Tammy Moore, ”The Diamond Diva,” is the only African American shareholder of Diamond Residential Mortgage and owner of Tammy P. Moore & Associates. She is a licensed mortgage originator in eight states (soon to be 12). She is a credit repair specialist who conducts seminars and personal coaching sessions to assist her clients with homeownership, credit and financial planning.
Tell us your story.
I have been in the mortgage industry for 17 years, I am dedicated to making sure my clients are informed homebuyers. I conduct credit and homebuyer’s seminars throughout the year to make sure the community is informed on the constant changes in the mortgage industry and home buying process.
My motto is “It’s not if you will buy a home, but when!” I truly believe that you can do anything you put your mind and heart to and I am here to make my customers achieve their dream of homeownership.
As a credit coach, my mission is to educate, empower and encourage individuals, couples, families and organizations throughout the world to take control of their credit, finances and household budget, so they can experience financial freedom and peace of mind.
How did you first get involved with your business?
In my former life I was a marketing executive for a technology company. I stumbled upon an opportunity to become a mortgage loan originator and the rest is history.
As far as credit counseling is concerned, I was my first student. I went through a divorce years ago. I was forced to file bankruptcy and my home almost went into foreclosure. I did not reach out to a credit repair company to help me with my credit; I worked on my credit on my own. I read, researched and gained a wealth of knowledge. I witnessed mine and my current husband’s credit go from the low 500s to over 800.
What is your greatest achievement?
My greatest achievement is my family. I struggled with infertility for years but Devin (now 17) was worth the wait. I’ve been married to my soulmate Derrick for 20 years and I have two bonus children, DeAndre and LaKeshia. I am a glam-mom to Joshua and Derrick II.
What has surprised you the most about your business?
Technology. We have the ability to work from our phones; our customers can sign their loan packages electronically; and I can meet with them via Facetime or Skype. This allows me to reach customers throughout the United States and not just in my local area.
What’s been the most difficult day of your career so far and how did you deal with it?
The most difficult day of my career was in August of 2007 when our company imploded during the mortgage crisis. I had to deliver this news to my staff; it was heartbreaking. I’m proud to say no one walked out; we all worked without getting paid for two weeks to get our pending loans placed with other banks until we found a new company. Out of that fiasco, Diamond Residential was born.
Who has influenced your decision to pursue your career?
My mentor Esterle Cobourn, who passed away on Dec. 31, 2017. God saw fit for my path to cross with her over 17 years ago and it changed the trajectory of my life. I had absolutely no experience in the mortgage industry, but she saw something special in me and took a chance on a young lady from Vicksburg, Mississippi. She trained me personally and taught me everything she knew about the mortgage business.
Let’s talk mortgages and credit. What’s the lowest credit score needed to qualify for a loan?
Are you ready? We will accept a score as low as 580 for an FHA & VA loan and as low as 620 for a conventional loan.
Any advice for first-time homebuyers?
Most people don’t realize they can buy a home and their mortgage payment will probably be lower than rent.
Don’t get in over your head with your first home. Make smart decisions and ask plenty of questions.
Also, don’t forget to factor in the additional maintenance that comes with a home versus a rental. When my customers leave the closing table they are left to make the mortgage payment, so I want them to be comfortable. A home should be a blessing, not a burden.
Do authorized trade lines help or hurt your chances of obtaining a loan?
They may help your credit scores but when you apply for a mortgage we must ignore that account during the mortgage approval process.
What are three quick tips to boost your credit score?
- Keep your credit card balances at 30 percent of the credit limits
- Pay more than the minimum payment on your credit cards and installment debts
- If you have limited credit, open a secured credit card and use 30 percent of the balance and pay on time
How long does it take to see improvement on your credit? Is there any way to expedite the process?
Minor changes can improve your credit score within 30 days. If you have serious credit issues and are willing to work diligently on your credit, you can improve your scores in six months to 1-year timeframe. It’s not if you can improve your scores … it’s when.
Can student loans hurt your chances of getting a loan, even if they are deferred?
Yes. Although we understand you are not required to pay on your student loans, when you apply for a mortgage we know at some point those loans will become due and we don’t want that to affect your ability to make your mortgage payments. We are required to use 1% of the student loan balance or the 25 year fully amortized payment as a debt when we determine what you can afford for a home.
What are three tips if you’re looking to purchase a home?
Now is a great time to buy. Interest rates are still low.
- Determine your target monthly payment and get pre-approved for a home loan BEFORE you meet with a realtor.
- Create a realistic budget and find out where your money is going BEFORE you purchase a home.
- Don’t change careers, quit your job or start a new business if you want to purchase a home in the near future.
Twitter handle: @tammypmoore
Facebook: Tammy P Moore and Associates