What specific steps do you use to help your customers find the best home loan for them?
We start with payments, then look at income vs. debt, we discuss future income potential, expected life events, as well as possible unexpected life events. Next, we review past home ownership experiences and loan programs they know or are already familiar within their unique past history. These are great indicators of where we should start. Often, clients think they know what they want but after a review, we show them that they may be leaving money on the table and the costs don't outweigh the perceived gains. The lowest rate and payment without the right planning and structure can cost a client 10s of thousands more than the right loan integrated into their overall financial plans and future home goals. There is no one simple answer or one loan that fits all so we take some time to get it right.
What are the pros and cons of a fixed rate mortgage versus an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM)?
Fixed rate mortgages are appropriate most often when the client has a long term plan in place that they are committed to. In low rate environments, they often also lend to a better sense of security. However, they are not appropriate in all situations. When at the bottom of a rate cycle with low rates, they are more often a preferred option but when rates are higher based on temporary market conditions, an ARM offers better protections and cost saving opportunities. Typically an ARM is a primary consideration when the fixed terms match the intended use of ownership based on a life plan. There is no reason to pay a higher premium for long term security if the borrower knows they are likly to relocate or move due to employment, children needs or other life events. We always start with a fixed loan but encourage clients to look at their history and engage in some mortgage planning to ensure we find the most appropriate loan for their unique, individual needs.
What part of the home loan process do customers find most difficult and how do you help them through it?
Understanding the need for detail.
What can borrowers do to ensure a smooth mortgage underwriting process?
Trust your loan officer and their team. Make sure you understand the timelines and your role in the process. Hold your team accountable, but understand that they are the experts and this is not a cookie cutter process. Each client and file is unique. Let your team do their job but be an "active" participant in the process. There are a lot of moving parts we'll navigate.
Always feel free to ask clarifying questions. Don't allow the process to frustrate you, speak up if you are! Often requests won't seem "logical" and common sense irrelevant...trust us, we know. But, its not about what we know or think we know, in today's market it's about what we can show and/or prove. So bear with us, we are your number one advocate and your success is our number one priority, if we need something...we need it and to quote Jerry McGuire..."Help us help you!" Follow our lead and it will all go smoothly!
What do you enjoy doing most in your spare time when you are not helping people with their home loans?
I spend most of my time with family and friends and we continually are exploring new events in San Diego as a family. We love to find new community events like Greek Fest, but also are consistent visitors to the Old Globe Theater, Balboa Park, Comic Con, and there are so many farmers markets and beaches! We volunteer together as a family too, from beach clean ups at La Jolla Shores for Surfrider to working the Human Rights Campaign booth at Pride Fest. We like to be outside and in the community as a family, together. I spend most of my time with my wife and daughter and will continue to do so for as long as I can!
Tell us something that makes you unique or something wacky, yet interesting about you?
Unique or Wacky....my daughter will tell you I'm wacky...my wife will smile and say I'm "unique". I think they're both right. A nerd at heart I love Comic Con and Shakespeare, Star Wars and Renaissance Festivals. I enjoy Pavarotti and Bach as much as Foo Fighters, Henry Rollins and Tupac. I've dragged my knee on a race track at 160 mph won my first Ippon via Ura Nage. I enjoy watching the golf and the Tour De France from start to finish. I like catching sunfish in Northern MN, watching sunsets from a surfboard in San Diego and so much more. I think my experiences and the variety of my interest make me unique and maybe a little wacky too.