I recently had a cup of coffee with my friend Rob Ross, one of the young hot shot mortgage bankers in DC. I played "New Home Buyer" and asked a few questions so I could share his direct and enlightening wisdom with all our readers. You'll see why this guy is one of the top in the entire U.S.!
1) So Rob, what’s the big deal with getting pre-approved and is it really a best practice? Why? Mark, Getting pre-approval is really an easy process when working with the right loan officer. It’s the best thing to do before even looking for a home. You never want to put the “cart before the horse.” Without the proper financing in place you can’t make an offer on a home. In a competitive market such as the G7 area there is not always a second chance to win the home.
2) There’s so much buzz about the DC Open Doors program - isn’t that really only for 1st time home buyers? Can it be layered with other buyer-targeted programs? DC Open Doors is truly a great program. It’s made for those who have not owned a home in the last 3 years so you could have owned a home in the past. This is a program that can offer up to 100% combined financing in DC depending on a variety of qualifying factors. YES! It can be combined with several DC Bond programs to maximize the benefit to the buyer.
3) What if I’m looking at a non FHA/VA approved building? What’s that mean and what are my options? FHA and VA are really strong government backed loans ranging from as little as 3.5% down payment to 100% financing on the VA loan. IF a condo project is not already VA or FHA approved, a few dedicated lenders, including MVB, can help to get the project approved for you. The loans are great for any buyers and have very favorable qualifying standards.
4) Mortgage rates seem to be staying low even though many thought they’d rise in the latter half of 2014. What’s your prediction for 2015? Seems like we are going to stay very low until at least June. The funny part is everyone’s definition of “low” seems to be different. With rates currently near 58-year lows we have all been slightly spoiled by it. Even if rates went up a full 2%, which is not going to happen anytime soon, it would still be a better time to buy than to rent. Housing affordability is the best that it has been since the 1960’s!
5) What are the 3 most important financial planning things one can do to prepare for getting in the market and buying a home? Easy answer:
1- don’t change from a w2 job to a self-employed position. A buyer needs a 2-year history of being self-employed to purchase a home.
2- don’t run up too much revolving debt and make sure you’re paying all obligations on time.
3- make sure you have filed your taxes, you must be up-to-date for a lender to assist you.
Rob Ross is a Vice President with close to 13 years in the mortgage industry. Rob formed “The Ross Group” in 2004. He and his team originate residential loans throughout the entire Washington, DC metro area and assist anyone from the first time homebuyer to the avid real estate investor. Rob is also an expert in the local condo market and has been the preferred lender on more than 40 projects. In 2012 Rob was named to the Scotsman Guide’s Top Loan Originators in the United States, ranking in the Top 1%.