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Mortgage Tips for First-Time Homebuyers: An Interview with Debbie Villarreal of Starkey Mortgage

By Debbie Villarreal

Tell us a little bit about your company and the services you offer.

Starkey Mortgage is a full-service mortgage banker. We originate homes loans for purchase, construction or refinance. My business is focused mainly in San Antonio and surrounding counties. However, I'm licensed and can originate anywhere in the state of Texas.

Is there a common misconception that first-time homebuyers have about home loans?

It's funny. They either think that it's too hard and don't try or think they think it's really easy and get frustrated. It's my job to help educate a first time homebuyer on both budgeting and financial issues as well as the loan process and what it takes to get their loan approved. Many times it starts with credit and income consultation before they ever look at a house.

What's the most important thing that banks will be looking at in the application?

The lending environment we are in now makes that an easy question: Credit. If your credit score is sufficient to get through the "gate" then we can start the loan process. If it doesn't meet a certain threshold then we can't even start the loan process. That threshold varies from program to program but across the board we start with credit. As a result a lot of my time is spent consulting with borrowers on their credit, what affects credit and what they can do to get into a position to be ready to buy. After credit is income. Under the Dodd-Frank Act the government requires creditors "to make a reasonable, good faith determination of a consumer's ability to repay a loan.

Can you briefly describe the difference between working with a mortgage broker and a direct lender?

A mortgage broker is a licensed entity but they just gather the necessary information and send it to a mortgage company to make a decision. He's paid a fee to deliver the package. A direct lender is originating, underwriting and funding the loan. Then they either keep the loan in their portfolio to collect the payments or it may be sold as an asset in the secondary market.

What are some of the biggest regrets you've seen first-time homebuyers have when it comes to the mortgage process?

Working with a mortgage loan officer that is as inexperienced as they are. And unfortunately that's hard to know when you begin the process. If a new loan officer gets involved in a difficult loan and doesn't have the experience to direct a homebuyer regarding their finances, know which is the best loan program for a buyer or how to overcome an underwriting conditions it could result in either a bad loan or a loan denial. Either way it's the homebuyer that pays the ultimate price.

What advice would you give to first-time homebuyers in Texas to help them get the best loan terms as quickly as possible?

I would educate myself prior to starting the process. There's a lot of information on the web for first time homebuyers. Then I would work with a seasoned realtor and loan officer. These days the more experienced professionals have web presence and these include reviews. Read them! They'll tell a lot about how a person does their business. And of course a referral is a wonderful thing!

What's the best way for people to contact you and your company?

My company phone number is 210-545-9300. I can be reached there or on cell at 210-240-0174. My website is www.debbievillarreal.com.

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Karina Gram

Purchasing a big house is somebodyâ??s greatest wish but not always itâ??s possible to make that purchase real and we all initially have to take mortgage. Although, not all people take the choice of

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About The Author

Debbie Villarreal is armed with 30 years in the mortgage industry.

Phone: 210-240-0174

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