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Your First Mortgage: An Interview with Leesa Sandoval of HomeBridge Financial Services

By Leesa Sandoval

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

HomeBridge has been in business for more than 20 years and opened more than 70 branches across the country in 2013. We are one of the largest privately held non-bank lenders in the US and currently employ more than 1,300 associates. We do Process, Underwrite and Close in-house which greatly improves our response and closing time. We also service over 90% of our loans.

What are some of the services your company provides?

The loan programs we offer include, FHA, Conventional, VA, Jumbo, Renovation Lending and Construction to Permanent financing. Our renovation loans are HOT right now and they include FHA 203k, FNMA HomeStyle Renovation and HomePath Renovation.

What is the first thing to do when applying for a mortgage?

The first thing to do when thinking about a mortgage or buying a home is to get pre approved. There is no point in looking at $250,000.00 only to find out you only qualify for $180,000.00. Better to set proper expectations upfront. Working with a loan officer you can trust and are comfortable with is key.

What are the basic steps in the mortgage process?

The basics steps really start with getting pre approved to be able to purchase. This will usually involve completing an application and supplying supporting income documents and bank statements to prove the information that was completed on the loan application. From there it is find a great realtor to work with in locating the right property. Once the property is secured it is time to move into the loan process and then onto underwriting and closing the loan.

Do you have any tips for people applying for their first mortgage?

Realize a mortgage loan is probably one of the biggest commitments you will make! Gather documents and have them handy including 2 yrs tax returns, w-2's, most recent 30 days of pay stubs, 2 months of bank statements for all accounts?.being able to provide needed documents quickly is very important.

What are some common areas of difficulties you've seen when people are applying for their first mortgage?

It is probably no surprise but if there is going to be an issue it is typically credit. And that can be either not enough credit or of course bad credit. Speaking in terms of tarnished credit?it can be from the past that needs to be cleaned up due to job loss, divorce or even medical issues that are not fun items to deal with.

What factors influence a person's mortgage the most if they've never had one before?

For first time homebuyers it would be overall stability this would include credit, job history and residence history.

If you could give a first-time mortgage owner any advice, what would it be?

Don't become house poor! I say this all the time?you want to maintain your same quality of life and eat out, go on vacation and not live for the house payment.

Is there anything else related to the idea of "Your First Mortgage" that you think should be covered?

If you are currently renting and have ever thought about owning your own home?take the first step and just get pre approved. Most often this does not cost you anything and then you will take the mystery out of ?..what can you afford, what would your payment look like?and is this right for you!

What is the best way for people to reach you or your company?

The best way to contact us is through our website: www.leesasandoval.com. You can also call our office: 972-725-9110, or email me at lsandoval@homebridge.com.

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