TERMS: The Process Story (whole story - 6/18/02)

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********** The Mortgage Process Story: Version 1; June 18th, 2002 **********

Brian and Shelly had been thinking for some time of purchasing a new home. One evening they had some friends over for dinner, and the subject came up. Their friends, Don and Susan had bought and moved into a new home recently. They told Brian and Shelly that Midwest Financial Mortgage Company, headquartered in Dilworth, Minnesota, had helped them do it, and recommended they give Midwest a call.

"You know," Susan said. "They we so friendly and understanding. Our experience was informative, and, what I really liked was that there was no pressure on us. They explained everything clearly at every step, and made the whole process a lot easier than I thought it would be."

"Yeah," Brian agreed. "We met the owner of the company who introduced us to our loan officer. They were both great people. We liked them right off the bat. I wasn't sure what mortgage loan officers actually did for a living before I met them, but now we know: we didn't realize all the things – all the steps – that go into financing a new home. It turns out our loan officer's job was to make all those steps simple and easy for us to take."

Brian started asking a lot of questions. He wanted Don and Susan to explain how the process worked.

"What I found out," Don said, "is the most important thing for us was to be ['pre-qualified.'] That was news to me. I thought the first thing to do was call a realtor. But it turned out that pre-qualifying did two important things for us. First, it helped us get 100% clear on how much we could afford to spend. The other big thing it did was let everyone we dealt with know – whether it was a realtor, the person selling the home, a banker, whoever - that we were 'pre-approved'; that we had the amount of money we were offering. It let people know we were serious, that there wouldn't be any problems, and it gave us a lot of confidence. We felt like we were in the driver's seat. So that's the first thing I'd recommend: Get in touch with the owner of Midwest Financial or one of loan officers there and get pre-qualified.

"What does that involve?" Shelly asked.

"Not a lot," Don replied. "We spent a little time calculating how much we could afford to spend. Then we just filled out a simple form and our loan officer took car of the rest. Not long after that we found out we were approved and we knew exactly how much money we could count on."

"And that's all there was to it?" Brian asked.

"I wish!" laughed Don. "No. That was only the beginning. It got more complicated after that. And that's why I have that new appreciation of what Midwest's loan officers do. They explained each step of the process, told us what our options were, and left the final decisions to us. But I'm glad they were doing the work and not me! I'm not sure how much of the process we can remember or explain, but we'll tell you as much as we can."

"You know me," Shelly chimed in. "I absolutely HATE anything having to do with banking, interest rates, legal mumbo-jumbo, that kind of thing. I wasn't looking forward to it at all. But – and I don't know how they did it – the whole thing turned out to be interesting and fun. Let me impress you with what I seem to have learned," she smiled.

"Midwest Financial had what seemed like 50 different programs, or options, available to us. The first thing that impressed me – and made me feel much better about everything - was that it wasn't a matter of whether or not we'd fit into whatever 'the program' was, but which option was best for US. They have some great programs for ['First Time Home Buyers'] (that you guys ought to check out), ['conventional loans,'] and the ['ARM'] program. Don't ask me what that means – I can't remember…

"We looked at 15 year mortgages and 30 year mortgages. Our loan officer explained ['3, 5, 7 balloons'] (which made me think of birthday parties which I couldn't get off my mind which didn't help when it came to remembering the explanation).

"And one of the things I liked the best – and we almost did it – are the [construction loans] they have available. The interesting thing is that we wouldn't have had to have the standard 15% to 20% [down payment money] most of the banks we've talked to in the past wanted from us. We could've built a brand new home without having to make a down payment which would've meant that all our money could've gone into our the house. We decided to purchase instead of build, but it was tempting."

Don got back into the conversation by explaining, "After we were approved, our loan officer gave us a [pre-approval certificate] we could show to - and 'inspire' - the other key people in the process.

"Like realtors. After we were approved, choosing a [realtor] was the next step we took. And that was another area where Midwest Financial provided great service. They have what they call a ['Wall of Fame'] that consists of [realtors,] [contractors] and [developers] they know, work with and recommend which made things a lot easier and more comfortable for us.

"And, to make a long story shorter, after finding our realtor and looking at some homes on the market, we found the one we wanted and made an offer. The seller not only accepted it but also agreed to pay our [closing costs] which was great! We signed a [purchase agreement,] and that was sent to MFMC.

"And then Susan and I started getting nervous about whether or our paperwork would be done correctly and efficiently. We really wanted that property, and we didn't want things getting messed up over some technicality. Not at that point! But Midwest Financial handled it beautifully."

"While we were at Midwest's office," Susan said, "I spent time talking to some of the people who work there besides our loan officer, and found out there are [loan processors] and an [underwriter] right there at their office. As usual, I'm a little sketchy on the details of what that meant, but our loan officer kept smiling and saying it was wonderful that they're part of the Midwest team. Something about making things go 5 or 10 times smoother for everybody involved."

"Our [loan officer] gave us a good faith estimate that told us approximately what our monthly payment, interest rate and closing costs would be," Don added. "Before our closing was ready we had to have our future home [appraised] by a licensed [appraiser]. Our loan officer explained and arranged for the [mortgage insurance] and [hazard insurance] we needed. Then Midwest ordered the [title] and [abstract], and that was pretty much that.

"By the way," Don said smiling. "Have we mentioned how much we love our new home? Like Susan said, it turned out to be a great experience. Don't tell her this," he said looking over at her, "but I wasn't crazy about the idea of going through the ordeal either. But it turned out we wouldn't have had to worry. The people at Midwest Financial Mortgage Company were great to work with. So I guess the best advice we can give you is to give them a call, stop into their office in Dilworth, or go to their website at www.midwestfinancialmortgage.com and see what you think."

After Susan and Don left, Brian and Shelly found themselves making plans to call MFMC to see about getting their process started…

************** THE END *************

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-- Anonymous, June 18, 2002

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