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Interview with a Millennial First Time Homebuyer

[VIDEO] Interview with a Millennial First Time Homebuyer

This Millennial first time homebuyer was well prepared and asked lots great questions.

I was so impressed with this young man that I asked him if I could interview him for the website.  He agreed to share his story, on the condition that I don’t use names.  I’ll refer to him as “homebuyer” in the video transcription below.

My Top Take Aways

This Millennial first time homebuyer was very goal driven, and well documented!  He went into the process with an outcome in mind.

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It’s my opinion that his level of preparedness, and fearless question asking, helped his new home purchase go incredibly smooth, despite a couple of unanticipated hiccups.

Credit Preparation – This homebuyer did have an auto repossession in 2015, but he cured the outstanding balance, and kept his revolving credit (credit card) balances low.

These are both best practices for credit improvement and preservation.  His new home was purchased with a credit score over 700.

Almost Fooled – During this process, the homebuyer was encouraged by his sphere to get a second opinion.  He called the company that spends the most money on advertising, and received a loan estimate from a loan officer from Quicken.

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This loan officer lied to him, and “fudged” the numbers to make it look like he was offering a lower payment.  A less informed homebuyer could have easily fallen for this lie, which could have cost them thousands.

I wrote a much more detailed accounting of the incident here:  Why did Quicken Loans Lie to this Veteran?

Ask Seller for Repairs – A great take-away from this conversation was that the . buyer asked the seller for minor repairs, and the seller agreed to the do the work.

Attitude of Gratitude – Listen, this guy is just plain likable.  He’s grateful for what he has, and he’s worked hard to earn what he’s accomplished.  I love his attitude of gratitude that he always carries with him.

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I don’t know if it shows up on the video, but his son (2 or 3 years old) kept peeking his head in to see what Dad was doing.  They were also able to have Christmas in their first home.

I am energized by people like this that are starting a new family, in their early 30’s, buying their first home.  This kind of story is the reason why i’ve stuck with this business for almost 20 years now.

Transcript: Interview with a Millennial First Time Homebuyer

Scott Schang:                All right. Good morning. This is Scott Schang, Branch Manager of BuyWise Mortgage. We’re a California Mortgage Broker. And today I have the extreme pleasure of talking to one of our clients who actually found us on Find My Way Home.  We had a few conversations. Young man buying his first home, and there were so many things in this transaction that checked boxes for me that I thought was extremely important.

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So if you’ve watched my videos before, you know what I try to do here, at least on the Find My Way Home website, is I try to have conversations and I try to talk about things that consumers aren’t necessarily going to have that same …

They’re not going to get that same openness and candidness if you’re talking to somebody trying to sell you something. So I like to have these conversations after the dust is cleared or before the dust is cleared or when there’s no pressure on anybody to really kind of unpack these things.

And Brian checks a lot of these boxes. He’s a young guy. He’s got a new family. First time home buyer. I believe you’re a U.S. Army veteran, is that correct?

Homebuyer:                 Yes, sir.

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Scott Schang:               Well, thank you for your service.

Homebuyer:                 Thank you.

Scott Schang:                And we just checked a lot of boxes on this, and I thought this was kind of crazy but Brian was super cool during the whole process and I reached out and I said, “Bro, can I unpack your brain a little bit? I think it will be really valuable for other people.” And the crazy man agreed to hop on and talk about these things.

So the first thing I kind of want to talk about because you’re pretty young guy. I think you fall into the … Are you considered a millennial?

Homebuyer:                 Yes, sir. I am.

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Scott Schang:                Okay. So when did you decide … What was the process for you? When did you kind of decide that you wanted to buy a home? When did that happen?

Homebuyer:                 Well, actually it happened very quick. And I would say I was in transition of leasing my last I guess stay was a lease, an apartment lease, and it ended in October. And I started looking for another apartment in November. And literally from one day to the next, something told me, “You know what, Brian, it’s about time. You’ve been leasing for approximately 10 years, and I think it’s time for you to make that leap. Execute one of those objectives or goals that you’ve been wanting to do all your life. It’s step up and purchase a home.”

So literally from one day to the next, I went from seeking or searching for an apartment to searching for a single family residence.

Scott Schang:                Oh, wow. So, I mean, I know when we first looked at it, you’d had some credit challenges a few years back.

Homebuyer:                 Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Scott Schang:                And you were able to overcome those. You did a really, really good job of fixing those up. Did you know at that time, “Hey, I need to get this stuff fixed up,” or did you just have a temporary little … I say this all of the time. Bad stuff happens to good people all the time. Shit happens. It’s life.

Homebuyer:                 Yeah.

Scott Schang:                And you had a little glitch, but did you know at that time, “Hey, I need to do X, Y, Z so I can be in a better position in the future.”

Homebuyer:                 Yeah. Well, since I’ve been young, I’ve always dreamt I guess you could say of being a homeowner some day. Nowadays you have to be real with yourself and you have to pretty much … Nowadays you have to have that good credit. I mean, realistically, nobody has $400,000-$500,000 just lying around to just purchase something cash.

Scott Schang:                Got to borrow that money.

Homebuyer:                 You have to finance. So back in the, I would say, between 2010 between 2015 I encountered a hardship in my life going through some things, which financially impacted me as well. Pretty much to the point where I defaulted on an auto loan, and when I defaulted on it, I was blessed enough that I could pretty much recoup from it. So I ended up defaulted on an auto loan. I ended up coming back even stronger, and I paid it all off. However, on my record it did show that little mishap that you defaulted and then you recouped from it.

Scott Schang:                Yeah. And I think that’s important because … You’re a little unique because you’re a veteran. So you qualified for the VA loan, but it still blows my mind how many people think that they either have to have perfect credit or they have to have 20% down. You definitely do not. I mean, you think about it, I’ve had a car repossessed in my life, and that’s not a good spot in your life. It’s usually a last resort. You’re picking out who’s going to be the casualties in this particular situation, and figuring out how you’re going to recover from it. But, man, that was only 2015. So you did a really good job. Now was there something specific that you need to really kind of massage your credit scores and make sure that you could get them up?

Homebuyer:                 Yeah. Absolutely. I pretty much little by little bit I paid everything off. Especially for that auto loan challenge, I think just the fact that of me going from good credit line history on that and then defaulting and then coming back and just paying it all off in a lump sum I think assisted me.

Scott Schang:                Yeah.

Homebuyer:                 Another thing that I looked into was bill consolidation.

Scott Schang:                Okay.

Homebuyer:                 That was just to pretty much pay everything all off. That assisted my credit. It boosted up my score.

Scott Schang:                You kept your balances low on that revolving debt.

Homebuyer:                 Correct. Kept my balances low on the revolving debt, and just paid it all off little by little bit, little by little bit. And eventually it took about five years, but to rebuild it within five years from where it was at.

Scott Schang:                It was 2015. It was only three years.

Homebuyer:                 Yeah, you’re right. Actually, it was three years.

Scott Schang:                Yeah.

Homebuyer:                 Little bit sooner.

Scott Schang:                There you go. Those overachievers, man. You thought it was five. It was only three.

Homebuyer:                 And that was something that since I was young, that’s something that has been instilled within me by my family. Credit is golden. Take care of your credit.

Scott Schang:                Yeah, good.

Homebuyer:                 It could be potentially your future later on. And sure enough, that was fact. So that’s something that I know that when I have my ups and downs regarding my credit, I ended up pretty much focusing and doing whatever I had to do to make sure that I brought it back up to par. So that was something that I … just continued to work it and make sure that it stays good for future opportunities I guess.

Scott Schang:                That’s awesome. Now this is something I want to talk to you about because things have really kind of changed over the last 10 years. So 10 years ago, you were still leasing, but the whole mortgage, real estate market crashed.

Homebuyer:                 Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Scott Schang:                I’m sure almost everybody either knew somebody or their family got hit and lost their homes and things like that. At that same time, we kind of had these new services like Red Fins and Zillows and things have evolved a lot in the last 10 years about how you shop for houses. Tell me a little bit about what your process was for shopping for homes because you were very methodical on everything. You did all your homework. We had a lot of conversations before you pulled the trigger, and we talked almost through the whole process.

Homebuyer:                 Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Scott Schang:                I mean, how did you go about shopping for homes? Did you look for them online? You worked with a real estate agent, right? You worked with a realtor.

Homebuyer:                 Correct. Well, in regards to that, I think the first step was giving you a call. That’s where my journey started, giving you … I found your website, Buy Wise. And to be honest with you, I didn’t find it. A close colleague, work colleague of mine found it. Said, “Hey, I think you may want to give this person a call.” So I remember I found you on a Friday, and by literally about an hour or two later, we started speaking.

Scott Schang:                Okay. You actually called me looking for buyer assistance, and when I found out you were a veteran, I was like, “No, you don’t want buyer assistance. That’s more expensive. You’re way better off than that.” I love buyer assistance. Again, this is my first time home buyer thing. I love that process. And a lot of people like the buyer assistance, but they don’t understand the cost that’s associated with it. It’s definitely not free money for me. It’s a last resort. But you were a little bit different. So I didn’t want to interrupt you. So shopping for home, you kind of … You talked to me before you even started shopping for homes.

Homebuyer:                 That’s correct. That’s correct. Started talking to you, and then I think the next step for me was jumping on Zillow and then just kind of searching.

Scott Schang:                Okay.

Homebuyer:                 Finally found something that caught my interest.

Scott Schang:                Well, I’ll tell you what, that’s actually a little unique, Brian, because I can’t tell you how many times people will call me and will say, “Hey, I just made an offer on a house. I need to get approved for a loan.” And that’s kind of the backwards way of doing it. It’s like, “No, you’re supposed to have the money first. That’s your blank check, and then you go out and you search.” Who do we got there? I see you got a guest.

Homebuyer:                 Yeah, that was my son. He just popped his head in to say hi and here he is again.

Scott Schang:                Nice. He didn’t say hi.

Homebuyer:                 Say hi. Say hi. Little shy.

Scott Schang:                He’s like, “Dad’s on TV.”

Homebuyer:                 Right. One of the things in regards to giving you a call as the first step, you were very helpful. You actually broke it down step by step by step by step as to what I should expect and how the process go. And I remember to this day telling anybody that I disclosed my plans to that, “Hey, Scott has been a great resource for me in regards to the buying process.” Because I’ve heard of it. I know people that have gone through it. But to go through it yourself, it’s a whole different story.

Scott Schang:                Yeah.

Homebuyer:                 And it can be a little nerve raking if you don’t know what to expect or you’ve never done it before, and that’s where Buy Wise and your team came in. They were very valuable and very helpful to the whole process. It’s something that I really appreciate.

Scott Schang:                So real quickly. This is a tough one for me because I don’t like talking trash on other companies, but I do have a really … I have a challenge with these companies that spend millions and millions and millions of dollars trying to convince consumers that things are different than they actually are. And specifically, once we were in the process because you had a bunch of people helping you. You had your employer was helping you, and you had some other people helping you along. And one of the things that was recommended was that you got some comparisons and that you would check and make sure the pricing and all of that stuff is right. That’s a hard one because you can’t exactly lock in the interest rate until you get your offer accepted, but I think once you get your offer accepted, it can be kind of dangerous.

And I guess the only reason I want to tell this part of the story is because I see this a lot. I can’t tell you how much I see this. On my website that you found me on on Found My Way Home, since 2010 we’ve had over a million visitors to that site. And I hear this story over and over and over again. And what happened to you is you ended up talking to it was Quicken and you told them, “Hey, listen. I’m looking for the best payment that I can possibly get.” And you reached out and you said, “Hey, I got a lower payment.” And I’m like, “Okay. Cool. I know how this works. Let’s go through this.” You sent me over the paperwork, and it was awesome because I started going through it, and by the time I called you back, you had already gone through it and you had already compared everything and you saw what they did.

Homebuyer:                 Correct.

Scott Schang:                But what was shocking to me, and it’s not really shocking because I literally see this happen every single day almost. They purposely left numbers off that document in order to make you think that they were giving you a lower payment.

Homebuyer:                 That’s correct.

Scott Schang:                There were a couple reasons why that was a challenge. One of the challenges was that the person selling you the home was going to give you a credit for every day that you closed early. So they were delaying. There was a little bit of a delay there. But most importantly, and this is the thing that really irked me and I didn’t really tell you this, but I was so upset that weekend after I talked to you that I popped on here on Facebook and I did. I kind of went on a rant because I did my homework, and that loan officer had been in that company for three years. He knew better. And what he put you in a position where you would’ve gotten the actual numbers and they would’ve been right and that payment would’ve been higher.

So now you’ve got a young family, just went through hell, went through the whole 30 day process or whatever the process was to get approved, and sitting at the signing table. And then you’ve got a decision to make. Do I back out and lose my first home or do I end up paying $200 more than what I could’ve gotten in the beginning from the person that told me the truth? And to me that is just … I don’t even know how to explain it without dropping bombs here, dropping F-bombs, but that just pisses me off so bad because they knew better, and they had no … They just didn’t care about what you thought. They didn’t put themselves in your shoes.

So you’ve got to be really careful. So specifically what happened with Brian is he called this company. They sent him a loan estimate. They were charging an origination fee, $3800 that we weren’t charging. Their interest rate was a quarter percent higher than what we already had you locked in at. And they were able to show that the payment was lower because they left off the property taxes.

Homebuyer:                 Correct.

Scott Schang:                But your property taxes and your homeowners insurance is part of your payment. It’s what I always tell people. The rates not that important. You’re writing a check every month, and that check needs to be what you want that check to be and especially you because you had your system dialed. You knew what you wanted. You knew what your goals were. If you didn’t have somebody like me saying, “Hey, Brian. Let’s look at it this way,” you could have very easily chosen to go with that fake quote.

Homebuyer:                 Correct.

Scott Schang:                And on to the end.

Homebuyer:                 Correct.

Scott Schang:                Yeah.

Homebuyer:                 One of the things that … You’re absolutely correct, Scott. It seemed that they were willing to tell me whatever they felt they needed to tell me so that I could sign those documents and then jump into a loan with them. But I’m glad that you broke it down step by step. Hey, look, there is no way possible that … I remember what you told me there is no way possible when you add this and this and this, and that half … What was it? 0.5 interest I believe, right?

Scott Schang:                Yeah.

Homebuyer:                 When you add all these factors, there’s no way possible that you’re going to have a lower or this payment that they’re telling you. And I did my due diligence, and I pretty much investigated myself.

Scott Schang:                Well, you had it figured out by the time I called you back.

Homebuyer:                 And then that’s when I called you back and I told you, “Hey, Scott. Thank you very much. Let’s continue to proceed.” Right?

Scott Schang:                Yeah. Yeah.

Homebuyer:                 And I guess I understand where this irks you because someone like me who doesn’t know, who doesn’t know any better are going through the process, they’re going to fall for it. And then now it’s like, all right, you literally have put … And that can be I guess a lot of people may think, “Hey, $200-$300 is not a lot.” But when you’re talking about $200-$300 for the next month’s for the 30 years of the loan, it adds up. It adds up.

Scott Schang:                I mean, listen, $200-$300 when you’re in a situation where you don’t have control over it, listen, you can live with it. But if you would’ve gone through this, you probably would’ve chosen to pay the higher payment. You weren’t going to give up the house. Junior over there looks like he’s super happy. You’re not going to want to disappoint him and say, “We’re not going to get the house.” So you’re going to sign that thing, and then it’s just going to eat away at you because you knew that they knew better.

So all right. So let me move on with that before I get too much more upset. Now this was really, really cool. So this happens way more often than most people think, but I don’t hear people talking about it a lot. And part of the process, once you get your offer accepted, is you have the ability to do your due diligence is what it’s called. You can order an inspections, anything that you need to have done. So you had a home inspection. Tell me a little bit about what that home inspection process was and what that did for you.

Homebuyer:                 Well, one of my goals going into all this was to find something that was pretty much a turnkey home. I just turn that key and go in. So there was a few properties that I looked into, and two in particular stood out. One stood out more than the other, and that’s the one I’m in now. When I did my first inspection, there was a few fixtures that were needed, and certain things that weren’t to my expectation. I came into this, like I said, I wanted a turnkey home, and that’s what I was going to get.

Scott Schang:                What were some examples of things that you saw that …

Homebuyer:                 I guess they weren’t that major, but potentially they could lead to a little bit … Later on in the future, a little bit more major issues. Just to name a few, which I could’ve done … Some of them I could do on my own, but, hey, like I said, if I’m going to come in, I’m going to be the buyer. I’m going to come in. I hate to say it.

Scott Schang:                You’re dropping a chunk of cash on this thing. I don’t want a job and a house.

Homebuyer:                 I don’t want to be doing anything. They need to come, and I hate to say, accommodate me, right? The buyer.

Scott Schang:                Yeah. Sure.

Homebuyer:                 So little things like I have sprinkler system. Broken sprinkler heads. Sorry about that. What else? Some of the wood on the eave of the house was not the greatest. It look like it was ready in a few years it was probably going to break apart. So I had them replace everything. The whole eave of the south. Let me see, the roof. The roof needed to be a new layer on top of the roof and some shingles needed to be replaced. The main concern was my a/c and heating unit. That’s something that was not up to par. So that alone was a major concern of mine where I needed that a/c and that heating unit to be fully functional because, as you know, nowadays that can cost you a good maybe, anywhere between $3k-$6k. I don’t know. I’m just guesstimating there. But that’s something that definitely I didn’t want to be spending later on in the long run.

Scott Schang:                And that home inspection was about $350.

Homebuyer:                 It was about $350, correct.

Scott Schang:                Okay, and as a result of the inspection, those home inspection reports are super cool, right?

Homebuyer:                 Yes.

Scott Schang:                They are very, very detailed. So as a result of that, you got together with your realtor, and you said, “Hey, I’d like these things repaired.” So she prepared an addendum to the contract.

Homebuyer:                 Correct.

Scott Schang:                Proposed it to the seller, and you asked for these things to get repaired, and he said sure, right?

Homebuyer:                 Correct. I used that as supporting documents.

Scott Schang:                It wasn’t exactly sure. Was there was negotiating that went back and forth?

Homebuyer:                 Well, to be honest with you, I used that as supporting documentation, and I was very adamant as to what I wanted. I told them, “Hey, this is what I want. This is what I want.” I didn’t give them an option. I guess throughout the process, that’s when a little bit of the whole lagging, dragging their feet happened. So some of the fixtures were … I was told were fixed. And I came back for a second home inspection, and turned out that some of the fixtures that I was told weren’t fixed or at least weren’t fixed to my expectation. Maybe they were, but they weren’t to my expectation. So now I ended up countering again, and going back to the negotiation table and telling them, “Hey, I’m not going to proceed if I do not get what I’m asking for.”

And, to be honest with you, Scott, it wasn’t nothing that was unreasonable. Everything was in reach. Everything was reasonable. And as a seller, I would say, “Hey, this guy has gone this far. He’s already really, really deep into the process. He’s a serious buyer. You know what, let me handle that. Let me take care of this guy.”

Scott Schang:                And you had a pretty cool seller too. I mean, this guy was pretty experienced, and he knew what he was doing. And he was a profession. And he understood that these are the things that … He understood that these things happen and this is what you do. So you went back and you got that done. You got all of those inspections done. So as we kind of wrap this up here real quick, one of the things that really stood out is your responsiveness, and I think that that’s something that I really wanted to focus on. From your side, there’s some moving parts. There’s documentation and stuff that you get. But you were very good. You were very responsive at getting us stuff very quickly and communicating. I always tell people it’s a process of hurry up and wait because you’re kind of waiting on other people, and then when they say, “Okay. We need these things,” it’s all right, hurry up and get these things.

Homebuyer:                 Yeah.

Scott Schang:                But that I think was the … I think your willingness to really be responsive and cooperative during that entire process, it seemed to make it a very, very smooth process. There’s things that happen and then there’s a few days you don’t hear anything. You’re waiting for inspections to come back. You’re waiting for underwriters to go through stuff. But all in all, I think that was probably one of the most important parts of this is you were always available, and whether it was, “I’ll get it to you the next day or the next morning,” it was always there. I don’t think you can underestimate how important that part of the process is.

Homebuyer:                 No, not at all. That’s something that I think always has been a part of me and has been instilled in me, especially when it’s something that I’m trying to achieve or trying to attain. I do whatever it takes to make sure that on my end, I’m up to speed. Anytime you guys required any documents … What I liked is that you guys were very … The communication line was very strong between us. So anytime you guys needed something, you would tell me right then and there. Sometimes I would get a few calls a day. Sometimes I would get a call a day. But everything you guys needed, you would tell me straight up. “Hey, this is what I need.” And you guys would explain exactly how I go about getting that. So because of your clear, concise instructions and my assertiveness and then me being motivated to get into my home as fast and as quick as possible and as smooth as possible, I worked as hard as I could to get you and provide you guys all your documents that you needed, anything you requested, right? So that made it very simple.

I know that at certain times I was dealing with two entities. I was dealing with you guys and then I was dealing with the lender as well. And then it was at one point it started being I was giving the same documents to both of you when I think in reality it was all going to end up coming together. I’m like, “Okay. Well. It is what it is.”

Scott Schang:                Yeah. You were actually … Yeah, no. That’s one of the challenges. And that’s one of the things with some of these lenders that say, “Okay. Here’s how the things go,” the bottom line is things work the way that they work. And one of the … In the infinite wisdom of the people in Washington D.C., they think that you should receive two or three copies of everything from two or three different sources, but you don’t have to do anything with it. But they still need to give it to you. So that stuff gets a little bit crazy.

So, Brian, I don’t want to take up any more of your time here. But, listen, I really, really appreciate this. This has been a great conversation. I think this is going to be helpful to other young families that want to buy a home. What would you say would be your biggest takeaway? So one of your peers is thinking about buying a home, what would be your advice for them?

Homebuyer:                 I would tell them if you ever have dreams of owning or purchasing a home, never stop no matter what happens in life. You have your ups and you have your downs. Continue to strive for it. Credit is very important. Be very responsible with yours. Just never stop. Never stop, never stop. Knowledge is power. The more you know, the better you’ll be in regards to the process. Find yourself a Scott and Buy Wise team and Find My Way Home website.

Scott Schang:                Hopefully.

Homebuyer:                 It helps you in the process. I really seriously … I seriously want to thank you and your team in regards to that for all the assistance and all the knowledge that you guys kicked down and pretty much shared with me to make this process as smooth, as easy, and less strenuous as possible. But it’s a challenge, but it’s a good challenge. I guess in the end, the end goal is very well worth it. Once again, thank you guys. And the best thing I can tell people is just never stop striving for this dream. It’s very beautiful. It’s very great.

Scott Schang:                And the only thing I would add to that is don’t be afraid to ask questions. There are no dumb questions. I think that was one of the first things I told you. There aren’t no dumb questions. Keep asking. Don’t be afraid, and don’t just accept what you’re being told. If it doesn’t sit right, ask again. Keep going through it until you’re comfortable with it. But, no, man, I appreciate the kind words. But really, so much of this was you and your commitment to making this happen and your hard work and your preparation. Again, man, thank you so much for everything. It was a pleasure working with you. Thank you for your service. We work really hard to take care of our veterans. We take care of everybody, but you guys are a little bit special because you go above and beyond and do stuff a lot of us don’t do. So we really appreciate that. And it sounds like you’ve got a young fan there that’s ready to go off and enjoy his weekend, right?

Homebuyer:                 He’s ready. He’s ready. He’s giving me the remote. He wants to see cartoons.

Scott Schang:                Thank you so much. You have a safe New Year, and thanks so much, Brian. If you ever need anything, you give us a call.

Homebuyer:                 No, definitely, Scott. Same to you. Happy New Year to you and your family and your team.

Scott Schang:                Thanks, man.

Homebuyer:                 I appreciate everything, like I said, and we’ll be in touch. Okay?

Scott Schang:                Thank you, sir.

Homebuyer:                 Thank you.

Scott Schang:                All right. Have a good weekend. All right. Bye bye.

Working with a Professional

I can not emphasize enough the importance of hiring a professional, experienced Realtor and loan officer when selling or buying your home.

When you call a lender from a TV or radio commercial, or click an ad you saw on the internet that has a catchy headline, you are playing competence roulette.

I personally have been in the business for almost 20 years now, and started this website 10 years ago to educate and empower consumers.

We have had over a million consumers visit this website and I have answered many thousands of questions from folks all over the Country.

If you are trying to buy or refinance your home in California, I can help.  You may ask questions about your options below, or shoot me an email directly to scott@buywisemortgage.com.

If you are outside of California, I can introduce you to a loan officer from our Expert Network that I personally know and trust.

About the Author

Scott Schang

A 20 year veteran of the Mortgage and Real Estate industry, I am passionate about educating and empowering consumers. I have been writing about consumer protection issues, and making sense of complicated real estate and mortgage topics on this website since 2007

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