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Insider Mortgage Tips: An Interview with Chris Parrish of Hope Tree Home Loans

By Chris Parrish

Tell us a little bit about your company and its foundation.

Supporting our communities where we live and work is the essential mission of Hope Tree Home Loans.

We have created a unique program that allows our customers to make a donation to a favorite charity or non-profit organization- at no cost to the borrower. Hope Tree also partners with respected charitable and other non-profit organizations in our community to provide opportunities for those groups to benefit from Hope Tree's program.

We believe in transparency, clarity and transactional efficiency; all are key components to today's best relationships, especially in the mortgage industry. Our Fixed Cost Model ensures our customers will receive a much greater savings. We offer a wide choice of residential and commercial mortgage loan products. Every Hope Tree employee is dedicated to the highest standards of professionalism our customers deserve.

Hope Tree Home Loans is a wholly owned subsidiary of Calvert Capital Corporation, one of Houston's oldest and most respected mortgage lenders with more than $1 billion in originations since the company was founded in 1997.

What are some of the services your company provides?

We provide a loan comparison that shows different loan programs side by side. All of our loans go into an auto email system that provides information for every milestone during the loan process. Not only does it inform the borrower what is going on but it also updates real estate agents. We also provide a transaction calendar on every loan. This informs all parties when items have been ordered and when we should get them back. They will then get emails to let everyone know when items have been received.

How important is it to document my finances?

More important than ever! Proper documentation of your finances will ensure a smooth closing. Most borrowers become very frustrated with the underwriting process, when they don't have their paperwork in order. When I talk to a borrower for the first time I let them know upfront what documentation they will need to provide. Digging up tax returns from two years ago with W-2's and all schedules can be more difficult than you might think.

How do I know if it is a good time to refinance? Is it a good time presently?

It depends on your situation. There are several reasons to refinance. Lowering payments, lower terms, getting out of an ARM or taking cash out are a few reasons. When I talk to a refinance candidate I ask a lot of questions. What are their goals? Are they just starting out? Where will they be financially in five years? Ten years? Asking the proper questions will insure that I put them in the right loan so they can achieve the goals they set. Rates are still low, call today to find out if the time is right for you.

What are some bargaining tips I can use when shopping for mortgage lenders?

Great credit! The better your credit the more options you have. With the passage of Dodd-Frank Act the ability for your loan officer to lower a rate at will has been taken off the table. A loan officer can no longer make more or less on a loan. So your bargaining chips are great credit, money in the bank, stable work history, and tax returns that show stable income.

What are some of my rights as a borrower? How can I use these to my advantage?

You have the right to walk away from a loan at any time. You are not bound to close. So if something doesn't seem right or there have been major changes to the original loan you signed, then don't be afraid to get a "second opinion." You also have the right to a copy of you appraisal, credit report and review your closing papers before closing.

Why are many people reconsidering FHA loans? What programs should I consider instead?

All programs have their negatives and positives. FHA allows for a lower down payment compared to a traditional conventional loan. The underwriting guidelines allow for non-occupying co-borrowers, which are beneficial for borrowers that are just starting out on their own. A negative aspect of an FHA loan is that mortgage insurance is now for the life of the loan. Home Possible (Freddie Mac) and My Community (Fannie Mae) programs are other low down payment options.

What are some of my options if I have poor credit?

Your options depend on the causes of your poor credit. FHA has decided recently to open lending for people who were hit hard during the recession. You have to prove hardship but this is a great way for people to realize the American dream once again. If your credit needs work, you might want to contact a licensed credit professional for advice and help. Your loan officer might have access to some companies that could possibly help you.

What is the best way for people to get in contact with you?

You are always welcome to contact me at 832-518-3034 or by email at Parrish@Hopetreehomeloans.com.

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About The Author

Chris Parrish, (NMLS 231919) is a licensed loan officer with over 16 years of...

Phone: 832.518.3034

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