Your Mortgage Officer Could Be the Key to Your Dream Home
March 2021 Issue — Life in Order Special Section
by Bill Fletcher
Securing a mortgage is what stands between you and buying the house
you want to call home. It’s not uncommon for people to be frightened of the mortgage process, but don’t let that deter you from homeownership.
Often first-time potential homeowners think qualifying for a mortgage is unattainable because it seems like some sort of big mystery, impossible to understand, or just too much to deal with. While the process can be complicated, an experienced mortgage lender can break it all down for you and get you to move-in day.
The simple secret to solving the mystery is working with a knowledgeable mortgage broker who will listen to your needs, streamline the process, and help your dreams become a reality. There are plenty of companies out there focused on loan volume, but try to find a mortgage loan officer and company who is concerned with the overall client experience first by talking to several brokers before deciding on who to go with.
Another way to enhance the mortgage process and make it as smooth as possible is to be prepared. Here are a few factors you should know when thinking about buying or refinancing a home:
Know What You EARN: Since qualifying for a mortgage is primarily contingent on your ability to repay, it is important to document all streams of income to ensure you can qualify for the amount for which you’re seeking approval. Income can come from your employment (both full-time and part-time), dividends, pension, retirement accounts, social security, and many other sources. Review your tax return from the prior year to see how much income you reported and from what sources.
Know What You OWN: How much do you have in liquid assets, such as checking or savings accounts? What about mutual funds or investments? Depending on the type of loan you are seeking, you may be approved with little or no assets, but it’s best to share the “big picture” of your finances in order for your lender to see exactly where you are.
Know What You OWE: One of the most important factors in approving a loan application is the borrower’s debt-to-income ratio. This is computed based on your current debt (the amount you pay for your monthly debt obligations, such as credit cards, automobile loans, student loans, IRS debt, etc.) in relation to your total monthly gross income. Your debt-to-income ratio will directly affect the amount of a mortgage for which you can qualify. All things being equal, less debt means you can qualify for a higher loan amount.
Often people will start looking at houses before they look at their finances. This can set buyers up for disappointment when they find the perfect home, but fall short on qualifying for the mortgage. If you think you may move or purchase a home, even if it is months or a year away, go ahead and meet with a mortgage loan officer. He or she can look at your current financial picture and offer suggestions so that when you are ready to buy, your finances will be, too.
When Bill Fletcher entered the mortgage industry in 1993 as a fledgling loan officer, he never imagined he would be president of his own mortgage company decades later. His growing family served as a catalyst to leave his job as a school teacher and join his father, who is the Founder of Unisource Mortgage and has spent most of his career as a mortgage lender. In 1998, Bill moved his family to Bluffton to help his father and brother build a new family business: Unisource Mortgage Services. Bill has a passion to help and educate people, which he does daily, as he has helped hundreds of happy homeowners finance and refinance their homes. Now, 23 years later, Unisource Mortgage Services and Bill’s mission remains the same—helping people, plain and simple.