What specific steps do you use to help your customers find the best home loan for them?
The first step is always listening. I want to hear what the client needs and what they hope for, and then take that information and begin researching what we can do to accomplish both. I'm very careful to gather as much documentation as I can before we begin processing the loan. This eliminates surprises and gives me the information I need to be my client's cheerleader. When you're trying to buy a house in this very competitive Pacific Northwest market, it's vital that you have a loan officer who will call the seller's agent within minutes of your offer being submitted and assure them of your strength as a buyer.
What are the top 3 misconceptions people have about the home loan process?
One misconception people have about mortgage lending is that there are just handful of loan options available to them--conventional, FHA, VA, USDA and a state bond. We actually have over 200 loan products, which means we can more perfectly match our clients to the right loan.
Another misconception that is common in borrowers is that there is one answer to the question, "What's the rate on a 30-year fixed?" It's not possible to give a one-size-fits-all answer to that--the rate is determined by a multitude of factors, including loan product, credit score, debt and income. But I'm happy to gather information and get an answer that will perfectly fit the person asking the question.
I don't have a "top 3," but there are two for you. :)
What resources could you recommend that borrowers use to learn more about the mortgage process and how to ensure a successful home closing?
I recommend myself! :) I am the borrower's most important resource, and I encourage them to bring any and all questions to me. Education is a vital part of my obligation to them. I never talk down to my clients, but I also don't talk over their heads. From the beginning of our relationship, I let my clients know what I need from them in order to complete our transaction, and exactly what they can expect from me. I'm always happy to meet my clients in person and explain mortgage terminology or the process, and to go through any questions they have.
What provides you with the most satisfaction in your job as a Loan Officer?
I love being able to join a first-time buyer on their journey to home-ownership. There's nothing like being able to say, "You're approved!" and then "We're closed!" With the low rates we're able to offer now, it's also very satisfying to help clients see if they can refinance their high-rate mortgages down to a rate that could be surprising to them.
What do you enjoy doing most in your spare time when you are not helping people with their home loans?
I have a very large garden and grow my own herbs for use in salves, tinctures, ointments and teas. I've been seriously studying herbalism for the past three years and am fascinated by the amazing benefits of ordinary plants that a lot of people consider to be weeds. I also love to sketch and paint with watercolor and am keeping a "Draw Your Day" art journal.
But no matter how much I'm enjoying my garden or my paints, all that goes by the wayside when my two grandchildren come to visit.
Tell us something that makes you unique or something wacky, yet interesting about you?
Just out of high school I worked as a plainclothes security officer for a large department store; I've been cliff-diving (but in full disclosure, it took me 20 minutes to gather my nerve, and it was only about 35'), I'm the author of 2 books and the ghostwriter or co-writer of 14 others; and I'm the great-great-great-granddaughter of a Scottish adventurer (David Russell) and an Oglala Sioux Indian princess (jIkalaka, aka Ekalaka). Fun useless facts! :)