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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Open Your Month With Closings!

Open Your Month With Closings!

Schedule your closings for the first week of the month, not the last; you’ll receive better delivery, quality and service.

It’s conventional wisdom that it is better to close a mortgage loan at the end of the month, but why? Pre-paid interest is why. Pre-paid interest is the interest paid from the date of the closing until the last day of the month. This is due with the first mortgage payment at the first of the following month. If the closing is the last day of the month there is one day of pre-paid interest due. Each day earlier is one more day of pre-paid interest.

Because everyone wants to close at the end of the month, closing schedules can be fast and furious. There is often no ability to re-schedule or delay your closing, if needed, when busy attorneys and closing agents are conducting back to back closings for days at a time. The sheer volume at the end of the month can make for a poor customer experience no matter how qualified and dedicated the parties are.

The solution – schedule your closings for the first week of the month!

At Wintrust Mortgage, you can close within the first seven days of the month and receive a credit for the interest back to the first of the month. This means no pre-paid interest for your customers. Their first payment will be due on the first of the following month.
Five reasons to close your purchase loans the first week of the month:

• No pre-paid interest with an interest rate credit.
• More attention and customer service from all involved
• More time available to review documents, ask questions of the closing agent and get the job done
• You are not competing with multiple consumers who all want to close at the same time.
• Scheduling is easier, the process is easier and you will have more options.

Don’t compete with thousands of buyers and agents trying to schedule their transactions. With beginning of the month closings, you and your buyers will have the quality home closing experience that we all desire to deliver to our consumers.

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