What specific steps do you use to help your customers find the best home loan for them?
The first step in the home financing process is having an initial consultation with the customer. My goal is to not only build a rapport with them to gain their trust and confidence, but to understand their goals and objectives for home financing. By the end of our conversation, I want to be sure that all their questions are answered, and they’ve been presented with the best loan options to meet their needs.
What advice would you give new or first time home buyers?
Being a new or first-time homebuyer can be very overwhelming. Speaking with a lender should be the first step in the process. Many buyers tend to begin their home search first before finding out the amount in which they can obtain financing. In a seller’s market, properties sell very quickly and having that pre- approval in place allows a buyer to act quickly and confidently when they find the house of their dreams.
First-time homebuyers understandably have a lot of questions. I want them to feel comfortable reaching out to me at any time with questions. They can rely on me as the expert to not only get their questions answered, but to hold their hands throughout the process assuring them of a smooth and on time settlement.
What are the top 3 misconceptions people have about the home loan process?
Misconception #1 - You need 20% down payment to purchase a home
This is the biggest misconception around. Fact is, if you're a qualifying Veteran OR looking to buy a home in an area that's privy to USDA financing, you can buy a home with 0% down. Many states and counties around the country also offer down payment assistance programs that allow a buyer to use an FHA or conventional loan program with little to no down payment as well. For more traditional financing types, there is only a small down payment requirement, 3.5% for FHA loans, and as little as 3% for conventional loans. With both loan types, any or all of the down payment funds can come in the form of a gift. Even for buyers looking at luxury properties, there are Jumbo loans that require only 10-15% down and with no mortgage insurance!
Misconception #2 - You need perfect credit to get a loan
"Perfect credit", "terrible credit", and "good credit" are very subjective terms. I've had borrowers assume their credit is poor because they paid their student loan or another mortgage 10 days past the due date - in reality, their credit was very good. It's true that credit tightened up a few years back, but that's well behind us now. We're frequently seeing programs come out for lower FICO scores. The pendulum is swinging back to a place where common sense is playing a role in getting a mortgage. While the process may be a little more smooth sailing for borrowers with pristine credit, those with some bumps in the road should not assume they can't get a mortgage. Chances are, they can, now or in the very near future.
Mortgage Misconception #3 - ARMs are bad
Thanks to their role in the "mortgage meltdown", ARMs have gotten a bad rep. In reality, the adjustable rate mortgage programs available today are nowhere close to the toxic ARM's of the early 2000's. ARMs today can be a great financial tool - they're perfect for folks in short term ownership positions, great for first time buyers with strong potential for large increases in income rates, and outstanding loans for borrowers using their mortgage as a cash flow tool.
What can borrowers do to ensure a smooth mortgage underwriting process?
It’s important for borrowers to know that there is a significant amount of documentation required in the loan process. Providing these needed items for loan approval in a timely manner is crucial. At the beginning of the loan process, the borrower is provided a list of do’s and don’ts to follow to prevent any financial missteps that might jeopardize their loan approval. As long as they provide the documentation needed and abide by the list of do’s and don’ts, they will be in the best position for a smooth loan process.
What do you enjoy doing most in your spare time when you are not helping people with their home loans?
My free time is all about family time. I take advantage of any opportunity to spend quality time with my wife and kids. I enjoy live music, trying out new restaurants and traveling.
Tell us something that makes you unique or something wacky, yet interesting about you?
I love live music, whether it’s in a small club or at a large music festival. My most enjoyable experience was spending Father’s Day weekend 2016 with my wife and kids at FireFly Music Festival in Dover, Delaware. We spent four days living in an RV and listening to dozens of bands!