It’s the beginning of 2022 and we find ourselves in a challenging market for home buying and mortgage refinancing. Lack of housing inventory and rapidly increasing home prices have been major factors. In addition, mortgage rates are climbing due to the Federal Reserve Bank projecting to raise interest rates to combat high inflation. We are on track to return to and even exceed pre-pandemic mortgage rates. Researching and determining what type of mortgage is right for you can be a time-consuming and complicated process. Many of our clients at Peabody Wealth Advisors have benefitted from enlisting the help of a mortgage professional to help them find the financing solution that best fits their needs.
Michael Murray, President of Peabody Wealth Advisors spoke with Lettie Trespasz of Harbor One Mortgage to get some insights on what is currently going on in the market and how finding the right mortgage can help with our client’s personal financial planning.
Hi Lettie, tell us a little about yourself and what you do.
I assist clients in the financing of primary residences, second homes, and investment properties. In addition, I help borrowers improve cash flow through refinancing to either longer terms or lower rates (when available). This can potentially reduce lifetime interest paid by either refinancing to a shorter term or using home equity to pay down debt, pay for renovations, weddings, or other life events.
What do you like the best about being a Mortgage Loan Officer?
Before this, I was a lifelong coach and instructor, which has translated well in my role as a Loan Officer. I help educate and guide people through this challenging process so that it becomes easier, less daunting, and less stressful. When people close their loan, I want them to say, “that was easy, I would be willing to do this again if I needed to.”
Much like Financial Services and Investments, there are many choices locally, nationally, and digitally for consumers. Why would a prospective client choose to work with a local loan officer like yourself over a digital offering, which often costs less?
The old saying is “You get what you pay for” and having an experienced professional to help advise and navigate the process can be invaluable. However, our pricing still needs to be competitive. If you are a “serial refinancer” and know how to read a loan estimate to make sure that points and excessive costs are not buried within the interest rate being offered, shopping solely for the lowest interest rate is an option. If you’re not a “do-it-yourself" kind of person, you are busy with work or family obligations and you need a higher level of service, that is why you would work with a professional like me.
Tell us about your “Ideal Client” and some common characteristics of the clients you work with?
I was recently certified as a Divorce Mortgage Planner which fits my teaching and coaching background very well. I can be a key member of the divorce team and provide valuable information about eligibility and income qualifications for financing in the early stages of settlement discussions. It is important that all parties involved understand the process so that they can be prepared financially for life post-divorce.
What specific hurdles do business owners and self-employed applicants face?
Since the start of the pandemic, we have experienced what is known as “The COVID Effect” for business owners. Mortgage loans for business owners require additional documentation and are subject to additional scrutiny. Lenders now require 2 years of consistent or improving income (this excludes any PPP or other COVID-related funds) and paperwork needs to be updated up until the loan closes. A self-employed person should be prepared with up-to-date information including tax returns and profit and loss statements. If the business owner is “too busy” to respond to the lender’s requests for documents- the process can become drawn out and you could miss out on the opportunity to purchase your “dream home,” especially in today's competitive marketplace where many houses are being sold for above the listing price.
What would be your top tips for our audience when planning to buy a home that involves taking out a mortgage?
You should talk with a loan officer 6-12 months before talking to a realtor if you are considering buying a home. There are many things that can be done in advance to improve your interest rate, make the process easier, and prepare you for your dream home!
Thank you for your time, Lettie!
Lettie Trespasz is a Mortgage Loan Officer and has a CDLP™ (Certified Divorce Loan Professional) designation. She has over 10 years of experience in the mortgage industry and works for Harbor One Mortgage in Danvers, MA. In addition to her work in the Mortgage Industry, she has an extensive background in recreational sports- having over 30 years of experience in teaching both skiing and golf. Lettie is a member of the NEPGA (New England Professional Golfers Association) and has been a golf professional and instructor for over 29 years!