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How to Get the Best Mortgage Terms: An Interview with Barbara Banco of Banco Mortgage Centre

By Barbara Banco

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

BANCO Mortgage Centre was formed 2/20/1994. I opened the company because I wanted to ensure borrowers were getting the best interest rate for no additional costs or fees. I had worked for a mortgage company from 8/1983 to 2/1994 before I decided to open my own company. I did this to make sure my customers have the right loan program, are treated fairly, and not hooked into playing the refinance game where they pay over and over for the same loan. There is no real benefit to refinancing unless the interest rate decreases 1% or more. You also want to look at how many years have been paid on the current mortgage to determine the actual benefit. I take the time to educate my borrowers, learn about their wants and dreams and offer information on all the loan programs available. I am always available to answer questions and reply to calls within 24 hours if not sooner.

Can you briefly explain the main decisions that people need to make for the terms of their home loan?

People need to decide how long they intend to live in the home they intend to buy. This helps determine which loan program best suits their needs. More importantly, they need to decide where they want to live. They want to consider schools, doctors, entertainment, city services, travel time to and from work and closeness to relatives, and friends.

A fixed rate might benefit a certain type of purchaser as opposed to an ARM (adjustable rate ) that may benefit an investor or an employee who has been transferred here for a short time to fulfill an employment contract. Some of the loan programs I offer are conventional loan programs for first time home buyers, second/vacation home loan programs, investor loans, refinancing, FHA/VA loans, the HARP program (Home Affordable Refinance Program) and many more. I think there's still people out there that need to refinance and take advantage of low interest rates because they are going to rise very soon. I work with clients who have bruised credit and get them approved for financing which may take anywhere from 6 months to a year. I do not charge anything for this service, I believe it is part of the job. Other companies charge very high fees to do this or will automatically deny the loan. I think everyone deserves to own a home and will help them achieve this goal.

Which ones have the most amount of flexibility and why/when?

There are several loan types a borrower can choose from. There are ARM (Adjustable Rate Mortgages), Fixed Rate mortgages, and balloon mortgages (this is a fixed term usually 5 years, 7 years or 10 years where you then have to pay the remaining balance off in full at the end of the term).

What are some of the most common challenges that people face when they're applying for a mortgage?

The challenges people have to deal with is the amount of paperwork required to be approved for a loan. Many times these same documents have to be updated all over or there is something in the original paperwork which requires more paperwork to resolve the issue. It is overwhelming at times and I try to make the process as simple as possible, but there is sometimes a situation where I have to ask for additional documentation in order to get the loan approved. We are required to follow government regulations and guidelines so the loan approval process at times can be quite intense. I try to take on that burden to make it easier for my customer.

Due to tightened Federal security and banking regulations, banks thoroughly review every document of the transaction and often require additional or updated documentation from a borrower to satisfy any gaps in employment, large deposits, name changes or landlord verifications. I prepare my clients by collecting everything they may be required to provide from the initial contact . I prepare the file and review all the paper work to ensure it meets government regulations which improves the approval turn around time. This process helps avoid any delays further down the line when they find the property they really want to purchase. I work with my clients to ensure they are approved for financing at no additional cost. I find the realtors I work with really appreciate when I approve a client for a mortgage, not just pre-qualify them, it saves everyone time, the actual borrowers as well as the seller of the property and the agents, both the listing agent and the selling agent.

Are there any programs or grants available that do not have to be paid back?

Many cities, not all, offer grants to purchase a home or improve their existing home. Some cities allow you to live X amount of years and the debt is forgiven. Other cities require the debt to be paid when the home is sold, and other cities offer a payment plan. My advice is to call your local community to find out what they may or may not offer.

What advice do you have for people who want to get the best and/or most flexible mortgage terms?

Best advice when considering purchasing a home is to make sure you have an excellent credit rating. Pay off all old debts and collections. Do not make any major purchases before buying a home, and keep all open balances to 50% or less. It is also advisable to make sure you have saved up a minimum of $5000 or more before making formal loan application. The more money you have, the easier it is to get approved because you are demonstrating you have an ability to save money.

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

I am available 7 days a week. I work late hours on paperwork and during the day field phone calls and make phone calls or reply to emails. I can be reached by phone at 248 258-5600 x 3, by fax 248 258-1145, or by email at bbanco@ameritech.net. I do have a Facebook page but I would not recommend doing any financial business on Facebook or twitter as you are subject to identity theft and having your personal information stolen.

(NMLS#: 132059/129791)

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