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6 Important Home Loan Mortgage Tips: An Interview with Don Wilson of Province Morgage Associates, Inc.

By Don Wilson

Tell us a little bit about your experience, company history and the services you offer.

President, David Currie, opened the doors of Province Mortgage Associates, Inc. in July of 2005. Over the years, he and his team have carved out one of the best reputations in the MA, RI, and CT markets, earning the accolade of being voted one of the "Best Places to Work in RI" by the Providence Business News 5 years straight. Province is dedicated to the task of providing the best mortgage experience on the streets by holding each other accountable to a higher standard of commitment and integrity. Comprised of seasoned mortgage professionals and an operations staff second to none, Province has grown from just a few people to now over 40 with multiple locations in MA and RI. From the early days as simply a mortgage broker to today as a fully delegated lender with in-house underwriting, Province has access to almost any mortgage product available to meet all residential and commercial lending needs including conforming and FHA loans including 203k, USDA,VA, Jumbo, RI and MA Housing, Reverse Mortgages, and much more. The best part about working with Province is the fact that the client is an important part of the process. The team at Province does not sell loans. Province mortgage advisors enjoy the process of educating their clients and creating mortgage solutions that produce successful homeowners.

Can you explain the difference between a mortgage broker and other mortgage provider options?

Mortgage brokers connect mortgage clients to lenders that will underwrite, close, and fund the loan based on the client's qualifications. Some mortgage lenders will fund the loans, however the underwriting is still done off site at the lender of choice that provides the best option for the client. As a delegated mortgage lender, Province is able to take it one step further by underwriting the loan in house and ultimately closing and funding the loan as well. Post-closing the loan is sold to another company for servicing, but with in- house underwriting, you're able to control the entire process which creates a better experience for the client. Whether you are simply brokering loans or a fully delegated lender like Province, a good client experience still revolves around accurate pre-approvals, clear expectations, and outstanding communication.

What are the main factors that people should consider before applying for a home mortgage?

Many consumers today start their search online by simply looking for the lowest rates. All too often, a client will call the companies with the lowest rate quotes and they get someone who rushes the process. That "mortgage professional" does very little verification of client qualifications which leads to undependable pre-qualification and inaccurate quoting of rates. Also, many rates that are advertised are based on certain qualification criteria buried in the fine print. Instead, we recommend having a conversation with a mortgage professional that asks a lot of questions about your goals and qualifications. Just like your personal credit rating, the mortgage and interest rate that a client qualifies for is tied directly to their credit, their income, their assets, and many more details. Beyond making sure your mortgage professional includes you in the process and provides accurate information, make sure you're working with a seasoned Realtor. A great Realtor with years of experience in his/her market can make a big difference in the quality of your transaction.

Is there a difference between pre-approved and pre-qualified?

Yes. A true pre-approval is worth MUCH more than a simple pre-qualification. By way of a short interview with a client, any mortgage professional can ask questions about the client's income, equity (or down payment in a purchase situation), credit, and assets. Without actually running credit or an AUS (automated underwriting system) the mortgage professional can give the client an 'idea' if they qualify and a ballpark guess on interest rate. At Province we recommend going through the pre-approval process as we prefer quoting more accurate interest rates. First of all, rates change every day, so accuracy is important. We run credit, get income and asset information, and we run the appropriate AUS while also reviewing it with our in-house underwriter. When we quote rates after accurately pre-approving the client, we can set clear expectations for the process going forward.

Are there any ways that a homeowner can help make the mortgage process move faster?

The speed of the mortgage process today is based heavily on the type of loan as well as the parameters surrounding that particular mortgage scenario. However, it is true that the client can in fact affect the mortgage process by simply being an active part of their mortgage team. The client is just as important as the mortgage professional, the Realtor, the appraisers, attorneys, etc. Be a good listener when your mortgage professional provides a list of what is required by you. Example: Please provide all pages of your bank statements. That means ALL pages, not just sending the ones you feel they need. Also, be sure to pay attention to what your mortgage advisor tells you NOT to do. Example: don't go finance a car while you're in the process of purchasing a home! Whatever you can do to turn around requests as quickly as possible will keep things moving as well. These are all things that are in your control, so why not help to make the process move faster.

What is one of the most common problems for homeowners who are applying for a new mortgage?

Many new homeowners, especially first time home buyers, tend to take a backwards approach to the beginning of the mortgage process. Many first time home buyers go directly to a Realtor to start looking at homes without first being pre-approved for a mortgage. Find a good mortgage professional and get an accurate pre-approval BEFORE you look. When the mortgage process is over and you own your new home; it's just you and your new mortgage payment. Only YOU know what you can really afford on a monthly basis. Success with homeownership begins and ends with affordability. Once you are pre-approved for a payment that is comfortable, you and your mortgage professional can easily look at various purchase prices and how that price range fits your budget. So often we meet buyers who have been looking in a price range they can't afford.

What advice would you give to homeowners who want to choose the best mortgage lender for them?

It's so easy to search online and it's almost overwhelming how many options you have for lenders these days. There are also differing opinions regarding the benefits of working with a bank versus a mortgage company. Some people feel it needs to be a bank or a large mortgage company to be credible, and that is simply not true. Ultimately, you need to work with a company that has access to as many mortgage products and options as possible to give you the greatest chance of getting the perfect loan program for your needs. Dedicated mortgage professionals should be available by cell, text, or email 24/7 to you and your home buying team. They should be asking you a lot of questions about your goals and qualifications, making every effort to give you accurate and realistic quotes. When the conversation is too quick, too easy, and everything seems too good to be true- it usually is! Quick tip: Ask your CPA, attorney, or financial adviser to refer you to a mortgage professional they know and trust.

What's the best way for people to reach you and your company?

The best way to reach a mortgage professional at Province is to call our toll free number at (888) 593-1092. Someone will direct you to one of our Senior Mortgage Advisors for your first conversation about your goals with your home. You can also email us at or apply online via our website Once we have the basics of your online application we will assign your file to one of our dedicated advisors for prompt follow up.

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