by Cristina Edelstein-Skurat
I was so delighted to get the chance to chat with Bob Strandell, an Expert Lender with the reputable and well-established Bell Mortgage. Bell’s top mortgage producer, Bob consistently has been one of the top-producing loan officers in Minnesota, as well, and was recognized as Minnesota Loan Officer of the Year by the Minnesota Association of Mortgage Bankers. He has so many satisfied customers that just can’t stop coming back. This local businessman is well-deserving of a spotlight. Here’s my interview with Bob:
Q: HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN THE INDUSTRY AND WHAT GOT YOU STARTED?
A: I got started back in 1985. Shortly after I graduated from college, I realized that I wanted to be in the financial industry where I’d be able to help people. Ultimately, the combination of mortgage originating and sales really appealed to me—I could help people with buying or financing their biggest purchase. It has been one of the best things I’ve ever done.
Bell Mortgage is a well-respected local lender here in the in the Twin Cities and Upper Midwest market. We are now expanding across the country, with Bell Bank and Bell Mortgage. I’ve been with the company since 1990. It’s a company that matches the way I do business—we try to treat people well and do the right thing. This reputation is well-earned, one customer at a time. It’s my goal to get clients through the process easily and happily to provide the best service experience possible. I’d say we’re the best lender in the country.
Q: HOW DO YOU HELP CLIENTS DETERMINE WHAT TYPE OF LOAN IS BEST FOR THEM?
A: First, I try to figure out is what the client’s goals are; most importantly, where is their comfort level for a monthly payment? With that, I can help get the numbers together to give them enough information for the next step. Then I can help the client comfortably know that they can go out and shop for homes. I typically encourage a pre-approval process to get started with us—it’s a free service where I go through and verify all their information and say, “Okay, you’re qualified up to X amount for a mortgage, but let’s really calibrate that down to what works for you, in terms of where your goals are.” Once they start to see properties, I’ll generate approval letters to show that they’re qualified for that particular property and then generate estimates to make sure they’re able to meet their budgets.
Q: INTEREST RATES HAVE BEEN WILD AS OF LATE; WHAT SOLUTIONS DO YOU OFFER CLIENTS TO HELP THEM ACHIEVE THEIR GOALS OF HOME BUYING?
A: I’m a student of economics, and I watch bonds in the mortgage market very closely. With that information, I give my best advice on a loan program that meets the best avenue for my clients. Since January, we’ve seen mortgage rates increase by over 3%. That’s a pretty big shock to most people. So we mitigate that a little bit and look at options such as intermediate ARM, like a seven-year or ten-year adjustable rate mortgage. People might recoil when they hear ARM, but it’s now a well-regulated fixed rate product, or at least it’s fixed for the first seven or ten years of the loan’s life. We try to reasonably predict how long somebody’s going to be in that house, or in that mortgage. And in some cases, it’s enough of a comfort level for a client to know that, “Hey, I can lock something in for 10 years, and maybe save 1% off the interest rate.”
Q: BEING IN THE INDUSTRY AS LONG AS YOU HAVE SERVING THOUSANDS OF CLIENTS, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE ON INTEREST RATES?
A: I would say that if you’re thinking of entering the market and buying a home, I wouldn’t wait. Yes, we might be able to predict on a short-term basis that rates are up and home prices could stabilize, but over the long haul, buying a home is still one of the best purchases that you can make. It offers two things: 1. Potential appreciation for your home, and 2. having a place that you can call your own. If you’re able to own your own home, I would recommend it. The long-term effect of supply and demand is going to fluctuate over time, but the longer you’ve owned a home, the more you will look back and say, “Hey, that was a really good decision that I got into a home and had a stable asset.” It gives you more freedom in even the most volatile of markets.
If you’re in a financial position to make it work, I’d say: Buy a home now.
Q: ANYTHING ELSE YOU’D LIKE TO SAY TO THE READERS?
A: I’m grateful for the work I do; I love my job. I’ve been originating home loans for over 37 years now and helped thousands of past clients. I’ve really enjoyed working with some of the top real estate agents in the entire metro area, including including the Kerby and Cristina team. What I like about it and what I feel blessed by is that it’s been a career where I’m helping people and I like what I do. It’s a very competitive market out there and I think I’ve been able to build up my business based on my knowledge and experience. The service level is second to none. So I’m very, very happy to be able to help people out in this industry!
Thank you, Bob and Bell Mortgage, for all you are doing for our community!
Call Bob at 612-210-2200 today for professional, competitive financing solutions! You can look up Bob’s tools and services at www.bobstrandell.com to see exactly how he can save you money and focus on the important parts of the home buying process.