GuaranteedRate - Mortgage Company

Steve Ames

VP of Mortgage Lending
6900 South 900 East Suite 150, Midvale, UT 84047
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Steve interview Q&A

How long have you been in the mortgage business and what inspired you to get into it?
I have been in the industry for almost 6 years, I felt like a could help people in this industry.
Who is your typical customer and what questions do they typically have?
My typical customer is someone who needs help from an expert. Their situation is not normal for whatever the reason; credit, self-employed, immigrants, complex income, etc. Often, they are surprised that they can obtain a home loan.
What specific steps do you use to help your customers find the best home loan for them?
I weigh their home buying timeline against their current financial and credit situation and give them their options to consider.
How long have you been in the mortgage business? What awards have you won?
Almost 6 years, I was rookie of the year when I first started.
What are the pros and cons of a fixed rate mortgage versus an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM)?
I like both products for different reasons. A fixed rate provides security particularly if you a certain about your future past 5 to 7 years. Adjustable rate loans can be a great tool for qualifying purposes or if you know that you are going to sell or refinance in 5 to 7 years and thus reap the benefit of a lower rate in the short term.
Tell us about a specific challenging borrowing situation and how you got the mortgage closed and funded.
One that comes to mind is a single mother whose income came from alimony and child support. She was also in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy and her credit was 590. I was told by my processor and my underwriter that this loan could not be done. I knew the guidelines and we closed the loan.
What advice would you give new or first time home buyers?
Buy what you can afford, not what you qualify for. Create a monthly budget and follow it. Go into buying a home with 2 to 3 months of cash reserves. Purchase a five-year home warranty if you are buying a previous owned home.
Tell us about a mortgage product that consumers may not be aware of?
One of my favorite is the home renovation loan, this allows customers to buy or remodel an existing home and make extensive repairs and upgrades. My other favorite is the 1% down grant program for first time home buyers.
How has the mortgage industry changed since you started, and what would you expect in the future?
Home loans to some degree are a hassle, technology seems to be helping to improve the process and I would think that will continue to be the case.
What part of the home loan process do customers find most difficult and how do you help them through it?
The documentation process and the signature requirements are sometimes burdensome. There is no way around it, I help my customers understand each requirement and the timeline of each step of the loan process from application to funding.
What are the top 3 misconceptions people have about the home loan process?
Minimum credit scores, down payments and income requirements. Most people don’t have a clue that you can buy a home with a 580-credit score for only 3.5% down or obtain a 0 down loan with a 620 credit score. Also many do not understand that college or technical training is considered as part of your two year work history.
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 recommend my Guaranteed Rate mortgage app because customers can accurately calculate their payment and easily contact me with any questions. I also recommend the mobile app as it is the most accurate and up to date house finding tool in the Utah market. It allows you to save profiles of what you are looking for and will notify you immediately when something with your criteria comes on the market and both apps are FREE!
What resources could you recommend that borrowers use to learn more about the mortgage process and how to ensure a successful home closing?
I would direct them to my Guaranteed Rate website for online information and or talk to me direct and I can answer any of their questions.
What can borrowers do to insure a smooth mortgage underwriting process?
Be patient with the process, prompt with document and signature requests and don’t apply for new credit without first consulting with their loan officer.
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 am a member of a local church whose goals are to help all financially and spiritually whether it’s a local financial disaster for a family, single mom or when natural disasters occur throughout the county or world. I help assist with their charitable efforts locally and abroad through their various welfare programs such as cash donations, volunteering in their food packaging plants and their closed to the public stores for the needy.
Are you active in any fundraising organizations? What goals and/or success have you helped them achieve?
I am pioneering and will execute a plan for my local neighborhood to invite others to help with our relief efforts for the poor and those affected by natural disaster.
Summary of where you grew up: family, affiliations, college, high school, etc.
That’s a colorful question to answer for me. I was born in Hollywood California, adopted by Utah native parents and brought home to Utah where I grew up in South Jordan. I was always in trouble in elementary school, barely graduated from Bingham High School and flunked out of SLCC due to my own ambition in pursuing my Disk Jockey business.
What provides you with the most satisfaction in your job as a Loan Officer?
When clients close on their loan. Because the process is a hassle and it’s such a big decision and the new home holds so many dreams, it’s great satisfaction.
What do you enjoy doing most in your spare time when you are not helping people with their home loans?
I love spending time with my family doing a variety of things; play, work, movies etc. We have a family business selling personalized rings, it’s a lot of fun.
Tell us something that makes you unique or something wacky, yet interesting about you?
I have produced over 4000 events including; dance parties, corn mazes, haunted trails, a haunted house and a bridal show. My events ranged from small to up to 60,000 attendees. I also renovated a 1950’s building and turned it into a night club and event center. Although I am no longer in that business that old venue was used by now President Trump and Vice President Pence during the 2016 election for their rally’s . During my tenure, Disney used it for High School Musical 2 and 3 for their casting and rehearsals. At a previous venue, I hosted NSYNC after their concert at the then Delta Center. Britney Spears was in attendance and her and I had a nice chat. Justin Timberlake was very gracious and down to earth as where the rest of the group members.

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