Kari Story talks about First Home Mortgage and the local real estate market
If you speak with many local merchants and businesspeople, they will tell you there are significant signs that we are recovering from the Great Recession of 2008. Unemployment is down, and some area businesses are reporting their highest revenues in six years.
These indicators are encouraging to be sure, but it isn’t until the real estate market has rebounded that the road to recovery has hit the homestretch, since, historically, the real estate market is among the last major economic indicators to mount and sustain consistent growth in the wake of a recession. So, to better gauge the economic climate of the local real estate market, we spoke with Kari Story, branch sales manager for First Home Mortgage in Ocean City.
First Home Mortgage is a Maryland-based company that possesses an intimate knowledge of the area. Founded in 1990 by current CEO Dave Waters, the company was launched with two offices and a handful of employees dedicated to a common vision: to stay local and be independent. With an experienced support staff, leading producers and a fundamental base of established relationships in the local community, the company quickly grew to an institution that currently boasts over 35 offices serving 17 states. Today, First Home Mortgage has over 400 employees and has been voted one of Baltimore's “Best Places to Work” on multiple occasions.
“First Home Mortgage is what’s known in the industry as a correspondent lender,” said Story, a math major/statistics minor who graduated cum laude from Salisbury University in 2002, “which means that we have several investor affiliates who can help us secure the most competitive rates in effect at any given time. Just as important, we underwrite and process all of our home loans in-house. This gives us an uncommonly high level of supervision and control with the mortgages we create, and that ultimately benefits our clients, the borrowers.
“Without question, she continued, “we have the expertise and resources to secure the most competitive loan possible for whatever type of residence for which you are looking.”
That’s nice to hear, especially after years of news reports and anecdotes asserting that banks were about as willing to lend money as was a lion interested in becoming a vegetarian.
“We’re not a retail or commercial bank, and we’re certainly not averse to lending money,” Story said from her office at 6200 Coastal Highway. “Making loans is what we’re in business to do; that’s our only product. We have a due diligence to create quality loans that perform and support the long-term viability of the borrower. The loans must also be transparent and sustainable, which is precisely why our ability to underwrite our own loans is such a vital component of First Home’s stability over the years, even in the throes of a roller-coaster economy.”
Story added that the timing is perfect right now for anyone considering taking out a mortgage, for two key reasons: “First, the interest rate for a long-term, fixed-rate mortgage recently went up over one percent, which is a healthy sign for the economy overall, yet one you’d want to take advantage of before rates climb much higher.
“Second,” she continued, “property values are beginning to rise, so if one is serious about financing the purchase of a home, it would be a significant advantage to them to make the move now, while both rates and property values are, generally speaking, still very low.”
FIRST HOME MORTGAGE
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