What inspired you to become a mortgage banker?
I spent 17 years in the fine wine industry, travelling much of the US and the world, and selling over 2 million cases in the process. But I got tired of the constant travel and realized I wanted a career that was more connected to my local community. I considered selling real estate but was attracted to lending because I love helping people and working with numbers, and I enjoy clearly explaining information. I’m honored to be able to play an important role in helping my clients with one of the most important purchases they will make in their lifetimes, and I remain a trusted advisor even after their loan has closed.
Who is your typical customer and what questions do they typically have?
Although I work with clients all over North Carolina, my typically client is located in the Triangle Area, often relocating to the area to join one of the local universities. My clients want to find the mortgage that is right for their particular financial situation, and my business plan is built around helping them with that. And I remain available to my clients long after their loan has closed, answering questions, and often helping them to decide if a refinance would be beneficial to them.
Tell us about mortgage products that consumers may not have considered?
Rates remain historically low, so most people automatically gravitate to a fixed rate loan. A 30 Year Fixed rate loan is one of the safest loans, and always a good choice, but may be more loan than you need. For example, adjustable rate loans are an excellent, less expensive option if you have a good sense of your future. If you anticipate retiring in 5 – 6 years and downsizing at that time, a 7-Year ARM could be a very wise choice. Loans with mortgage insurance are also an excellent option for people with less than 20% down – and some borrowers can qualify for as little as 3% down – for these type loans I am generally in favor of lender paid mortgage insurance. FHA loans can be the best choice for some buyers. But one of the best loans available is the 100% financing VA loan – so I like to find out right away if my client is a veteran and can take advantage of this amazing benefit. And finally, for clients who have well established savings and retirement plans, and living comfortably within their means, a 15-Year Fixed Rate mortgage can be a great wealth building tool.
What are the top misconceptions people have about the home loan process?
The media is fond of reporting that it is hard to get a mortgage, and so people assume that it is going to be a difficult process for them to qualify. Yet I find that the vast majority of people who contact me do qualify for a great loan. What is certainly true is that more documentation is required in today’s lending environment. The extra work of providing the required documentation can seem onerous for those who remember Stated Income and Stated Asset loans. But our entire financial system is safer with today’s well documented loans, so we are all better off as a result. The best approach is to call me to get preapproved early so there are no surprises!
What do you enjoy doing most in your spare time when you are not helping your clients with their home loans?
I was never an athlete growing up, but in 2009 I decided to get serious about my health and fitness, and since then have become an avid runner and triathlete and lost 45 pounds as a result. When I am not at my desk or in a closing, I can often be found swimming, biking and running around Chapel Hill, or competing in a race somewhere fun. I typically race 10 to 20 times per year, and have completed over 100 endurance races since getting off the sofa back in 2009. I’ve done 6 half marathons, 8 half ironman triathlons, the Kiawah Marathon, Ironman Mont Tremblant, and many open water swimming races, trail races, 5K, 10K and more. I’m always looking for the next challenge!
Tell us something interesting about you?
I keep a Rubik’s Cube in my office to remind me that every loan can be viewed as a puzzle, and that helps me keep a fun perspective on my job. Along with being a mortgage lender, I am an avid triathlete and my health and fitness goals include doing triathlons throughout the rest of my life. And I still enjoy cooking great meals and exploring new wines, even though I no longer sell wine for a living!