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The Short List: Jessica Jakulski’s Ways Agents Can Guide Clients through the Mortgage Process

by Peter Thomas Ricci

Jessica-Jakulski

Jessica Jakulski is a mortgage banker with BankSouth Mortgage.

Every week, we ask a real estate professional for their Short List, a collection of tips and recommendations on an essential topic in real estate. This week, we talked with Jessica Jakulski, a mortgage banker with BankSouth Mortgage, on the ways that agents can guide their clients through the mortgage process.

The mortgage process can be confusing and stressful if you don’t know what to expect.  Here are some helpful tips on how to guide your clients throughout the process. A good agent and mortgage banker team will make for a smooth closing and happy client!

5. The Power of Pre-Qualification – Before you get in the car with a buyer, you should advise them to get pre-qualified with a lender. A pre-qualification gives the buyer an idea of how much home they can really afford, and is a signal to real estate agents that they are a serious buyer. We may ask for documents such as pay-stubs and tax returns to verify income. Having a pre-qualification will make the rest of the mortgage process a lot easier.

4. Documentation Requirement – There are a lot of financial documents required for the mortgage process, no matter who the client is. We can provide you with a list of documents needed.  Advise your client to go ahead and gather these documents together so they are ready to send over to the mortgage banker once requested. Tell them to be prepared to explain things like large non-payroll deposits on bank statements, addresses that don’t match to the current residence, etc. It is also important to tell clients not to deposit cash during this time, as it is almost impossible to document the source.

3. Responsiveness – Communication is key once the buyer is under contract, because there are a lot of timelines we have to abide by to make the contingencies within the contract and get the loan closed. We will update the client every step of the way, but it is also important that they respond to any additional documentation requests or questions as soon as possible, so the underwriter has time to review.

2. Taxes, Insurance and HOA – When we do the initial pre-qualification on a client, we are typically using estimates for homeowner’s insurance and property taxes, because there is no specific property in question. It is a good idea to tell your client that each property has different tax amounts, and depending on your insurance provider, your premium can be lower or higher than what we have estimated for. I always tell buyers to run the property by me before they make an offer, so I can look up the tax amount and give them a more accurate idea of their monthly payment. It is also important to know that if the property has monthly or yearly HOA, we will account for it when pre-approving them, but it will not be a part of their mortgage payment. If a property has very high monthly HOA dues, it could push the buyer out of being prequalified for that property.

1. Credit – We will monitor the client’s credit from loan application to closing, and if anything changes, it could affect their approval. It is a good idea to remind them to not open any new credit throughout the process, and to not allow anyone to pull their credit.


Jessica Jakulski brings more than five years’ experience to the mortgage industry. With customer service as her No. 1 priority, Jessica prides herself on her ability to always keep clients in the loop and ensure that they feel comfortable by the time they reach the closing table. Prior to becoming a BankSouth mortgage banker, Jessica studied under one of BankSouth’s top producers, allowing her to perfect and understand every aspect of the mortgage process. Jessica also loves working with first-time homebuyers. She takes the time to explain the entire mortgage process to them and strives to put them in the ‘best fit’ loan program for their individual needs.

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