YORKTOWN, N.Y. -- When Irene Amato went to buy her first home, she said the whole process made her feel stupid.
The process motivated Amato who founded A.S.A.P. Mortgage Corp. in 2001 and was recently honored by the Yorktown Chamber of Commerce as Businessperson of the Year.
A.S.A.P Mortgage now has four locations- in Yonkers, Croton, and two in Cortlandt Manor. Amato has placed more than 6,000 homeowners in their homes over the last 15 years.
As she went through the process of buying her first home, Amato said she realized the process wasn't constructive.
"I felt like I was afraid to ask questions, which is not my personality," Amato said. "I'm naturally very inquisitive. I didn't understand the paperwork and I was signing things I didn't understand."
Amato realized if she was confused about the process, then there were others just like her.
"I've had clients who have closed five homes in the past 10 years to brand new homeowners and they all have questions," Amato said. "People need a better understanding of programs and of different options. There's not just one way."
After buying her home, Amato went to work and learned everything she could about the mortgage business, how the process should unfold and how the customer should be treated.
"No question is a silly question," Amato said. "Communication is important. It's one of the most valuable lessons to learn.
Amato said the first conversation with a loan representative should take at least an hour. Amato said homebuyers should take their time in finding a loan representative.
"You're building a team," Amato said. "Everyone should be a specialist in their area. It's no different than finding the best doctor to perform surgery. You need to find a person you connect and trust with. You know they're going to do their best."
Placing someone in their first home is an amazing experience for Amato, she said.
"I'm not in this for the money, I'm in this for the impact it has on people's lives," Amato said. "I love being able to show them they can afford to do this. It's one of the best feelings, you can't put a pricetag on it."