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The Pre-approval Process

By John Aretos, CEO of Police Mortgage

Our pre-approval process is really meant to be an interview. If you’re looking to obtain a mortgage and coming to us first we’re going to ask you to bring certain things.

We instruct our loan officers when they are setting up a meeting with someone to let them know that the more information they can bring to that meeting the better. Or even better yet, if they can get the information to us in advance we are going to be able to prepare and discuss exactly what our clients need.

Preparation is key and police officers, the primary people that we serve, understand protocol. They’re not going to go out on the job and forget their gun. Similarly, we’re not going to forget to ask them for what we need to have a meaningful conversation. Afterall, mortgage loans for police officers is what we do.

So, what we ask for we refer to as “the rule of twos”. That’s your two most recent pay stubs, your last two years’ W2s, and your two most recent bank statements. We also would like a look at a client’s investment accounts and deferred compensation to get a clearer financial picture of where the assets are and where the income is coming from.

We try to talk through the Q&A ahead of time. For example, do you have part-time income? How long have you been on the job? How do you get paid? Are taxes withheld? If they’re not withheld then we have to get your tax returns.

We need to understand what can be counted towards income. The “rule of twos” gives starting point. At Police Mortgage, we calculate our own version of what income is going to be used towards qualification. It’s not just “push button get mortgage” with us. We owe it to our first responders to take an in-depth look. We know what will disqualify you from an FHA loan, or any other mortgages for first responders for that matter.

At Police Mortgage we’re going to go a little conservative at first. One of the things we see from unscrupulous lenders is they’re going to push the limits of everything that you give them. For instance, if you say, “I make $60,000 a year” you can probably qualify for a $300,000 house with fairly inexpensive property taxes. A lender that may not have your best interests in mind can push you to a $350,000 house because they have just enough room to do that.

That’s certainly not fraud but I call it unscrupulous. What are you interested in doing? Are you really trying to max out the amount that you can buy? That probably isn’t the best approach, especially for law-enforcement first-time home buyers.

If somebody comes to us and says, “Hey look, I know what I want and I want to buy as much as I can” we’re going to try to do that but we’re also going to explain why that may not be a good idea.

Financial education is important to us. Our main location is right by our Financial Planning and Education Center. We give first responders the most recent information and knowledge that is available in the industry. When somebody comes to speak with us we feel that the conversation needs to be under the umbrella of the Financial Planning and Education Center of our parent company, Chicago Patrolman’s Federal Credit Union at1407 W. Washington Blvd.

Our pre-approval process is an opportunity for education. We teach first responders how to qualify for a mortgage. We teach the process and we find that police officers in particular appreciate that protocol. Simply put, they feel that we understand.

Police Mortgage specializes in conventional mortgages, purchase money transactions, FHA loans, and VA loans. Led by founder and CEO John Aretos, Police Mortgage is known and respected for providing clients with exceptional service, customized terms, quick and easy closings, and low money down options. To learn more about Police Mortgage, go to or call 312-499-8878.

Police Mortgage for First Responders Who Are Second To None.

Vivian Abraham
NMLS #2451439

I have my bachelor’s in business administration and have been involved in the banking industry for over 10 years. During that time, I managed two of the Chicago Patrolmen’s Federal Credit Union branch locations prior to transitioning to Police Mortgage. I have family members who are police officers with the Chicago Police Department. My work has been very rewarding, and I take pride in having assisted countless members and their families with their financial needs and financial wellness. My hobbies include exploring new restaurants in the city and running in marathons that support pediatric cancer foundations and Chicago Police Memorial Foundation’s Run to Remember. I come from a large family primarily from the south side of Chicago and love to share all the diversity and beauty the city has to offer with my two children.

Patrick Doah
Loan Officer
NMLS #2025761

I am honored to grow up in a multi-generational family of Chicago Police Officers. I joined Police Mortgage in the summer of 2020 and love the opportunity to help both first-time buyers and repeat clients alike achieve their dreams of purchasing a home. Having been born and raised in the south suburbs of Chicago, I happily live in the Lakeview neighborhood today. Along with my two younger sisters, I am a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a lifelong Chicago Bears fan. I have a strong passion for food and love exploring the vast array of restaurants throughout our city. Nothing makes me happier than spending a summer afternoon on a golf course with family and friends!

Connor Walsh
Loan Officer
NMLS #2221708

I joined my brother at Police Mortgage as a loan officer in August of 2021 after a 10-year career in sales and marketing. Most recently, I worked as a Senior Account Executive for Ricoh North America, an office electronics company, where my main responsibilities were building new client relationships and maintaining over 400 existing customer accounts. I believe my work experience has transferred over to the mortgage industry well, because I am able to multi-task effectively while working with multiple customers. The skillset I learned in my previous employment allows me to stay organized and to manage my time well for my customers. My number one goal is always to make the loan process as quick and painless as possible for our borrowers. I am excited to further develop the Police Mortgage brand with my brother. It is a unique situation, and I believe working in an office together allows us to help our borrowers even more due to streamlined communication and our ability to help each other with our respective files. I like to spend my free time relaxing, watching sports, exercising, going out to eat with my wife, and trying to keep up with our three daughters – all under five years old!

Dylan Walsh
Loan Officer
NMLS #180970

After graduating from the University of Missouri in 2015, I moved to Chicago where I began a career in marketing at a firm called Ansira. I sought a career change and contacted Police Mortgage, where I was first introduced to the mortgage industry. I have spent the last 5 years training with our CEO, John Aretos, who has taught me all of the intricacies of the mortgage process. I love finding solutions for our clients to help them purchase the home of their dreams. I feel a huge sense of accomplishment when helping homebuyers, especially first-time homebuyers, all the way through the loan process, from pre-approval to closing day. I recently moved back to my hometown of St. Louis, where we opened a new office. I am excited to help start this new chapter for Police Mortgage. My wife, Megan, and I are happy to be back in our hometown. We are always checking out new outdoor events such as music or food festivals – anywhere we can take our dog, Remy!

John Aretos
NMLS #268165

As the CEO of an organization associated with serving the Police and their loved ones, I am privileged to play a role in helping our clients achieve their life’s financial goals. Our mission is to make the home buying or refinancing process as comfortable as possible, providing our clients with competitive products and excellent service.

I was born and raised in the Chicago metropolitan area, and I have a deep-rooted love and appreciation for the diverse culture which makes our city so special. My two older siblings and I grew up working in our parent’s restaurant, which instilled a work ethic and sense of family that I carry with me to this day.

I am a graduate of Indiana University and have been involved in the mortgage industry for nearly 25 years, helping thousands of clients save money or finance the home of their dreams. My passions are passing down my love of food, music, art, snow skiing, and red wine to my three children, who motivate me to be a better person each and every day!