How long have you been in the mortgage business and what inspired you to get into it?
I started in mortgage in 1997. What's inspired me to stay in mortgage, contrary to what one might think, is that there is nothing ordinary or boring about mortgage. Being an advisor and a consultant to people who are undertaking what is likely their largest debt, is challenging yet rewarding when the house they are buying becomes their home.
Who is your typical customer and what questions do they typically have?
No customer is a "typical" customer. Like a fingerprint, every person has a different financial profile. Questions most commonly asked are "what is the best rate I can get?" Rate questions are the easiest to ask, but can be the most challenging to appropriately respond to because everyone's financial needs and profiles are much different. The first time buyer buying a condo will have much different needs than that couple who is looking for their dream home or the investor looking to buy a three unit rental.
What specific steps do you use to help your customers find the best home loan for them?
Helping customers find the best home loan for them can be very easy if you ask the right questions and you listen. I have found that if I ask questions and understand what the real need of the mortgage is along with what an individual's financial goals are, that the proper home loan becomes rather obvious. There have been instances that a client tells me specifically what they "think" they want, but as the consultation continues a sort of discovery process occurs. It's really easy to think you want a 30 yr and that you should put 20% down, but that's not always the best or most appropriate decision. Customers should never be afraid to ask questions and they should also not be expected to know what they don't know.
How long have you been in the mortgage business? What awards have you won?
I started my mortgage career in 1997 and began my career as an originator in 2000. I am proud to say that I have not only survived the ups and downs of mortgage, but have learned from and improved my craft throughout. I have been awarded the designation as a President's Club member at Guaranteed Rate a number of times and was named one of the "Top 100 Most Influential Mortgage Executives" by Mortgage Executive Magazine.
How has the mortgage industry changed since you started, and what would you expect in the future?
Since getting into mortgages in the late 90s when 30 yr fixed rates were at 7.375% and documentation was required, to the early 2000s where rates were dropping while housing prices were skyrocketing with financing that was both unique and creative with little to no documentation to a recovery period in/around 2009 with prolonged low interest rates laden with compliance and a rebound effect of more stringent documentation requirements. Before I could say what's changed, it might be easier to say what hasn't changed. What has certainly changed for the better recently, is the use and ease to rely on and utilize technology. Consumers no longer have to walk into a bank with a stack of papers only to wait on their mortgage approval. Technology allows consumers to complete their application faster and with a lot more convenience. Lenders can also provide more transparency, more accurate detail and do so in a consumer friendly way. What I might expect in the future is limited only by technology and to that end, I think the landscape of mortgages can continue to evolve and improve. I am proud to say that I am affiliated with an organization that has made technology a priority as it makes the consumer experience better, the transparency to the real estate community better and the efficiency for me as an originator significantly better.
What can borrowers do to ensure a smooth mortgage underwriting process?
As a consumer, if you are looking to ensure a underwriter -be prepared, be organized, be cooperative, be patient and be smart. Be smart about the lender you choose to work with as that can be the biggest difference between a smooth underwrite and approval to that of a headache and frustration. If your lender and your loan officer don't know their guidelines, one might run the risk of a misdiagnosis.
Summary of where you grew up: family, affiliations, college, high school, etc.
I am the youngest of four and the only boy, growing up in a house with three older sisters in the western suburbs of Chicago. My dad was a mechanic and my mom, well she did it all. I went to Fenwick High School and then to Loras College. I dreamed of being a Chicago firefighter, but am glad to be in mortgages. I have twins - one boy and one girl and love watching them grow up and mature into the people they are developing into. My wife grew up in the south side of Chicago, continues to have her own experiences in mortgage financing while being the rock in our house.
Tell us something that makes you unique or something wacky, yet interesting about you?
Interested in something wacky or interesting about me…just ask - best that I not write or publish that here for you, the reading audience.