Divorce at Altitude: A Podcast on Colorado Family Law

Buying a Home After a Divorce with Ashton Brooks | Episode 68

November 18, 2021 Ryan Kalamaya & Amy Goscha Season 1 Episode 68
Divorce at Altitude: A Podcast on Colorado Family Law
Buying a Home After a Divorce with Ashton Brooks | Episode 68
Show Notes Transcript

Buying a new home after a divorce can signify a new, fresh start. What happens when you re-enter the mortgage market after a divorce with only one income? Can child support or alimony count as income for a loan?

Amy Goscha  and Ashton Brooks discuss current mortgage interest rates and tips to plan for buying a home after a divorce.

What is Divorce at Altitude? 

Ryan Kalamaya and Amy Goscha provide tips and recommendations on issues related to divorce, separation, and co-parenting in Colorado. Ryan and Amy are the founding partners of an innovative and ambitious law firm, Kalamaya | Goscha, that pushes the boundaries to discover new frontiers in family law, personal injuries, and criminal defense in Colorado. 

To subscribe to Divorce at Altitude, click here and select your favorite podcast player. To subscribe to Kalamaya | Goscha's YouTube channel where many of the episodes will be posted as videos, click here. If you have additional questions or would like to speak to one of our attorneys, give us a call at 970-429-5784 or email us at info@kalamaya.law.

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DISCLAIMER: THE COMMENTARY AND OPINIONS ON THIS PODCAST IS FOR ENTERTAINMENT AND INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES AND NOT FOR THE PURPOSE OF PROVIDING LEGAL ADVICE. CONTACT AN ATTORNEY IN YOUR STATE OR AREA TO OBTAIN LEGAL ADVICE ON ANY OF THESE ISSUES. 

Ryan Kalamaya (3s):
Hey everyone. I'm Ryan Kalamaya

Amy Goscha (6s):
And Amy. Goscha

Ryan Kalamaya (8s):
Welcome to Divorce at Altitude. A podcast on Colorado family law

Amy Goscha (13s):
Divorce is not easy. It really sucks. Trust me. I know besides being an experienced divorce attorney, I'm also a divorce Clients.

Ryan Kalamaya (21s):
Whether You are someone considering divorce or a fellow family law attorney listening for weekly tips and insight into topics related to divorce, co parenting and separation in Colorado.

Amy Goscha (37s):
Hello everyone. Thank you for coming back to Divorce at Altitude I'm Amy Goscha and I have the pleasure of having today. Ashton Brooks with me today. Who's a loan officer from fairway independent mortgage. How are you doing today, Ashton? Good. How are you? Good. Can you give me a little bit about your background? How did you get into the mortgage industry?

Ashton Brooks (57s):
So I'm a generational real estate rat, I guess my grandparents. So I have my dad's mom had been a realtor for 20 plus years, and then my other grandparents wound up doing real estate later on my dad because of my grandma's connections. She wound up having my dad become a loan officer. My dad moved up here to take care of my grandma because my grandfather was a welder and he traveled a lot and my dad was going to school to be a dentist. My dad dropped out of dentist school cause my grandma was diagnosed with Ms. So when he moved up here, he wound up hitting it off really well with her loan officer who owned a mortgage company. Yeah. So he wound up being an ELO.

Ashton Brooks (1m 37s):
My mom was in processing for a long time. So then when I graduated high school, funny enough in like middle school, I wanted to be a loan officer. So

Amy Goscha (1m 45s):
Wow. Yeah. Not many, you know, that's pretty new. Like that's very specific.

Ashton Brooks (1m 49s):
Oh yeah. People looked at me and kind of cock their head when they're like, what are you going to be? I'm like a loan officer. And they're like, what? In the,

Amy Goscha (1m 58s):
Yeah, not a firefighter police officer. You're like, I'm a loan officer. You're obviously in the right profession. If you ended up there and you knew that so young.

Ashton Brooks (2m 8s):
Yeah. Since I'm 29, I started at 17. So

Amy Goscha (2m 13s):
Yeah. That's been a family. It sounds like, kind of multi-generational thing in your family.

Ashton Brooks (2m 18s):
Yeah. Real estate it to some degree or another. I followed my dad in the lending side.

Amy Goscha (2m 24s):
Yeah. Well that's great. Well, let's talk about the state of, I mean, it's very tied to the real estate market, but talk to me about the mortgage industry right now. Like where are we at?

Ashton Brooks (2m 35s):
So rates are starting to kind of creep back up slowly but surely, which we brew honestly expecting a lot of us were just because with COVID coming in lockdowns happening, rates plummeted, and we got down into well into the twos as everyone is aware of on a third year, you know, since then they've been going back up to three and a quarter past that, you know, every day at this point we just kind of watch what's happening day to day kind, hoping for some reprieve, but it's been a, I would say like a constant slow bleed over the last probably 45 to 60 days where we're starting to see it creep back up as far as purchases go and what the market looks like on the, on that side of things, doesn't seem to have slowed down very much. I mean, we're, we're still busy, I guess.

Ashton Brooks (3m 15s):
I shouldn't say that. I mean, it's slowed down some, but that's also seasonal once you get into this time of year. I mean, once you get closer to like Thanksgiving and Christmas, everybody kind of goes into like a real estate hibernation mode unless you're relocating. And so we expect things probably depending on how much rates go up and how quickly things should pick back up in the spring as usual.

Amy Goscha (3m 34s):
Well, talk to me about your process. I mean, I know that we're here to talk about mortgages and you know, if you have to refinance or maintenance, a qualify for a mortgage in the context for divorce, but tell me what is your process and when do you get involved with a, you know, a potential client when they're about to, you know, either refinance or get a new loan?

Ashton Brooks (3m 53s):
I tell people honestly, as soon as possible. So I've literally had people where they reached out to me and they're like, man, I need help with my credit. I need a game plan. Like I don't know what I'm doing. So I mean, there's been clients where we've worked with them for literally over three years to get them into a house. So I wouldn't say that there's ever a time that's like too early. If you have questions or you're trying to plan something, sometimes it takes six to eight months to do it the way that you would ideally love to do something and sometimes longer. So we just tell people, man, if you have questions, just reach out there's we are not, I am not big on like pressure sales or anything like that. I'm like, I'll give you the information, let you guys make the decision. Ultimately, as long as you're happy, we get to the finish line at some point. I really I'm good.

Amy Goscha (4m 33s):
Yeah. And then if you, if you lock in an interest rate, how long can you lock it in for those? It depends.

Ashton Brooks (4m 39s):
So it's 36. Well, you can do 30. No, you can do 15 days in certain situations, which we have done a lot of Seva deals where like another lending institution screws up or something. So we do a 15 day lock because the longer you lock your interest rate, the worse your pricing gets, your interest rates start to slip because you're guaranteeing yourself against the market for a longer period of time. It's not drastic, but it's, you definitely pave to lock your interest rate for longer. So you can do a 15 day. You can do a 30 day. You can do a 45 day, a 60 day. Honestly, we have them at 185 days or 180 days and 365. So we can do long-term locks. Long-term locks are structured a little bit different.

Ashton Brooks (5m 19s):
It's a lot for like, you know, people right now, if they're doing a new build and they're anticipating rates going up significantly over the next 12 months, something like that, we can look at doing like a one year rate lock. Those require like a deposit upfront. And it's a little bit different of a process. And it's just like a 30 or a 60 day lock because you're locking for a year, a little bit of pricing. Like it's not like you'd get the same rate on a 30 day lock as you do a one year lock. Right. So there's strategy that goes into it. We have to just sit down and just kind of look at every single one case by case.

Amy Goscha (5m 50s):
And when we, before we get into kind of the specific divorce context, so Ashton's, I've been hearing about how, you know, praiser, I mean, everyone is like taxed, right? Yeah. So we have like a prey, you know, praisers who, you know, like you want to close on the house, you, you know, you've qualified for your lending, you know, but it's taking appraisers a lot longer to get things done. You know, is that affecting, I guess your process at all

Ashton Brooks (6m 15s):
And getting them done? No, I mean, we get appraisals back on average. I'd say seven business days. 10 days. I mean, yeah. We, and we have in certain circumstances we can even do a rush. I mean, that's like non rush turn times. Usually you can pay like a $250, $300 rush fee. If you get out into more rural areas, that's where it does get tricky. Like when you get into your mountain towns, you get out way like in the, like the Southwest corners of the state, stuff like that. There's just not a lot of appraisers in those areas. So that's a different story, but around the Metro and the whole like front range and all that, and even into certain parts of the mountains, like Blackhawk and things like that, we really not, we don't have, we're not having them drawn out or anything like that.

Ashton Brooks (6m 60s):
The thing with appraisals that people have been battling are on the real, like for the longest time on the real estate side, on the resale side, just a home may be listed as say 500,000. But in order to get that home under contract, you're going in at five 50 and you're saying that I'll cover the difference in the appraisal, you know, whatever it doesn't appraise for. And so we've been seeing a lot of competition with that for the longest time. And that's starting, there's a little reprieve there now, but turn times themselves personally, we haven't seen any issues.

Amy Goscha (7m 30s):
I don't know. I think the issue that I was thinking of that I could see happening is because everyone is paying so much over asking price. Are you seeing that the appraisals are coming in and properties are getting appraised for those over asking prices. And does that affect the lending at all? Where people have to come up with cash at closing, like additional closing, have you seen that happen?

Ashton Brooks (7m 53s):
I mean, so let's talk about who that buyer is. Okay. Because I think that's really important. The people, the vast and I mean, vast majority of the people that are buying homes for a premium and willing to pay above appraisal are the people that just sold their house. I see. And so what just cause right now, a lot of first time home buyers don't have 50, $60,000 to pay for the price of a home. And so they're just like, yeah, I'm out now. I'm

Amy Goscha (8m 21s):
Not doing that. Even in that game,

Ashton Brooks (8m 24s):
They're not even financially comfortable to do the yeah. It's, which I understand. Right? So these people that are doing this and bidding on these homes are people that their homes are now under contract to sell and they're contingent, but they've also got 40 or 50,000 to over for their house. And then they're getting to the point where they're past inspections. So like they know what their money looks like when they sell their home, like how much they're getting and what that's gonna look like. So at this point they're going okay. I have most of them, a 30 or 60 day lease back after closing. So I have another 70 days to figure out where I'm going to live. And like, I mean, we coached people on this and talk to them about this as they call me and they say, Hey, we're looking for our forever home, which is a lot of This is, or you're a step up home because you have another kid that you weren't expecting or something like that.

Ashton Brooks (9m 11s):
We're dealing with a lot of that right now, too. So these people are calling and saying, Hey, my home is going to list it 5 25. And then they wind up going under contract at five 70, they close at 5 65, essentially after some inspection stuff and whatever else. So they're like, all right, well, cool. I just got 50, 60 grand more than I was expecting for my house. So if I'm going to write an offer on a $700,000 home, here's 50 grand on top of the appraisal, surprisingly enough. A lot of the appraisals come in really close to that value.

Amy Goscha (9m 40s):
Yeah. And that's still happening. It seems like even with the Barbarossa or

Ashton Brooks (9m 44s):
Because the comps are able to justify it, it's pretty wild. We haven't really seen

Amy Goscha (9m 49s):
A market like this in a long a while.

Ashton Brooks (9m 52s):
I don't think ever. Yeah. I mean the inflation rates, but what I talk about with everyone and I actually did about a 25, 30 minute video on my personal Facebook page. I don't have a business page. Everybody's my friend on Facebook. And I just keep people kind of up to date on my family and this kind of stuff every once in a while. So it's like a 25, 30 minute video. Cause I had a lot of people reaching out to me and being like, oh, I'm gonna, I'm going to wait to buy a house until the market corrects. And I'm like, okay. So I've been thinking about this for a long time. And there's a lot of real estate professionals that I talk to and they're like, oh, they're stupid. And they should buy now. And then there's other ones that are like, yeah, I don't blame them. And I'm kind of like, well, so I was talking to this, this gal that I do quite a bit of work with down in the Springs.

Ashton Brooks (10m 33s):
And I was like, I'm going to do a video on this. Like I'm going to run the numbers and see like, if you buy a house now versus buy a house later, how does it change? And so what I had thought about is how our home price is affected. So 70% of the market is driven by mortgaged homes, 70% of people who buy a house, have a mortgage on it. So you have 70% of the market driven on what they're comfortable with as a monthly payment, what they're saying they can afford every month. So rates go down, down, down, down, down money gets cheaper to borrow home prices, go up like practically at the same inverted curve. And it's because within, and I'm sure you can agree to this too, because you see people's finances all day long. Yeah. Especially like, you know, with kind of the more like average person around Denver, these people, they, your salaries, haven't adjusted at the rate of cost of living here.

Ashton Brooks (11m 25s):
And so you're at a point where you've peaked out what each salary bracket can afford at home price. Does that make sense on a monthly payment perspective within their budget? So at this point it's like, as rates start to go back up and really start to correct. And when I say really start to correct, like I've seen rates go from, I got in at four points when they went from 4 75 to four and a quarter of the whole country tried to refi. And then they went down to three and a quarter and the whole country went ballistic. And then they went all the way back up to like five, five and a half. And then all the way down to two and a half percent. And it's just been this wild ride. Right. And the whole time home prices have been going up.

Ashton Brooks (12m 5s):
But that's because the amount of living expense, there was room to do that within the Denver Metro area. And now it's much more like your bigger scaled cities like Los Angeles and New York and your higher cost of living areas, the where as rates are going back up home prices, I think are going to go back down in scale with like the monthly payments, not going to change for the dude that makes 90 grand a year. And if he says he's cool with 2,400 a month, what 2,400 a month gets him now versus two and a half years from now, if his pay doesn't change is going to be the exact same. You see what I'm saying? So this video that I did was you buy a house now at 2 99, you buy a house later at 5%, two years from now to keep your payment the same.

Ashton Brooks (12m 49s):
It was like 2500 2600 a month. The rate was 2 99, 5%. The purchase price was 500 and 400. So I was like, if you wait two years to buy that home for a hundred grand less and you'd have the same monthly payment, what's the cost of living? Like, what did you pay out in cost of living over like 10 years? And it was like the same, it's actually no different. It was crazy. Yeah. And I was like, okay. So the guy and the way that the numbers worked out is it was like the guy that owns the house at 2 9, 9, he had a lower cost of living over the course of time because his rate was so low. The guy that waited two years was renting for two years, right?

Ashton Brooks (13m 30s):
So that's a hundred percent interest. And then he moved in at 5% interest. So at the course of 10 years, they've paid out the same, the guy that bought the house at 2 99, still owes more on the house, but he's paid out less. The other guy has paid out way more, but he owes less.

Ryan Kalamaya (13m 47s):
This episode is brought to you by our law firm. Kalamaya Gosha Amy. And I describe our law firm as an innovative and ambitious trial team that pushes the boundaries to discover new frontiers in family law, personal injuries, and criminal defense in Colorado. We currently have offices in Aspen, Glenwood Springs, Edwards, Denver, and Boulder. If you want to find out more, visit our website, Kalamaya dot law. Now back to the show.

Amy Goscha (14m 16s):
Yeah. That's so interesting. And that's actually a good scenario. Cause I have to look at that even when people are divorcing, it's like, do they want a rep? They want to buy, you know, can they qualify? You know? And that's how I got in touch with you. You know? And I need people like you to talk to me about, you know, can a person who has been a stay at home parent, you know, how much money do they need, you know, an alimony it's also maintenance to be able to qualify for a mortgage. So we'll, you know, we'll get into that, but kind of, you know, moving to kind of the divorce context, you know, what are some considerations that you see that people need to think about when they're getting divorced, you know, related to mortgages,

Ashton Brooks (14m 56s):
Creditors, lenders, anything to do with finances, they don't care about your emotions and how you feel with your ex. And what I mean by that is you have to, even in those, like in an emotional separation, you have to remember to just like be methodical, I guess when it comes to just maintaining your finances. Because when you go to I've had people literally reach out to me and be like, I'm leaving this person. I want to buy a home, then divorce him. And I'm like, do not do that. You're going to complicate things a whole lot more, which I'm sure you can attest to.

Amy Goscha (15m 32s):
Yeah. And when you say verify for like our listeners, when you say complicated, like a lot of times, then you have to be on, you know, your title together on another property, the loan isn't, you know, titled, jointly, and then you're still having to like refinance it. So it's not like you're untying. Not, not that you're wanting to untie.

Ashton Brooks (15m 51s):
Yeah. So definitely don't like buy a house and then file for divorce because you're just going to create more work for, for miss Amy over here. But anyways, the other one is we see people where, and I, and I see this a lot too. One person either drains a bank account and doesn't pay bills or they both get in an argument and they just don't pay bills. And when you get through the divorce process and one wants to keep the house and one's going to move out of the house and all this, and then you have to refinance that person off the house. You can't, your credit's wrecked. No one's going to lend you money. And so then you're, then you have a judge on you. And then you're having to go back and ask for extensions and all this other stuff. And I've seen it multiple times.

Ashton Brooks (16m 32s):
So just make sure that those bills are still being paid. Make sure that everything in your financial life doesn't get flipped completely upside down, because then you're going to stagnate yourself for literally like once you have that starting fresh and you, your, your separation is finalized and you're ready to start your life. You don't want to be boxed in from all these financial freedoms that you had just before you want to be able to have access to credit and to be able to do those things that you're going to want to do and not finance a car at 16%, 21% stuff like that.

Amy Goscha (17m 2s):
Yeah. And we definitely have people, you know, obviously I deal with it all the time. You have clients that are going through divorce, but I think you're right. The biggest thing is to make sure to plan, you know, I mean, you got to still be fiscally responsible and it's super scary for people going through that because they don't know what they can afford. They don't know. You know, and the first task that I do is I sit down with a client and I go through their budget. I go through their, you know, their assets and my guests is at least my philosophy is, is that's the time to really bring someone like you in looking at what are the options? You know, if you have a client that's looking to purchase a house or refinance someone off.

Ashton Brooks (17m 43s):
Yeah. I mean, like I said, you can never get involved with like a true loan officer that knows what they're doing too soon, because all they're going to do is just be like, you're not ready yet. I tell people all the time too. It's never a no, it's just not yet. Right? Like we got a couple more things we got to do with the divorce. It's married very much like that, you know? And that's why you and I like with the person that we just had come up, not necessarily to segue too soon, but the person that we just had come through, you have to plan out before the separation is even finalized. How many months of alimony or child support you receive in order for that to be considered usable income. And then on top of that, you also have to have like so much time continuing to where you can use it as income.

Ashton Brooks (18m 26s):
So if you have someone staying in a home that needs that additional support income to qualify, it takes a lot of planning. Yeah.

Amy Goscha (18m 35s):
And I mean, I think that scenario is a good one to bring up because even as like a divorce attorney, like I'm not, you know, like laws change or tiny changes. And, you know, I think that's a good example. You know, I'm sitting in mediation, I'm thinking that as the attorney that, you know, you need six months of alimony before you can apply, but then you just need an, you know, you need a, a term of three years. Whereas, you know, when I talked to you, you were like, well, Amy, it's really gonna take four years. So in the separation agreement, you know, I really need to make sure that I'm putting in there that the duration of the spousal maintenances for four years at a minimum. So, you know, as a divorce attorney, you know, that stuff changes and I'm not like bootstraps on the ground in that industry.

Amy Goscha (19m 20s):
So, you know, that's good. Another reason why to bring, you know, if you're looking at someone, qualifying for a loan to bring someone like you in, you know, at the time, even before mediation to run through all those scenarios. Yeah.

Ashton Brooks (19m 33s):
Yeah. Cause I mean, it does depend change depending on what type of financing you do as well. So if you do FHA financing, conventional financing, those differ as far as how much history. So everything with income on alone is looked at in two parts, right? One is history and one is continuance. So we have to look at the history of what you've been receiving and make sure that, you know, what we're using on the application is documented and verified. And then we also have to look at the continuance of going forward, right? So like in particular with alimony, child support, any type of maintenance, I've literally used no joke.

Ashton Brooks (20m 14s):
I have used puppy support as income on a loan application to qualify a guy paid his ex-wife like, I think it was like $250 a month for the dog. And he paid her travel and that kind of stuff. So we used it.

Amy Goscha (20m 28s):
And that's one question I do have about the child support stuff is like, do you guys, when you're looking at, I mean, I know obviously you're looking at alimony, but are you looking at all sources of support? So including child support.

Ashton Brooks (20m 39s):
Yeah. There has to be a history of it. And depending on what type of support it is going to change to some degree

Amy Goscha (20m 47s):
Mean, and I don't know if you know all the specifics, but if you do, cause I don't know about the different types

Ashton Brooks (20m 52s):
Of lending. Like, do you have any information on, so FHA is I just, cause when you had called me on the last one, I went up and talked with my SVP of underwriting and FHA was three months of history. So we needed three months payment history of it. And then three years continuance conventional financing, which is like FHA is far more nine times out of 10, far more costly of a mortgage to borrow through versus a conventional.

Amy Goscha (21m 21s):
And that's because you're also, what is the mortgage insurance called that you have on top of that

Ashton Brooks (21m 25s):
Private mortgage insurance? So FHA. Yeah. So FH there's two types of mortgage insurance. One of them is what's called upfront mortgage insurance and the other one is monthly. And that's what everybody's really familiar with. Like at some point that drops off my payment. So FHA, they charge an upfront fee and they charge you monthly. And if you don't put 10% down, then the mortgage insurance never drops off. You have to refinance out of that loan to get rid of it. So, and even if you put 10% down, it's on there for 11 years. So for a long time, regardless of your equity position, they don't care where conventional financing, it drops off automatically at 78%.

Ashton Brooks (22m 8s):
If your home appreciates you do improvements. Like there's a lot of different ways you can get rid of that mortgage insurance sooner on conventional financing. And if your credit is over like six 80, it's kind of the tipping point, your mortgage insurance is a lot cheaper on conventional financing. So, and you can choose one or the other, either the upfront or the monthly versus getting hit with both. So FHA they're a little more lenient on a lot of things. As far as qualifying goes. Like I said, when I talked with my SVP, he said three months for FHA, as far as receiving alimony, receiving child support. And this is court mandated. So this is stuff that you guys finalize in a separation agreement or what have you

Amy Goscha (22m 45s):
Actually, one question I do have is what happens if like, you know, the divorce isn't final and we have like a temporary orders stipulation. That's an order of court that says that. Let's just say, mom has to pay dad, you know, child support and maintenance. Does that count? You know, if it's court ordered or does it have to be like the actual final, you know, agreement?

Ashton Brooks (23m 5s):
This is my job like this. Like, what we're talking about right now is like what I actually do all day, because at this point I go, okay, I need to sit down. I need to go with my SVP. We have to look like the line-by-line in the gray area of it and make a decision on it. And that's where I confidently go. I feel good about being like, I can't guarantee anything, but I feel like I could make that work. Now what I would say as just out of like doing this long enough, it would be a heck of a lot easier if that court ordered stipulation that temporary one until everything's finalized. If the number didn't change, I see like if you get 3000 a month in maintenance and then the finalized one is 4,500 and you jumped that person up another 1500 a month, then underwriting is going to be like, Hmm, we should probably see if this person's actually going to clear 4,500 a month to our borrower.

Ashton Brooks (23m 53s):
So they may start you over. If I can go to them and say, Hey, this isn't the finalized documents, but it was court ordered. And this says, cause I'll pull it up really quick here.

Amy Goscha (24m 0s):
Yeah. That's a good point though. I shouldn't, you know, and those are all things, you know, as I'm sitting in mediation, I'm trying to figure out and think about, you know, cause a lot of times we're being creative, you know, I figured out like how much, I think someone should be paying an alimony over the term and then I'm looking at well, should I make the term less or longer? You know, they qualify. So,

Ashton Brooks (24m 20s):
Yep. So this says, let's see here document that alimony or child support or separate maintenance will continue to be paid for at least three years after the date of the mortgage application as verified by one of the following a copy of the divorce decree or separation agreement. If the divorce is not final, that indicates payment of alimony and child support in states, the amount of the award and the period of time over which it will be received. If a borrower who is separated does not have a separation agreement that specifies alimony or child support payments, any proposed or voluntary payments may not be considered as income. That's conventional financing FHA. They do allow for voluntary payments. So like there's not an actual yeah.

Ashton Brooks (25m 1s):
So FHA me, pull that one up here too. I do know that because I looked into that as well. I was like, what if there's no agreement in place and they've just been doing it FHA, pull it up just to be sure. But I'm like 99% that it's 12 months. So if they've been doing it voluntarily for 12 months and you can document it and that's the tricky part is we have to get a copy of the checks or something like that showing you it's made out to them each month or a copy of a lot of times now it's Venmo. So we do a lot of like just the Venmo between that person and just showing it boom, boom, boom, every single month. But anyways, yeah. It's it's 12 months. I can tell you that for the voluntary stuff, it is three months for FHA.

Ashton Brooks (25m 42s):
If it's court ordered and you still need three years continuing.

Amy Goscha (25m 45s):
Yeah. That's good thing. We're all like, I mean, I didn't even think about that. There would be a difference between FHA and conventional, so that's really good to go over. But another reason why to work with you as a team member, you know, when someone's specific

Ashton Brooks (25m 59s):
And VA VA's going to probably be different as well. I'll pull that one up for you really fast. They don't even address it specifically, which a lot of times they do that, they leave it up to the underwriter, which is actually pretty cool.

Amy Goscha (26m 12s):
One question I do have for you is so, you know, like a person gets divorced, their, their decree is final. How long from when they start? Like they put the application in like, what is, how long does it take to get qualified? And what is like, how long is the process, I guess

Ashton Brooks (26m 29s):
For me to take an application in pull credit and get alone figured out if it's a really complicated one, I'd say a couple of days. Yeah. I have to. I mean, we're really, really spoiled and fortunate in the sense that a lot of mortgage companies, they don't want underwriting, like even in the same building, as production, just for conflict of interest reasons and like influence, like you get a, a lot of underwriters. And a lot of it has to do with personality traits of like good underwriters versus good salespeople. Your good underwriter wants to come in every day, shut the door. They're in their space. They have their music on, like they just do their thing and then they leave and then they're very happy outside of work.

Ashton Brooks (27m 10s):
And I love our underwriters, but a salesperson is very high drive, high gear, high emotion. They're very empath. You know, you're dealing with people's lives and the biggest financial transaction in their life. A lot of the time. So with that comes very tense situations between salespeople that don't know how to keep their composure and underwriting and sometimes underwriting can kind of cave. And you know what I mean? So my group has been together for 10 plus years. So, and some of us have been together for 15 plus years. So we are like family and we go to each other's birthdays, that kind of stuff. So I have underwriting on the floor above me in our building and they come down and talk to us every once in a while we go up there.

Ashton Brooks (27m 53s):
But we also, because of our relationship, if we have a disagreement, we can kind of tell each other that we're not liking you so much this week. We can kind of have it out and it's all business. So fairway trusts us to do the right thing on both sides. Does that make sense? So a lot of times I can go upstairs and my SVP of underwriting, he's not even a manager. I mean, this guy is like over an entire region of underwriters is on the floor above me. I just walk up there, sit down in his office. We have a great relationship. So a lot of times I just literally get Scott's word and what Scott says goes,

Amy Goscha (28m 25s):
I mean, that's great. I mean, you're really kind of explaining like a team approach. I mean, it's so

Ashton Brooks (28m 31s):
Well, yeah. I mean, like if we were to, when we came to fairway because our old company was, was bought out and when the buy a major home builder, the mortgage company that we worked for for 15 years, and it was the way that that company had been built was by friends and family, bringing friends and family in. And so it was very much a team approach and personal. So when they got bought out, we were just looking for that again. And fairway is a very big company, but they have a really good culture. And the way that corporate operates is they want to get back to you very quickly, like speed to respond. They don't want to be in your way of doing your job. And they just kind of let us do our thing. So I still work with my dad.

Ashton Brooks (29m 12s):
And so my dad left, our old company went to fairway. Obviously I went with him and over the next couple of months, several people followed my, my dad over. So we have a, I mean at this point and we lost a lot of really good people at the same time. But at this point, I mean, the people that did wind up coming over to fairway, there's probably 30 of us, 35 of us that have been together for literally 15 years. So, and in the mortgage industry, it's very, very, very high turnover. Yeah. It's, I would say three to five years, people lasted a company we've been at our company now for going on seven years. But the group itself, like I said, I mean three times the average of what you kind of see, you know, especially on like your, your production teams and stuff like your loan officer assistance and that kind of stuff.

Ashton Brooks (29m 58s):
They tend to bounce pretty quick. And a lot of ours have moved up into like processor positions and that kind of stuff.

Amy Goscha (30m 3s):
Yeah. It's good to know that you guys have a good working relationship with underwriting because I've had scenarios where like I'm in mediation. You know, my client says that they talked to their lender and they got pre-approval, you know, we finished the agreement and then it just falls apart and underwriting, you know, it's just really the listener. Like you need to make sure that you're working with a mortgage company that is good, has been around for a while. Like yours, you know, has good relationships with underwriting really important.

Ashton Brooks (30m 35s):
Yeah. We just, we just have a good relationship with them. So, I mean, if at any point I have any questions or concerns on a loan, I just go upstairs and I just sit down with Scott or there's another gal that used to be on Scott's team. That was his right-hand person. Her name is Marta. She now oversees an entire other division. So between Scott or Marta, we just go upstairs, sit down and talk with them and we don't leave unless we have it figured out. And if Scott's not cool with signing off on it, he's really good about Scott's very approachable and he's very much, he looks at everything in an underwriting perspective of if Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac were to send this back to us and say, we don't like this loan, buy it back. He's like, I have to have a way to defend what I did. And as long as I have a defensible position, my win rates, like 80% with them of being like, if not higher of being like, no, this is a good loan.

Ashton Brooks (31m 23s):
And here's why, but if he's not comfortable making that call, then there's people that we can even go to past him in credit risk up to the CEO. And so there's even like two or three people above him, but it's not very common that we have to do.

Amy Goscha (31m 36s):
Yeah. I have a, it's kind of a, I have another question. So if someone wants to refinance, so the divorce decree is final and they want to refinance there and get their spouse off the loan of, you know, like the marital residence, the same type of thing. Like if the person that is wants to stay in the house is refinancing to get the other party off the loan. Is that the same requirements for spousal maintenance to show like with a conventional loan, six months of payments? Is it the same for the refinance is my question. Okay.

Ashton Brooks (32m 7s):
Yep. They're going to need on a conventional loan after the court order has been put in place, you're going to need six months of payment, history of that without missing any payments. Right? Like they don't want to see that they missed a, a month late. So as long as there's six on-time monthly payments and three years continuance, you know, at the time of closing, it's going to go for more than three years then you're okay.

Amy Goscha (32m 30s):
Yeah. So, I mean, that's one of the biggest takeaways I think is that, you know, if you're getting spousal maintenance, you really need at a minimum, a duration of four years,

Ashton Brooks (32m 39s):
You have, I completely agree. Cause here's the other thing too. I mean, things happen, right? Like things happen, you get setbacks, people try to pay down credit cards and they don't have the ability to, or whatever the case might

Amy Goscha (32m 50s):
Be. If you give someone to say like three years in six months, like they have to close on a specific month that doesn't work for any reason than your host planning.

Ashton Brooks (33m 2s):
So yeah, that, that four years gives me not even so much me, but the client in the event that something were to happen. It gives them like an extra three months to get it figured out. So you're giving them like a nice window of time to actually get this done instead of trying to make sure that it fits into one calendar month.

Amy Goscha (33m 22s):
Yeah. Okay. That makes sense. And then I guess the other question I have is for divorce attorneys, because we have, you know, clients, wait, we also have other like divorce attorneys and lawyers that listened to our podcast. What would be your, I guess, recommendation to a divorce attorney, you know, as far as like what information you need or how can we help make the process easier when you meet with like one of our clients?

Ashton Brooks (33m 45s):
And if you guys have put like gone through any sort of a budget or put together a budget with them, just let me know. Cause one of the things that we talk about with our clients all the time is listen, there's a difference between trust me, there is a difference between what you qualify for and what you can actually afford. And a lot of times you qualify for much more than you can afford, because depending on the type of financing that we're doing, they take or don't take into account certain things, right? Like we don't look at your cell phone and cable bills and we don't look at how much you pay for your kids' soccer and baseball that a travel league. Like we don't look at that kind of stuff, but you guys know that you got budget a thousand dollars or $1,500 a month for baseball and volleyball trips or camps, or, you know what I mean?

Ashton Brooks (34m 28s):
So a lot of times I'll call people and be like, Hey man, you can. I mean, if you want, you can have a $3,500 a month mortgage and they're there almost like, cause they ask, they're like, well what's the max, like how much can I go to? And I tell them, and they're almost like put off by it. And I'm like, well, that's why we talked about like, there's what you want to actually pay and what you can get yourself into. Right. So

Amy Goscha (34m 47s):
Yeah, that's so, you know, and that's one thing that I've really started focusing on is when you're going through a divorce, you know, like where you're, where you think you're going to be at financially and in gear, when you're going through that, you just can't really see that. So you really need to crunch the numbers, like going back to your point of not that, you know, divorce is emotional. You can't just take the emotion out of it that you really can't let everything else, like your financial position go to the wayside, but that's where people like me and you can come in and kind of really look at the situation and can run the scenarios and help them see.

Ashton Brooks (35m 21s):
Yeah, absolutely. And if you feel like you're the type of person that you should just going to get overwhelmed, then bring professionals in sooner than later, because mean, then we can at least be like, Hey, these are the things you need to do. And like, to kind of help, I won't say, stay on top of you and babysit you, but at the same time, like keep you on track and just remind you of the things that you may just forget about otherwise.

Amy Goscha (35m 44s):
Yeah, it does. I know. And we've all seen those scenarios. So how people learn from those and avoid those well, Ashton, anything else, you know, as we wrap up that you think would be important, I guess, from a client perspective or an attorney perspective, you know, related to mortgages

Ashton Brooks (36m 2s):
Outside of just which pretty much goes for everything, but communication is key. You know, we, I try to be extremely thorough and detailed. The more details that someone can give me about their personal situation and what they're walking into with a separation. It helps me do my job a lot easier. And it'll take a lot off of you as an attorney or you as a client, if I'm brought into the scope of what's going on.

Amy Goscha (36m 27s):
Yeah. And you have all those details. Yeah. Well, great. Well Ashton, thank you so much for, for coming on as an expert today. I really appreciate it for all of our yeah. And for all of our listeners. Can you tell me, can you just tell listeners how they can get in touch with you via email or,

Ashton Brooks (36m 44s):
Yeah, so I, I don't have a desk line. Literally. I haven't had a desk phone for probably five years now. It's just my cell phone. So my cell is (303) 731-9155 or my website it's you can go on there and fill out information for me to contact you, fill out an application or it's got my email and all that stuff. And that's just my last name. Brooks B R O O K S lending.com.

Amy Goscha (37m 9s):
Great. Well thank you Austin. I appreciate it.

Ryan Kalamaya (37m 12s):
Thank you everyone. This is Ryan again. Thank you for joining us on Divorce at Altitude. If you found our Kips insight or discussion helpful, please tell a friend about this podcast for show notes, additional resources or links mentioned on today's episode. Visit Divorce at Altitude dot com. Follow us on apple podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to it. Many of our episodes are also posted on YouTube. You can also find Amy and me at Kalamaya dot law or 9 7 8 3 1 5 2 3 6 5 that's K a L a M a Y a.law.