insure a smooth mortgage underwriting process?
When I or my processor says to jump, for the borrower to say “how high”?
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 support Habitat for Humanity, as well as several Church Groups that promote home ownership by their members.
Are you active in any fundraising organizations? What goals and/or success have you helped them achieve?
Summary of where you grew up: family, affiliations, college, high school, etc.
I grew up in St. Louis City where I attended Southwest and Metro High Schools. I then studied Economics and Finance at the University of Missouri – Columbia, as well as UM – St. Louis and Washington University in St. Louis.
I have a certificate in Renewable Energy Technology from Columbia Gorge Community College (Portland Community College) and a certificate in Renewable Energy Management from North Carolina State University
What provides you with the most satisfaction in your job as a Loan Officer?
Helping people to obtain financial security through home ownership.
What do you enjoy doing most in your spare time when you are not helping people with their home loans?
I enjoy working out, travelling, my dogs and my family
Tell us something that makes you unique or something wacky, yet interesting about you?
I am a certified “Windsmith”. That is, I am certified to work on Industrial Scale Wind Turbines. I am also a big fan of Solar Thermal technologies and am in the process of looking for some land to build a zero energy greenhouse.