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Your Home As Your Greatest Investment

Options and Advice from NEXA Mortgage Broker James Jenkins

Article by Amy Adams

Photography by Logan Clark (Maverick Marketing)

Originally published in Carmel City Lifestyle

For more than a decade, James Jenkins has been specializing in helping clients find just the right mortgage. Having graduated from the University of Oklahoma, Jenkins moved to Indiana in 2007. He began his mortgage career working for a bank and learning all he could about the mortgage industry. And the more he learned, the more he realized how many options are available to buyers outside of what a single retail lender can offer. So Jenkins recently branched out as a wholesale lender with NEXA Mortgage.

“I love seeing that moment when people have been renting for way too long and they are ready to buy,” Jenkins says. “I love helping them get the home they didn’t think they could get.”

Here's what Jenkins has to say.

Is a home a good investment? It’s called the "American Dream" for a reason. Whether you are a renter or a buyer, since you’ve been living on your own, what is the only thing you’ve paid every month of your life? When’s the last time you didn’t pay for where you are living? You can’t say where you live is not an investment. We’re talking about investing in not sleeping outside. People choose to live in Carmel for the quality of life, and for their child’s education. That’s an investment.

What is the difference between a broker and a retail lender? Brokers are wholesale lenders. They are much more flexible than retail lenders. As a broker, I don’t work for a bank, I work for the person buying the house. I have zero responsibility to make the bank happy. My responsibility is to make my client happy. Working with a broker is a relationship. I will become your friend. You will end up asking me all sorts of questions. What keeps people working with me is that I can show them the tips and tricks of the trade that they won’t hear from a banker. 

How important are interest rates? A lot of people say that they want to wait until the interest rates are better. When rates go up, prices come down–and the exact opposite. You can’t have it both ways, so don’t get stuck on rate. I would rather buy a house with a high rate and have equity when the values go up rather than be upside down and pay more for a house now than it would ultimately be worth. I also tell buyers not to purchase discount points. Do you really want to give me 10 grand to save $80 a month? No. You want to take the par rate and refinance later for free. I can always refinance the house, and when I do I will have equity and a lower payment.

What type of mortgage do you recommend? There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all mortgage. A loan formula is a cookie-cutter based on many assumptions. I treat each client as an individual, not a number, whether they need a conventional, FHA, USDA, DSCR or other investment or even commercial loan. 

What advice do you have for people looking to buy right now? The number one thing I recommend to people is to be patient and shop your mortgage. Most people don’t like their credit score pulled. That’s why they don’t shop around. I can shop your loan with 200 banks and only pull your credit score one time. The big thing to remember is that rates can always be changed with a refinance. Get the house you want, and get the price later.

Should homeowners consider a refinance? Refinance is not a dirty word. The average homeowner refinances their home seven times. A lot of people put their loan on auto-pilot. They have a fixed rate, and they don’t think about it. The biggest misconception is that you have to go back to 30 years in a refinance, but you can pick any amount of time that you would like. If you’ve purchased your home in the last six months, you should consider refinancing because interest rates are lower now.

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