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Lender Spotlight: Bree Shores, FirstBank, Fairhope

July 01, 2021

Bree Shores has been in the mortgage business for 4 years after working as a real estate agent. She says, “The lender I worked best with is now my manager at FirstBank. She recognized I understood the lending side of real estate and offered me a position on her team.” Since switching to a career as a mortgage lender, Shores has received the FirstBank Mortgage 2019 Alabama Award of Excellence, FirstBank Mortgage 2019 Club of Excellence, and in 2019 and 2020, placed in FirstBank Mortgage’s Top Ten in Customer Satisfaction on Social Survey.

Q: How long have you worked with AHFA’s homebuyer financing programs?

A: When I was a real estate agent, I knew about the Step Up program and loved it. It helped so many of my clients purchase a home, and I knew it would be a program I would definitely use as a mortgage banker. 

Q: What do you think is the greatest benefit of Step Up for homebuyers? 

A: The higher income eligibility limit and the fact that it can be used anywhere in the state of Alabama has been a great benefit to my borrowers. I have had several customers that would not have been able to purchase without this program, especially first-time homebuyers in this current market. Sellers are no longer accepting offers with buyer paid closing cost, and buyers may have the funds for down payment or closing cost, but not both. 

Q: What do you think is the greatest benefit of the MCC program for homebuyers?

A: MCC has been a game changer for several of my borrowers. Using an MCC can make a borrower’s purchase price eligibility change as much as $25,000. That difference in purchase price can be substantial in what homes a buyer may be able to find.  

Q: What makes you recommend the Step Up and/or MCC program to your customers? 

A: Whenever I have a borrower, normally a first-time homebuyer, who needs help with the down payment or needs to qualify for a higher purchase price.

Q: What do you like most about working with our programs? 

A: I like working with AFHA programs because they provide options that are not offered anywhere else. They give me extra tools to work with to help my clients finally own a home. They can stop paying into the equity of their landlords and start building equity for themselves.

Q: What is the best advice you can give to first-time homebuyers? 

A: My best advice is to be patient and listen to their real estate agent. Purchasing a home is a process, from finding the right home in your price range to signing all the documents at closing. There are so many moving parts to the process, and your mortgage banker and your real estate agent are there to guide you through the process and help you understand what is going on along the way.

Q: What do you think makes you a great lender? 

A: I don’t give up easily, especially if my client is willing to put in the effort as well. I treat their home purchase as if it was mine or one of my children’s. I want the best for them, and I am not going to cut corners just to make it easier on me.