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Choosing the Right Home Loan Program: An Interview with Mark Prather of Mark 1 Mortgage

Please tell us a little bit about your company and the services you offer.

I started Mark 1 Mortgage in 1981 in Bellflower. Today we have three offices. Our main office is in Orange and we have branches in Rancho Cucamonga and Cerritos. We are a direct lender and handle all residential loan types including conventional and government loans. Additionally, we do apartment unit and commercial loans.

Is there a common misconception that people have about home loan programs?

There are many. The complexity of lending and consumers' lack of understanding a good loan from a bad one ultimately led to the financial collapse. Consumers didn't know how to protect themselves. All consumers' needs are slightly different because their lives are different. Consequently, a good loan officer needs to understand a borrower's long-term objectives to present and educate the consumer about the best loan solutions for them.

What are some of the steps that someone can take to find the best loan for their financial needs?

First, they should be very clear with what their objectives are. Most borrowers assume a 30-year fixed interest loan is the best for them. This may or may not be true. Some things to consider are: Do you want to own your home free and clear? How long do you plan on keeping the home? Is it more important for you to get the lowest 30-year fixed rate loan or save the most interest possible? Shorter term loans will save you the most money. Credit score and income will affect loan types and costs. Compare lender pricing. There can be a significant range from one loan officer to another.

What are some of the most popular types of home loans that people in Southern California apply for?

Interest rates have been coming down for years, so the standard 30-year fixed rate has been the most common. Interest rates are projected to rise next year so alternative loan programs like adjustable and 5- and 7-year fixed rate loans will increase.

At what point in the home buying process should people know which home loan to apply for? Is there any flexibility in this?

Borrowers should know their purchasing power range on various loan programs before they begin looking for homes. This way when they look at homes they can weigh the choice between more house with a more flexible loan program or less house with a more conservative fixed rate loan.

Do you have any tips for first-time home buyers?

Talk to a knowledgeable, trustworthy loan officer about their loan options. The number of options they have is far more than they have any idea about when you include all the conventional and government programs available.

What's the best way for people to contact your company?

I welcome their questions. our office number is 714-752-5718.

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