“There are four places where you can put your money,” says Jon Lamkin, senior vice president of Mortgage Lending at Guaranteed Rate in Parsippany. “You can put it under a mattress, where it will do nothing. You can put it in a bank, which are currently giving decent interest rates, but that's going to change once rates decrease. You can put your money into the stock market, or you can put it into a house.”
By investing money in a home, the benefits start right away. “You're building equity, and historically over time, home prices have continued to grow, especially in this area where there's only so much land,” he says. “You can live in the house, raise a family and make a lot of money at the same time.”
At Guaranteed Rate, Jon helps clients determine how much house they can afford based on the monthly payment they want to make, their spending habits, amount of savings and credit scores.
“If they give me a number of $4,000 a month, and they have $200,000 in cash to put down, we then look at their credit report plus what their other monthly expenditures are to figure out what they can afford.”
Having a good credit score is critical when applying for a loan. “It affects everything because it’s what’s going to determine how much you need to put down, which programs you qualify for, and what interest rate you're going to be able to secure,” says Jon.
There are many mortgage programs and a lot of different variables that go into securing the best one, so having an expert like Jon assist in the process is priceless. “You really want to work with somebody who’s local and knowledgeable of the area and the industry.”