During these trying times, it’s important to look towards a bright future. The truth is – the home buying process takes time, and you may want to start thinking about it a year, even two years out to be prepared.
Today I am sharing tips from a trusted mortgage banker and friend, Phillip Breaux with Ameris Bank. Check out his interview below, where we talk about the mortgage process, loans, credit scores and more. Feel free to reach out with any questions for Phillip or myself – trust me, he’s the best in the biz!
Denise Jacob: What’s your favorite part of being a mortgage banker?
Phillip Breaux: Prior to this, I was a teacher for 10 years. Being a mortgage banker, I am able to use my teaching skills to make sure my clients really understand the process of financing a home. Usually first time buyers need education the most, but there are so many more things people and even second-time buyers should know. Lastly, I also love to be a resource for people as they make this instrumental step and progress in life. I have always believed there are three moves to financial security – education, investing in retirement and buying a home, so it is an honor to be a part of these processes as a former educator and now mortgage lender.
Denise Jacob: What types of loans are available to buyers?
Phillip Breaux: There is such a large array of loans available to buyers, including first home buying programs, conventional loans, FHA (Federal Housing Administration) loans, medical loans and veteran loans. It is my job to help clients determine which works the most to their advantage.
Denise Jacob: What is a minimum down payment?
Phillip Breaux: A minimum down payment is usually around 3% – 3.5%, however, I always make sure my clients are aware about all additional fees and costs associated with home purchasing or refinancing. I also take time to educate them on avenues to save and/or secure the funds needed to purchase a home. This includes attorney fees, taxes, insurance, appraisal and more. One thing about Ameris bank I truly respect, is that we are completely transparent about cost/fees and invested in the whole client. Because of this, many of our clients come as referral sources from past clients.
Denise Jacob: What are your tips for increasing your credit score?
Phillip Breaux: The biggest factor that determines your loan interest rate is your credit score, so it’s very important to do all you can to get that score up! Do not miss a payment or be late on any payments. Have your credit pulled and see if there are derogatory items that you can work to resolve or dispute if needed but do this before you are out house hunting. Work on getting balances on credit cards down. With all that said, find a lender early in the process and let them guide you on what moves to make to get your credit score up.
Denise Jacob: How do you get the best loan setup for your clients?
Phillip Breaux: I work through many scenarios to find the best solutions, programs, and benefits for each client. Then I present all the information to the client and walk them through options. I feel that I know the business very well, so I can present a variety of options, but the final decision is always that of the clients. I am the sharer of information, but they are the decision maker in the home buying or refinancing journey.
Denise Jacob: What challenges might I run into during the mortgage process?
Phillip Breaux: There are several challenges that may arise including having a low credit score, income or job changes, or debt to income ratio. As your mortgage lender, I would be here to walk you through these challenges, providing support and tips to avoid them. That is why I would love clients to pull me in as early as possible in the process… no time frame is too early when I am your lender.
Denise Jacob: What is your advice on choosing a lender?
Phillip Breaux: Your lender is a critical part of your home buying process, so choosing someone you trust is critical. A home purchase is the biggest investment many of us make in our lifetime, so having a trusted counterpart to guide you on this journey to me is crucial. I would try calling a few recommended mortgage bankers/lenders and see who you can reach on the phone within a reasonable time frame. See which one you feel a connection with, and which one imparts knowledge from the first time you two communicate. Communication is key, and you’ll want to work with someone who will take the time to discuss all your options with you and that also values communication.
Denise Jacob: What do you recommend while finding a realtor?
Phillip Breaux: I strongly believe in a personal connection, so avoid choosing a random realtor from an online site or flyer. Lean on friends/family to help you find an agent, if you do not have one in your social circle you trust. Similar to choosing a lending partner, see who will answer your phone call or meet face to face. This is my number one rule in finding any business partner. Denise is always a top choice on my list, as she truly cares about her clients and communicates in a timely and professional manner. I was recently able to help your daughter refinance her home, and the experience was exceptional, because there is no greater compliment in our industry then the referral of a friend and family member.
Phillip Breaux can be reached at:
(D) 404.639.6831 | (C) 415.699.7535 |