Morty’s “Quick and Easy” Home Purchase Process was key for this on-the-go Real Estate Professional.
Our mission at Morty is to empower first-time homebuyers to make smarter financial decisions about their home purchase. We’re partnering with realtors across the nation who have a similar passion for helping them get the best home and complete a smooth, transparent, mortgage process from start to finish.
We caught up with Chris Phillis, one of our realtor partners who has a wealth of knowledge with nearly every detail of the home purchase experience. Beginning his career as a loan officer in the early 2000s, Chris is now an established real estate agent who is thriving in the vibrant, ever-expanding housing market of Charlotte, North Carolina. Here, he shares his background, his thoughts on investing in a home, and his impressions using Morty to finance his home purchase. Check it out!
How did you come to be a realtor?
I’ve always been drawn to real estate. I can remember car rides with my mom as a kid where we’d try and guess how much homes were worth in different neighborhoods. It was fun and kind of interesting to see how close you were. My mom was a loan officer and real estate was always a topic of discussion. She convinced me to become a loan officer after graduating from college. I was a loan officer for 12 years before making the switch over to becoming a realtor.
What was the transition like of being a loan officer to working in real estate?
I mean the background really helps, right? As a loan officer I worked very closely with home buyers and realtors everyday, and owned multiple rental properties of my own. So it’s really been a natural progression for me. Financing plays such a large role in real estate and having that knowledge base in extremely valuable to my clients. I love working with people, numbers and real estate so it’s been a great fit!
How do you feel your interactions with homebuyers have differed from when you were a loan officer versus a real estate agent?
In some ways, the conversation is very similar—especially with first-time-buyers. Discussing loan options and budgets is very common and I really enjoy that. Being an agent, I interact with people much more frequently and get more face-to-face time. I get to know everyone a little better and we get to talk about more than just business.
Why’d you initially relocate to Charlotte from upstate New York?
We were looking for a change—we’d lived in upstate New York all our lives and [after] we’d been dating for about a year, said, “we both want a change, let’s hop in the car and head down.
Charlotte has a lot to offer! From an economic standpoint, it’s been one of the fastest growing cities in the US for several years. It’s also one of the larger financial hubs in the U.S., just behind NYC and San Francisco (although I think we’re going to reclaim the #2 ranking soon). We’re just a few hours from the beach and the mountains, the weather is great and so are the people.
Do you see any specific trends or patterns as far as the types of houses people are searching for?
Yes and no..some things haven’t changed much over the years, growing families are still looking to the burbs for more space, a yard and good schools. However, Charlotte is unique in that our population is rapidly growing with young people. We’re seeing neighborhoods gentrify overnight, which is really interesting and exciting to navigate through. Location is still the most important factor, and there’s a healthy mix of buyers who enjoy the easy living that a condo/townhouse can offer and others who prefer the privacy and freedom of owning a house.
What was it like shopping for your own home? Did you have a calmer approach, or were you more nit-picky throughout the process?
Ya, I definitely take the calm approach. It’s kind of funny because I let my wife do all of the home shopping! [laughs] I’m not nit-picky. It can be an emotional experience though—when you’re buying a house, even more so when you’re selling a house—I don’t care how many times you’ve done it—it’s typically your largest financial asset. I’ve bought and sold a healthy number of times, so I just kind of roll with the punches, and that makes it a lot easier for me. Like, it’s not gonna go perfect, there’ll be some bumps, but at the end of the day, it’ll all work out. But yeah, I get it from the other side—this is not something [buyers] do everyday, so [it can be] a lot harder.
You brought up your wife shopping for the home—she actually used Morty! What was that experience like for both of you?
We were genuinely curious about how you guys operated from a user standpoint. We wanted to be able to shop and compare rates & fees between lenders. Morty made that really easy for us to do. We completed the loan application online and had a few questions for [my Morty expert] along the way. Everything was very quick and the process was straightforward and seamless. Plus, we got a great deal on our mortgage! We literally saved thousands on our loan.
Do you feel like there’s a common thread of concerns that first-time homebuyers share and do you feel like Morty alleviates those directly?
Yeah—first-time-buyers want to easily access information and shop on their own terms. I think a lot of people want to shop rates, but they’re not sure how to do it. And that’s what Morty does very well, right? One loan application let’s you accurately shop between multiple lenders. Mortgages have always been hard to shop for because you’d need to apply with multiple lenders and constantly get pricing quotes from all of them on the same day for the exact same purchase scenario to really compare apples to apples. Morty really solves this and makes the entire process really easy.
As homebuying season is gearing up, what do you feel like first-time homebuyers should keep in mind as they search for homes in competitive markets?
You definitely want to have a good handle on your finances—get the pre-approval. Ask your local realtor how much you’ll need to put down as a deposit with the contract. This is different from your down payment with the lender and will vary based on how competitive your market is and your price point. Sellers consider more than just your offer amount. Your deposits, time frames, inspection contingencies and more all play a role. Take the time upfront to get a good handle on your home inspection elections and your initial out-of-pocket expenses. If you don’t do this in advance, you might lose out on the perfect home!
Working with a brokerage like [Morty], you’ve got some automated processes now, and really good technology to handle this, which can speed the process up and give people peace of mind in the process.
What’s your favorite thing about being in real estate?
I would definitely say the people—getting to meet amazing people with all different backgrounds is what I love the most. From high net-worth individuals, to retirees, to first-time homebuyers, the people are what make doing this fun and exciting. Real estate is highly competitive and ever changing, and I operate my best under those conditions. There are many high’s and low’s and you have to be able to work through any scenario. At the end of the day, things usually have a way of working out and it’s a lot of fun being a part of all of it.
If you could leave first-time homebuyers with some final words of wisdom, what would they be?
Sure, get Pre-Approved with Morty! It’s the easiest way to shop for the best loan.
Find a good realtor who knows your market and works in your price point. Steer clear of the family member or friend who just got their license. This is a big purchase and experience absolutely matters. You don’t know what you don’t know.
And remember to take a few deep breaths along the way…everything will all work out.
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