How long have you been in the mortgage business and what inspired you to get into it?
I’ve been in the mortgage business for more than thirteen years now. I did not plan on a career in mortgage lending, but the opportunity to help people achieve their goals of home-ownership is very rewarding to me and one of the main reasons I have remained in the industry and will continue to do so.
Who is your typical customer and what questions do they typically have?
My customers run the gamut – from first-time homebuyers to seasoned investors. The industry has changed so much over the past few years, so even customers who have been through the mortgage process a number of times still have questions. Some of the most common questions I field have to do with down payment. You don’t need 20% down to qualify - FHA allows 3.5% down, and you can put as little as 5% down on a conventional mortgage. If the clients have excellent credit, the loan terms for a conventional mortgage with 5%-15% down are often very comparable to those with 20% down.
What advice would you give new or first time home buyers?
When a first-time homebuyer is relatively confident they would like to start looking in earnest to buy a home, I recommend they reach out to a loan officer before they actually start looking at properties. It’s a good tip for all potential buyers, but especially if it’s your first home - not only to find out how much you qualify for and get pre-approved, but to also go over monthly payments for your wanted price range to make sure you’re comfortable, review down payment options, compare available loan programs, and prepare for what to expect during the home loan process.
What are the top 3 misconceptions people have about the home loan process?
One of the most common misconceptions is that it takes 2 months or more to close. At Guaranteed Rate, we can often close in less than a month. It’s also very common for buyers to underestimate what they might qualify for, and I’ve found many clients are more qualified than they initially think. Another misconception is with the paperwork. Yes, there is a lot of documentation involved in obtaining a mortgage, and that’s not likely to change anytime soon. However, with digital mortgage applications, e-signatures, and secure file transfer systems, clients can provide documentation and view status updates right from their smartphones.
Are you active in any local associations or community groups, and at what level? What goals and/or success have you helped these groups achieve?
I’m involved with the Edgebrook Chamber of Commerce, and the Norwood Park Chamber of Commerce. I am a supporter of The Danny Did Foundation, which continues to make great strides in Epilepsy and Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP) awareness.
Tell us something that makes you unique or something wacky, yet interesting about you?
During the summer I play in St. Margaret Mary’s softball league in Rogers Park. My team (Team Nil) currently has a streak of four consecutive titles.