How long have you been in the mortgage business and what inspired you to get into it?
I began my mortgage career June 1999 in Phoenix, Arizona. I actually stumbled into the job. I was working at a gym and was asked by one of my clients if I’d be interested in originating mortgages. It sounded very interesting so I took him up on the offer and the rest, as they say, is history.
What advice would you give new or first time home buyers?
Have an idea of how much you can afford for a monthly payment and obtain a Pre-Approval letter before you begin looking at homes. Today’s market is very competitive so a valid Pre-approval is a must and will let sellers know you are a serious buyer. Look past the paint colors and decorations in a house you’re considering and focus on the layout since the cosmetic changes are something that can be easily and (most times) inexpensive to change.
Tell us about a mortgage product that consumers may not be aware of?
USDA loans. Where I’m located, there are a lot of properties that qualify for USDA financing. It can provide a valuable alternative for customers who are looking to buy a home outside of the city limits.
How has the mortgage industry changed since you started, and what would you expect in the future?
When I first began my career loan applications were taken by hand with pen and paper, it could take 60 days (or more) to close a loan. Jump forward to today and we have online applications, digital signatures, and many lenders have an online site where customers can view the status of their loan 24/7. No more waiting on papers to go back and forth and playing phone tag to get the status of your loan.
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?
The Guaranteed Rate Mobile app (of course), Realtor.com, Trulia & Zillow are all great resources for house hunters. You can set up searches for house types, areas, etc and they can alert you when something new hits the market. Most importantly is to work with a Realtor who can provide digital resources for house hunting.
What resources could you recommend that borrowers use to learn more about the mortgage process and how to ensure a successful home closing?
A great start would be to read through the guaranteedrate.com/buying-home page and educate yourself on the process of buying a home. You can review the various types of loan products available and use the calculators to see how much home you can afford. Interview a few licensed Realtors and find out how much business they do so you know you’re working with a professional and not someone doing this a hobby.
What can borrowers do to ensure a smooth mortgage underwriting process?
The best advice I can give is to submit requested documentation as quickly as possible, followed by asking questions, as well as keeping an open line of communication with your mortgage lender and Realtor.
Are you active in any fundraising organizations? What goals and/or success have you helped them achieve?
Last year I attended the Rhinestone Rodeo event for the Ronald McDonald House at Parkview Hospital with my husband and was moved by their mission and what they do to help families in difficult times. I’m looking forward to attending this year again and helping to raise awareness to the great things they do.
What provides you with the most satisfaction in your job as a Loan Officer?
I really enjoy helping my customers purchase (or refinance) their dream home. Because I’ve bought and sold several houses I understand the stress and pressure that can go along with the process. If I can help my customers look past that and focus on the excitement of a new home it makes it all worth it in the end.
What do you enjoy doing most in your spare time when you are not helping people with their home loans?
I am addicted to do it yourself activities. Due to this addiction, I carry a 12foot tape measure in my purse everywhere I go. When I think of my childhood home I do not remember a time when we did not have some sort of home repair projects under construction. My parents were never shy to try something new themselves; laying tile, hanging drywall, tearing down walls, etc. When I was in high school I helped my father and several others lay shingles on the church roof. (This might be why I am now scared of heights).
When I stumbled across Pinterest I realized I could dust off my forgotten skills by building farm tables, benches, raised garden beds, and lately building doll beds for our nieces. You never know what I may do next!
Tell us something that makes you unique or something wacky, yet interesting about you?
Good question. When I eat french-fries I take the catsup packets and place one solid stripe of catsup down each individual fry as I eat it. I never realized I did this until some friends pointed it out at lunch one day.