Mortgage Broker, Nicole Tennison Discusses How To Avoid Common Mistakes When Getting A Mortgage

Nicole Tennison has been a Mortgage Broker specializing in first time home buying since 2002. She helps her clients get on a plan to do all the things required for a smooth approval process including raising credit scores if necessary.  In certain cases they might meet the minimum qualifications for credit, but if they paid off a certain debt or contest an item on the report it often ends up getting them a higher credit score and better terms on their rate. This is not a service that’s often offered by other banks and lenders. Nicole takes pride in giving extra value to her clients resulting in a quick closing that can make or break offers being accepted. 

In our interview, Nicole goes on to say: “We can close in about 20 days. I’m always available to my clients. I can be reached directly on my cell phone, they can text me, send me a video at night or on the weekends, which makes a huge difference as well because most of my clients are making offers at night or on the weekend and being able to get a preapproval letter or ask questions outside of the nine to five is a big deal because most people are working at that time and aren’t making offers. I like to make sure they understand the full process. I give them all the options. , so they can make an informed decision on what the right program is for them.”

“I help them with all of the steps that ensure the process is smooth and without worry. Once they find a house and make an offer I’ll go ahead and contact the listing agent on the house that they’ve made an offer on just to, to let them know that the, my clients are fully pre-approved. There are no worries about their financing. We can close on time and that just helps. This gives my client a competitive edge over their competition or someone that’s not following up. so that’s something I do that’s a little bit different.” 

Nicole is a firm believer in educating her clients on all the products available and what goes into the pre-approval process for getting a mortgage. She teaches home buyer classes at her office about once a month, sometimes twice a month and recommends that those buying or wanting to buy attend that class. The class covers the entire home buying process over the long programs &  goes in-depth about credit. The goal of the class is that in the end, buyers feel empowered to move forward. 

“It’s kind of a daunting process for most people. They’re scared about running their credit, they’re scared they’re not going to qualify. there’s a lot of fear in the unknown. Most people don’t know about the process. And so by taking the class, they get a lot of education and knowledge is power. So they feel empowered after they leave. So that’s one of the big things I recommend. Some people can’t take the class and if that’s the case, I’ll go over the buying process with them separately. We go over credit and what they to do. I then just present all of the options available to them so they can make an educated decision. Once we get someone pre-approved, I’ll make sure to meet with their agent or have a phone conversation with whoever they’re using for their real estate agent because it’s a team effort.”

In our interview, Nicole talks about myths and misconceptions she encounters.

A lot of people believe they need a large down payment to purchase. I still hear people saying I need 20% down. So their grandpa or uncle told them that when in fact there are down payment assistance programs where you can get into a home with as little as $500 out of your pocket. I’ll have people come to me when they are referred by a friend or something and they’ll go, Oh, well, you know, I don’t think I’m going to qualify. I don’t have a down payment. And then I let them know we offer down payment assistance and they have heard of that before. So I think that’s a big myth is that you need a large down payment. , sometimes I hear people say, Oh, my credit is not good enough. like a 650 credit score?  All we need to qualify someone is a 620 credit score. So I hear that kind of quite often.

Many of my clients are surprised that they don’t need that much down or, or they have good enough credit. Sometimes people think it’s easier to go with an online lender. It’s really not. You still have to go through their app and submit your documents. We have an app that’s called the fairway now app. You can do an application right through the app. It’s like 10 minutes. All documents can be uploaded through the app. We’re just as easy to work with as some of the online lenders that claim to have one click and you’re done type of thing. I recommend that folks get all of their documents reviewed upfront including their income review and their credit scores ready so there are no worries that their financing is going to fall through. 

Unfortunately, I’ve had folks come to me who have been pre-qualified online by other banks and they didn’t really look at their full income documentation and other qualifying factors that all lenders use. This can result in a denial a week before they’re supposed to close on their new house. Sometimes I can help them. Sometimes I can’t, depends on why they were denied, but that’s why I tell my clients, Hey, it’s better to get everything done upfront and get all the hard work out of the way as far as getting your income docents over to be reviewed and then you don’t have to worry about the financing falling through at the end.

Jeremy Baker

Jeremy Baker has a passion for helping his clients get recognition as experts in their fields. His approach to interviewing helps his clients tell their stories and talk about their unique set of experiences and backgrounds.