Frequently Asked Questions of the First-Time Home Buyer

Recently, I was featured on the Web Talk Radio show, “Surviving the Credit Crisis,” with radio show host and longtime colleague, Karen Simpson-Hankins.

To download the episode, please click here.

Karen Hankins

There are so many options for First-Time Home Buyers to consider before making the decision to buy and it is very important to be prepared.  I can help you prepare for that process by helping you create a budget, getting Pre-Qualified for financing and answering all of your questions thoroughly to ensure that you feel very comfortable and confident in the process.

If you are interested in some additional information on the home buying process after listening to “Surviving the Credit Crisis,” check out CNN Money’s article Closing on a New House for some great information regarding tips on structuring the closing.

CNN Money

For additional information, please don’t hesitate to contact me:  By phone:  (503) 453-6849 or via email at  You can also fill out an online application to start the pre-qualification process here.  I look forward to working with you!

How’s the Market? America’s 10 hottest housing markets.

About a week ago, released its Turnaround Towns report on the nation’s housing markets that are leading the housing recovery.

These markets were compared as part of a group of the 145 largest housing markets in the country. To make the list, the markets needed to have among the fastest change in median list price and the largest declines in median age of inventory and total inventory between the second quarters of 2012 and 2013.

Apparently it’s a good time to be on the West Coast. The Portland Metro area (includes Vancouver, WA stats) comes in at #8 with Seattle at #5. All other markets except for Detroit Michigan are in California.

Here’s an infographic of the results:

September 11th Service Day

Academy Mortgage Service Day

Service Day

With all of the hustle and bustle of a busy work day, family obligations and a full life, it can be easy to put “giving back” on the back burner.  We all know that it is important and the more you give, the more you tend to receive in return.  How often do we practice what we preach, however?  And how often does the organization that you work for encourage and actually organize projects at every level that will allow their teams the opportunity to volunteer and give back.  I’m proud to say that Academy Mortgage leads by example and gives back in ways that I haven’t seen with other companies, large and small.  As part of our yearly Leadership Summit, Academy Mortgage organized a “Service Day” in partnership with the Salt Lake Valley Habitat for Humanity and ReStore.

On September 11th, 2013, 132 Academy Mortgage Managers and Senior Leaders converged on a church that was donated to Salt Lake Habitat for Humanity and will eventually become an American Cancer Society Hope Lodge.  We tore out ceilings, ripped up flooring, pulled nails out of floor boards so that the wood could be reclaimed, dismantled shelving and worked as a team to make as much of an impact as we could.  We got dirty and ruined our shoes and clothing but I have never felt more connected to my team as I did on that day.  It reminded me of our values and of our commitments to our community.  It reminded me that serving others feels just as good to me as it does for those that we’re serving.

It’s days like this that encourage me to get back to some basics and really remember what is important to me in life.  I thought that this Forbes article was a great read and rang very true for what is really essential.  So, today, I’m committed to helping others and to focusing on my WHY.


Academy Mortgage really cares about community, we care about our clients and referral partners in the very same way.  If you are looking for a real estate partner in Portland, we are here for you.  Give me a call at:  (503) 453-6849 or send me an email:

I’m Pre Qualified, right? Or wait, am I Pre-Approved?

What does it take to Pre-Qualify for a home loan?

There is a HUGE difference between a Pre-Qualification and a Pre-Approval.  As a mortgage banker, when I do a Pre-Qual, I do a credit check but not every lender does this so make sure you ASK!  A Pre-Qualification is a lender’s estimate of how much you will qualify for based on the information that you provide, that information is not typically verified and will not take into consideration important details that could very well impact your actual approval and ultimate ability to purchase the house of your dreams.  During a Pre-Qualification, your loan officer will simply ask you how much income you are earning, how much money you have in the bank to use as a down payment, how much money will remain in savings and what your monthly debts and liabilities are.  For some people, such as W2 wage earners or hourly employees, these are fairly straight forward questions but for borrowers who are self-employed, retired or earn bonus or commission income or overtime income, the number in your head could be drastically different than the income an Underwriter will allow you to use when qualifying for a home loan.

What does it mean to be Pre-Approved?

A Pre-Approval, on the other hand, involves and in depth credit analysis, your income and asset documentation are reviewed and any additional documentation that may impact the process will be requested, reviewed and explained thoroughly. Make SURE that you are fully pre-approved before you make an offer on a home.  I recommend that my clients allow me to do a full Pre-Approval for them prior to even starting their new home search.  It will save you time, money and heart ache… There is certainly a lot more up front work involved in getting fully Pre Approved but this is an important step in the home buying process.

Put yourself in the best possible position for success!

As the market becomes more aggressive and competitive, sellers are demanding Pre-Approval vs. Pre-Qualification letters and smart real estate agents have been requesting the same for years.  Most successful realtors will ask that you complete the Pre-Approval process prior to starting your home search process.  Why waste time and emotion viewing a property that is outside of your comfortable and finance-able reach?  Do yourself a favor and make sure you are working with someone who will take the time to go through this process with you.  Academy Mortgage specializes in new home purchases and I can assist in Pre-Approving you for a vast array of home loan products.  From FHA to Conventional to Renovation loans, we will tailor and custom fit to meet your needs.

To get Pre-Approved today, please give me a call or send me an email.  My direct line is: (503) 453-6849 and my email address is:

I look forward to helping you purchase your new home!