Are Your Buyers Ready to Roll?

Now is a great time to make sure your buyers are well prepared to go forward when making the decision to buy. A mortgage professional can be very helpful in ensuring they are on the right track. Here are some tips that will help your clients make the process go smoothly.

1. Review your credit. There are a lot of free credit report websites available to use, although these sites do not provide the same credit scores used in the mortgage industry, they provide excellent insight into your credit profile. Take a moment to review your credit to insure there are no surprises. It is vital that you make sure all your accounts are current and there are no late payments, charge off’s, etc. It is important you avoid making any new purchases on credit or opening any new credit lines and do not close any credit accounts even if paid in full.

2. Make sure you can verify your income. Small business owners, entrepreneurs, and other self-employed individuals are concerned about their ability to qualify; there has been a lot of miss information about lending requirements. Talk with your accountant about how you file and how to maximize your income for mortgage qualification. File your tax returns as early in the New Year as possible. Keep copies of invoices, contracts, and any other income documentation that arrives throughout the year so that you can create a mid-year snap shot of income since last tax filing. Meet with a trusted mortgage professional to review all options and maximize your mortgage potential.

3. Keep your money where it is. This is not the time to be shifting your money between accounts. When the mortgage lender reviews your loan, they are likely to need a paper trail documenting every transfer, withdrawal and deposit. Don’t create undue stress and complication with any unnecessary shuffling of funds.

4. Get educated. If this is your first home purchase, ask about first time homebuyer classes you can take. Some first time buyer programs require a homebuyer education class, learning about the process is never a bad way to start your house hunt.

As you know, the housing market is roaring back, make sure your buyers are ready when the time comes. Preparation and diligence are vital in ensuring a great home buying experience.

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Wintrust Announces New Branch Manager – Thomas David

ROCHESTER, NY — September 15, 2016 — Wintrust Mortgage is announced that Thomas David, NMLS# 469082, has joined the company to build a branch in the Rochester area.

Mr. David brings years of banking, finance and customer service expertise to the growing Northeast Wintrust Mortgage team. After graduating from Georgia State University with a degree in finance, he began a career in the banking industry and later went on to pursue a master’s in business administration at the University of Buffalo.

With more than 15 years of mortgage lending experience, the company is hopeful he will grow Wintrust Mortgage’s market share in upstate New York. A top producing loan originator in his own right, Mr. David will continue to serve his clients, realtors and other business associates with all their mortgage finance needs, while building and developing a team of mortgage professionals.

“We are so excited to welcome Thomas to our team,” said Wintrust Mortgage Regional Vice President Amy Tierce, NMLS# 15695. “He brings a lot of related experience and leadership to our growing brand. Both the clients he serves and the team that he leads will be lucky to work with him. I am so excited that he chose to join us!”

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Wintrust Announces New Branch Manager – William Reese

ROCHESTER, NY — September 14, 2016 — Wintrust Mortgage is excited to announce William Reese, NMLS# 595580, as a new branch manager in Rochester, NY.

Mr. Reese has been in the banking industry for 25 years. After graduating from the University of California at San Diego with a degree in sociology and economics, he began his finance career at JP Morgan Chase, where he was a mortgage officer for 12 years.

With his decades of experience, Mr. Reese will be an integral part of the new Rochester branch launch. The Wintrust Mortgage team believes his talent and experience position him well to grow a sales team that will be able to exceed the region’s mortgage needs. In addition, Mr. Reese serves a community of borrowers and real estate agents in southern California built during the time he lived out there.
“A testimony to the quality of his service is that Bill’s clients from out West remain loyal to him although he is across the country,” said Wintrust Mortgage Regional Vice President Amy Tierce, NMLS# 15695.

While working at Wells Fargo, Mr. Reese consistently ranked in the top one percent in mortgage volume for seven years. A highlight of that tenure came in 2002 and 2003, when he was awarded the High Volume Producer Award, originating more than $150 million in mortgages each year.

“We are excited to have Bill on our team, and have no doubt his leadership will be instrumental in the success of this new branch,” continued Ms. Tierce. “This area in upstate New York offers a great opportunity for us to provide the same quality service that our customers in Massachusetts have come to expect.”

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Wintrust Mortgage announces new area manager – Donald Tilkins

SARATOGA, NY — September 14, 2016 — Wintrust Mortgage has announced that Donald Tilkins, NMLS# 420542, is the new area manager in upstate New York.

Donald Tilkins has worked in the banking industry for more than 15 years. After graduating from Niagara University in 2000 with a degree in business and marketing, he started his career at Wells Fargo. While there, he worked his way up from sales to branch manager. In his previous experience, Mr. Tilkins has worked at Cole Taylor Bank and EverBank as a branch manager.

He will capitalize on this experience as he transitions into the area manager of New York, servicing the Buffalo to Albany region. In addition to his duties in that role, Donald will also be responsible for growing a strong area presence as the primary recruiter for Wintrust Mortgage’s new location in Saratoga.

“We are excited to bring Donald in as part of our leadership team,” said Wintrust Mortgage Regional Vice President Amy Tierce, NMLS# 15695. “Donald is the perfect fit to create a lasting and prolific footprint in upstate New York. We needed to employ an area manager who can rise to challenges of this region. We think Donald is uniquely qualified to develop these branches and lead them to continued success.”

Mr. Tilkins was awarded the Leaders Club National Sales Conference Management and Personal Production and Customer Service Rating 100% Award eight times. In 2013, he was one of the Top 5 Nationally ranked Producers.

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Who really wants to move in 30 Days?

Think about it. Four weekends total to pack and arrange all that is required to make a move. It’s hard, taxing, stressful and painful. Unless there is a reason that one has to move in 30 days, most people would prefer to have more time for this massive undertaking.

It is hard for mortgage lenders to close loans in 30 days too, painful, stressful and full of anxiety… mostly because so much of the process is out of the control of the lender. Among the greatest stressors in the mortgage industry today is the appraisal process. Today, much of New England expects a three-week period, or more, from the time the appraisal is ordered until the lender receives it. Once received, the appraisal has to go through an approval process, either with an underwriter or the lender’s appraisal review department. It is almost guaranteed that the report will need some type of correction. Appraisers are moving fast and can be overworked. They’re only human, they can make mistakes. However, today’s exacting mortgage process requires that all documents be absolutely perfect, to market specifications, prior to closing.

Getting corrections on an appraisal report can take several days. Appraisers are on the road daily and often spend their evenings at the computer, completing reports, or revising and correcting old ones. It can take time to connect with them to discuss the necessary changes to the report and to get the corrected report back.
The appraisal industry seems to be in crisis. Today there are fewer and fewer appraisers in the industry to meet the demands of this aggressive market. In the State of North Dakota alone, there are only 17 licensed appraisers. Thus in many areas of our country, appraisers are demanding $1000 to $2000 for a report, not including rush fees.

Think about this: in MA it takes at least 21 days to obtain an appraisal report, 2-5 days for approval, or revisions and final approval, then the loan needs to be clear to close prior to the closing date to meet the requirements of TRID regulations.
This situation makes 30-day closings near impossible, unless the stars align for all parties. The process might be easier for everyone if contracts were written with an, “On-or-Before,” closing date of 40 days out. This way, when there is a one-to-two-day minor delay in a closing, the need for extensions and back-and-forth goes away. The buyer and seller remain protected by the mortgage contingency and deposit check.

The knowledge that all are prepared to extend the closing date by a few days, due to unforeseen minor delays from third parties, helps all of those affected by the home buying process to sleep a little easier.

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Back to School, Back to Life

The dog days of summer are beginning to fade and fall is just around the corner. Our kids are headed back to school and the leisurely pace of summer is quickly becoming just a memory. We find ourselves shifting into high gear to get everything done. It occurred to me that this is quite a paradigm shift that we all experience this time of year. That being said, why do we make resolutions for New Years? Do our lives really change that drastically from December 31st to January 1st? Why not take advantage of the natural momentum that fall brings to make some real and lasting changes in our personal and professional lives? Even if you don’t have children, we are coming up on the end of the fiscal year and all the work that goes in wrapping the year up.

At this point, most of us are already in list-making mode, organizing everyone and everything. This is a great time to add personal goals to this list. You are rested and renewed from the summer and ready to charge ahead. Whether it be fitness goals, self-improvement and further learning, this is a great time to take stock of your goals and plans for accomplishing them.

“Renewal requires opening yourself up to new ways of thinking and feeling.” – Deborah Day, BE HAPPY NOW!

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Wintrust Mortgage announces plans for continued Northeast expansion

In two years, Wintrust Mortgage grew its New England location by 80 percent and has announced plans to continue expansion across the Northeast region. In addition to its Needham headquarters, Wintrust Mortgage recently opened a new office in Worcester and will be opening soon in North Attleboro, Massachusetts.

The company also announced a presence in New York with the addition of an experienced team in the Rochester area and the opening of an office in Saratoga. Area Manager Donald Tilkins, NMLS# 42052—an experienced mortgage leader who has had success growing mortgage sales teams—will manage the New York region.

“We are excited about the expansion of our Needham presence,” said Wintrust Mortgage Regional Vice President Amy Tierce. “It’s been amazing to oversee the build out of the New York offices and finish up the renovation details in North Attleboro and Worcester.”

Tilkins, who has worked in the banking industry for more than 15 years, will also be responsible for growing a strong presence in the region as the primary recruiter for Wintrust Mortgage’s Saratoga location. The group brought on William Reese, NMLS# 595580, who has 25 years of banking industry experience, as branch manager of the Rochester office. Wintrust Mortgage’s increased sales have also pushed the company to add additional operational support with recent hires in underwriting, processing and the additions of two loan originator assistants.

“We will continue with the growth strategy of hiring tremendous origination talent, supporting them more than any other company and building around them,” Tierce continued. “There is a lot that goes into an expansion, but we’re excited to say that we now cover the Northeast region versus the New England region.”

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The Mortgage Process – Managing Expectations with Multiple Vendors

We talk a lot about managing expectations for our business associates and our consumers. This is really challenging in the mortgage industry. People don’t want to hear about the complexity of the process and what can cause delays, they want their loan approved, clear to close and done… no matter what. It does not matter how we explain the process, in writing, verbally, face to face, with video or all of the above, everyone has internal expectations in this process that we cannot seem to influence.

In the mortgage approval process there are multiple entities that we have to work with in order to validate data and ensure that the loan meets all requirements, here is a list of companies and individuals we depend upon during the approval process:

Appraisers
Appraisal Management Companies
Condo Management Companies
Condo Boards of Trustees
Insurance Providers
HR departments/employers
Internal Revenue Service
Accountants
Title companies
Attorneys
Home Inspectors
Building Inspectors
Fire Departments
FEMA
Building Departments/Zoning Departments

Each individual or company on this list has a role to provide in the mortgage process on most files, if one entity is away or unavailable, or an individual makes a mistake on a required document that necessitates a correction days can be lost.

How do we properly manage expectations when we do not fully control the process?

Remember when you get a call that a commitment might be delayed, there are many moving parts and people engaged in the mortgage approval process. Our job is to work with the providers who get it done right from the start when we have a choice, however in many areas we have to work with communities and government agencies and we have no control over their response times.

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Mortgage Myth – Buyers need a 20% down payment in order to purchase a home…

Do you know all the different programs available with little or no money down?
Conventional 97% – (That’s 3% down) Fannie Mae has reinstated their 3% down loan program. One of the borrowers must be a first time homebuyer, which means that they cannot have had ownership interest in a home in the past three years. Also of the down payment can be a gift from a family member!

Home Possible/Home Ready – Like the Conventional 97% program, these Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac products are for lower income buyers and offer reduced mortgage insurance costs. Borrowers must complete a homebuyer education class. Set income limits are established by each county, which must be adhered to.

FHA Loans – The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) allows buyers to get into a home with a 3.5% down payment, which can be in the form of a gift from a family member. FHA makes allowances for lower credit scores and higher debt-to-income ratios.
203K Loans – There are FHA products that allow for some improvement or construction financing to be rolled into the purchase mortgage. The standard 203k provides up to a minimum of $5,000 to make some minor improvements to the property, a limited 203k can accommodate a complete renovation up to $35,000 in repairs. We have 203K specialists on staff that are experts in these programs.

VA Loans – These are first class zero down payment loan programs. Wintrust waives our processing and underwriting fees for our veterans. The seller can contribute up to 4% as a credit towards closing costs and Wintrust Mortgage can offer a lender credit to minimize closing costs as well. Always be sure to ask your prospects if they have served in the military.

USDA Loans – The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has a home loan division that allows 100% financing. The property must be in a rural zone and the borrower’s income must be within the USDA income limits. Give us a call if you want to learn more about USDA qualified communities in your area, there are more than you think. Many communities meet the USDA requirements even though we may not think of them as being particularly “rural.”

State Bond Programs – Most states offer a housing program of some type that allows for low to no down payment and other benefits for the state’s low to moderate income residents. For example, Massachusetts offers the Mass Housing program, which has income limitations and is available to first time buyers only (defined as not having ownership in a piece of real estate in the past three years). The program requires that the buyer attend a home buying education class.

Each of these programs offers different benefits and advantages depending upon the profile of the homebuyer. Let your mortgage professional at Wintrust Mortgage navigate this maze with your buyers. We will provide complete education on all programs and provide written comparisons on everything. Homebuyers will be better equipped to make an educated decision on how to structure their new home purchase in a way that meets their needs and dreams!

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That Pre-Approval Letter May Be A Fake

A mortgage approval is a loan application that has been reviewed and approved by an underwriter. Most of the pre-approvals that you see today are in fact a “Loan Originator Opinion Letter”. Loan Originators are not allowed to approve a loan, that is the job of the underwriter. In fact, for government loans, the underwriter needs the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Direct Endorsement Certification from HUD before they can underwrite those programs. Loan originators cannot obtain a Direct Endorsement Certification, so they cannot offer an approval on any HUD loans. Unless the lender you work with has their underwriting department underwrite all ‘pre-approvals’ they are not true pre-approvals, they are pre-qualifications. This is law, not semantics.

TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure Rule (TRID) regulations have changed the way consumers shop for a mortgage as well as the way lenders are required to manage the pre-approval process, how the letter is issued and what it’s called.
Today most lenders are really issuing pre-qualification letters.

No matter what it is called, the process the lender goes through is what is most important to the consumer and the real estate community.

For a quality pre-qualification, a borrower should have a thorough interview with a loan originator. The loan originator should pull and review the borrower’s credit. Although a loan originator cannot require a borrower to provide any back-up documentation prior to making an official mortgage application, most consumers are happy to provide all documentation required for that loan originator to make a sound conclusion. The loan details should be run through an automated underwriting system; either Fannie Mae’s Desktop Underwriter (DU), or Freddie Mac’s Loan Prospector (LP) for an automated approval. The Loan originator will review all the information presented to ensure that the documents support the details of the transaction and then provide the consumer with a Pre-Qualification Certificate to give to their real estate agent.

There are plenty of lenders who issue pre-approval letters without doing most of these steps. So, the name of the document has no bearing on the quality of the process or the likelihood of the loan actually becoming fully approved once the borrower has committed to a property.

Make sure you are working with a lender who does a thorough review with the borrower, and explains what is needed to issue the letter. Your lender should be an expert in their field, which is why you should work with a Wintrust Mortgage loan originator.
For more information on how to avoid pre-qualification/pre-approval pitfalls and to learn more about today’s more complex mortgage process call us today, we will happily come to your office for a Wintrust Lunch and Learn. We promise a lively and informative meeting. Book yours today!

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