By Camille Gillies
Have you had it “up to here” with the economy? Well, you could be saving hundreds of dollars every month on your home and not even know it. Seven out of 10 property owners could take advantage of the federal government’s Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) but Kenneth Lo, the senior loan consultant with Trustworthy Mortgage Corp., says many people who want to refinance mistakenly disqualify themselves before consulting a mortgage professional.
And, with interest rates still at near-record-low levels – refinancing now makes sense for many homeowners. So, if you’re considering refinancing your home, Lo, a licensed mortgage broker based in New Tampa, recommends calling a professional like himself to determine whether you’re a HARP candidate. He can help you determine your eligibility and, if you qualify, set you on the path to saving on your monthly mortgage payment.
Lo recently saved a local resident $350 a month by refinancing a 30-year fixed-rate loan that the homeowner purchased five years ago at a still-reasonable interest rate of 6.5 percent. Lo got that reduced to an impressive rate of 3.87 percent—including closing costs! Not surprisingly, Ken reports the homeowner is happy with the new rate, not to mention the monthly savings.
If you think you’d like to refinance but are hesitant because you’re uncertain whether your home loan is owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, Ken can find out for you. He says that sending him a copy of your current mortgage statement is all he needs to get the ball rolling.
“We provide the legwork and you provide the necessary documents, and we go from there,” Ken says, adding that personal service is one of the hallmarks of his mortgage business. Ken will meet at his clients’ homes or at a location of their choosing, and he doesn’t keep “banker’s hours” – he works 24/7.
“Many clients tell me that when they called large banks to inquire about refinancing, they got tired of repeating their story multiple times after being transferred from one person to another,” Ken explains. “Big banks can be frustrating. That’s one of the many advantages of working with me. You tell me your situation and I handle the rest for you.”
Through Trustworthy Mortgage Corp., which is based in Vienna, VA, Ken has access to more than 30 financial institutions, which means he can select from an array of rates.
“I work with 30 different banks and can tailor a program to fit different needs,” Ken explains. “There is no one-size-fits-all program; I find the one that best suits each client’s situation.” He says the assortment of banks he deals with gives him access to to the most attractive rates.
“More products and low overhead mean I can offer lower rates than larger institutions,” Ken contends. “I also can more accurately assess the time it will take to process your loan, which can relieve a lot of stress.”
With Ken’s commitment to achieving a client’s desired results, it isn’t surprising that he reports a 99-percent success rate – and he usually closes on a loan prior to the date he has estimated.
“If I estimate closing within 30 days, the loan often closes in 26. It almost always comes in earlier than I project,” he says.
With an MBA in finance from the University of Miami, Ken says his strong tax background is advantageous when advising clients. Ken has lived in Florida for 13 years and has spent most of that time working in the real estate industry, in both investment and financial sectors.
“With my background in finance, I find the financing end of the real estate business more appealing,” Ken comments. “As a mortgage broker, it also is satisfying to know you’re helping someone achieve their goals.”
Ken’s territory spans Central Florida, with most of his residential business focused in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties. He also facilitates loans for commercial property and has assisted with transactions for commercial buildings throughout Florida.
Some New Trends…
Although the local housing market has plummeted in recent years, Ken says new home sales are trending up and since January, he has seen an uptick in purchase loans.
“Inventory is shrinking in Central Florida, and Realtors are reporting that buyers are bidding up in order to buy a property,” Ken reports. “These are not foreclosure properties, either; they are properties that are still in good shape.”
Ken is proud of his successful relationship with local Realtors. He recently worked on a transaction in Tampa Palms with real estate agent Marci Short of Sea Royal Realty in Clearwater. Marci, who specializes in the New Tampa and Wesley Chapel markets, lauded Ken’s professionalism.
“Ken delivered what he promised,” she says. “He was easy to get a hold of to answer questions and made sure the buyer understood everything about the loan. He was very efficient and willing to work on the weekend. Ken’s a good guy – I just referred another client to him.” Nearly half of Lo’s business results from referrals, indicative of the confidence his clients and business associates place in him.
For the past six years, Ken and his wife have lived in Hunter’s Green. The couple’s two sons, ages 11 and 6, attend Benito Middle School and Hunter’s Green Elementary, respectively, and play in the New Tampa Little League.
Heads up, homeowners! HARP won’t last forever – the program expires at the end of 2013! If you’re considering refinancing your home, give Ken a call today at 766-6896 or email him at Ken@TrustWorthyLoan.com. Additional information about Trustworthy Mortgage Corp. is available at TrustworthyLoan.com.