Explore the mortgage lending process with Bryan Schmidt and Wes Dumalski of Waterstone Mortgage. Obtaining a mortgage to purchase a home is more than just running some numbers through a computer program. Schmidt and Dumalski discuss the difference between prequalification and preapproval at the beginning of the home buying experience to the final steps of closing the real estate contract. Additionally, they discuss the importance of educating their clients about the homebuying and mortgage lending process and the role of superior customer service at Waterstone.

Bryan Schmidt started Waterstone Mortgage and brought on Wes Dumalski in 2011 as the business grew. Today, the firm has 9 employees and consistently has at least 20 to 25 closings per month. Waterstone prides itself on utilizing every one of its employees to their “highest and best use”, focusing on each of their skills and strengths, contributing to the firm’s excellent customer service. Schmidt and Dumalski feel that their firm excels over the service of other lenders as they thoroughly understand the field and the mortgage products offered. In particular, they specialize in obtaining mortgage for self-employed clients, an area that other lenders do not always focus on.

The mortgage lending process starts with a discovery meeting with potential clients. The purpose of this meeting is to educate the clients and determine the optimal parameters for the client’s homebuying purchase. Though many people like to start looking for a house before going to a lender to determine what they can buy, it is far better for the home buyer to determine what they can actually afford.

Prequalification and preapproval for a mortgage is determined at the discovery meeting. Prequalification of a client is usually determined within the first 20 minutes of the meeting. Preapproval can usually be established within the first hour of that meeting and is based on a review of the client’s credit report as well as the client’s most recent bank statement, pay stub, tax return and W-2 statement. Additionally, Waterstone also looks at a client’s assets and liabilities as part of the discovery meeting for preapproval. The preapproval letter is important in the house hunting process as it validates the dollar amount that the home buyer can afford.

The last step of the process is the closing of the real estate contract. Communication is key to the success of the closing as there are many moving parts. Waterstone’s aim is to have that meeting run as smoothly as possible and to be able to correct any problems if they crop up. Their customer service philosophy focuses on the “3 Gs”, graciousness, generosity and gratefulness. By putting the customer first, giving them the best possible advice and communicating effectively with all the relevant parties, Waterstone Mortgage helps families realize their dream of owning a home.