In a Nutshell: Being a first-time homebuyer can be an exciting but overwhelming experience. The real estate industry isn’t exactly an area the average consumer is familiar with. The John Thomas Team at Delaware Mortgage Loans works to ensure clients have the educational resources they need to understand the mortgage process. The team works closely with clients every step of the way to determine which loan is best suited for their unique financial situation. The company sells and services loans, and is well established as experts in the industry, serving not only Delaware but Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Virginia.
Purchasing a home is often the biggest investment a person will make in his or her lifetime. It’s an exciting experience that comes with its own stresses and challenges.
The very first potential challenge people are met with is simply applying for a home loan. Applicants can generally expect to fill out plenty of paperwork. They can also expect a hard credit inquiry and verification of income.
This bit of the loan process can be stressful for those who may have less than stellar credit or low income.
But for prospective homeowners in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, the John Thomas Team can assist applicants in finding the best loan to suit their unique situation.
The Delaware mortgage lender is part of the national company, Primary Residential Mortgage, Inc.
“Basically, I’m a branch manager for Primary Residential Mortgage, which is a private mortgage banker, so we’re not publicly traded,” John Thomas said. “We only do mortgages. But we are a mortgage seller-servicer. We sell direct to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and FHA. And, we service our loans, which means we don’t have to have overlays.”
Thomas (NMLS # 38783) led us through how he and his team work with clients to identify and help them secure the best home loans to suit their needs, the company’s philosophy on educating clients, and customer satisfaction.
A Loan Servicer and Seller That Works to Find the Best Fit for Each Potential Borrower
“Our mission is to carefully guide you through the entire home loan process so that you feel confident as you make choices about the many options available for your financing strategy,” according to the company website. “With many years and a wide range of experience in the mortgage industry, our dedicated team stands ready to assist each and every step of the way.”
Thomas said that when a lender says an applicant doesn’t qualify for a loan, it’s not necessarily because they don’t meet FHA, Fannie Mae, or Freddie Mac requirements, but rather it’s because of the company’s overlays.
“The agencies have their minimum requirements to get approved for a loan for them to buy it,” he said. “Then lenders, based on the risk of default, are going to have their own overlays. For example, FHA goes all the way down to a 500 credit score. But find a lender that’s going down to a 500 credit score — it’s a different story.”
The John Thomas Team works with clients to help them figure out which loan options are best for them, and the company offers a wide range of options, including conventional loans, FHA loans, VA loans, manufactured home loans, and jumbo mortgages.
Thomas said he and his team will work to understand the client’s unique situation, explore the factors at play when it comes to securing a loan, and help them get approved when possible.
Many factors can sway the outcome of a loan application, he said. A conventional loan for a borrower with a lower credit score may require a higher down payment, while an FHA loan for a borrower with a lower credit score requires a significantly lower down payment. And, of course, higher credit scores and income levels, often mean less of a down payment is required.
The COVID-19 pandemic also changed the dynamics of the mortgage market, Thomas said.
“When the pandemic hit, the secondary mortgage market dried up,” he said. “Basically, no one was buying loans, or if they did, they didn’t make any money so a lot of banks that couldn’t service were just doing loans to keep their staff busy. But their profitability was super low.”
During this time, the John Thomas Team went from servicing 25% to 40% of their loans to servicing 100%.
“So, we’re the seller and servicer, and our new motto is to try to service as much stuff as we can anyway,” Thomas said. “Plus, it gives us as a company another stream of revenue.”
Education is a Key Component for the Mortgage Company
Delaware Mortgage Lenders’ philosophy is to educate its clients on the best products and programs that fit their financial situations, and then offer its professional advice on the best solution the parties have worked together to identify.
This educational philosophy fits right in with Thomas’s own personal approach.
“I used to be a teacher so my philosophy is education-based,” Thomas said. “I’m real big on educating people. I do a monthly homebuyer seminar where I encourage all my first-time homebuyers to go to.”
The seminar has been conducted virtually since the COVID-19 pandemic began, he said.
“I like the live events, but the virtual seminars allow more people to go to them,” Thomas said.
Thomas has also written a guide for people buying their first home in Delaware, which is available to purchase online.
“I’m really enthusiastic about educating and making educational videos, so I have a YouTube channel that has a ton of videos on it,” Thomas said. “I post videos that cover the whole process from leads all the way to closing on your house. People in the industry are used to the process and don’t realize that some clients have never bought a house before.”
He said it’s important to provide these educational resources to create trust with clients and assure them that the John Thomas Team will be there for them throughout the entire process.
“We’re real big on letting clients know, ‘This is where you’re at now and this is where you’re going next, and this is the plan to get there,’” Thomas said. “I try to have videos at each point to explain it so they can go back and watch them if they want to.”
The Delaware Mortgage Lenders website also contains a variety of educational resources that clients can access at any time, including articles that cover nearly every topic related to the home buying experience.
Working to Ensure a Satisfying Lending Experience
Thomas said making sure customers have a satisfying experience working with the company is also extremely important.
He said he gets a lot of positive feedback from customers about the educational videos.
Clients also offer praise for their overall experience working with the John Thomas Team.
“The process from start to finish was amazing,” wrote new homeowner Christina H. “John and his team were friendly and professional. I have worked in the banking industry for 14 years and have never come across this level of customer service John and his team gave.”
The team has also been recognized as one of the Top 100 Loan Officers for customer satisfaction and maintains a 4.8-star rating out of 5 on Google Reviews.
“My experience with Primary was far better than I could have ever imagined,” wrote Jamilah Hardeman. “The team was extremely helpful and always available when I needed (and I called a lot with questions). Additionally, the financial aspect of how this company works was amazing. The exact numbers given were the exact numbers at closing.”
“My goal is that all my clients end up retiring a millionaire,” Thomas said. “You can do that literally on $30,000 a year, for 37 years, taking 10% of your paycheck. And putting your time in accounting and paying off your house. It’s just discipline.”
Between Thomas’s educational philosophy, attentive customer service, and abundant glowing reviews, the John Thomas Team and Primary Residential Mortgage, Inc. have demonstrated that they understand not only the real estate market, but customer needs as well.
And they will work hard to help clients reach their goals.