How long have you been in the mortgage business and what inspired you to get into it?
14 years and the reason I got into it was to help people with one of life’s most inspiring goals……to own a house.
Who is your typical customer and what questions do they typically have?
My typical customer is either a 1st time homebuyer who has tons of questions pertaining to literally everything about what it takes to buy a home or a move-up buyer who hasn’t purchased in a long time and needs expert advice on navigating the process again.
What specific steps do you use to help your customers find the best home loan for them?
I try to ask my customers lots of questions because I want to understand their future plans of how long they plan to live in the next house, what are their family’s needs, are they looking for a fixed rate or adjustable rate mortgage and how comfortable they are with each, do they want stability or are they looking for the initial lowest monthly payment to grow into, how much money do they have to work with in the purchase. Things like that.
How long have you been in the mortgage business? What awards have you won?
14 years. President’s Club in 2012, 2015, 2016, 2017 and the Top 1% of all Mortgage Originators according to Mortgage Executive Magazine for 2015, 2016.
What are the pros and cons of a fixed rate mortgage versus an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM)?
The pros to a fixed rate mortgage is stability. You can bank on what your monthly mortgage payment is going to be from the time you close to the time you pay off your loan. The con is your interest rate might be slightly higher than that of an adjustable rate mortgage. The pros to an adjustable rate mortgage is usually a lower monthly payment for the first few years, depending on the product, which gives you time to grow into your mortgage payment as your income goes up over the years. It also gives you typically a lower monthly payment versus a fixed rate mortgage if you know you will only live in your house for a set amount of time. The con to an adjustable rate mortgage is the market could move on your and you could find yourself making a higher mortgage payment due to a rate increase than you would have if you would have selected a fixed rate mortgage in the beginning.
Tell us about a specific challenging borrowing situation and how you got the mortgage closed and funded.
I recently had a $1.2 million VA buyer that was using Wells Fargo bank for their mortgage. Wells had the loan in process for 3 months and couldn’t get an approval from Underwriting on the loan due to the complexity of the buyer’s income. The buyer came to me after 3 months when the Seller threatened to cancel the transaction and I correctly evaluated this buyer’s income and was able to get Underwriting to approve this loan in 48 hours from application. I closed this buyers VA loan in 8 days from beginning to end. They were amazed as they realized all Lenders are not created equal.
What advice would you give new or first time home buyers?
Don’t be afraid of exploring your ability to buy a home. Everyone starts with their 1st home. Align yourself with someone who is experienced and who you feel comfortable with and will hold your hand throughout the transaction. It helps if they are referred by someone they know who just bought a home and had a great experience. Save, save, save and above all, pay your bills on time.
Tell us about a mortgage product that consumers may not be aware of?
I’m still amazed that there are people out there that think you must have 20% down payment to buy a house. You can buy with as little as a 3% down payment and that money doesn’t even have to be yours. There are grants and Down Payment Assistance programs out there to help people get started.
How has the mortgage industry changed since you started, and what would you expect in the future?
The mortgage industry is much more heavily regulated now, which is a good thing, and the consumer is more informed about their choices. The other exciting change is it can be almost totally digital now. Technology makes it so you never have to leave your home to borrow money to buy a home. The days of going to the bank, sitting down at someone’s “stuffy desk” are gone.
What part of the home loan process do customers find most difficult and how do you help them through it?
Once an Underwriter reviews an applicant’s file and their supporting documentation, they almost always have additional questions and requests for additional documents. Buyers sometimes get nervous and confused about the “conditions” an underwriter is asking for. That’s where I come in and reassure them that it is normal and help them decipher exactly what and why they are asking for.
What are the top 3 misconceptions people have about the home loan process?
That is takes a long time (30+ days), that it’s hard to qualify for a loan and that’s it’s a ton of paperwork. The reality is, loans can be done nowadays in just 2 or 3 weeks, it’s not that hard to qualify and the process has gone so digital that most everything is done from your computer.
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?
A great mortgage app to calculate estimated mortgage payments on the fly and a great real estate app so you can search for properties “for sale” in the area you are driving through when you are out looking for areas you would like to live in.
What can borrowers do to ensure a smooth mortgage underwriting process?
Respond to all requests from your Loan Officer or support staff the same day or, at most, within 24 hours.
Are you active in any fundraising organizations? What goals and/or success have you helped them achieve?
I’m very active in the Vista Storm soccer community where my wife and I try to fund raise to acquire scholarships for talented athletes who might need financial assistance to paly at the competitive level.
Summary of where you grew up: family, affiliations, college, high school, etc.
I grew up in a small college town back in upstate New York where I still have my parents and 4 other siblings.
What do you enjoy doing most in your spare time when you are not helping people with their home loans?
When not doing home loans, I spend all of my time with my wife of 28 years and my 2 sons, 12 & 16. My kids are very active with playing sports. My older son plays varsity soccer at his High School and competitive soccer for the Vista Storm Soccer Club. My younger son also plays competitive soccer for the Vista Storm Soccer Club and plays little league baseball. Both my boys also play the violin.
Tell us something that makes you unique or something wacky, yet interesting about you?
I’ve always been about serving others. I served in the United States Marine Corps and after my military service, I served as a Deputy Sheriff and Detective. I have a special understanding and bond with the military and law enforcement communities. I also look really young to have been married for almost 30 years and this throws people for a loop when I tell them.