Barb Lanis is one of the Top 5 Lenders in the state of Illinois. When asked about her experience with Barb, a recent client stated, “She is consistently offers consumers superior expertise and assistance in getting through the tedious and complicated loan process.” We took the time to interview Barb about her past and present experience with the mortgage industry and where she sees it heading in the next year.
L411: How long have you been a lender and what inspired you to go into the mortgage industry?
BL: I have been in retail lending since 1999. Prior to that, I worked on the wholesale lending side as an account executive and also a technical writer for a major mortgage software company. After working in the background functions of mortgage lending for so long, I was inspired by the loan originators and their passion for their clients. I enjoyed the “stories” and their quest to get the right loan and terms for their customers. I really did throw caution to the wind and jumped feet first into mortgage lending because I wanted the personal experience of working directly with a client. It’s the best career decision I’ve ever made.
L411: What were the last few years like in Illinois following the collapse of the mortgage market?
BL: As the dust has settled, it’s become clear that only well planned companies and individual loan officers will thrive. It is now more important than ever to align yourself with a strong company that has the finest reputation, understands the challenges of lending today, has adequate funding, and a well-designed customer service initiative.
L411: What are the most popular loans right now?
BL: For first time homebuyers, Conventional 30 year fixed, 5% down with PMI. For refinances, 20 year fixed is predominant.
L411: What mortgage trends do you predict?
BL: From now through early 2014. I predict: Slightly rising rates, an extension of HARP beyond 2013 and possibly a HARP 3.0 for non-agency loans or re-HARP-ing, but very limited.
L411: Do you see the government helping in the future to revitalize the mortgage market?
BL: Well, we can’t have it all, right? We “like” the Fed’s involvement right now with QE3. Someday it will end and the artificially low rates will vanish and the interest rate market should stabilize on its own without intervention. On the other side, we don’t like the over-regulation and confusion in Washington that’s been going on since the collapse, but I do think that the CFPB may get it right in the end and strike a balance between consumer protection vs. a consumer’s choice.
L411: What advice do you have for a first time homebuyer?
BL: Be careful not to over extend yourself. Even if you’ve been told that your mortgage payment can go as high as “X” amount, always take a look at that amount realistically by planning a budget around it. Does the mortgage payment leave enough room in your budget for repairs, emergencies, life changing events (such as children), or 6 months without work? What about how you like to “play?” If you like to vacation, go to movies, eat out, does the monthly payment get in the way of this or are you happy to cut back? Pull out those bank statements and take a look at your spending habits. House hunting can be very intoxicating and it’s easy to get caught up in a dreamy cloud. Treat house hunting first like a business in terms of benefits vs. cost. Once you have found the home that meets a realistic budget and the features you set out to have, then you can safely have a home-sweet-home.
L411: What advice do you have for a homeowner who wants to refinance?
BL: Shop around the local lenders, but do not allow your credit report to be run multiple times. Interview your potential loan officers and ask for referrals from past clients. If he/she won’t spend the time answering your questions or concerns about selecting the right lender, that’s probably not the right one.
L411: What has your experience been like at Lender411?
BL: It has been a fantastic privilege to be part of a group of lending professionals answering questions posted by consumers. I have learned some things as well! I really enjoy the opportunity to supply information, instill some of my thoughts, and perhaps even solve problems.