Learn about an exciting new option for mortgages in Bend, Oregon on this episode of House Talk where Karen talks with Dan Williams, President of Elev8 Mortgage, LLC!
Karen Malanga: Hi, this is Karen Malanga with another edition of House Talk. And I’m so excited—well, I’m actually super excited today because someone that I’ve had in the show before that you’ve probably heard is Dan Williams. And I think what’s exciting today, Dan—and I’m just going to blow your horn, toot your horn a little bit—is Dan and a few of his partners have stepped out, and they’ve started their own mortgage company. So Dan is now the President of Elev8 Mortgage here in Bend.
Dan, I’m excited to have you here. Explain to our listeners what your goals are for Elev8, why you’re doing Elev8 because stepping out on your own is not easy. We all know that.
Dan Williams: No, not in this biz.
Karen: So, welcome to the program.
Dan: Thank you. Yes, we are super excited about this venture. It’s an opportunity for us to do things that we believe are the right things for clients doing the best way we know possible and to truly up our level of service on every front.
It comes with a lot of things. It’s a whole different animal than what is mostly prevalent here in Bend which is mortgage banking. We started what we call a wholesale mortgage brokerage.
Karen: Okay, so pretend I’m five years old…
Karen: Can you explain the differences of those?
Dan: Yeah. And there’s nothing wrong with the other platform. It is just a different way to do business. And being a different way, there are things that come with it. I’m not going to berate anybody else. But we made a decision for reasons. And in the end, one of the things that we can do is basically operate with a lot lower overhead. And that, in turn, just keeping it super simple, allows us to offer more aggressive rates than generally is what you’re seeing.
Karen: And that’s where the wholesale portion comes in?
Dan: Yeah, because…
Karen: Does that mean you have less overhead or you have less—how do you become wholesale?
Dan: Well, wholesale is more a reference to how we deliver our loans. Without getting crazy deep into that, it just means that we deal with investors who offer products—or huge investors on the street, some of them are the largest buyers, financing of purchase business and refinances that there are. And so they have massive amounts of money, phenomenal technology, everything that we need in order to serve our clients well.
Dan: And at the same time, because we’re dealing with them directly, we can be in a position to operate our business a little differently and ideally offer better pricing and product.
Dan: And some of the product will be identical. But some things are way outside the box. And that’s exciting!
Karen: So, tell me what’s outside the box? I always want outside-the-box.
Dan: Outside the box… well, really exciting things that we can offer especially in a market like Bend where we have homes that can range up on the upper end of prices. There’s a lot that are going to be above what we would consider conventional price limits.
So, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, they set loan limits for every county in the state. And the Deschutes county is $484,350 for a conventional loan limit…
Karen: …to be exact.
Dan: Yeah! Get a loan and what we call a normal loan is the conventional loan.
Dan: Normally, if you go outside of that, especially up in price, then you’re going into jumbo. And jumbo loans generally carry with me much stricter requirements. So, a borrower would need to have a lot more money in their reserves, meaning money sitting there that they did not use for down payment, they didn’t use for anything else. And it’s essentially back-up money.
Karen: So, wait, let’s just go back and pretend I’m five again. Can you explain what the reserves are basically? Is it like six months of payments? Is it payments and also homeowners insurance and property taxes or…?
Dan: It’s the total payment they’re looking at. And they want to see that a buyer coming in—and let’s say they’re buying a $600,000 or $700,000 home. And maybe they were originally going to put say 10% down on that. Normally, a lot of jumbo products, on the very minimum side, are usually asking for six months of reserves—which is six months of the payments.
Karen: That can really be a large amount, yeah.
Dan: Well, it can be way worse. A lot of products are two and three plus. Usually, three years is not uncommon.
Karen: Three years of reserves?
Dan: Thirty-six months of reserves that you will see on certain jumbo products. So a borrower has to be really well-qualified to go outside those limits.
They also might have tighter debt-to-income ratios. So a person has to have less debts, more income. On conventional loans, they kind of run with what we call the norm. The [00:05:13] commercials—without going way into that—is going to be a little more forgiving—less reserve requirements, more normal debt-to-income ratio requirements.
But when I say that the normal loan limit for $484,000 for Deschutes county for a conventional loan, we can go up to $726,000 and still offer conventional loan product parameters.
Karen: Well, that’s substantial.
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Dan: It’s huge! It’s called an all-county, nationwide, high-balanced product.
Karen: Oh, okay…
Dan: So, areas like Seattle, LA, New York, different areas have much higher priced homes have higher loan limits in those areas. Those are called high-balanced areas Seattle. You can get a conventional loan up to $726,000 and change—I’m not going to go into that—and operate under conventional loan limits. I can do the same thing here in Deschutes County which most cannot do.
Dan: So, it’s really awesome. I mean it’s a very helpful product for somebody. The only limitation I have on that is you have to have 10% down instead of 5%.
Karen: Well, that’s not too bad…
Well, let’s take a short break here. We’ll be right back with House Talk and we’ll learn more. Thanks Dan.
[commercial]: Stay with us! More House Talk is straight ahead on 104.5 FM, 1340 AM and KBNWTalk.com.
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This is House Talk. Now, once again, here’s your host, Karen Malanga.
Karen: Hi! Welcome back to House Talk. It’s Karen Malanga, principal broker at RE/MAX Key Properties. And I’m excited to have the new—I’m going to call you El Presidente because we were kind of joking during the break—from Elev8 Mortage here, Dan Williams. And here he is!
Dan: Thanks Karen. And hey, just before we get rolling, I just want to say thank you, first off, for letting me come on to your show. You do such a great job. You’re such a well-known figure in this town for what you do, the services that you provide.
If you guys don’t know, Karen is the queen. She is one of the best there is.
Karen: Thank you, Dan.
Dan: And honestly, you’ve got to be talking to her if you’re looking to buy a home in this town. She is awesome.
Karen: Oh thanks, Dan.
Dan: So, thank you for letting me join you here.
Karen: Yeah! Yeah, but I’m blushing.
Dan: So, just to continue on the little piece that we were on…
Dan: Basically, the loan limits allow you to take somebody who will put at least 10% down, but then have the ability to go well above, almost double, the normal loan limits in this area and operate with conventional standard pricing, parameters on reserve requirements, debt-to-income ratio and the other amazing thing…
Karen: What is the other amazing thing?
Dan: …with this product is even though you’ve only put 10% down, there’s no mortgage insurance.
Karen: So, what you’re really offering is an easier loan to get qualified for to—higher limit, more seamless—I don’t know if a mortgage can even be called seamless anymore…
Dan: No, lots of checks and…
Karen: …but if seamless is possible…
Karen: …which makes it easier for our buyers. Sometimes, what we notice in our business is that some of the buyer in the higher-end are older, and they haven’t gotten a mortgage in years! They’re like, “Oh, my goodness!”
Dan: Yup, very different…
Karen: “Has this industry changed or what?”
Dan: Very different than the last time if that’s the case. There’s a lot more checks-and-balances. And it’s good. It helps keep the loans that are being done in the market a little more healthy. People that are getting loans today do qualify. It’s not just on some crazy parameter that they’re getting a loan—like we saw in the past. We saw some crazy stuff years ago. And today, that doesn’t exist.
And so, there’s more checks, there’s more things, a few more hoops to jump through. There’s no question about that. That’s just the industry today. And that’s the government getting involved here and saying, “Hey, let’s make sure…”
And so, that’s what we do. And there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s actually healthy in a lot of ways. They’re just a little more time and a little more effort.
Karen: And speaking of effort, what really spurred you on to form a whole new company? I mean, this is a huge undertaking. I know I’ve been working with the state of Oregon on just something simple that I can’t talk about right now. But just the lending rules and regulations and getting through all those hoops…
Dan: It’s a lot. It’s a lot honestly. It takes a lot of time. There are so many million little details that you have to think of that, really, you think you’ve thought of them all, and then you haven’t.
And so, the motivation honestly was—you know, I’m an entrepreneur at heart, always have been. I always wanted to own my own company. And I’ve done this for 23 years for someone else.
Karen: So, you’ve got all that experience. It was about time to be your own boss.
Dan: Yeah, it was that time. I saw an opportunity to do things a little bit better and ideally offer a little more.
Karen: And that’s that whole wholesale side that you’re…
Dan: That’s what it is.
Karen: Those were your investors in the…?
Dan: We’re again just a different way to deliver a mortgage to an investor in the backend. But in the end, it comes down to how we’re operating our company to allow us to be more aggressive.
Karen: I think it’s a fantastic idea.
Dan: Thank you.
Karen: And I think Bend is ready for it, don’t you?
Dan: I do too, absolutely. I would think people love that.
Karen: So, can you maybe describe a few of the other mortgage products that you have to offer? I know we’ve been on the higher end, but we have a lot of homes in Bend too that are under $400,000 and a lot of rural products…
Dan: Absolutely, absolutely. And honestly, we have the gamut.
So, under what we would call the “norm,” we have all of your conventional products including the high-balanced stuff that I talked about. We have FHA which is only a 3.5% down product with very aggressive rates. We have VA for our veterans that can come in and have no money down, 100% financing. Honest to God, one of the best products in the mortgage business.
Karen: The VA loan?
Dan: Yeah, I love that product.
Karen: I know, no money down.
Dan: And rock solid pricing. They’re not getting hurt because they’re not putting money down. And normally, it’s one or the other. So, I love it for that reason, and I’m glad that we offer it.
We have USDA, another no money down, but rural product, as you mentioned a second ago, generally with income restrictions and area restrictions of where the home is… another phenomenal product. Very low funding fees, very low mortgage insurance rates on it comparatively.
And then, from there, we have what’s even called a non-QM or a non-qualified mortgage products. So, those are the ones that are a little bit more on the edge—somebody maybe that’s self-employed and they…
Karen: Yeah, like me…
Dan: …and their income is a little harder to track just because taxes are a lot more in-depth and a lot more little things going on there that we have to look at. And it opens up the door for things like looking at your deposits for cashflow, and then using that as a basis for income against debts.
And so, it opens up for doors something just outside the box to still be able to get a loan. They’re still qualifying, trust me. But it’s, at the same time, another way to be creative and get somebody financed and helping them buy a home.
Karen: Yeah, another layer.
Karen: I know that one thing that I’ve done being self-employed that seemed to help me is that I run everything through my CPA. And she tells me how to do everything. And so then when I do go to qualify, I just say, “Just email Hillary, my CPA,” and there you go! She can deliver profit-and-loss. She does…
Karen: I mean I don’t listen to her all the time, but I try because her advice is good and it just keeps you more organized and helps you present a better picture of what your business is.
Dan: And one of the things that we want to always do that we pride ourselves on is that we try to partner with people like CPA’s and financial planners to make sure that a client’s goals are lining up with what they’re doing with their finances overall—because I’m not a CPA. I don’t know all of the tax benefits one way or another, and I don’t pretend to.
And generally, if someone is working with a financial planner, then we want to make sure that what they’re doing with their home loan and the way they’re buying it lines up with their goals.
Well, we’re going to take one more break. And then, we’ll be right back with Dan Williams. Thank you.
Dan: Thanks Karen.
[commercial]: Stay with us! More House Talk is straight ahead on 104.5 FM, 1340 AM and KBNWTalk.com.
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This is House Talk. Now, once again, here’s your host, Karen Malanga.
Karen: Hi, this is Karen Malanga, principal broker at RE/MAX Key Properties. And I just wanted to give you my contact information as well in case you’re thinking of buying or selling a home. My family and I can be found at NestBend.com. And my cell—I’m always available—is 541-390-3326.
And now, back to the program with Dan Williams, the new President of Elev8 Mortgage.
Alright! Well, actually, you’re the original president of Elev8, not the new one.
Dan: That’s right! New company, but same guy.
Karen: And I also think that what he’s doing is fantastic. But at first, I couldn’t find him because I thought elevate and I spelled elevate and I can’t find you. So, can you tell our listeners how you’re spelling elevate?
Dan: Absolutely! We played with it a little bit just to make it a little more fun. We spell it E-L-E-V and the number eight. So, Elev8Mortgage.com is our website.
Karen: So, that’s not so hard to find.
Dan: Yeah. And we liked it. We thought it was a little fun, a little edgy.
Karen: It is a little edgy. It kind of stands out. So how many mortgage brokers do you have to help people at this time?
Dan: Right now, there are—three, four. There are six of us total.
Karen: So, you’re starting out pretty big?
Dan: Yeah… well, a good, little crew of people that we’ve known and worked with for years. And the best part is that our team behind us is the same team we’ve had for years. Nothing has changed that way. And these gals are amazing. They know their stuff. And they have the history and know when we bring a loan together, they know how to help us work and put that together and create the best options that there are. So I’m super confident, super fortunate, to have those guys with us.
Karen: They have that experience behind you. I bet you, if you totaled up the years—you know how you see some ads and it’ll say, “a hundred years combined experience…”
Dan: Oh, yeah…
Karen: I bet you have at least that.
Dan: Easily… well more than that, probably with everybody that we have, I can’t think of a person on our team with less than 15 years. So we have a couple of new hires that happen to be my son-in-law. So we’re training him. But other than those guys, everyone else is very, very experienced, very tenured—usually mostly 15, 20+ years.
Karen: Wow! And you’re located in the Old Mill currently, right?
Karen: And what’s the best phone number to find Elev8?
Karen: And I bet your website has a lot of good information too?
Dan: It does, yeah. And obviously, it’s a new company. And dealing with the state, as you mentioned, there were a lot of regulations on what we could initially start with until all of the numbers were switched and everything was legally there. And so there’s a little bit still to build out going on there, but it’s rolling.
Karen: But maybe I think it’s always good in the beginning of any new business even though it’s the same kind of business, but it’s new, and you have that whole wholesale side and better rates for people, the first couple of months, you’re going to be tweaking anyway, aren’t you?
Dan: Oh, absolutely. Lots of little details.
Karen: Yes, it’s good to tweak. Well, I think one thing I’ve always appreciated about Dan is he really takes time. And we’ve worked with some clients that have taken maybe eight months to fix their credit or to just make their profile a little bit more desirable to be getting a mortgage.
And so, I know for sure that if you’re listening, and you don’t feel like you can qualify, he’d be a really good place to start because, sometimes, you’d be surprised, a) and b) if you can’t qualify, he’ll put you on a track to get you qualified for you that home.
Karen: And then, I can take you out to find it.
Dan: Yeah, exactly. That’s our goal, is to help somebody at least to know, “If I can’t do it today, but I still have that goal, what’s my best way to get there?” We can help put them on a path to be able to buy a home.
Karen: I met this great gal the other day checking out at Target. She was asking me about what I did, so I told her, and she goes, “I so want to buy my first home. I just don’t know where to start. And so I gave her my card, and she said she’d be calling me on Friday.” So, if she calls, maybe we can help her find that home.
Dan: Would love to do it!
Karen: I think a lot of times people have challenges, they just don’t know how surmountable they are.
Dan: Yeah, absolutely. And we’ve talked about this on a previous show, but just a quick comment, a lot of people, the majority of renters who do not buy a home are very misinformed in that they think they need 20% down to buy a home. And you just don’t. There are a lot of ways around that. And you can take advantage of the escalating values in this market instead of paying rent and paying a higher amount next year and next year and next year. You can lock that in. It’s your home. Paint it the way you want, do what you want to do. But you’re taking advantage…
Karen: And have two dogs instead of one if you want…
Dan: Yup, even a big one!
Karen: And the other thing is I think when you get locked into continually paying rent, you’re paying someone else’s mortgage for them. So, you might as well be paying your own if it’s possible.
Dan: And rents here are not low.
Karen: No, they’re not.
Dan: It opens doors.
Karen: So Dan, one more time, can you tell people how to reach Elev8 and how you spell it?
Dan: Absolutely! It’s Elev8Mortgage.com. That’s our website. “Elevate” is spelled E-L-E-V-8, and then “mortgage” spelled out. And my phone number, 541-668-3053. And we would be happy to hear from you and help you.
Karen: And to find me, you can find me at [email protected] or just visit NestBend.com and you can see my team which are my children, Jonathan and Kristen. We’re all licensed and ready to help. We like working as a team, so it’d be fun.
Karen: Yup, let’s help some people buy a house.
Dan: You bet! Thanks again, Karen.
Karen: Uh-huh… thanks for listening.
Closing: Join us again this time next week for more great information on the buying and selling of your home.
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