How long have you been in the mortgage business and what inspired you to get into it?
I have been in the business for 13 years. I have always been a number cruncher, a.k.a math nerd, and I enjoy working with people. The mortgage business seemed like a logical career path for me based on those things.
Who is your typical customer and what questions do they typically have?
I wouldn’t say that I have a typical customer as I do not like to shy away from any type of loan. I do find myself working with several high-level executives on one side of the spectrum as well as many first-time homebuyers on the other. I take great pride in being knowledgeable, which allows answers to be provided on a wide scale of questions.
What specific steps do you use to help your customers find the best home loan for them?
We like to look at all components of a borrowers file to make certain no stone is left unturned when it comes to discussing loan programs they potentially qualify for. We collect and review their income and asset documentation upfront to ensure a seamless loan approval.
How long have you been in the mortgage business? What awards have you won?
I have been in the business for 13 years and have been a Presidents Club winner for several of those years. I was the Top Producer Companywide for six consecutive years and was name Sales Manager of the year in 2016. I was also recognized as being in the top 1% of all originators in the country in 2016 & 2017.
What are the pros and cons of a fixed rate mortgage versus an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM)?
When trying to decide between a fixed rate versus an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM), there are a few things to strongly consider. Some of the benefits of a fixed interest rate are somewhat obvious. Like knowing that the principal and interest portion of the payment will never change. It is a very safe route to go and how long you will be in the home is a deciding factor. If this will be a “forever” home, then the fixed rate route is the way to go. But if the borrower is certain that they will only be in the home for 3 – 5 years, then may be an ARM is the way to go. The ARM route should only be considered if an improve to the interest rate is available.
Tell us about a specific challenging borrowing situation and how you got the mortgage closed and funded.
I received a lead from one of my Realtors for a client that was recently denied at another mortgage bank. They were trying to go FHA and had a co-borrower that wasn’t going to live them, and they were not related (which is a problem). We reworked the deal, switching the financing to conventional which allowed for a friend to be a co-borrower on the loan. We closed the deal in 2 and half weeks start to finish. Thinking outside of the box really helped us come through for this client.
What advice would you give new or first time home buyers?
The best advice I can give new or first-time homebuyers is to get pre-approved prior to falling in-love with a home. The biggest reason deals go south, is that the pre-approval process wasn’t taken seriously by all involved. Please be prepared to provide all necessary documentation as quickly as possible.
Tell us about a mortgage product that consumers may not be aware of?
Although it is becoming more popular, there are many 3% down payment conventional options that help so many people. Another product that can be combined with 3% down option, is a PMI buyout. A PMI buyout or Single premium PMI allows for the cheapest monthly payment possible!
How has the mortgage industry changed since you started, and what would you expect in the future?
The mortgage business is constantly evolving. When I started in the business back in 2005, you basically needed a credit score and pulse to get a loan, LOL. Now the industry proves that it doesn’t discriminate, and picks on everyone when it comes to the documentation that is needed. However, GRate makes this process easier than any other company with the technology we have access to.
What part of the home loan process do customers find most difficult and how do you help them through it?
The pre-approval process seems to be the most difficult to borrowers. We take pride in educating our borrowers on the benefits of taking the pre-approval process as serious as possible. Specifically, explaining what can go wrong for borrowers that are not properly pre-approved.
What are the top 3 misconceptions people have about the home loan process?
The top three misconceptions we have seen are…
a. How a borrower gets paid isn’t a factor. Many clients don’t realize that commission, bonus, & over-time must be received on consistent basis to use it for loan qualifying purposes.
b. Many clients don’t realize that all money needed from them for the loan must be verified, and large sums of cash can’t just land in their account without being able document where it came from.
c. Lastly, borrowers do not realize how many loan options are available in today’s market. Unfortunately, there are several loan officers out there that do not have enough product knowledge to properly take care of their clients. That’s when those loan officer’s clients easily become my clients!
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?
Zillow is a great app that offers the information several homebuyers are looking for. It’s a great tool to search for homes and additional information for the area they are interested learning more about. My Guaranteed Rate app is a phenomenal tool as well and will allow for folks to take advantage of our Digital Mortgage and obtain a pre-approval very quickly!
What resources could you recommend that borrowers use to learn more about the mortgage process and how to ensure a successful home closing?
Our team is the best resource available for borrowers to learn about the loan process and ensure a successful transaction!
What can borrowers do to insure a smooth mortgage underwriting process?
The biggest favor a borrower can do for themselves to ensure a smooth process, is to be attentive and responsive when we communicate with them during the approval process. So many times, borrowers will unknowingly shoot themselves in the foot by overlooking emails, texts, and voice mails.
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?
Not currently but am looking to change that.
Are you active in any fundraising organizations? What goals and/or success have you helped them achieve?
I do like support organizations in our community. Erin’s House for grieving children is a great local organization in our community. City Life is another wonderful organization. We support them with fundraising events and mentoring.
Summary of where you grew up: family, affiliations, college, high school, etc.
I was born & raised in Fort Wayne Indiana. I went to Wayne High School and Ball State University. My wonderful wife Nicki & I have three children that keep us on our toes. Our dog Tucker rounds out the Thomas Clan.
What provides you with the most satisfaction in your job as a Loan Officer?
My favorite part of the job is being fully immersed in the homebuying experience with my clients, making sure they know that they are not alone, and we will be there supporting them from start to finish!
What do you enjoy doing most in your spare time when you are not helping people with their home loans?
I enjoy spending time with my family, working on my fitness, and the occasional round of golf. We are thankful to have a lake home to enjoy during the summers and soak up the sun as often as possibility.
Tell us something that makes you unique or something wacky, yet interesting about you?
I love coaching folks in a variety of ways. Helping the lightbulb come on for a family member, friend, and sometimes an acquaintance is very fulfilling. I am also ambidextrous with most things. I am also math nerd that just happens to good with people. So, I guess that worked out for being in the mortgage business.