As the housing market slows, some real estate agents and loan officers may find their business waning, too. But not AMS Military Mortgage Advisor (Individual NMLS #146741), Corey Riggs. He has continued closing multiple loans a month doing what he always does: building relationships and widening his referral circles.
“This market is an opportunity to adopt a service mindset and be ready to listen and respond,” says Riggs. “At AMS, we want to be more than a one-time resource. We want to be a business partner and part of the homebuying team for the agent and their customer.”
Riggs, who is also a pastor at Grace Church in Swansboro, NC, is a man who knows how to listen and act with integrity. “My entire mortgage career has been in a retail setting where I would come up with my own business, and develop my own referral base,” Riggs tells us.
Real estate agents are his natural allies, he notes. After all, who do buyers reach out to first when they want to buy a home?
Related: 4 Tips for Working With a Real Estate Agent
Being on the AMS Team
Riggs works hard to open and maintain communication with local agents, especially those who specialize in helping military buyers. “In most areas, buyers are still facing stiff competition and they need a lender who can pre-approve them and be ‘on call’ for questions.”
Since early 2022, as interest rates have risen, buyers have had a lot of questions about how to get a lower interest rate and if it’s financially wise for them to pay points to lower their interest rate. Also called discount points, points are calculated as a percentage of the total amount of your loan. One point equals one percent of the loan amount. Generally speaking, paying one percent of the loan amount in points will lower your rate by 0.25 percent. So you’re paying one percent upfront to pay a quarter of a percent less per year in interest.
“A lower interest rate means a lower monthly payment and less interest paid over the life of the loan. However, paying for points increases your upfront costs, so it is very important to understand your options,” explains Riggs.
“Agents in our area want someone who will work with their buyer to explain how the process works and help them run the numbers because if they are planning to relocate in less than three years, they probably won’t recoup the cost of paying points,” notes Riggs.
Setting Buyer Expectations
The other question Riggs fields a lot these days is one that is probably on a lot of people’s minds: Is this a good time to buy?
“I would say maybe.” Riggs points to existing home sale stats from the National Association of REALTORS® for June 2022 showing existing home sales dropped 5.4% as compared to May. “It's not because there’s a lack of buyers or low inventory of homes for sale. I think we’re just in this pause period where buyers are realizing they’ll be paying more for a mortgage because interest rates are higher.”
But it’s not a time to sit on the fence if you’re ready and able to buy, he says.
“Home prices may come down, or they may not. But interest rates are rising and they're predicted to continue to rise. So if you’re ready to buy, you shouldn’t wait hoping things will change,” says Riggs.
Historically, mortgage rates have fluctuated a great deal. For instance, in 1971 you could get a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage with a 7.54% interest rate — that rate steadily rose until 1981, when you would have had to pay a 16.64% interest rate on a home loan.
“If you think about paying 6% or so now, that’s still pretty low in comparison,” he says.
Doing the Math
A more important question for buyers is how long they plan to stay in the home, he says. “If you’ll only be in a home for a short time, renting may be more practical. But, of course, rents are going up pretty high in some areas.”
“So if you’ll be in a home five years or longer you should definitely consider buying and getting the advantages of being a homeowner.”
“You may be able to get into a home for about what you’re paying now each month in rent, and with a VA Loan, of course, there’s no down payment required,” he says.
“The main thing is to work with someone you trust, someone who’s willing to answer your questions and stay with you throughout the process,” he adds.
We’re Here to Help
Whether you’re just thinking about buying, ready to start home shopping in earnest, or considering a refinance, an AMS Military Mortgage Advisor will be happy to provide you with an honest and fair comparison of your mortgage options, including a wide range of affordable mortgages designed to meet your needs.
Ensuring AAFMAA Members obtain the best mortgage possible is our mission. Get your free mortgage assessment today or give us a call at 844-474-0393!