written by: Zanne Lamb-Hunt
Assumptions, misinformation and cookie-cutter decisions won’t find any room available on the desk of Senior Loan Officer Mike Haggerty. As a Presidential Bank Lender and Mortgage Consultant with 22 years of experience in the financing arena, he’s very adept at doing his homework to put accurate, relevant, up-to-date information to work for every client. It’s not surprising; Mike has never been a slacker.
Buy a House and then Buy the House A Round
Results-driven right out of college in D.C., Mike started out selling computer supplies and business forms. He tended some well-branded major corporate clients, such as World Bank and Pepco. His sales experience soon led to sales of another kind – Real Estate.
Wanting to fill his plate even more, Mike opted to be a bartender, too. Just imagine tending bar until closing time at 4 a.m. and then showing Real Estate during the daytime hours. Considering all of his sales and social experiences, the Mortgage business was only a very short step away.
Mike’s Double Leap Into The Future In 1993
When a buddy noticed Mike’s natural talent for number crunching and suggested he get on board at Presidential, he decided to make the move. That is, right after he made another major move in his life – marrying Roz.
They were changing times. Mike had purchased a house with 2 buddies in ’86 and the happy couple bought it out in ’93, the same year they were married. The career move came on the heels of the honeymoon and, discovering his niche, he set about evolving with Presidential Mortgage.
How Do You Get The Ball Rolling In The Mortgage Business?
The office was located in Bethesda, MD, the location of the Corporate Offices for Presidential Bank. It wasn’t easy starting in business. The market wasn’t great at that time. Mike recalls, “Interest rates were high. Basically, things weren’t moving, similar to the way they were around 2009-2012.”
Mike continues, “It was difficult. You’d have to go out and cultivate business. You’d go into your sphere of influence, and then go into Real Estate offices; meeting them, meeting financial advisors, etc. That’s how you start to build your clientele.”
There were even more changes in store. In 1998, he was uprooted from the Bethesda area, where he grew up, when Presidential Manager Terry Kiernan opened up an office in Frederick. That was a tough move back then but he’s still working with Terry to this day, while focusing on the D.C. Metro area. Residing locally, the Haggerty family is now totally immersed in Frederick.
Now there are Four…Blink and there Will be Three
Mike and Roz began expanding their family in 1996. They now have two sons and two daughters. One son is a senior at Urbana HS and the other is an Urbana Junior. The senior, Connor, is 18 and looking forward to attending college.
Ready to utilize the good grades he’s earned, Connor has already started the college application process. Maryland South and South Carolina are on the list, with others primarily in the same geographical range. There’s only one more application response to come in and then the decision can be made.
Speaking like the experienced Consultant and Number Cruncher that he is, Mike says they’ll see “who gives the most financial funds.” This pro is all about financial reality! Meanwhile, looking forward to sending the kids to college, Roz is very excited about their first-born preparing to be the first to leave the nest.
Their two daughters attend Urbana Middle School; one in the Eighth Grade and the other in the Seventh Grade. Mike isn’t so sure that the girls are crazy about the studying aspect but says they’re absolutely enjoying the social side of it all. And, all of the kids are extremely active. They’re all into sports and various activities.
What’s At Presidential Mortgage That Keeps Mike There?
Is it the atmosphere? The co-workers? The program? “Definitely, it’s a little bit of everything. We’re a community bank and it’s owned by one individual, Bruce Cleveland. It’s not like Wells Fargo, a big corporation, or Bank of America, etc. We’re based out of Bethesda.”
Mike goes on to point out, “We have all of the products and resources to handle purchasers and those who are looking to refinance their mortgages. We have a wide variety of products. The reason is the continuity with the loan officers, especially up here in the Frederick area, where we work as a team as opposed to as individuals.”
“When we close a loan that’s a little unique compared to ones in the past, the information is shared with each other so it can be passed along to Realtors and others within the sphere, to explain the benefits of what Presidential has to offer.”
A Variety of Loan Products Sans The Horror Stories
Every professional in the Real Estate realm is aware of the nightmare scenarios that play out at some Mortgage Banks. There are horror stories about Closing Departments and Processors being in different parts of the country. Sometimes, they’re even on opposite coasts. Comparatively, the setup at Presidential Bank in Frederick is a stream of optimum efficiency.
The Processor, Winnie, sits just two doors down from Mike. They’re in constant communication. When everything is sent to one of the 5 underwriters overnight, it gets turned around in 24-48 hours. The Closing Department, at the Bethesda office, is where you’ll find a Closer who has been with Presidential for 20+ years.
“It’s a very unique company where many people have stayed. Very few people have left. From the Processors to the Underwriters to the Closers to the Vice President of the Bank, etc.”
Mike is always on alert for new loan products and doesn’t hesitate to share what he discovers. “I can call the owner of the Company if I want to go over various products that I hear of out on the street and say ‘Why can’t we have this? When will you be able to research and try to find this product so that we can offer it to our clients as well?”
Finding The Right Mortgage Is A Learning Experience
When asked about the highest interest rates he’s ever had anybody take on a loan (as high as 9 1/2 – 10 1/2 %), Mike also shares how it amazes him that people are so rate sensitive. “They really shouldn’t necessarily be focused on the rate but focused on the terms and the overall monthly payment.”
‘Certain properties will have a higher property tax bill; much higher than other properties. The rate jumping up 1/2% really doesn’t make a difference.” Mike sees himself as an Educator, rather than a Rate Quoter. He makes sure each client understands the transaction all the way through – start to finish. It’s a more comfortable process.
Real Estate Buyers Do NOT Need 20% Down
Unfortunately, since the downturn of the Real Estate market, the press makes people feel like it;s almost impossible to buy a house; that you need to have a minimum of 20% down. The truth? There are many loan products out there where 1st time home buyers and those who are moving up can get into a home with little, or even no money, down.
“There’s the VA for Veterans, the USDA for Rural Real Estate, where you get 100% financing and don’t need to put any money down at all. There’s an FHA Government loan which requires a 3 1/2% down payment. And, there are conventional loans which range from a 3% to 20% down payment. So, there are many opportunities out there for people today.”
Buy Now And Save Now And Later Vs Save Now And Buy Later
Far too often, potential home buyers are putting off purchasing a home because they are waiting until they have 20% of the purchase price saved up and set aside. This is happening even when the loan rates are very attractive and represent the potential to save a great amount over the lifetime of the mortgage. Hesitating can be costly!
It makes much more sense to take advantage of the products and loan rates that are available today than to wait while trying to set aside 20% for an eventual down payment. Why? The same rates and programs might not be here by the time a buyer reaches their target amount. “Buy now at a lower loan rate and with a lower down payment,” advises Mike.
Are Interest Rates Driven By Credit Scores?
The various programs have different applicable scales, according to Mike. “Most of the Government loans, if you’re in the 640-ish range or a little higher, you’ll be in the same rate arena. That includes FHA, VA and the USDA type loans.”
The conventional loans (Fanny/Freddie) are very rate sensitive,” he continues. “If you’re putting less than 20% down, the mortgage insurance premium that you’d pay per month or in a one-time up-front fee will be evaluated based on your credit score. The better the credit score, the lower the premium will be and the interest rate will be better, too.”
Referrals are the Greatest Reward
Mike’s #1 source of business in the 22nd year of his career is mainly referral based. A whopping 98% of his business, in fact! Every entrepreneur knows that this is a reflection of ‘business done right.’ The referrals come through Realtors with whom he’s built strong relationships, like with Frederick’s Eric Verdi.
“It’s just a great trust factor. I don’t work with every Realtor on the streets. We have to have sort of that same family bond that I have with the people in my office.”
Of course, there are also referrals through strategic partners such as financial planners, accountants, and a good bulk of the business comes from repeat clients.
“We’re constantly staying in touch with our clients, as best we can through newsletters, birthday cards – updating them on new products that come out. If the rates drop, I’ll make a call or email them about refinancing, what options are available for them at that time, etc.”
Is it A Good Time to Refinance if Interest Rates Drop By 1/2%?
It’s really a case-by-case scenario. When clients inquire about the ‘current rate’, Mike puts on his Educator hat to explain to them that he needs to know more about them, their own situation, their long-term goals, and so on.
“Anyone that was at 4-3/4% should have had an opportunity to refinance to 4-1/4% or below within the past 30-60 days. Equity is a big player, obviously, so we have to take a look at the value of the home and the credit scores. But, it’s all definitely case by case, depending on each individual, on what their credit is, on what their equity is and what their long-term goals are.”
And, switching to his Number Cruncher hat, “If somebody is going to stay in a home for a year and then sell, we’ll run the numbers and it probably won’t make sense. If they intend to stay in the home for 3-5 years, refinancing will most likely be beneficial for them.”
Purchase More House for Less Money before the Rates Go Up
Loan rates are inching upwards. Economists predict that they’ll be starting in the upper 4’s to 5% by the end of this current year. How much of a difference does this make? It’s considerable. If somebody is borrowing $250,000 on a loan at the year-end rate, it can translate into an additional $150/month on the Mortgage payment.
“Timing really is everything. Right now, there’s no better time to buy a home because of where values are. This area is appreciating in terms of values. And, rates for sure, will be going up towards the end of the year.”
Somebody hesitating to buy until the rates go up later in the year could be looking at only being able to afford a $200,000 house instead. They might need to lower their search to stay within their financial comfort zone.
Inspirational Words From Mike
“The biggest thing I always say is ‘BELIEVE’ – believe in yourself; believe that there’s really nothing that can stop you. You’re going to run into road blocks but belief is it. So, my real philosophy is strongly just believe in yourself and you should be able to accomplish pretty much any goal that you set for yourself.”
“I remember when my Mom, about a year ago, was really ill and touching the bottom. I put the sign right there in front of her – BELIEVE – believe that you’ll get your feet back in the sand; you’ll get to the beach; you’ve got to constantly just feel that you can do it.”
Sure enough, after a doctor said she probably had 10 minutes left to live, she did exactly that. Mike’s Mom is now down in Florida, visiting a friend. Not bad for a lady who is now 90 years old and with the youngest of her 8 children (yes, 8!) just now turning 50!
Her 7th child, the Real Estate Expert/Senior Loan Officer/Mortgage and Loan Consultant/Numbers Cruncher/Bartender/Trusted Associate/Client Educator and Advisor collects hats. He’s got one that’s just the right fit for meeting with you!
You’d better believe it!
Reach Out To Put Mike’s Extensive Knowledge To Work For You
Call the Office # 301-694-1525 Stay on the line if there’s no pick-up; the call will be transferred to his mobile.
Or, shoot Mike an email: Mhaggerty@Presidential.com
Article Written with content provided by Frederick Advice Givers Podcast #003