Change for the Better!

November 3, 2016
aw-and-me-smaller

Brian Short and AW Pickel – A couple of guys who are good at this business, people like them and they’ve got honest faces!

Twenty years ago a former college buddy of mine invited me to join him in the mortgage industry by telling me, “Brian, you’d be good at this business!  People seem to like you, you’ve got an honest face and you’d still be serving people by helping them buy, fix-up and refinance their houses!”  A year later I called him up and agreed to come to work with him by opening up a new office for his company in Franklin and thus, I began my new career as a Mortgage Professional.

 

I worked for his company for several years before eventually starting my own mortgage company and then managing branch offices and divisions for a few other companies and a local bank before I circled back around to, once again, open up a new branch office for my college friend, AW Pickel, in Franklin two years ago.

 

amcap-logoNow we are teaming up together again to start up a new division for AmCap Mortgage, Ltd, a 15-year-old mortgage lender based in Houston, TX to initially start new branches in Tennessee, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska.  Our group will continue to keep the focus on offering amazing customer service to our borrowers while offering a wide array of home loan programs to help the most people possible.  Our industry continues to experience unbelievable changes and it takes a very nimble approach to mortgage lending to keep up with and adapt to those changes.  We believe that our association with AmCap Mortgage, Ltd will give us that platform to bring amazing changes to our customers, employees and industry for the better!

 

Gleaning the best from my past associations to bring with me to our new venture is the best way to describe our passion for smart growth – personally and professionally.  However, much hasn’t changed.  I’m still working very closely with those who first introduced me to the mortgage industry twenty years ago and I’m still in the business of being that “Dream Maker and Problem Solver” that any prospective home buyer or current home owner needs in their corner when evaluating their home loan financing options.

 

I’m also looking for hardworking, people-oriented problem solvers to join our team in Tennessee and in other states if you know of those who “would be good at this business, have an honest face, and desire to help those people who like them!”  I really appreciate it when you DON’T KEEP ME A SECRET!  Your confidence and trust in me is what keeps my steady stream of loans closing.  Can I count on you to give my name to the next friend, neighbor, co-worker or family member who would benefit from my home loan expertise and hands-on customer care?

Advertisements

The 5 Steps You Must Take in the Next 2 Months if You Plan to Buy a House This Year!

January 21, 2016

We are now three weeks into the new year.  Energy levels depleted by the holidays have begun to return.  You may have already blown most of your New Year’s Resolutions.  The college football bowls are finished up.  You’re back into your work and family routine.  Downton Abbey is back on PBS and in between “snow days” you’re beginning to make your Super Bowl plans.  What better time to begin to think about your needs and desires for a new home in 2016?!?

I have worked with hundreds of home buyers over the past 18 years as a nationally certified, state licensed mortgage professional and I have found some who have made great preparations to enter into the largest single purchase they will ever make in their lives and I have also met some who are woefully unprepared.  Those who prepare well generally experience a much smoother process and avoid being hit with additional fees for extensions and delays.  If the right steps are taken BEFORE you actually go out to look for a house the new home buyer will find the process manageable, systematic and successful.  Those who rush into a home purchase contract with a seller and Realtors without taking these steps will generally experience an immense amount of stress, confusion and unnecessary pressure from everyone involved in the process – and will be tempted to give up after spending $1,000 – $2,000 of their hard earned and saved money.

plan-ahead-pic

Follow these 5 simple steps to ensure that your home buying process is a success in 2016 and in the future.

What can a prospective home buyer do now to prepare for their upcoming home purchase later this year?  Here are the steps I would recommend:

  1. Get your tax returns for the past 2 years finished and get copies ready to pass off.  Your mortgage professional will be required to submit your completed tax returns and W-2’s for the past 2 years to the underwriter who will approve your loan.  Borrowers who have not completed their taxes or can’t find their returns will delay the underwriting process.  The Loan Processor who will take your file from your mortgage originator and prepare it for underwriting will need to verify the tax returns you submit as the same as what was submitted to the IRS.  This takes a few days and will cause additional delays if your tax returns are not prepared correctly and available to be submitted when you have an accepted offer to buy a house.
  2. Locate and provide your pay stubs for the past 30 days.  It is required for any loan to show that the buyer has the ability to repay the new loan.  You must show a consistent and reliable income stream from somewhere.  Most borrowers can do this with pay stubs from a company where they work.  If the buyer is self-employed it is still possible to do this with tax returns and a year-to-date Profit and Loss statement.  Find your pay stubs if they are on a HR website with your company and begin downloading them each pay period so you have them available to pass off to your originator or his assistant.  Again, this information will be verified by the Processor to make sure that the employer agrees with the information that is found on the pay stub.
  3. Locate and provide your bank statements and all retirement account statements for the past 2 months.  I find is amazing when I hear a borrower tell me that their bank “doesn’t do bank statements any more” when in reality they just don’t know how to navigate within the online banking website of the bank where they have been a customer for many years.  Take the time, now, too find, print or download bank statements every month and save them to a folder on your computer or in your home office cabinet so you will have the bank statements required to get your loan approved.  You will need at least 2 months of statements and in some cases you might need 12 months of statements to show rent payment or the receipt of child support or some other income source you desire to use to help you qualify for your new loan.
  4. Talk to a licensed mortgage professional to help you explore you loan options early.  There aren’t as many loan programs available to a home buyer as there were back before the Credit Crash of 2008 but there still are many options and most mortgage companies will be able to offer many of the same programs.  Banks will generally have fewer options but they also can offer many options to a prospective home buyer.  Your licensed mortgage professional will evaluate the documents we listed above and help you explore which home loan option would be best suited for you.  Some programs are only available for first-time home buyers.  Some programs are only available for those wishing to buy a house outside the city limits or in certain counties.  An experienced, licensed professional will keep up with the ongoing changes in the program requirements and be able to help the new home buyer know what needs to be done in preparation for approval for best loan fit and where the buyer should be looking to find their next home to purchase.
  5. Prepare your down payment and cash required to close your loan.  After talking to your licensed mortgage professional the prospective home buyer will have a good feel for how much cash and down payment will be required – if any.  Some loans allow for the seller to pay for the buyer’s closing costs and require NO DOWN PAYMENT!  Even if no down payment is required, many programs will require the buyer to show that they have 2-3 months of house payments in the bank – just in case the bottom falls out regarding a job or extended health issue.  It is important for the borrower to demonstrate to the underwriter that they know how to manage a checking and savings account and that there are no recent overdrafts on their bank statements.  Get control of your banking accounts and manage your cash flow so it will be easy to prove to the mortgage underwriter that you are now ready to take on a new house payment for the next 30 years and that you can make this payment on time, every time.

This year can be a year of amazing new beginnings and one where life-time accomplishments can be made.  However, without making the necessary preparations in advance, it could also be one of set-backs, disappointments, frustrations and failures.  Follow these steps above to make this year an unimaginable milestone for  well-deserved successes!

Brian Short is a nationally certified, state licensed, dream maker and problem solver who helps provide home loans with LeaderOne Financial Corp.  He can be reached HERE or by calling 615-302-0809.


Where Do I Go From Here?

January 12, 2016

You may be aware that I am the father of five very amazing daughters!  My wife and I often joke about what we missed during the 80’s and 90’s because for nearly 20 years, beginning in 1984, we were very busy with little girls. Part of living in a very active, colorful and energetic household of little girls was watching, singing, playing, dressing up like and reading Disney princess musicals.  The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Cinderella, Snow White, Beauty and the Beast, Mulan and Pocahontas were all danced to, dreamed about, reenacted and sung with vigor around the Short house during those memorable years.

One of the songs which comes out of those years is a song sung in Pocahontas II by the daughter of the Indian chief entitled “Where Do I Go From Here?”  This song is sung in the movie as Pocahontas encounters a crossroads and she is reflecting on what she has heard from many in her life as she contemplates her next move.  The chorus in this song is this:SIGNPOST_3-253

“But where do I go from here?
So many voices ringing in my ear.
Which is the voice that I was meant to hear?
How will I know?
Where do I go from here?”

Many who are contemplating an upcoming home purchase must feel the same way!  Radio and TV Ads, direct mail, social media, neighbors, brothers-in-law – they ALL freely offer their advice, even when NOT asked!  They are sure, from their experience,  who should be called, what should be required, where one should look, and how long it should take!  However, their experiences are generally very limited to their own few transactions and in light of their own unique circumstances.

What many “would-be, well-intentioned” advisers don’t tell you is that they have a very limited experience in the process of buying (or refinancing) a house.  The TRUTH is that many of the national loan program guidelines are changing often and individual companies often have their own overlaying restrictions which are added to the federal government-mandated qualifying guidelines.

Most honest Realtors, Real Estate Attorneys, insurance agents, home builders, financial planners and CPA’s will admit that keeping up with home loan requirements is not part of their daily or weekly routine and therefore the borrower should wisely start their home buying (or refinancing) process by contacting a nationally certified, state licensed, experienced mortgage professional who has the information and attention to keep the unique needs of the borrower at the forefront of the available financing options being considered.

In answering the wanna-be, home buyer (or homeowner who desires to refinance their home loan) when asking, “Where Do I Go From Here?”,  I recommend contacting a local, experienced mortgage professional who can be reached and trusted to help the borrower reach their goals.  How can I help you?


No More 30-day Closings? The Elephant in the Room!

May 28, 2015

TRID? – On August 1, 2015 the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is requiring the roll-out and enforced usage of new mortgage loan disclosures and replacing others.  TRID stands for the “Truth-in-Lending and Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act Integrated Disclosures” and these new disclosures will replace the Good Faith Estimate, Truth-in-Lending Disclosure and the HUD Settlement Statement. WOW! This is big news and these new disclosures (Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosure) will mean BIG CHANGES for many of the parties in a Real Estate purchase and refinance transaction.

Expect-Delays-sign(1)

New mortgage disclosures = MORE PAGES + MORE DELAYS.

In our industry, new disclosures usually means MORE PAGES and MORE DELAYS!  This is also true in this case.  These new disclosures will require a delay before the appraisal order can be placed.  The borrower must know exactly what their loan will look like BEFORE the appraisal is ordered and this will result in delays “out of the chute” for many new loans simply because many borrowers are still considering their loan options during those first few days of the mortgage loan process and sometimes have not had time to fully consider the consequences of a 15 year loan verses a 30 year loan, or an FHA mortgage with less down payment compared to a conforming mortgage which usually requires more down but a less expensive monthly mortgage insurance premium.  All of this must be considered, numbers need to be gathered and compared and a busy couple with active kids needs to find a few peaceful few minutes to consider all of this information in the midst of inspections, contingencies, offers, counter-offers and packing!  YIKES!

If that is not enough, the biggest delay related to these new disclosures comes at the end when everyone is weary, worn-out and tired of receiving daily emails from their loan originators, Realtor, inspectors, movers, utility companies, etc.  All of the final numbers represented on the new Closing Disclosure (which replaces the old HUD 1 Settlement Statement) must be “spot-on”, no changes and exact – 3 DAYS PRIOR TO THE CLOSING DATE!  This means no additional changes, last minute fees, or forgotten invoices can be added during those last 3 days prior to the closing date.  If so, then the closing will be pushed back another 3 days to allow the new Closing Disclosure to be printed and received by the borrower to review. Here is link from Frank and Brian at the National Real Estate Post where their video gives more details: Click Here.

The issue at hand with these new disclosures - Will 30 day purchase closings be a thing of the past after August 1?

The issue at hand with these new disclosures – The Elephant in the Room – Will 30 day purchase closings be a thing of the past after August 1?

Many in the industry are hinting at the likely consequences of these delays come August 1 but I have not heard any admit what I am about to say.  Realtors who what to avoid the high-pressure finger-pointing, name calling, threatening phone calls and punishing per-diem being charged to their buyers caught in the middle of these changes will wisely prepare their buyers and sellers for 45-60 day closings rather than 30-40 days closings which will result in eventual extensions and everyone hating everyone at the end of the transaction.  Allow me to address the elephant in the room – these loans will not close until the lenders fulfill the new federally mandated time-lines which are put in place to protect the buyers from being rushed into a 30-year decision – regardless of when a Real Estate Purchase Agreement says the transaction will close.

Please be smart when setting realistic expectations with buyers, sellers, Realtors and your loan originators and set dates which will allow the new system to work to protect the buyer from being caught in a pressure-cooker of unrealistic and overly demanding deadlines which do not serve anyone well.  It is my opinion that a 30 day closing for a purchase transaction is now another historical display in the Museum of Mortgage Lending right beside pre-payment penalties, negative amortization, interest-only loans and 30-day adjustable mortgages.

The CFPB wants to do all they can insure that there will be no surprises for any borrower at the closing table.

The CFPB wants to do all they can insure that there will be no surprises for any borrower at the closing table.

Rushing a home buyer into a 30 year commitment and several hundred thousand dollars of debt with a stack of “sign here quickly” documents and terms not understood or clearly explained is never a good idea, in my opinion.  The CFPB is doing their best to slow this whole process down to allow the borrower digest the details of what is happening.  Buyers. sellers, Realtors, closing attorneys and mortgage originators must now embrace these changes, work as a team and make these Real Estate transactions a positive experience for all parties involved.  Our industries need the public trust and these changes are part of us all working together to rebuild what was lost in the “rush to simply close deals” from 2000-2008 with very consideration given to making sure the buyer knows what they are signing at the closing table.

REALTORS – To view a video presentation by Kenneth Trepeta Esq, Director of Real Estate Services for NAR, explain the new rules and regulations and review the new forms – CLICK HERE.


Professional Mortgage Moment – Guessing Again?!?

January 12, 2012

by Brian Short, CMC, CRMS, GMA

Tennessee Mortgage Professional, Brian Short, demonstrates why it is important for mortgage loan customers to use a mortgage professional who will not be simply guessing when it comes to very important final numbers on any mortgage transaction.  http://www.ProMortgageMatters.com


Professional Mortgage Moment – Licensed?

January 11, 2012

by Brian Short, CMC, CRMS, GMA

Tennessee Mortgage Professional, Brian Short, outlines why it is essential for home loan mortgage borrowers to utilize the services of a state licensed mortgage professional to secure their home mortgage.


Cash for Cottages, Castles and Condos: NO TRADE-IN REQUIRED!

August 8, 2009

by Brian Short, CMC, CRMS, GMACertified Mortgage Professional

            The US Senate just approved another $2 Billion for the auto industry’s stimulus program referred to as “Cash for Clunkers” after the first $1 Billion was used up last week in only 3 days.  It seems, at first glance, that this auto industry bail-out program might be havingCash for Clunkers some positive affect on another ailing US industry.  At least the players are allowing the program to work.  The Feds are giving away money (whether you agree with this approach or not), the dealers are accepting the qualifying vehicles and giving a $4,500 trade-in allowance toward a new qualifying car, and US consumers are using up the allowed funds to work this program.

            The housing industry has witness many attempts by the Feds to “jump-start” the stalled industry for the past 12-18 months.  One of the first was the FHA Secure Program with “impossible to qualify” underwriting guidelines for those who had made late payments on their adjustable mortgages.  Most of the national wholesalers were not participating and none of the FHA participating lenders would approve these borrowers for this program. 

            The Troubled Assets Recovery Program (TARP) initiated by then Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and President Bush and expanded by the Obama administration attempted to infuse cash into the ailing national and regional banks so they would be more willing to free up credit to business owners, home owners and borrowers.  However, with the expansion of this TARP program came the announcement that the Feds could jump into the books of any bank who received these funds to determine if they were “financially solvent enough” to avoid a federal government take over.  Some banks refused the money, others returned it and most who received it held on to it to bolster their bottom line figures.  Either way, no credit was freed up and no home owners, home buyers, home builders or Real Estate industry players have received any relief from such a misguided and over funded Federal effort.

            The recent announcement by President Obama to design a federal loan modification program has been met with delays and unresponsiveness by Bank of America and Well Fargo – the nation’s two largest remaining banks holding the largest number of servicing rights on most of America’s residential mortgages.  On the one hand, these banks appear very unwilling to work with their customers to write down loan balances or interest rates to keep the existing home owner in the home, and yet on the other hand, they are all saying that they do not want any more foreclosed properties and the process of foreclosing on US homes is causing home values to dive bomb unlike anything we have ever experienced.

8000 dollars The one program still being promoted – “$8,000 tax credit of first-time homebuyers” – is far too limited in its scope.  This author was calling for this approach long before the Feds rolled out their version.  However, we were calling for a tax credit for any down-payment and closing costs used to buy a house by ANY buyer.  Only this breadth of a program which would include Real Estate investors, buyers of second homes and “move-up” or “move-down” buyers will truly have any effect of the most critical industry in our downward spiraling US economy. 

            Again, I am calling for the inclusion of those solid borrowers, experienced buyers and business owners to be enticed to get off the sidelines and risk THEIR capital (rather than the future Federal tax revenues for generations to come!) to help get the housing industry out of the dumps. 

            The average first-time homebuyer is still too scared and too inexperienced to be a major player in rescuing the ailing housing industry.  They are fearing for their own job security and seeing house prices plummet causes them to be squeamish about investing what little cash they can scrape together to buy something which may be worth less than what they paid in 2-3 years when they might be ready to sell and buy something bigger or in a different location.  This group of buyers does not have the “staying power” to be the key to a housing industry recovery.  Bring in the Pros!  We need the seasoned home buyers and investors to be encouraged to buy up the housing inventory busting at the seams so builders will be enticed to start building again.

            In the meantime, those who desire to take advantage of the $8,000 tax credit have less than 4 months to get their first-time home purchase selected, financed and closed.  This is not much time in light of heightened underwriting requirements, appraisal delays and turn times in wholesale approval processes.  Those who can benefit from this limited time tax credit must move quickly to get the benefit of the $8,000 “give-away” by the Feds. 

            If you or someone you know has not owned a house in the past 3 years and desire to buy a house before the end of the year to take advantage of this $8,000 refund of all tax withholdings during 2009 and an outright rebate of whatever the difference is between what has been withheld and $8,000, they must get into the game quickly by contacting a Certified Mortgage Professional to get pre-qualified before going out to shop for houses with a Realtor.  The clock is ticking.  There is no promise that the Feds will extend or revamp this program once it expires on December 1, 2009, regardless of how many housing experts, like this author, call for a program which will really help the struggling housing industry.  Sellers are motivated to sell, there is a record-breaking level of houses included in the existing home inventory, and Realtors and Certified Mortgage Professionals have time to give a first-time buyer the time and attention they need to make a great choice to get into (or back into) the housing market.

            The good news is – no “clunker” trade-in is required to participate in this cash give-away.  You can buy anything you want and still get the $8,000 tax credit – a cottage, a castle or a condo!  COME ON DOWN!  You’re already a winner!