My #1 Fail Proof Borrower Tip: Educate Yourself Early and Stay That Way

My #1 Fail Proof Borrower Tip:  
Educate Yourself Early and Stay That Way


     Yesterday I was contacted by a couple that are hoping to sell their present home and finance the purchase of a new one ...

     As I do with all my new clients, I asked them to tell me what their hopes and goals are regarding their upcoming home purchase and its financing. 

     The answers I receive to these questions are always of tremendous assistance to me as a Mortgage Lender. They really help to clarify which financing options and programs might be of the greatest assistance in meeting their goals. 

     But this preliminary part of our conversation helps reveal some other things too ... 

     Such as:  Just how well-versed and educated my new clients are about the purchase and mortgage processes they'll be entering. Simply ... have they taken any steps to prepare?

     With my newest clients, it quickly became obvious that they had done little in the way of education or preparation prior to contacting me. During our conversation, the most basic elements of mortgage financing (credit, debt, credit scores, interest rates, mortgage programs, etc. ... even basic mortgage/financing terminology itself) needed explaining.

     Let me make it clear:  As a Lender, I feel that educating and informing my clients is one of my most important responsibilities. The recent implementation of new mortgage financing rules and regulations (TRID) points out the importance of this need also. 

     TRID addresses the vital needs of Borrowers by: 

  • Elevating awareness and demanding the provision of information regarding loan options 
  • Making it easier for consumers to compare options/rates 
  • Demands full-disclosure of mortgage-related costs and terms 
  • Sound decisions and actions are only possible when these key elements are in place.

          But as much as I feel that Lenders should be educators throughout the entire mortgage process, I feel that clients must share in that responsibility too. They must work on their own behalf.

         So how do you flex TRID's muscles and put them to work on your behalf when entering the home buying and mortgage financing processes? 


     My #1 Tip?  


       Educate yourself! 

       Early in the process ... and then stay that way ... 

  • Read ... and Watch everything you can about home buying and mortgage lending 
  • Use the internet as a learning tool 
  • Familiarize yourself to real estate and financing terminology
  • Take advantage of seminars. Local seminars, if possible. (If none are available locally, find some online. Many seminars are offered FREE of charge.
  • Talk to real estate and lending professionals in the area in which you hope to buy 
  • Ask lots of questions 
  • Familiarize yourself and start to gather the info and financial documents you'll need for your Pre-Approval and Mortgage Application 

     Don't wait until you're actually wanting to view homes! Take action well in advance of that time. As much as 6 months to 1 year is not too much time to allow for this important action.

     Education is your best protection and "insurance" policy throughout your transaction (and afterwards too). And your home buying and financing will proceed much more quickly and easily ... and you will enjoy it far more, if you follow my important tip above.



     If in the Chicagoland area, elsewhere in IL, or in WI contact me. I'll put my 37 years of mortgage experience and expertise hard to work on your behalf.
      I can be easily found at:

Gene Mundt


Mortgage Lender - NMLS #216987 - IL Lic. #0006220 - WI Licensed

American Portfolio Mortgage Corp.

NMLS #175656


Direct: 815.524.2280

Cell/Text: 708.921.6331

eFax: 815.524.2281







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Gene Mundt

 Mortgage Originator  -  NMLS #216987    

                                 IL Lic. #031.0006220  -  WI License #216987                                                                                                    

NMLS #175656


Gene Mundt, Mortgage Originator,  40+ years of #mortgage experience, will offer you exemplary mortgage service and advice when seeking:  #Conventional, #FHA, #VA, #Jumbo, #USDA, and Portfolio Loans in #Chicago and the greater Chicagoland region, including:  The #Lincoln-Way Area, #Will County, (#New Lenox, #Frankfort, #Mokena, #Manhattan, #Joliet, #Shorewood, #Crest Hill, #Plainfield, #Bolingbrook, #Romeoville, #Naperville, #Wilmington, #Peotone, etc.), #DuPage County, the City of Chicago, #Cook County, and elsewhere within IL and Wisconsin. 


Your Referrals & Testimonials are Always Greatly Appreciated! 




I agree to a point, Gene, but I also think, especially with first time buyers, that it's on us to hold their hand 100%.  I'd rather deal with the buyer that knows absolutely nothing, than deal with the buyer that read some internet articles and thinks they're ready to process their file alone.  Knowledge and education is good, but a lot of young people don't know where to start, and end up learning in all the wrong places.

Posted by John Meussner, #MortgageMadeEasy Walnut Creek, CA 484-680-4852 (Mason-McDuffie Mortgage, Conventional Loans, Jumbo Loans, FHA, 203(k), USDA, VA,) about 4 years ago

Gene education is key especially for first time home buyers.  I would prefer they learn the ropes from a trusted lender because there is so much bad information on the net. With that said I agree that buyers need to be proactive - and run by stuff with their lender just to be sure it's correct info.

Posted by Anna Banana Kruchten CRB, CRS, GRI, WLS, 602-380-4886 (HomeSmart Elite Group) about 4 years ago

Gene, I wish more would follow your advice, especially the part about starting early and getting their ducks in a row.  So many potential buyers contact us, and once directed to a mortgage pro find out they're nowhere near being able to get a loan approval. 

Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 about 4 years ago

My daughter is in the market and I've got her talking to a great lender and she seems to be "getting" it. She sent me a text today that assured me that she is understanding what to do.

Posted by Tammy Lankford,, Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville (Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668) about 4 years ago

A well educated buyer makes the home buying process so much smoother! I'm working with someone now who will say, "well, I was reading about the process to [fill in the blank]" and I have been thrilled with his participation!

Posted by Kat Palmiotti, The House Kat (406-270-3667,, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty) about 4 years ago

Good morning Gene. A we deal with many clients, some have done the mortgage thing before, but those that are doing it for the first time, just need extra coaching along the way.

Posted by Joe Petrowsky, Your Mortgage Consultant for Life (Mortgage Consultant, Right Trac Financial Group, Inc. NMLS # 2709) about 4 years ago

Good morning Gene Mundt, Chicago-area Mortgage Lender - ,

Congratulations on the featured post! Education is the key especially for first time home buyers!  I always refer my clients to a trusted lender to learn the process especially with our new regulations.

Posted by Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR, Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate (Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899) about 4 years ago

Thanks for your thoughts!!!

Educate Yourself Early and Stay That Way

Posted by Sham Reddy CRS, CRS (H E R Realty, Dayton, OH) about 4 years ago

Hi Gene.  Dealing with an informed and educated consumer is wonderful.

Posted by Conrad Allen, Webster, Ma, Realtor (Re/Max Professional Associates) about 4 years ago

Gene, I might add it is the right Education on mortgage borrowing is important and meeting with a good lender who will spend the time to get you off on the right foot is so important.  thank you.

Posted by Ginny Gorman, Homes for Sale in Southern RI and beyond (RI Real Estate Services ~ 401-529-7849~ RI Waterfront Real Estate) about 4 years ago

Who can argue or would want to with the Gene Mundt, Chicago-area Mortgage Lender - proven way to navigate in the land of loans?

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) about 4 years ago

Absolutely Gene Mundt, Chicago-area Mortgage Lender - such thing as toooooo much information !

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Real Estate Agents - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) about 4 years ago

Gene,  Clients do need to take responsibility - be involved and be educated.  First time buyers ... an absolute must ... even more so now with TRID.

Posted by Kathleen Daniels, San Jose Homes for Sale-Probate & Trust Specialist (KD Realty - 408.972.1822) about 4 years ago

Gene, I leave it up to my master lender to take care of all of this, but I DO believe in being self-educated. You can never stop--tell me--who is OVER-educated?? Not anyone I know who truly wants to continue LIVING. It's a basic for staying engaged and having a reason to wake up in the morning!

Posted by Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate, "Your Local Expert!" 503-755-2905 (John L Scott Market Center) about 4 years ago

Gene Mundt, Chicago-area Mortgage Lender -    I definitely am only using mortgage brokers who will educate the clients the entire way!    Education is Number 1!

Posted by Dagny Eason, Fairfield County CT, CDPE Homes For Sale and Condo (Dagny's Real Estate) about 4 years ago

Dear Gene,

Love your KEY concept: keep educating yourself. Easy for me, since I am nosy, but apparently that does not apply to everyone.

Posted by Dörte Engel, ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland (RE/MAX Leading Edge) about 4 years ago

Buyers who do their homework, or have friends who recently secured a loan, are less intimidated by the process. For many, the process feels invasive.  Some find it hard to gather all the documents. As we frequently echo, communication and education are key.  When buyers understand how the process works and why documentation is necessary they are generally at peace with lender requests. That includes final conditions. In a nice way, I often say, "If your lender says jump, ask how high and begin jumping."  As always, your post is a worthy read for all those seeking a loan.

Posted by Sharon Parisi, Dallas Homes (United Real Estate Dallas ) about 4 years ago

Gene Mundt, Chicago-area Mortgage Lender - it was - and is now also - the involvement of the clients in the process is very important. More they are educated, easier the process is.

It's always a great idea to discuss this with buyers at the time of first meeting - not to overwhelm them but to educate them.

Posted by Praful Thakkar, Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale (LAER Realty Partners) about 4 years ago

It is an ongoing process. I have never seen the "KEY" used as in keep educating yourself. I like that!

Posted by Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty, Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County (Bucci Realty, Inc.) about 4 years ago

Thought it fit perfectly, Gary L. Waters, Broker Owner, Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC ...


Posted by Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi, 708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience (NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656) about 4 years ago

Congrats on the Feature Gene!

I cannot imagine not educating yourself, as much as possible, before getting into this position. So much info available these real excuse!

Posted by Sharon Tara, New Hampshire Home Stager (Sharon Tara Transformations) about 4 years ago

Good advice, Gene. Glad to see you're one of the good guys in lending. No surprise either. Keep up the great work raising the bar in our real estate industry. 

Posted by Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD, REALTORS® in Clark County, WA (ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors) about 4 years ago

Lending is a very important key to buying!   That is why I always suggest that buyers, especially first timers, use locally based lenders. They provide the personal service that the natl lenders can't.  To me visiting with a mortgage lender is the first step to buying

Posted by Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR, Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area (Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes) about 4 years ago

You give great advice about finding out about loans even before you start looking for a home. For many reasons, but primarily so that if the right house comes along, the buyer can make the offer and get accepted. For so many would-be buyers, I have to tell them what is necessary before they even start looking.

Posted by Hella M. Rothwell, Broker/Realtor®, Rothwell Realty Inc. CA#01968433 Carmel-by-the-Sea about 4 years ago

Thanks so much, Hella M. Rothwell, Broker/Realtor® ... the extra time used prior to viewing homes is needed by many for a variety of reasons.  Definitely helps them get their financial "ducks in a row" to gain the best interest rate and program available to them ...


Posted by Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi, 708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience (NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656) about 4 years ago

Working with a lender early and up front is one of the smartest things a potential buyer can do.  If you have a problem no about it well in advance and deal with the issue.

Posted by Gene Riemenschneider, Turning Houses into Homes (Home Point Real Estate) about 4 years ago

I love lenders that truly want to educate their clients, not just close another loan. Kudos for the Featured Post!

Posted by Liane Thomas -Top Listing Agent, Bringing you Home! (Professional Realty Services® International ) about 4 years ago

Communication is the key and too much is better than not enough. I connect my buyers immediately with a good lender and then off we go.

Posted by Debbie Reynolds, Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent (Platinum Properties) about 4 years ago

Educating ourselves and our client is key.  I like utilizing the services of a mortgage lender who takes the time to educate the client on the mortgage process.  We can't do it without people like you Gene Mundt, Chicago-area Mortgage Lender -

Congratulations on the feature; you deserve it!

Posted by Christi Farrington, ~ Your representative in Fairfield County, CT (Dagny's Real Estate) about 4 years ago

Thank you kindly, Christi Farrington ... and that thankfulness for a helping hand goes both ways.  Nothing like having an informed, educated, and helpful professional partner in an agent ...


Posted by Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi, 708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience (NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656) about 4 years ago

The rules are always changing & buyers need to keep up with current trends. Everything is changed just with TRID.

Posted by Lyn Sims, Schaumburg IL Real Estate (RE/MAX Suburban) about 4 years ago

Gene Mundt, Chicago-area Mortgage Lender - This is such great information for buyers.  Oftentimes, they come to realtors first.  When I tell them the place to start is with a lender, as you say "6 months to 1 year prior," some will brush it off with, I have great credit.  Getting a mortgage won't be a problem.  We know this isn't true.  Buyers have to be willing participants in both the mortgage process and the buying process. 

Posted by Elyse Berman, PA, Boca Raton FL (561) 716-7824 CRS, ABR, GRI,ePR (Best Connections Realty, Inc.) about 4 years ago

Good morning, Gene Mundt, Chicago-area Mortgage Lender - lending is the backbone of the process....and you've done  a fine job of giving direction and guidance to potential buyers..... now all they need to do is listen and follow your lead.... was fortunate enough to see this post on a reblog by Elyse Berman, Boca Raton, FL 

Posted by Barbara Todaro, Marketing Agent for The Todaro Team (RE/MAX Executive Realty ) about 4 years ago

Gene, for an education, it's a good idea for buyers to go to somebody like you, rather than Zillow or Trulia, which are just trying to get their contact information to sell to agents and lenders - and provide a lot of misinformation in the ptocess..

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) about 4 years ago

Zillow, Trulia, and other similar sites serve a purpose ... but for detailed, personal information it's best to speak with an actual local Lender, Patricia Kennedy ... I definitely agree.  Mortgages are so personalized these days, that even minor info and data can change the outcome found.  Why take the chance? Have a conversation and ask your questions!


Posted by Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi, 708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience (NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656) about 4 years ago

I just checked out your Blog Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi, as it was mentioned in Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Realtor (503)755-2905 Blog!  Educating one's self in real estate and financing is a huge plus - and you might just really learn something along the way!  Great advice!!     

Posted by Allie Angeloni (Long Realty ) almost 4 years ago

Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi - the power of executing a good contract for home ownership begins with knowledge and you provided the blueprint to success in the most informal and educated way. Congratulations on this feature story. It is so well thought-out! I am sure it will make a big impact on others. 

There is so much value in receiving sound advice from a Mortgage Originator who has years of experience. 30+ years going through the ebbs and flows of different recessions and shifts in the market and providing quality/excellent services to others is a unique gift. Thank you for sharing the gift of who you are. You truly are admired by many people not only in Illinois, but throughout the United States. Thank you Gene. 

Posted by Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP, Selling Homes Changing Lives (DFW FINE PROPERTIES) almost 4 years ago

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