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 grew tired of the constant travel and realized I craved a career that was connected to my local community. I was attracted to lending because I love helping people, working with numbers, and clearly explaining the nuances of mortgage lending. 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 lifetime, and I make myself available as a trusted adviser even after their loan has closed.
Who is your typical customer and what questions do they typically have?
My typically client lives in the Triangle Area, although we provide mortgages throughout North Carolina. Many of my clients relocate to the area to join one of the local universities or to take advantage of our excellent public schools. My clients want to find the mortgage that is right for their particular financial situation, and my business plan is built around helping them do exactly 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 makes sense. In most cases, it only takes a few minutes to determine if a refinance would benefit you.
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 is always a good choice, but may be more loan than you need. For example, adjustable rate loans can be an excellent, less expensive option if you have a good sense of what your future holds. 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 for borrowers with good credit, mortgage insurance can be a cost effective way to preserve capital – which you will want to have in reserve as a new homeowner. First time home buyers can qualify for as little as 3% down. FHA loans can be the best choice for some buyers, and these loans require just 3.5% down. 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 very 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, and so borrowers who have strong memories of stated income, stated asset loans may find current documentation to be onerous – 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, the Kiawah Marathon and the New York Marathon, 12 Half Ironman triathlons, Ironman Mont Tremblant, and many open water swimming races, trail races, 5K, 10K road races and more. I’m always looking for the next challenge!
Tell us something interesting about you?
I like puzzles and riddles – 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. The Frank Rexford Mortgage Team strives to find creative solutions to unusual financial situations. Along with being a mortgage lender, health and fitness goals include doing triathlons throughout the rest of my life. And although it has been many years since my career selling wine, I still enjoy cooking great meals and discovering wonderful new wines!