Matthew Garland is Director of New Development at Quontic Bank and he shared with us valuable advice for homebuyers seeking financing. According to Matthew, it is highly important to know what loan you qualify for before you actually go shopping for a home. He reminds us that the currently low interest rates mean more home affordability and cheaper payments.
Read on for Matthew’s advice and his take on the most important changes he has noticed in the mortgage industry.
Q: Tell us a few words about Quontic Bank and your role with the company.
A: Quontic Bank is a financially strong, federally chartered community bank based in Astoria, Queens. We provide a full suite of competitively priced deposit products, mortgages and small business loans. We’re different than other banks, which save their best service for customers with the highest balances. We believe that every customer regardless of their balance should receive the best in personal service, along with the dignity respect and understanding we all deserve.
I am a Director of New Development/Division Manager at Quontic Bank. I work with first time homebuyers, investors, developers, foreign nationals who are looking for financing nationwide and I also manage a team of loan officers.
Q: What’s your approach when working with clients?
A: Regarding my approach when working with clients, most importantly is being myself. I find that one of the main reasons clients choose me over my competitors is because of the reliability. I’m a loan officer but I’m also a father, a son, a brother. The things that people deal with on a daily basis are one in the same as the things that I encounter after I leave the office. So my approach with my clients is to be myself and it allows us to identify with each other. It creates a solid foundation for a growing, sustainable relationship. This is part of the reason why 100% of my business is referral based. The other reason is that I educate my clients. Information is free, and I believe that when making one of the biggest decisions of your life you should be fully knowledgeable and feel confident in that very decision you’re making, not only for yourself but for your family as well.
Q: What advice would you give to first-time home buyers looking to get a loan?
A: My advice to first-time home buyers is before you go shopping for a home know what you qualify for and most importantly what you can afford to pay on a monthly basis. Some buyers have a common misconception that it’s find a house first, then go get the loan, when it’s in fact the complete opposite. Some buyers also tend to forget that there are other expenses besides the mortgage payments, such as utilities, car payment ,child care etc. Also, do your own research; don’t go into any situation blind, always do a level of personal research so when you’re discussing mortgage options everything being said isn’t foreign and you have something with which you can cross reference the information being given.
Q: You’ve been working in this industry for more than 13 years, what are the most important changes that you have noticed?
A: The mortgage industry has been constantly changing over the past 8 years but one of the main, most important changes I’ve seen is the shift in regulation. Lenders are being held to a much higher standard which has made the underwriting process more stringent than in the past. We have to ensure that borrowers meet the criteria set by our regulators. It may mean more paperwork that the borrower has to submit for us to review and to approve their loans but I believe that our industry is better because of this. Borrowers are not buying homes that they cannot afford which will decrease the foreclosure rates over time. This is not only great for our industry but for our economy as well.
Q: There has been a lot of talk about the historically low interest rates today, what does this mean for homebuyers?
A: It means “strike while the iron’s hot!” because rates will not stay this low forever. Low interest rates mean more home affordability, and cheaper payments. An amazing opportunity for current homebuyers and for current homeowners looking to refinance or move up to a bigger home. Also the incentive for investing in real estate is at an all-time high right now, with the ability to get more of a return of your investment.
Q: You specialize in new developments, what trends have you noticed in this segment?
A: The average sales price in the new development segment has increased year over year which has more buyers in this segment obtaining financing versus purchasing all cash. In the past couple of years more lenders have become aggressive with financing options for buyers looking to purchase new development condos. Inventory is steadily increasing so it’s important that developers and brokerage firms partner with the right lenders on these projects. Quontic Bank has an array of loan products that we offer no matter if you’re a first time homebuyer or a foreign investor.
About Matthew Garland
Matthew has more than 13 years of experience working at large retail banks and brokerage firms. He is well versed in new development, co-ops and condos, single family residences, multi-family properties, vacation properties, investment properties, foreign nationals, new construction lending and commercial mortgages.