Mortgage Myth Busters: New Jersey: Cherry Hill

Mortgage 101 in New Jersey – Getting to know the borrower

Getting borrowers to know the common basics of mortgages are like baby steps

Mortgage 101 in New Jersey – Getting to know the borrower’s wants and needs

In today’s delicate world of mortgages in New Jersey and any where else, getting a mortgage not only takes understanding, but patience. I am still finding many loan officers trying to fit that round peg into that square hole. Let me explain….

I currently have a client whose realtor got him to talk to her loan officer. This loan officer has my borrower pre-qualifed for about $35,000 more than I do. How can there be such a difference?

Before I get into the differences, let’s try and establish a pattern of questions that should be talked about, when a loan officer interviews a borrower.


  • What mortgage payment in New Jersey would you feel comfortable with, to include your property taxes and homeowners insurance. Please give me an honest and realistic amount that you would not want to exceed.
  • Secondly, what areas would you prefer to live in. This is very important, because it comes down to the different property tax amounts. Depending on why you would want to live in that town or neighborhood, would help determine your monthly mortgage payment because of the property taxes.
  • My next question would be the type of property that you would want to purchase. Whether it would be a single family dwelling, a townhouse, a condo, etc. This helps me determine your payment as well, because there could be association dues or PUD fees based on the type of property and location.

In my opinion, I consider these 3 questions to be the most important that should be asked in the beginning, besides their name, credit scores, credit history, and income information. I actually get to those sets of questions next.


So, with that addressed now, let’s get back to my story.

My borrower wants to live in one of two places, because one of his main focuses is to be in a good school system. Keep in mind, they have 1 child at 8, another at 1, and one on the way. How do I know all of this? I got to know my borrower.

Now, the areas that they are interested in, the property taxes run about $6,000 a year on $180,000 properties. This other loan officer has them pre-qualified at $200,000, but using property taxes of $5,200. To be realistic, if buying a $200,000 home, the property taxes average around $7,000 a year. As you can see, this could become a huge issue for the borrower when shopping for a home in their respective areas, to later find out that they don’t qualify based on higher taxes. But it gets better.

In my very first question, I asked what mortgage payment that he would feel comfortable with. If I used the $200,000 property, even at the unrealistic property taxes of $5,200, he would be about $117 over his comfort zone regarding the mortgage payment. With the correct property taxes, not only does he not qualify for a mortgage, but his monthly nut would now be about $267 more than what he would be comfortable with.


Conclusion : In my 18+ years in the mortgage business, even after the government tightening down on loan officers with their licensing requirements since the beginning of 2011, I keep seeing these basics get over-looked more than they should.  It shouldn’t be about who can pass a test, even though the test itself is only about 30% mortgages directly. But about asking the proper questions and preparing the borrower.

I have a borrower right now who has a 617 credit score and that their current loan officer is telling them that they need a 620. Once they get that 620, they can close. Settlement was suppose to be June 30th and he keeps saying it will be soon. yet when I reviewed their current credit, it doesn’t mean the credit guidelines. I wrote about this example that happens more than it should. Please read - Your credit score is more than just a number -

Hey, it’s a dog-eat-dog world out there. I know it’s easy to trust someone when they say such words as : “trust me”, “no problem”, I promise”, “I guarantee”, etc.  Who do you trust?  Get to know your loan officer, listen to how they talk, and how confident they sound. Not just the sales words that one might use. I call these words The Red Flags of mortgages.   If you listen close enough, you can sometimes hear someone contradict themselves. Just food for thought.





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Copyright © 2011 by Jeff Belonger of Infinity Home Mortgage Company, Inc

Comment balloon 27 commentsJeff Belonger • July 13 2011 07:01PM
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