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Insider Mortgage Tips: An Interview with Jeff Rice of Primary Residential Mortgage

By Jeff Rice

Tell Us About Primary Residential Mortgage:

Primary Residential Mortgage was founded in 1998 with the goal of being a locally-known yet nationally recognized home loan company. Our CEO and founder, Dave Zitting offers a clear and focused vision for helping Americans finance their homes through a positive and personal loan experience. That focus, combined with a culture of teamwork and integrity, funnels down throughout our organization and provides our customers with the service and attention that is required in today's lending landscape.

What Are Some Services Primary Residential Mortgage, Inc. (PRMI) Provides?

PRMI has a strong history of offering of products that provide options and advantages to our customers. This is especially important in today's market as there has been a dramatic increase in marginal borrowers that need to work with an organization that provides an array of products to choose from. PRMI offers conventional, FHA, VA and USDA financing but we also have product enhancements that fit the needs of our customers today. Ultimately however the biggest service we offer to our clients is our experienced and high quality loan originators that offer a consultation with every one of our clients to ensure that they are getting the best program that fits their needs.

How Important is it to Document Finances for Mortgage Needs?

I began my career in mortgage financing in 1998 in an environment of quality documentation and common sense, which drove the underwriting rules. Over the following six years those standards had been loosened, which ultimately led to a worldwide recession. The rules in place today, both in terms of internal industry controls and federal and state regulations, have made documentation of the customer's finances critical and necessary. There is no denying that some of these new rules are stringent and customers often have difficulty with how invasive lenders are today when it comes to their financial picture. My advice has been to speak to a qualified mortgage consultant well in advance of purchasing so they can guide you through some of the most common pitfalls customers struggle with. When the time comes to create an application and gather everything for your loan it is imperative that as a consumer you are an active participant in getting your own loan cleared by the underwriter.

How Can Someone Know When to Refinance?

Traditionally, refinancing your home loan has been a reaction to a low rate environment such as we experienced in the beginning of last year. With rates at their current low, it will be some time before there is a flood of new refinancing opportunities. However, many potential customers had to sit out the lastopportunity due to appraisal values or strict underwriting guidelines. It is my belief that those customers will make up the refinance market over the next few years. When one looks at the history of the industry, it is clear to see that interest rates are still extremely low. At PRMI, we have long term financial calculators that are designed to tell our clients if refinancing makes sense given their long term financial picture.

Is Now a Good Time to Refinance?

Yes, absolutely. If it makes financial sense or you have financial necessity refinancing is a good idea. There are many reasons to refinance your current home loan. Whether it is taking cash out to pay for other expenses or simply to improve your cash flow, you should speak with a qualified licensed mortgage originator to discuss your options. HARP loans are still available for some borrowers that are underwater on their properties and who would like to take advantage of the low rates . We would be happy to assist in finding out if refinancing is possible or in your best interest.

Any Bargaining Tips for Someone Searching for Mortgage Lenders?

Buyers in Pennsylvania are contractually obligated to apply for mortgage financing within a specific period of time after the contract is executed. A typical contract also requires a full mortgage commitment within 30 days of the contract date and closing dates are explicit. Therefore, careful mortgage planning decisions should be done prior to an offer to purchase a home. When shopping for a mortgage lender, buyers should place a lot of consideration into the advice of their Realtor. Service oriented mortgage lenders that work closely with real estate agents tend to offer their time and experience to answer important questions that help make the process smoother. Some of these lenders, including PRMI, have a strong national platform that offers very low rates.

How Have Homeowner's Rights Changed?

Much has changed over the last couple years with respect to consumer rights when applying for a mortgage. The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) was created to regulate mortgage activity and give consumers an outlet for any concerns they may have with their lender. If a consumer feels that they have been taken advantage of, they can take their concerns to the CFPB for discussion. The intention is for a clearer picture of consumers' options; however, since real estate is handled on a local level, it is a challenge to implement a national system that doesn't interfere with consumers and local professionals. Between me and my team we have worked with thousands of buyers in Pennsylvania to make sure that they understand what their payment will be and how much money it will cost them upfront. We stand behind what we say, which has been a formula for our success.

Why Are People Reconsidering FHA Loans?

The FHA has been under pressure to reduce their market share, which had grown dramatically since the fall of the sub-prime loans programs. The latest change occurred last spring with an increase to the annual Mortgage Insurance Premium and an extension to the life of most loans. FHA still provides good interest rates, a low down payment of only 3.5% and some less stringent underwriting guides which help some borrowers get financing that they may not get with a conventional loan. At PRMI, we offer some other interesting options for borrowers in Pennsylvania with 3% down and no mortgage insurance through our relationship with the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Authority.

What Mortgage Options Are Available for People With Bad Credit?

Interestingly, PRMI does offer loans for individuals that have credit scores as low as 500 through our FHA Choice program. There is an important distinction between those borrowers who have had past credit issues that were a result of explainable and documentable difficulties and those individuals that would represent too great a credit risk because of their current financial management. These loans obviously face additional scrutiny and are carefully deliberated. We are very proud to say that these loans have been performing better than FHA standard averages and our customers are thrilled to have these options. For those that don't qualify immediately, we work with some local accredited housing counseling agencies that help to put people on a path to homeownership.

What is the Best Way to Contact You?

Our branch in West Chester, PA is licensed in PA, NJ, DE and FL and any of our quality loan originators can be reached at 610-429-5900. You can also find us on the web at We would love to speak with any potential homeowner to see if we can help them with their homeownership needs.

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About The Author

Jeff has been involved in the Greater Philadelphia real estate market since graduating...

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