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The Mortgage Approval Process: An Interview with Kory Kavenewsky of CMG Financial

Tell us a little bit about your company and its foundation

Established in 1993, CMG Financial is a privately held mortgage banking firm based out of San Ramon, CA. We place tremendous emphasis on providing extraordinary client service by acting quickly and efficiently. We conduct business in 46 states and work directly with HUD, FHA, VA, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and other government agencies along with private investors.

What are some of the services your company provides?

CMG Financial focuses solely on residential mortgage lending. We provide home loans of all shapes and sizes through a variety of channels. We're known for our FHA, VA, Conventional and Jumbo loan programs in addition to our portfolio and specialty programs.

What are some important questions to ask your mortgage broker before applying?

  • How are you compensated?
  • How soon can I lock my interest rate in?
  • Can I float my rate down after I have locked it in?
  • Do you charge any fees upfront?
  • What challenges, if any, do you foresee with my loan application?
  • What is the benefit of being pre-approved?
  • Can you fully underwrite and approve my loan prior to me finding a property, or are you only able to pre-approve me?

What is the general mortgage approval process?

The application typically begins with a short "interview". The mortgage officer is interviewing the borrower in effort to learn more about their situation, but the borrower is also getting a taste of how the mortgage officer operates and prepares. Next, the borrower completes a loan application either online, or over the phone with the borrower. I typically recommend a phone application as it allows both the borrower and the mortgage officer the opportunity to ask questions and expand. Once the application is completed, the mortgage loan officer will have a good understanding of the scenario and will prepare a list of documentation that will be needed from the borrower. The borrower will then provide that documentation to the mortgage officer so he can prepare it for the underwriter. Once the documentation has been submitted, the underwriter will typically issue a decision within 1 to 2 days. An appraisal is required in most cases. However, the borrower may opt to have the appraisal done after the loan has been approved. Once the loan has been reviewed by the underwriter, he/she will issue a decision along with a list of any other documents he/she may need in order to fund the loan.

How do you suggest clients prepare for this process?

Many people will suggest you run your credit report before you apply. I don't necessarily agree with that for a number of reasons. I suggest that the borrower consult a mortgage expert to conduct an initial review. The mortgage officer will likely run a more thorough/accurate credit report than the borrower could find on his own and should also be able to provide valuable guidance. For instance, the borrower's credit score may be a little lower than it needs to be, but the mortgage officer may have some tips on how the score can easily be increased. I think the best thing the borrower can do is have a good understanding of their financial situation. Be ready to discuss your income, savings amount and the amount that you would feel comfortable spending each month on a mortgage and on a down payment. Then, seek out options and advice from a mortgage expert.

What advice do you have for the homeowner during this strenuous process?

The best advice I can give to a homeowner, or homebuyer who is going through the loan process is to be patient and have an open mind. Mortgage lenders today are required to collect a lot of documentation and to make very careful decisions. As such, the borrower may feel as if they are being interrogated in order to obtain a home loan. Keep an open mind. If the lender is asking for something, there is probably a good reason for it. If you are curious as to why a certain document may be needed, do not be afraid to ask why. However, refusing the provide the document typically will not do you any good. Keep in mind that it was not long ago that the mortgage industry followed a very different set of guidelines and that our housing market collapsed. Mortgage lenders are much more diligent these days and it is for good reason.

How long does the approval process typically take?

The approval process usually takes about a week from when you apply. Of course, these timeframe can vary depending on how quickly you provide the documentation that is needed.

Are there any special circumstances that can speed up the approval process, and if so what?

The best thing a borrower can do to speed up the approval process is provide the requested documentation in timely manner. Providing the documentation upfront will help ensure a smooth and efficient loan process.

What's the best way for people to get in contact with you?

Phone 619.554.1327 or email

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