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Mortgage broker for refinancing with < 20% equity
I'm seeking for ethical and knowledgeable broker to refinance my mortgage. I may
not have enough equity in the house and don't want to just randomly apply and
only to find out at the end that the appraised value is too low. So I'm hoping
the broker would help finding a way to estimate the value or have other options
for refinancing. Any recommendations or advises will be greatly appreciated.
Two months ago, mortgage consultant Evelyn Freitas Rogerson basically saved our
backsides. The bank randomly cut off our revolving credit line. With a remodel
scheduled, we didn't know what to do. Evelyn stepped in, did research, wrote a
letter to the bank and sent it with appropriate attachments. Two days later, our
credit line was restored! She said not to worry, she'd handle it and she did it
beautifully and quickly. Evelyn works with C2 Financial Corp. Her phone # is 372
4864 and cell # is 501 8473. Or email Evelyn.Rogerson@earthlink.net
We could not be more pleased.
We didn't use a realtor when we bought our duplex from our landlord. Instead we
relied on our mortgage broker Don Gates of Metrocities Mortgage (925) 708-7088 to
steer us through the process. Two years later he helped us refinance our
house at a lower rate. He's great, absolutely great. - Berkeley Home Owner
We were very happy recently (Mar 2012) with Pacific Western Mortgage Group (Ms.
C. Tran was great). They were very ethical and spent a lot of time going over
our options/needs with us. Following a bad experience trying to refinance
through our bank (where we were offered a bad rate/poor service) we were very
pleased with the time and energy that Ms. Tran spent in finding us a really good
rate and finding a loan that met our requirements. I am not sure about your
specific situation, but I can highly recommend PWMG / Ms. C. Tran. at (510)
654-2200 or http://www.pwmglending.com based on our great experience with them
this year. Happy PWMG Customer
Looking for Knowledgeable Mortgage Broker
We are hoping to move to Berkeley from Vallejo. We need a mortgage broker
knowledgeable in situations where the first house will be either kept to be a
rental or ''short-sold'' (is that the past tense for short-sale?!) We would
love someone who is efficient as time is of the essence.
Julia Demeter with International City Mortgage in Montclair is wonderful. She will
educate you about the loan process, rather than try to sell you on it. She has
great integrity and makes sure that you are well-prepared for every possible
contingency. Her number is 510-356-2718.
VA Loan Mortgage Broker
My husband and I are looking for a mortgage broker who is
truly experienced in VA and CalVets loans. We've spoken to
several brokers who claim to know about them and then turn
out that they've done one or two. These loans are
specialized and we need someone who really understands the
ins and outs of using them. Thanks so much for any suggestions.
Hoping to be a homeowner
We went through the same thing last year with several mortgage brokers
who claimed to know VA loans but really didn't. We ended up going with
Wells Fargo, specifically Nina Jones in Oakland and she was fabulous.
When I called the VA help center directly, they mentioned that Wells
Fargo does the highest volume of VA loans in the country, so even if
not so many are done here in the Bay Area, they have a whole department
to fall back onto for advice. I would definitely give Nina a call,
510-267-1309. Good luck.
I would urge you to contact AJ Nisen, Sr. Mortgage Loan Officer at B of
A. AJ brings a results focused, ''can do'' attitude to each meeting.
He has integrity, listens to your needs and most important - been a
pleasure to work with! If you're looking for someone who will deliver
results, you should contact AJ. 925-677-4169 - work.
Need mortgage broker for refi
We're trying to refi our mortgage and need broker recommendations
please. We deal with two already and they are both disappointing
Karen Ward is fantastic. She has helped us with two loans, and we
have referred many friends and family to her. Everyone has been
happy with her work, and several have said they saved thousands
through lower interest rates. Karen@RELoan.com (510) 559-4000 R.E.
Loan Mortgage 1300 Solano Avenue Albany, CA 94706 Happy Homeowner
There's only one broker I will ever use again:
Ph: 818-225-8499 Xt.223
We got turned down FOUR times by banks last year when we
tried to buy our house (for reasons that had to do with the
house, a fixer-upper, not our finances) -- twice we were led
on and down by Holmgren in Montclair, to the point where
they just stopped answering our calls -- NEVER use these
guys! Shellie not just got us the loan, and not just got us
an incredible interest rate, but this year she refinanced
our house at an UNBELIEVABLE interest rate! She rocks!
Regarding a mortgage adviser, Dave DiVecchio of CMG Mortgage has
done great by my wife and I. I have professionally and personally
worked with several mortgage brokers and he by far provided us the
best service and clarity. Mortgage advisers have so many more hoops
to jump through now with the overreaction in legislation since the
housing meltdown which means a lot more is required of those looking
to get a new loan or refinanced. He will make the process much more
bearable and is professional and friendly. His number is
925-595-9194. Just let him know I sent you his way
I really like Julia Demeter 510-339-4450 x204. She is
patient, knowledgeable, and friendly. She never made me feel
stupid for not knowing things, she always called us back or
answered her phone, and I trust her.
Jim Aron of Pacific Western Mortgage Group just completed our
refinance. Jim's whole shtick is transparency in lending, educating
a potential customer about where the money goes, what all the
alternatives are- points, no points, rates, etc. Thorough,
masterful, and a great sense of humor besides. 510.654.2200
The office is at Watergate in Emeryville. Easy on and off the
freeway, easy parking.
I highly recommend Ted Maniatis with MPR Financial
He helped us with the mortgages on our first home purchase
four years ago and worked us though refinancing last year. He's incredibly
helpful and really knows his stuff!
Russell Doi 510.305.9476. We have been working with him for a year on a
new home purchase(it's taking us that long to find a place) and can
HIGHLY recommend him. He's detail oriented, responsive, and takes the
time to explain things so you understand what you're getting into. anon
Mortgage broker to help with refinance
Looking for someone to help us get into a better financial
position with our home mortgage. We are part of the many affected
by the housing crisis where our loan is nearly the same amount as
the value of our house. It just kills me that I can't take
advantage of these amazing mortgage rates right now by refinancing
so I just want to speak with anyone to see if they can help.
Please let me know if you are aware of any mortgage brokers who
can help in this situation.
John Schaff at Republic Mortgage will listen to your story and find
the best solution for you.
you can reach him at 916-289-1816
over my head too
I can't say enough about Dianne Crosby at LaSalle Financial
in Montclair. She is professional, fast and friendly. I
have heard many success stories about her because my husband
is a realtor and has sent many clients her way with positive
outcomes. You can also look her up on Yelp to read more
reviews about her.
Her contact info is: Dianne Crosby
Senior Loan Consultant
LaSalle Financial Services
6201 Antioch St., Suite 200
Oakland, CA 94611
Office: 510.339.4300 x104
License # 01348308
Jana Lane of Prospect Mortgage is an experienced and understanding
mortgage broker. She'll assess your situation amd make
recommendations without pressuring you. We worked with her and
found that she really puts her client's interest first. I also
remember seeing her recommended by another BPN member. Jana's
phone number is 415-425-0857. Her webpage is
FHA broker recommendation
Hi, we've been looking into FHA mortgages and have talked to
one person who told us that we would be paying mortgage
insurance until we had 80% equity. I'm wondering if this is
standard, and if others have had this experience? Also, we'd
like to check with at least one other FHA broker for
comparison purposes. If others have someone to recommend,
that would be great. Thanks.
We had a great experience with Mathew Carson of First
He was referred to us by our friends who recently purchased
their home using an FHA loan and loved the service
/knowledge that he provided.
He came over to our house and went over the pros and cons of
FHA - doing a 'regular' loan, which we really appreciated.
We had been told by other people that FHA was a nightmare
and difficult to do, but for us it was a breeze. Granted we
have nothing to compare it to as we were first time buyers
but apart from signing a mountain of papers the experience
was great !
You can reach him at 415-440-5626 or email@example.com
Try Mathew Carson at First Capital Group. We used him when
we purchased our home and again recently when we
refinanced. While we did not go the FHA route I'm pretty
sure he does them as it came up in our recent
conversation. He's a great guy and takes the time to
really explain the process and what you can expect.
You can reach him at 415-606-4252 or
We want to refinance (or at least look into it), and our original mortgage broker
through BofA has left due to illness. He was such a great guy - friendly, trustworthy,
conscientious, helpful, responsive to our many questions without ever making us feel
as clueless as we were. He's really the main reason we went with BofA to begin with.
Now that we're there, we'd like to stay for a variety of reasons, and are looking for
another trustworthy, friendly person. The guy who took over for our original broker
leaves a lot to be desired. Can someone recommend a BofA broker to us?
got the guy for you!
I just bought a house and used Michael Adams, he lives out of the
area, but was very helpful and responsive- always available by
phone. I was very comfortable with him, and would recommend using
him. His phone number is 530-842-1740, or 925-989-5329.
I do not know a broker at Bank of America but we used a great
guy from First Capital Group. His name is Mathew Carson. We
were first time buyers and he really helped us understand the
process and was very clear about all the fees associated with
the purchase. We have refinanced with him recently and referred
other friends to him, all who seem to be very happy with both
the service he provided and the interest rate they got.
Currently, we have our first mortgage with Wells Fargo (WF). It's
a 5 year-ARM, which is set to adjust next year. We contacted WF 2
months ago and began the process of refinancing, trying to get a
30-yr fixed mortgage. Our house appraised for the same amount we
bought it for 4 years ago. Now, WF is saying they won't honor
their commitment letter because both mortgages would be for more
than 90% of the appraised value (even though they're only
financing the 1st mortgage and not assuming any more risk than
they have now). Our credit is perfect. Our income has doubled
over the last 4 years. And our neighborhood is very stable. We're
current on our payments and there is little risk that we'll fall
behind. What do we do now? We've heard rumor of people who
advocate on your behalf with the bank to get you refinanced - not
mortgage brokers. Do such people exist? How successful are they?
Should we contact a mortgage broker? Any suggestions?
Looking for a ''fix''
Avoid WF at all costs!
We've owned 4 homes over the last 13 years, and 7 mortgages and
refi combined. During that time, we've ALWAYS used brokers and
were very satisfied with their service and rates they were able
to find us.
With this last house, we bought it in July 2008, and when rates
went down, we wanted to refi. Our current mortgage was with WF,
so given the craziness of refi rules, we opted to go directly to
WF for the refi. It was the WORST decision we ever made.
Firstly, it took twice as long as any other refi we've ever done
with a broker. Secondly, they did the ole' ''bait and switch.'' We
specified our requirements (didn't want to pay points), and
needs. So for over 6 weeks, we were led to believe we were
getting one rate with x points. It was good, which is why we
were so patient, but again, took much longer than any other
When the paper work was delivered for us to sign, it was for a
low rate but paying over $7k in fees/points!! this was not what
we agreed upon. Long story short, bait and switch. I would like
to believe it was the inexperience of WF mortgage guy. But with
all the financial snakes freely taking advantage of working
class, I tend to believe it was more sleezy than inexperience.
Go to a broker. They can shop around for you, have access to
many lenders, you can negotiate their fee (WF charges the same
fee as we've paid with a broker), and they'll bust their tail
for you, so that you're a return customer. good luck.
I would highly recommend having a mortgage broker.
We have used Karen Ward at RE Loan on Solano Ave. twice and my
parents also recently bought a house with her very sound, patient
and excellent service. I feel strongly that using a reliable,
trusted broker can alleviate any stress in the whole process of
refinancing. And get you a better deal. With your credit and job
history I can't imagine there being a problem.
Karen Ward's business is
Residential & Commercial
Real Estate Loans
R.E. Loan Mortgage
1300 Solano Avenue
Albany, CA 94706
You might want to consider a different lender. We have
financed and re-financed directly with Fremont Bank using their
no interest loans several times over the years. You deal
directly with the bank so you don't have to pay mortgage broker
fees and they have been great to work with.
Good luck! It is good that you are starting early.
I worked with a great mortgage broker, Mathew Carson, from
First capital Group in San Francisco, 415 440-5626.
He came to our house and went over every detail with us which
really helped us understand the process.
Highly recommend him.
Dear Looking for a Fix,
As someone who has just finished refinancing myself, I highly
recommend that you avoid going to your own bank (there is no
benefit to them if you refinance for a lower interest rate, so
why should they try and help you?). Try working with a mortgage
broker, who will be able to work with you, and shop around to
find a smaller lending institution who will give you a lower rate.
I used Rick Williams (email rickrew123@GMail.com) who happens to
be up in Sonoma, but it doesn't matter where your mortgage broker
is from. They can get much, much better rates that we can, just
walking in off the street. I double checked his rates (including
the broker fees, closing costs, in addition to the APR 4.25%
for a 15-year fixed) and he was actually cheaper than every bank
I checked - Wells, B of A, Mechanic's Bank, Chase, Citibank (I
had my mortgage with Citi originally, and they weren't interested
in refinancing by more than a quarter of a point less than my
original rate - sheesh!)
Email Rick - he just switched from the firm he had been with to a
new one, so I don't have his new phone #) and see what he can do
for you. You've already got your appraisal, so that's a plus.
Our refi went through a small finance company, Provident Lending,
and within three weeks was re-sold on the secondary market and
purchased by, get this -- Wells Fargo. So, the bank that wouldn't
refinance my home for less than 5.25% purchased my mortgage from
Provident for 4.25%. Go figure.
We rolled in the cost of the refinance into the loan amount
(closing costs were about $5k on a loan of $250K), so we had no
upfront costs at all except the appraisal fee, which is paid
directly to the appraisal company.
Good luck, and I hope Rick can help you. He will be down in
Berkeley on Oct. 8th at one of the City of Berkeley's home energy
workshops (I think at St. John's on College, 7-8:30 pm) so you
can meet him there in person.
Alice in Berkeley
Can anyone please recommend a reverse mortgage broker or consultant
in the Berkeley area (or nearby) who is experienced and
reliable/trustworthy? If there is someone you have had a bad
experience with, we would also appreciate the warning.
Trying to help my aging parents
Does anyone know of a credit union in the Bay Area that is offering
reverse mortgages? We're trying to keep the start-up costs down.
Seeking reasonable rate on reverse mortgage
Laura Levy of Holmgren Assoc. 510-521-6265 is both knowledgable and very
caring. I wholeheartedly recommend her.
I have done a couple of reverse mortgages for clients with similar
situations as yours and used conventional lenders with some success.
There is also a company by the name of Nestworth that offers only reverse
mortgages. The advantage is they are a private company so do not have to
follow the government guidlines that conventional lenders are required to.
That being said, I am slightly skeptical about the program and would
suggest you do your due diligence before hand. ie how long is their capital
going to last?
I recommend you talk with Laura Levy about reverse mortgages -- she
specializes in them. She's very knowledgeable, experienced, and kind. Her
office is (510)521-6465 and cell (510) 219-4997. E-mail is
I arranged a reverse mortgage for my elderly mother (not through Laura --
my mom is in the Southeast), and it was the only possible way for her to
remain in her home. We are realistic though, and don't expect to have any
equity left by the time she is no longer able to live there and the loan is
due. It's an expensive loan, but you can amortize the costs over time and
minimize your risk with mortgage insurance (I believe it's required). Good
Marge Bottari from All California Mortgage has helped a lot of my friends
parents. She is fabulous and knows her stuff.
415 464 8209
415 305 3425
My husband and I are looking to buy our first home. We both work for non-profits
so are priced out of many Berkeley and Oakland neighborhoods. That said we'd like
to find a trustworthy person to help us get into a neighborhood we feel good about
while making sure we're getting a solid loan. Recommendations for brokers who have
been successful in the current market would be particularly useful.
I have only great things to say about our mortgage broker, Robert
Jackson, at BayCal Financial. We bought our first home with him in
2001, have refinanced twice, and are currently looking to buy again
with him. He returns phone calls promptly and is patient with the
many, many questions that I ask. He is traveling at the moment, so he
may be unavailable for another week or so. His number is 888-884-6668
Jim Aron with Pacific Western Mortgage helped me buy a first home
years ago. I say ''helped'' because I really wouldn't have been able
to buy a home at that time without his assistance and knowledge.
Since then, we've used him several times. Jim is a smart guy who
knows about all the different programs with different lenders. We've
known him for years and wouldn't dream of using anyone else. His
phone number is 654-2200.
Happy to recommend Jim
I would highly recommend Christine Nadeau of Bank of America at
415-438-5079. Her office is in San Francisco, but she lives in the
East Bay so I've met with her here in the East Bay. She has over 20
years experience and has an excellent record for not giving out the
loans that have gone bust. She may scrutinize your finances a bit
more, but its because she wants to make sure the loan is a good fit
for your family situation. I would give her a call.
My husband and I have worked with Zach Griffin for many years. He is
honest, reliable and straight forward. We purchased our first home
with him and have worked with him over the years on other investments
and refinancing. In addition to being patient and understanding - he
is always available to answer questions and we have found him to be
accessible and knowledgeable. He is with La Salle Financial in Oakland
- his number is 510-339-4300 x117 or you can email him at
We just bought our first home 1 month ago using Paul Lackovic. He
didn't help us find a home or discover neighborhoods (that was all our
Realtor, Jackie Gallanagh - she's amazing), but he was great with the
fanancials. We found an inexpensive (for the Bay Area) house in a
really cute part of San Leandro that already had an offer on it. The
seller chose our offer over the other one, in part because the seller
felt very secure about our ''numbers'' after talking directly to Paul.
Paul also was really good about giving us accurate estimates - he
didn't lowball the numbers in the beginning in order to reel us in. We
actually ended up having a slightly smaller monthly payment than he
had projected. Paul got us a good bank and a good rate, and we got a
great house... we're happy!
Paul Lackovic, RPM Mortgage - 408.813.5611
firstname.lastname@example.org - www.paullackovic.com
Good luck to you! - sara
Greg Herman at Holmgren and Associates on Mountain Blvd. in Montclair
(Oakland) recently helped us buy our first home. We bought in Oakland
in this down economy. I work for a nonprofit as well and don't earn
much and my husband is a recent immigrant with no credit history and
we were able to get a great rate, good terms, and solid 30 year fixed
mortgage through Greg based only on my income and credit history. He
was good at explaining the process and a generally good guy about
explaining how the real estate industry works. He came recommended to
us from a different realtor we'd worked with. We had some issues with
her but we liked him and he had no issues about continuing to help us
with no animosity toward us despite our split with the first realtor.
He even helped recommend a variety of other realtors and we did go
with one he suggested after getting recommendations from others on
this list for some of the same people he recommended. Overall, very
good experience with him.!
Greg Herman, 510-339-4450 or email@example.com
Rebecca the happy homeowner
We really like our broker, Pete Garcia. He helped us tremendously in
our refinance just as things were starting to go nutty. Thank god he
somehow managed to make it work as we are now in a 30-year-fixed!! I
believe he has lots more good reviews and contact info on yelp. Read
more details of our experience with him there, too. Highly
recommended. Good luck!
For the poster looking for a trustworthy mortgage broker, I highly
recommend Wayne Chin @ ERA Vision Mortgage. If there is a lower rate
out there, he'll balance out the cost and tell you if it's worth
getting or not. All the ''points'' and ''fees'' talk was very
confusing to me, but he explains it in a straight forward way. There
are a lot of brokers (especially on the radio commercials) that are
total scams, but Wayne will not put anyone into a bad loan. His
website is: http://www.waynechinhomes.com and his phone number is
510-813-1379. Hope that helps!
I highly recommend Cecil Dunlap. He works at 1st Western Home Loans
in Danville (Blackhawk). He is very knowledgeable, efficient and has
a great sense of humor. He answered every question honestly and to
the point. We were first time home buyers and he helped us
tremendously. We had done a lot of research on home buying but we
still needed someone to move us in the right direction. Cecil was
there every step of the way. He always returned our correspondence
and answered every little question and detail if not more. Our case
was a little complicated but through diligence and guidance, Cecile
got us through the entire process painlessly. We cannot say enough
positive things about our experience with him. - V. Davis
Cecil's contact information:
PROSPECT MORTGAGE -1910
Olympic Blvd. Walnut Creek, Ca (925) 984-6472
(updated Dec 2011)
We also used Mathew Carson from 1st Capital.
Nice guy, funny and sharp. He came over to our house one evening and
went over in great detail all the options we had and what he thought
would be best for us. We were first time buyers and really had no
idea about the process but Mathew was very patient with me and all my
So, to make a short story long, he was wonderful and found us a loan
with a great rate. I highly recommend him.
We bought our house almost a year ago, and are now looking at whether
or not we should refinance at the lower rates available. We've looked
at online calculators, etc., and it seems like it might be
advantageous, depending on the fees. Unfortunately, we felt like the
mortgage broker we used last year was not keeping up with the
changing market, and was not available when we had questions.
So we're looking for a recommendation of a mortgage broker who would
be willing to help us figure out whether a refinance is right for us
or not, even though that means they might end up without a
commission. If we do decide to refinance, we want someone who is
willing to walk us through the process. Any ideas?
We just re-fi'd with Ellice Kaminsky of Thousand Oaks Financial, on Solano in
Albany. This was our second re-fi with Ellice, and she's always been great to
work with. She walks you through all the paperwork (if you want that level of
detail), knows how to watch the rates before locking in, returns calls promptly,
etc. I highly recommend her: 559-3330
I recommend Alan Baskin of KLA Mortgage, Albany as an excellent mortgage broker:
(510) 559-6830. He is very proactive and knowledgable. We have used his services
twice for refinancing and were very satisfied.
I feel confident recommending Richard Sintchak at Wells Fargo. Richard shepherded
us through our first time home-buying experience with much information and
patience and no pressure. We know of many other first time homebuyers who have
used Richard both before and after us, and all loved working with him. We are
refinancing with Richard at the moment also.
Wells Fargo Home Mortgage
3214 Fillmore Street
San Francisco, CA 94123
(415) 396-7970 Tel
(866) 922-5125 eFax
(415) 867-1519 Mobile
The northern California mortgage broker ''whiz'' is Sue Thomas at La Salle
Financial in Montclair. She was recommended to us by our accountant, and we have
used her services three times in the past eight years. She knows what's happening
this minute, and has a good relationship with the banks and other lenders.
She is kind of a fast talker, and can do the math in her head, but she is easy to
understand, and helpful all the way through. I highly recommend her.
I highly, highly recommend Vincenzo Scalisi for your refinance. We went to
Vincenzo in December of 2008 and he found us a fabulous rate for our refinance. We
are literally saving thousands each month. He is easy to work with, knowledgeable
about current trends and responsive. He is in San Francisco, but came to us in
Walnut Creek. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Good luck!
I just closed on a re-fi in January, and used Vincenzo Scalisi as my mortgage
broker. Vincenzo quickly found an excellent interest rate, was very
service-oriented, responsive, organized, and great at the details. The closing
was very easy and smooth. Overall, it was as good an experience as one could have
with this sort of thing. Vincenzo's number is 925 354 3100.
Very happy with my re-fi!
Can anyone recommend an experienced, honest, reliable reverse mortgage
broker? I am looking to get a mortgage on my parents' house in LA, but I'm
having a hard time finding recommendations/reviews/testimonials of reverse
mortgage professionals. I want to work with someone with knows exactly
what he/she is doing, who can educate me as to the process and outcomes,
and who can make it all happen FAST. Please, if you know of anyone, reply
with their contact info and let me know WHY you love them! Thanks BPNers -
Marge Bottari from All California Mortgage is fabulous-
really listens, and will do everything in her power to help.
415 464 8209 (direct)
415 305 3425 (cell)
I highly recommend Liz Litea. Liz is smart, experienced, and a really
nice person who will happily take the time to explain everything you
need to know. Here is her contact info:
Windsor Capital Mortgage Corporation
My Blog: http://mortgagematters.thewrittenblog.com
We really need a referral to mortgage person. We had to do
improvements to our house a while back and refied-- now our
mortgage is killing us. With current rates so low we're hoping to
refi our way back to sanity. We've got two little ones and I've
had to go back to work full-time just to pay the mort!
thanks for any advice~~
We've used Alex Zarkoub to refinance, now for the second time. He's very responsible and we've never found better rates. He does what he says he'll do when he says it. I can't say if he can help refinance out of a bad situation (which it sounded like the poster might be in) -- the banks are very picky right now. But, if you're a viable candidate for a mortgage, he seems to do a fine job.
work (650) 571-5792
Cell (650) 520-0895
Fax (650) 571-7414
we have used Zach Griffin for the last 15 years - great guy - great office and always gave us the best recommendations.
Tell him Hi from the Deuber's
I can recommend Richard Pavao at California Real Estate Finance in Alameda, (510)521-0300. During the big credit crunch crisis last Fall I did a no-cost refi with him and everything went great. He's easy to work with, his rates were competitive and there were no surprises at the loan doc signing. I'll probably refi again with him if rates keep going down. His website is www.calrealestatefinance.com.
I highly recommend Alan Baskin at KLA Mortgage on 4th Street in Berkeley. He is very honest, friendly, and will work very hard to make sure you are happy with the outcome. His number is 510-704-1050.
We refinanced with Rick Weber of California Real Estate Finance in Alameda a while ago and, since rates are lower, we're refinancing with him again because he's saved us so much money. Rick doesn't mind when you ask dumb questions and, more important, he doesn't mind when you ask the same dumb questions repeatedly! (You'd think I'd have this down by now.) He is able to back up his opinions about the market and time has proven him to be correct about many of his predictions--this is comforting for someone who's not savvy about the financial world. He lays out all your options, makes sure you understand them, and then he's not pushy when you begin to make your decisions. Rick is willing to wait for you to do what's right for you, but he is conscientious enough to let you know how timing might be a factor in certain situations so you are totally informed. He is transparent in his process so there are no surprises. Rick is simultaneously creative and practical when it com!
es to meeting your needs, and I wish we had used him when we bought the house in the first place. He is able to I couldn't recommend him more. Please e-mail me at chris.chun (at) gmail (d0t) com if you want more information. His information is as follows:
510-521-0300 x270 (Work)
Things seem to be changing so quickly economically right now. We are
looking for a really good mortgage broker who can keep up with what's
going on & help us find the best deal on a loan. Some of the brokers we
have already contacted don't seem very good at communicating with us &
updating us on changing rates and loan packages.
Have you worked with anyone you liked a lot when obtaining a mortgage?
Try Sam Krueger with RPM on Solano Avenue above La Farine. He can be
reached at 510-559-3881. He is really good at explaining things and has
a lot of patience too. You can email him also at email@example.com
We're currently working with Mike Vodnoy at Fishman Financial on Solano.
Mike knows that we're on the fence about buying right now due to the
economy and the fact that we're a single-income family, but that doesn't
stop him from providing us with good information, answering our many
questions, and updating us on interest rates, etc.
He will meet you pretty much any time. Our first appointment was at the
crack of dawn on a Sunday. He'll make you all the coffee you want and
will stay and talk with you until you feel you are armed with everything
you need to know. Mike is professional and not pushy in any way.
I can highly recommend Rhoda Paul who is residential mortgage broker
with Holmgren + Associates. I've been impressed by her expertise as
well as her integrity. She's extremely easy to work with.
You can email Rhoda at firstname.lastname@example.org
or phone 510.330.3690.
I just advised a poster in BPN's Advice Wanted newsletter to call our
mortgage broker. I'll recommend him again:
Call our mortgage broker, Zach Griffin. He is the best.
We were in a financing pickle last year and he saved out butts.
We have worked with him on a few different houses and the
attendant mortgages and lines of credit for over 10 years now. He
is nice, smart, and creative. He is on top of everything and always gives
us good advice. I know many other people who have worked with him and
will go nowhere else now.
Direct: 510.339.4300 117
Try Tom Nitsan. He was referred to us by our Coldwell Banker real estate
agent back in 2000 when we bought our house. He is very knowledgeable
and has been in the business for a long time. He is generally pretty busy
though so it would be good to have your questions ready. He communicates
well via e-mail. I don't have his number handy but his office is on
Solano. Best of luck.
Jane Glendenning at Holmgren and Associates in Montclair is THE person.
She is very honest and good at what she does.
Cindy Smith of Vintage Mortgage Group (925-227-8914,
email@example.com) in the East Bay has been in the business
for 30 years, and she knows her stuff. Cindy helped us refinance six
years ago, and is looking into a possible second refinance (but she is
also forthcoming about NOT recommending a refinance if she doesn't think
it would benefit a prospective borrower). In addition, Cindy understands
the ins-and-outs of the mortgage credit certificate program, a nice
little tax break for some first-time home buyers and people who haven't
owned a home in three years
(http://www.co.alameda.ca.us/cda/mcc_program/req.htm), but a topic that
not all mortgage brokers even know about.
I went to Julia Demeter when I needed a mortgage, and she was helpful,
informative, prompt, friendly, patient, and able to explain things to a
lay person. I highly recommend her. She's with Holmgren & Assoc in
Try Melissa Milton at LaSalle Financial. She is an excellent mortgage
broker, very trustworthy and spends a lot of time educating her clients
and really finding the right loan for their needs. I worked with her on
a recent mortgage and had a very good experience - much better than
experiences in the past with other mortgage brokers. 510-339-4300
I've already checked the archives and am looking for some current mortgage broker
recommendations. We're thinking about buying another house and need some creative advice
on the best options.
Mary Lou Till from LaMorinda Funding Group is the person for you! She's VERY
creative, and deeply devoted to her clients. She's one of the top producers
nationally and does that by repeat business. Her clients just love her.
Call her at (925) 282-6015. Her e-mail is marylou[at]lamorindafunding.com.
For a superior mortgage broker specialist who can help you find the best
options for your loan, call Jim Aron at (510) 644-2205. He knows things that
most of us aren't even aware of and he's very honest and easy to talk to.
He's the best.
I very highly recommend Gwen Hoople. Over the years, she's helped me with 2
home purchases, refinancing as well as setting up a home equity line. She's
very knowledgeable, very thorough and absolutely a wonderful person to deal
with. She will give sound advice and would never talk anyone into any risky
arrangements. I'd never choose anyone else for my mortgage and related needs.
You can reach her at (510) 301-3037 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jenny Shore of Alternative Mortgage Sources is incredibly
knowledgeable, resourceful and personable. I can give her
my highest recommendation. Her phone is 652-7900, or
email her at jenny[at]altmortg.com
I highly recommend Zach Griffin of La Salle Financial Services. We have used
him a few times and know other people who have used him. They all rave about
him, as do we. He is smart, creative, and very nice. When we bought our first
home more than 10 years ago, we didn't have much money. He helped us find
great loans and avoid PMI. He later helped us with an equity line of credit
on that house. Then, for our most recent home purchase, he worked extremely
quickly to help us make an offer a house...when we weren't even shopping for
a house! We saw a house, decided then and there we wanted to move, called
Zach to help us get a letter together to go with the offer that was due in a
few days. Then he helped us get our loan for the new house. All immediate, no
lag, no hassle. He just handles everything efficiently and well.
I can't say enough good things about him and his support staff. I *hate*
financial dealings with a passion, but I never mind dealing with him. He
makes it so easy.
La Salle Financial Services
Direct: 510.339.4300 x 117
His office is in the Montclair district of Oakland.
Evelyn Rogerson, who works with Atticus Mortgage Group is a great broker.
Not only is she filled with knowledge and good at getting you the mortgage
you need, but she can explain it so it makes sense. Her number is 510 501
8473 or evelyn[at]vicjoshi.com
I cannot recommend Ken West highly enough. I am a single mom and Ken was
very creative--he helped me buy and refinance my home (twice) and he has
helped several friends do the same. He was recommended to me by two friends
who have worked with him for 10 years. He is exactly what you want. When I
told him I needed to make repairs and could I refi, he pulled my credit
report while we talked, took notes and told me when the rates were favorable,
he would give me a call. Several weeks later, he called and followed through
with the refi. Plus, he is a great human being and will travel to you. I
have never seen the inside of his office. Ken can be reached at
415.383.9203. Tell him Michelle A says hi. Best of luck.
i very highly recommend jenny shore. i'm a single mom with an under the table
job and Jenny was able to get a no-doc loan and 100% financing so that i
could buy a duplex.
she is extremely creative and very helpful. she even helped me figure out
that it was not a good idea to buy a place that i had been interested before
i saw mine even though it would have been in her self interest to have me buy
she is very smart, very personable and and is able to explain all the money
stuff...even to me, and i hate numbers!
Our favorite mortgage broker is Jenny Shore of Alternative Mortgages. We've
used Jenny for a couple of refinances on our old home and then very recently
on the purchase for our new home. She is so thoughtful and easy to talk to,
and she possesses a tremendous sense of integrity. She found several
solutions for some potentially tricky scenarios for us, and worked very
closely with us to find the best loan for our needs. Nothing seems
impossible for her, and she is so careful to make sure the whole process is
as un-stressful as possible, even though all mortgages are stressful from my
perspective (although nobody else seems to get as stressed-out about such
things as much as I do). If it's possible to enjoy such a process, then
Jenny is the one to make that happen! Her office is in Emeryville, but we
often met where it was most convenient for us. She's very flexible that way.
We also really appreciate that she's on the cutting edge of finding ways to
''Green'' the mortgage business and works with all kinds of creative buyers and properties. Her
number is 510-652-7900.
You should at least call her and find out if she's a good fit. Your mortgage
broker is somebody who you should totally be able to trust and connect with.
We highly recommend Jenny. Good luck!
Here is a great person for a discussion of what your needs are concerning a
mortgage. She is trustworthy, she will listen and give you want you want.
Here is her name Julia Demeter at 520-9700.
email is: julia[at]mortgageholmgren.com
I am a former mortgage broker and know many loan people - lots of mediocre
and bad ones; every now and then a real professional. Here are two that you
can trust to guide you through any scenario:
Rise Myers, 925-838-4820
Nathan Petrowsky, 510-541-7382 or 925-465-7105
We have worked with Jenny Shore of Alternative Mortgage Services (510)
652-7900. I can not say enough about how helpful she has been. She has been
smart, proactive, available and caring in her efforts to help us buy our next
home. My wife and I have bought three houses, but we always seem to have to
re-learn everything each time. Jenny is a patient and skilled teacher and
support as well as being very astute about her business. Plus, she is a
genuine person and a delight to be around. A rare combination. I cannot
recommend her more highly.
I recommend Rick Weber to any one looking for a mortgage broker. Whether you are a
first time home owner or looking to refinance your existing home loan rate, we had
an uncomplicated experience with Rick Weber at California Real Estate Finance.
We had an ARM that was climbing every month. Rick calmly walked us through the
daunted steps of our re-fi making the whole process quite smooth and informed. He
refinanced our home with no closing costs and reduced our monthly payments by 00!
Rick provides a variety of loan options including refinances with no closing
costs, and has programs that can help first-time homebuyers, as well as those who
face challenges in getting a loan.
Rick Weber can be contacted at California Real Estate Finance, 2363 Mariner Square
Drive Ste 141, Alameda, CA 94501 (510)521-0300 (Work), (510)301-4281 (Cell),
In response to a mortgage broker recommendation, I would like to recommend Rick Weber,
who helped up find a great rate. Rick is very professional and helpful, regardless of
what kind of loan you are looking for. No pressure sales pitch, just the facts explained
in a straightforward way. He is very patient and honest and made sure that we understood
the options before we found and selected our mortgage. I recommend him without
Rick works at California Real Estate Finance in Alameda
I am seeking a loan to renovate an apartment in a building that I co-own
in NYC in order to bring it to market value. The building has two
apartments, and a restaurant below. The building is paid for in full. I do
not want to refinance my residence in CA (for various reasons), but am
having a difficult time finding a lender due to the issue of 'mixed-use''.
Does anyone have any advice or a broker to recommend for this? I am
looking for a loan of approx. 150K and would like to repay within 5-7
years. Thank you in advance for your assistance.
I, too, found it impossible to find a lender for a small
mixed-use building. My solution was to get a $250k equity loan
on my residence. If you have $150k equity in your home, you
might shop around for an equity loan.
Does anyone know of any good mortgage brokers to help me with a refinance of my property?
I've got a variable interest rate that's going way too high and I don't want to just go
with any lender, worrying that they could go belly up. Ideally I'd like to go with an
interest only loan, but then I would probably want to do an addition to my property in
order to afford the higher payment. So someone who has experience with costruction loans
would be good too. thanks, Nader
I think Zack Griffin of La Salle is the best. We have worked with
him a few times over the past 10 years. Several other people we
know have also used his services and rave about him. He is on top
of everything,very creative, and great about seeking out the best
loans. I cannot recommend him highly enough. I HATE anything
finance-related, but it is never confusing or scary when I'm
dealing with him. For example, we were planning a remodel and
weren't even shopping for a house. We saw a house we liked and
decided to bail on the remodel and make an offer, which was due
in two days...after a weekend. We called Zach and he hopped to
it, got a letter together for us and got loan paperwork started,
and we got the house. I don't know if any other loan officer
would have worked that hard that quickly. I feel he definitely
made a difference for us.
Here is his info:
The person you ought to contact is Jenny Shore of Alternative Mortgage.
She is one of the brightest people I know. She thoroughly knows the
mortgage market and all the products out there. I could not recommend
anyone more highly.
You can call Jenny at 652-7900, or email her: email@example.com
I have a great mortgage broker who has helped us with two refinancings
and, more recently, with buying a new house. He's very knowledgeable and
a nice guy. His name is Roger Smith at LaSalle Financial in Montclair.
Rose Sherzai at Holmgren Associates (510-339-2121)is the absolute best. She
actually hears and keeps in mind your specific goals instead of just shoehorning
you into a package. She's right on top of every detail and has a wonderful manner
with clients. I really can't recommend her highly enough.
Excellent Mortgage Consultant
I've been meaning to write this for the past month (since we moved into our
home in N. Berkeley). For anyone looking to finance the purchase of a home or
refinance your current mortgage, I highly recommend Brian Moggan at Princeton
Capital (his office is on La Salle in Montclair Village). He is very friendly
knowledgable, explains things extremely well, stayed one step ahead during the
entire escrow process, and obtain a very competitive rate for us. Even more
that: he would come to our home for meetings since we had to meet in the
and our baby would be going down for bedtime. We never had to meet at his
arrange for a sitter, miss any work, etc. We didn't even have to ask him to
when he found out we had a 5 month old (when we first spoke on the phone), he
offered to have the meeting at our house. When we had an issue arise at the
moment before closing (an issue really the fault of the title company), he
present us with a problem and make us scramble; he informed us of the problem
and already had a solution as well. He was great, and I can't recommend him
enough. His contact information is: Brian Moggan, Princeton Capital, phone:
-339-4719, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Excellent Mortgage Broker
I highly recommend Brian Corey as a mortgage broker. My wife and I worked with him recently because we were considering a refinance or a second mortgage to get cash for a remodel. Although we thought we knew what we wanted when we contacted him (a refinance), Brian spent a lot of time helping us understand different options, even though all of them would bring him less income than a refinance. He ultimately helped us decide that a home equity line of credit would be best for us, although that is his least profitable option. After doing a lot of work on our behalf, he finally suggested that we simply ask our bank to improve the rate on our existing line (meaning he made nothing from the deal). Brian was quick to respond to e-mails and phone calls, and was very friendly. We could not have been happier with our experience with Brian. You can reach Brian at bcorey[at]1stblackhawk.com.
Hello. I'd like recommendations for a trustworthy mortgage broker who works with clients with bad credit who are not too knowledgable about the mortgage process. My husband is trying to get the family home from his name into his brother's name so that it is no longer a liability for him. His brother wants the house and wants to assume the outstanding mortgage balance. However, he has terrible credit and has not been proactive in doing things like obtaining his credit report. I ordered it for him but he needed to send in info clarifying that his address was a residential address and not commercial and he hasn't followed up and sent that in yet. I want to take the next step and find him a mortgage broker to move this process along. Also, interest rates are rising. Any good recommendations are welcome! THANKS!!
Jason Russell of Rob Wolf & Associates is a fantastic broker who always gets the deal done. He has worked with clients with 100% financing, poor credit, self-employed, no verified assets, etc. Unlike many brokers who sit on the paperwork until the last minute, Jason gets things out the door immediately. He has appraisers that he works with to make sure that your appraisal is lined up as quickly as possible, and he really breaks his back getting the deal done in time or even early! It really makes a difference in today's competitive real estate market to have someone who can close your deal in 14 or 21 days, and Jason also has a great reputation among real estate agents. He also promptly responds to emails and returns phone calls and makes himself available to explain all your options. He does not just farm out your work to some lower down broker! He also knows all the little loopholes with the different lenders to help you get the best available rate, and unlike brokers who will "sell" you on an initial too good to be true rate, what Jason tells you is what you will get - period. We own several properties and have worked with other brokers, and no one can get a deal done like Jason. We started out like you with poor credit, no history of income (because we are self-employed) and no down payment, yet Jason got us our first house and with his help, we now own three properties and are considering a fourth, only two years later! Our net worth has gone up tremendously since we've been able to get in the real estate market. His work made all the difference to us! He and his family also live in the Claremont/Rockridge area, so he knows the East Bay. I highly recommend him!
Mike and Jen
Can you recommend an honest, patient, and intelligent mortgage broker? The archives listing's are over a year old and I'd love to get more recent recommendations. Please let me know how much they charge also. Thanks so much.
I am looking to buy a home, for the first time... and would like
to get some recommendations of trustworthy mortgage brokers.
Looks like the last time that the recommendations were updated
on the web was 2003.
We used Lisa Wagner at KLA Mortgage in Albany. She is a straight shooter, reliable, quick and easy to work with. We actually closed in 15 days and got the lowest possible rate at the time when we bought our home. She made the process easy and was very friendly. She can be reached at (510) 559-6830. We like her so much that we used her for our home equity line.
I highly reccomend our broker his name is Nhan Nguyen and works for
nhanttnguyen AT yahoo.com
he is very patience, and sharp. we just purchased our first home and he got us in w/ 100% financing, on a 470,000 house in san leandro. he was willing to meet with u on weekends over coffee to explain details, kept in touch via e-mail about the progress of the loan i really, really loved this guy. and reccomend him, he is here in San francisco, the offices are by the opera house.
I love my mortgage broker - he's helped us buy two houses. He is the world's nicest guy, too. His name is Bob Casper and his phone no. is 925-932-7403.
We are first time buyers in the process of home shopping and have been THRILLED with our Mortgage Banker and Realtor. We first got a recommendation to our Mortgage Banker through my husband's coworker who was also a first time buyer. We didn't know ANYTHING about buying a house and didn't even know what we should know to know when we were ready. no one would give us simple, black-and-white numbers. We were so frustrated!! We were referred to Marc Geshekter with residential Pacific Mortgage in SF. He sat down with us for 3 hours and explained everything we need to know about purchasing a home from A-Z, including several good faith estimates. Now we know, down to the penny, what we need to not just buy a home, but live in it for the first year. All this advice for free!! his info is:
Senior Mortgage Consultant
(415) 354-5162, office
(415) 983-0975, fax
Residential Pacific Mortgage - SF
633 Battery St., Suite # 110
San Francisco, CA 94111
Jenny is a mortgage broker and member of the Berkeley Parents Network. She is a very caring person who will help you find what you need: Jenny Shore - jenny AT shoregroup.ws or 510 845-5747
I can wholeheartedly recommend Jim Aron of Pacific Western Mortgage (510-654-2200). His office is conveniently located on the Emeryville peninsula, right off the freeway. He has arranged two great mortgages for us and I believe most of his clients are repeat customers.
A satisfied homeowner
If you are thinking of buying a home, please consider
contacting Linda Herrera of Jacinto Mortgage Group
(http://www.ALoanSourceLH.com) regarding your financing
options (including no-down payment loans...they're
available, too). In addition to being a likeable person,
Linda is extremely knowledgeable about her business. She
took a decidedly complicated situation and made it an
invisible and painless process for us. All we had to do
was show up in her office at a time of our convenience,
bring our necessary documentation and let Linda work her
magic. And, magic it was. We began our home search with
every confidence that Linda had the situation well in
hand. Adding to our comfort, Linda maintained contact with
our real estate agent during the home search and
contracting process. She made herself available and
promptly returned any phone calls for which she was not
readily available. For my next home purchase, I will
definitely contact Linda first. Her customer service and
support more than facilitated what could easily have been a
nightmare. My husband and I highly recommend her services.
We just refinanced our house and had the most wonderful
experience with our broker that I wanted to get his name
out on this list: Cory Reid of Fountainhead Mortgage,
(based in Emeryville). Cory was so thorough and efficient
and good about explaining the process. He went out of his
way to get us the best deal, which included negotiating a
return of about $800 from the lender on the fees, and then
switching lenders halfway through the process when rates
went down. The new loan will end up saving us an additional
$65/month. The icing on the cake was when we had to come in
to sign the papers. Cory knows that my partner and I both
work, and we have 2 small kids. He sent a notary to our
house and covered the cost himself so that we wouldn't have
to lug the whole family out. Cory's office number is
I'm looking for a good mortgage broker who knows a lot about
deals for first time home buyers and someone who is patient
and clear and can explain things to someone who doesn't
have a mind for numbers.
I'd like to recommend my great mortgage broker, Aubrey
Bartlett, 650-577-5890 office, 415-572-7832 cell, with
Pacific Guarantee Mortgage- he works the whole Bay Area. He
is very experienced and has all the connections you could
He quickly found and locked just the mortgage that I needed
(twice) and my situation was a bit complicated. And in
addition, he is an exceptionally nice person- not pushy &
sleazy like the previous broker that I worked with!
You can tell him that Cecelia recommended him.
I ''inherited'' my mortgage broker from my father in law who
has worked with him for 20 years. This guy is absolutely
great! He helped me buy our house, refinance it, and is now
working on a line of equity for my parents. He is very
patient, extremely personable, and does a great great job
at getting the very best rates. Please let him know I
recommended him to you. But be aware - he is a very
persistent salesman. So be clear about your decision once
you make it.
Merton Chun, Nova Mortgage, 2647 21st Avenue, SF CA 94116.
(415) 665-3188. He does mortgages all over the Bay Area.
We are currently working with Marjo Shaffer of Residential Pacific Mortgage
as we get ready to purchase our next home. She is at 3201 Danville Blvd.,
Suite 195 in Alamo. Her phone number is 925-831-1855, her e-mail is
marjo AT rpm-mortgage.com, and her website is www.rpm-mortgage.com/majo.
I am not good with numbers and I have been very pleased with Marjo and her
ability to explain things to me.
We used Mitch Grashin in North Berkeley when we bought our house and we have since done two
re-finances with him. What I like about him is he listens carefully
to what our needs are, and then suggests different options, giving
us the pros and cons of each one. He is very knowledgeable, and is good at explaining
all the different advantages and disadvantages to someone who
doesn't know much about financing. He is proactive without being
pushy, and is a nice guy too, a dad with schoolaged kids in I think El Cerrito.
His email address is mitch AT mortgageholmgren.com
Hi - we're thinking about buying a home and would like a current
recommendation for a mortgage broker. I've seen some on the
site, but they're all a year or more old. thanks!
We just refinanced (about to close) our mortgage and used
Gary Paul at Chase in Walnut Creek. His phone number is
925-256-4120 x208 and his email is Gary.S.Paul at chase.com.
We got great rates, and he was very responsive. Let him
know I referred you, if you use him.
My sister and I recently bought a house together and we
used Lisa Wagner from KLA Mortgage 558 -6830, on Solano
Ave. in Albany. She's wonderful, she got us a great loan
and fabulous interest rate with our not-so-great credit,
and at the last minute, our deal was about to drop through
due to a mistake at our title co., and she stayed late to
make sure that everything got straightened out. She knows
tons about everything- including tax, and she explains
anything you want. She's great.
I can recommend a fellow PTA board member who runs a
mortgage brokerage. The following is the contact
NORTHERN CALIFORNIA HOME MORTGAGE
Email: norcal-mtg AT pacbell.net
to the poster interested in finding a mortgage broker.
i highly recommend bezhad zandi - 415- 892 - 2006. I did
my original mortgage, and several refinancings, with him.
Great service and good rates.
For a great mortgage broker, try Gwen Hoople at 559-4005.
She is smart, conscientious, and very hardworking. You can
count on her to get you a great deal and to make the
process as smooth as possible.
I would like to recommend Glenn de Cicco (cell #
510-414-GLEN). He arranged our mortgage when we bought our
house and is now helping us re-finance it. I have found I
needed to nag other brokers to get estimates/responses from
them, but Glenn has always answered promptly to our calls.
Also, we shopped around with different lenders, and he
defintely got us the best deal.
Hi. We just refinanced with Jim Park at Park Place
Financial and I got his name off the Parents Network.
He's nice, knowledgeable, and the refi was really quick
- 4 weeks from start to finish. His number is
925-399-6315. He's in Pleasanton but we did
everything by fax, fedex, phone and then at the end he
sent the notary public out to our house. How easy is
Happy Refi Customer
We are refinancing our house after doing major renovations
and additions and have been working with a mortgage broker
who is very responsive and helpful (unlike our prior
broker). However, he is asking for a commission/fee of 1%
of the total loan, which is a good-sized chunk of cash.
This seems high to me, but I'm having trouble finding
comparisons. What is the usual fee for such services?
I worked at a mortgage firm before my baby was born. Broker normally charges
anywhere from 0.5-3%. But since the interest rate is quite low at this time, you may ask
for no point no fee. Which means you don't have to pay for any commission or any
other closing fees. You can always cancel your loan (before signing your loan doc) if
you are not happy with the fees that you need to pay for. I am not sure how far are you
in the process of getting this loan, but it will be wise if you can shop around more. Now
is a perfect time to do a refinancing. If you have anymore questions, feel free to ask me.
Has anyone refinanced their mortgage in the recent month or
two? Any recommendations on where to start--who has a good
rate, low (or no) points, etc? What about taking out a home
equity line of credit? Is it better to just take the cash
out with the refinance, or do a separate home equity line of
credit (especially if the remodeling won't be done right
away)? How does that work? Any advice would be helpful.
Signed, Not Very Financially Savvy
For your refinancing needs and questions, I can recommend
Denise Davis at Key Mortgage. Her email address is
denise.davis at keymortgage.com and her phone number is
415/446-1879. She was excruciatingly patient with me to
get me up to speed on the pluses/minuses of refinancing and
when it makes sense to do so. I've had friends call her,
who after Denise crunched the numbers, said it really
didn't make sense for them to refinance at this time. So,
that indicated to me, she's just not out for the sale.
Please give her a call and tell her Patty sent you.
I just recently got my 2nd Home Equity Line of Credit.
This type of financing was a better fit for me than
refinancing because it's like having money in a bank
account. You only pay on what you use. For instance, if
you get a HELOC for 70,000 but end up only using 30,000 or
not using all of it right away that's what your payments
are based on. The first time I went on line to
LendingTree.com because every convential bank turned me
down. I got offers from 3 different sources including
Wells Fargo, and chose the one that I liked the best.
There were no points, no hidden costs, no closing fees and
an incredible 4.5 interest rate. When I wanted the 2nd
HELOC I went directly to that bank online and got a
response in a couple of minutes. The notary comes to you
at your convenience 24-7 to sign the papers. It's
incredibly easy and obviously I highly recommend it. If
you have any other questions please ask.
If you are looking to lower your interest rate and/or want
to consolidate other loans (that would include auto loans,
education loans, credit card debts or any other debt that
you have), it might be better to refinance and take out a
line of credit. But if you are only looking at getting
money to remodel, a line of credit might be the way to go.
If you need more advice or help, feel free to call me, I am
actually a loan agent!
Dear Not Very Financially Savvy ;-) The place to start is
to decide what type of loan you need. A home equity line is
usually what's wanted for a remodeling project that will be
paid for over an extended time, because you don't borrow
(and make payments on) the money until you need it. But
equity lines generally have variable interest rates and
annual fees, so in some circumstances a plain fixed-rate
mortgage refi which gives you cash out can be a better
choice. If you want both remodeling money and a lower
interest rate, you might do *both* - refinance your current
mortgage with a lower-rate mortgage in just the amount of
your current balance, plus get an equity line, from the
same or a different lender. By closing both at the same
time you could save some costs. You might want to meet with
a mortgage broker or accountant for some help determining
what's right for you.
Next, you have to shop for the best deal. One place to
start is on the Internet. There are a lot of web sites that
allow you to compare different loan packages and see what
the prevailing rates are. Another place to start is with
your current lender. If you're happy with them and you've
been a good customer, they may be willing to refinance
and/or set up an equity line for you with very minimal
costs (because they don't need to extensively re-underwrite
you or your house). And yet another option is to meet with
an in-person mortgage broker, who can offer you the best
deal among many lenders. If you have any credit problems, a
broker is usually the best choice because he or she can
search out the best package you can qualify for - and
generally, brokers' fees are paid by the lender, not the
borrower, so it doesn't cost you anything extra.
I would like to recommend Russell Doi of First Residential
Funding. He's on Solano Avenue in Berkeley, and his phone
number is 526-6554. He's very knowledgable, but not a
high pressure sales type.
I've used the services of Sue Thomas at LaSalle Financial
for the past several years. I guess I've had about
transactions which involved purchasing or refinancing. I
think that she and her staff are excellent. The phone
number is 339-4300.
I can give a glowing recommendation to Jill Friedlander! She
helped us get great loans on 100% financing (yes, we were
desperate). We had been working with a different mortage
broker before Jill and the other was awful -- very sales
oriented, very cheesy, and ethically challenged (lied,
ignored messages from us, and almost lost our chance at
getting our house). We were wary of mortgage brokers after
that experience and were plesantly surprised when Jill
turned out to be friendly, helpful, and very professional.
She works in Novato but don't let that bother you -- we
moved from San Jose and she was very accomodating. Her
contact information is (415) 506-0200 or JillLoans AT aol.com.
Tell her Laurel and Jack sent you because I think she
works on referrals mostly.
We used Tom Nitsan of MPR financial 510-527-6146.
I never actually met him but dealt with all business over
the phone and by email. We found good rates with him and
found him to be be responsive and professional. Good luck.
I can highly recommend Denise Davis at Key Mortgage. She
has been very creative in finding the right loan to fit our
lifestyle and repayment needs. Her email address is
denise.davis AT keymortgage.com and her phone number is
415/446-1879. Tell her that Patty sent you. Good luck!
Tom Nitsan is a great mortgage broker. He's with MPR
Financial (apparently, they're all great in that office.)
Refinancing is very very easy when Tom's on the case. I
did a lot of research on my own and came up with nothing
that could compare with what Tom was offering. We chose
the no-cost mortgage, which was absolutely painless. Now
our interest rate is 6.75% and we save about $150/month.
I highly recommend Tom Nitsan at MPR Financial... phone 510-
527-6146 or email tom at mprfinancial.com. We worked with him
when we bought our house originally and he's helped us with
2 refinances. He's really great about providing different
options (rates, costs, points) and explaining them. We've
always found him helpful and really easy to work with.
I worked with Ian Cartan of Western American Mortgage both
for my initial house purchase and for my refinance. He is
wonderful--thorough, knowledgeable, and proactive. He's also
510/339-4070, in Montclair.
Hi, you are welcome to call me at 510-558-3192 (home) or
510-334-5358 (cell). I work with a mortgage company called
Tri-Bay Financial Group, it's located in the city and
offers excellent service. You can visit their link at
amymike8199 AT yahoo.com
My partner and I have refinanced several times in the past
two years, and we highly recommend Jackie Muzio of Metro
Mortgage. She has been efficient, forthright, and patient
with our many questions. We have refinanced on a no-fee
basis, getting a slightly higher rate, but bearing no cost
for the transaction. Jackie can be reached at (707)527-6744
or metromortgage AT hotmail.com.
I have the MOST FANTASTIC mortgage broker: He
gets great rates on NO COST, NO FEE mortgages (and I mean
REALLY no cost -- nothing!), he makes the paperwork super
simple, he sends a notary to you if you need it so you don't
need to EVER go into his office, AND he'll contact you
every 90 days if rates go down so you can re-fi (again at no
cost, no fee). He really has been fantastic -- after using
another mortgage broker on my original purchase, I've used
this guy to refinance twice now, and he's brought my rate
down over 2 percentage points, very painlessly.
His name is Jim Muglie at Preferred Financial. His number
is (925)820-5557. If you use him, PLEASE give him my name
and let him know that I referred you, as he keeps track of
Good luck! And feel free to contact me by email if you have
I have a WONDERFUL broker - Marsha Corbett Walker at CMG
Mortgage. She helped us buy our first home and refinanced
our second. We went with another broker for the purchase
of our second home and were VERY sorry. Marsha will do
backflips for you and she is very low-pressure. My mom
considered refinancing and needed some questions answered.
Marsha has been patiently answering questions for months
and has never pressured my mom at all. I can't say enough
good things about her! 800-881-5463 Her office is in
Walnut Creek, but she does everything by mail, fax or phone
We have refinanced 3 times in the last 2 years with Sam Fishman of Fishman Financial on Solano
Ave. and haven't paid a
penny to refinance. Sam was our mortgage broker when we bought, and he was easy to work with then
too. He can be very
chatty which might bother some people, and he sometimes assumes that you know all the ins and
outs, but we have always
had a good experience overall. I think his style is very ''gentlemanly.'' In fact, HE CALLS US
when interest rates go down
enough to make it worth refinancing, with some line like ''it's time to rock and roll!'' With
every refinance transaction, our
monthly goes down about $100. I think the process is well worth it. Fishman Financial is 528-2255.
Our mortgage broker, Jeffrey Arnold, we've used for over 7
years for 3 refinances and 3 mortgages. We've been very
happy with his service, he's very knowledgeable about
mortgages as well as general finance and investments
issues, and has always found us incredible deals. He is
based in Orinda but travels far and wide. His number is:
925 254 5569 e-mail: jeffreydarnold AT msn.com
Can anyone recommend a place to get a home equity loan? Is
there any advantage in going to the bank where I've had my
accounts for 10+ years? My first mortgage is with the
previous owners, so I've never gotten a commercial
mortgage. I've been going on various websites but I'm a
little overwhelmed by the range of possibilities so would
like to hear some success stories or warnings of who to
I highly recommend Larry Martinez at Chase Manhattan. His
phone number is 800-570-5701 ext. 213. He has helped us
and other family members with a number of different types
of loans. Chase's rates are competitive and the closing
costs have been less than what we would have paid through a
mortgage broker. Larry is very knowledgeable, reliable and
responsive. We think he's great. If you happen to be an
attorney, Chase also offers a State Bar discount on the
To the subscriber looking for a home equity loan......... I
would strongly recommend Behzad Zandi, sorry I can't
remember the name of the mortgage brokerage he works for
but his phone number is 415- 892 - 2006. I have
refinanced my house three times with him in the last two
years, at no cost to me because they build in a spread.
However my rates have absolutely been comparable to, and hve
tracked, the market as interest rates have fallen. He also
facilitated my home equity line........ Margo Kimball.
Bayridge Realty helped me refinance my house and take out
some equity. The loan process went quickly and smoothly.
Steve Zager, the owner was super helpful, clear, nice and
prompt. The office is in Berkeley at 1345 Martin Luther
King Jr. Way, across from Fat Apples (tel. 524-3333).
We got our home equity loan through Lending Tree.com. They
are supposed to contact different banks with your
information and then the banks contact you and make an
offer. Supposedly, because they know other banks want your
business, you will get good offers, but we were only
contacted by one bank, but our interest rate is pretty good,
so it's OK.
We got our home equity line through our regional bank Mt.
Diablo Bank (Danville branch). They may have a branch in
Orinda. In December, the rate was prime rate + 0%. An
exceptional rate as the prime rate went down to 4.50% right
after we signed (and has stayed there). Of course you're
always at risk of the prime rate moving up. No prepayment
Don't know if they still offer this rate, but I learned
it's well worth looking regionally, as the big banks
couldn't come close. We also got a number of other great
contacts from the local bank, such as a contractor for our
remodel who has turned out to be exceptional.
Would anyone recommend a mortgage broker to help us refinance? Someone ethical, smart,
well-informed and organized, and preferably in the Berkeley area.
We were really pleased with Lauren Dunlap, who is a mortgage broker
with Nova, 540-7911. She works in Berkeley. My neighbor recommended
her to us; she took care of our paperwork promptly (came over on a
Sunday!); gave us all the information we needed; kept us informed;
great service-we couldn't have been happier.
We've worked with a mortgage broker in Alameda a couple of times (for
initial purchases and recently refinance). Several friends have also
used him and been very happy. Gets great rates, very good at helping
get your application approved in a reasonable period and handles all
the details. His name is Richard Pavao, and his company is California
Real Estate Finance, which you should be able to get from information,
since I'm not sure where I've put his number.
This is recommend Sam Fishman (528-2255) as a mortgage broker. He
takes the time to look at your needs, to evaluate the options, and to
offer you choices on finding a mortgage to fit your pocketbook. His
office staff is responsive, efficient, and nice to work with. His
office is on Solano, across from Safeway.
I just refinanced and consolidated my mortgages (1st+2nd) with E-loan
with an excellent rate, no points and low cost. The process was fast,
smooth, pleasurable, not to mention the United Miles that come along
with it. All exchanges were by phone/e-mail and the notary came to my
office for the signatures. Perhaps it was easy because I am an ''easy
loan'' (high credit scores and loan-to-value) and I happend to get a
very personable service rep, but I would strongly recommend them.
I highly recommend the mortgage broker, Joseph Nichols, with Schnell
Investments in Berkeley, 525,4050. He worked with us a long time
through many house bids and always provided very sensible advice (when
asked.) When we finally got into contract, he managed to help us
close in less than 30 days, even during crazy refinancing times. My
real estate agent said that Joseph was a miracle worker. Miracles or
not, I found him to be very organized and ethical.
Fabulous mortgage broker in Albany:
Karen Ward at RE Loan Mortgage (her business).
She can be reached at 510-559-4004 or 4000
I've worked with her for years. She's very ethical, bright and
fun to work with.
These low interest rates have started us thinking about
buying a house, despite our very modest incomes. Can
anyone recommend some type of financial planner who is
knowledgeable about real estate (we'd be first time buyers)
who could help us evaluate the pros and cons of buying, and
help us find out about financing options? It might be nice
if this person could also do future taxes (we've always
done our own) and could help evaluate a potential purchase
with tax implications in mind. The financial planner
recommendations on the web don't mention anyone with
expertise in real estate. Berkeley/Oakland is preferable,
but a good match is more important than location.
Karen Ward is a mortgage broker in Albany who is very service oriented
and knowledgable about tax implications etc. of purchasing - especially
the first home.
You can reach her at 510-559-4000
Can anyone recommend a place that will refinance a
second mortgage only? Lots of brokers want to combine
the first and second to refinance, but we don't want
to touch our first mortgage. Any recommendations would
be appreciated. Thanks.
Call Joe Acker from Partners Mortgage in
Montclair at 339-4450. He will be happy
to talk to you and propose some options.
He has been very helpful with re-financing our
first mortgage, getting us a second (separate
from our first) mortgage and we are now looking to
refinance the second mortgage only. He has
excellent relationphips with many lenders and
has so far always gotten us an excellent deal.
For the person looking for a financial broker contact Fishmen Financial
Services on Solano Avenue, Berkeley. The owner Sam Fishmen provides
excellent customer service. C
I highly recommend Jon Riccardi at MPR Financial located at 1320 Solano
Avenue in Albany. The phone # is 510-527-6146. We used a mortgage
broker 6 years ago with our first house and swore we'd never use one again
all the shenanigans that got played on us. We financed our second home
directly through a bank. In January we wanted to refinance and got quotes
all the banks which I felt were too high. Jon came highly recommended from
our financial planner so we went back on our promise and used him. I
couldn't have been happier. His business makes its money on volume not
and broker fees. Up front he tells you what the costs will be and that's
what they are when you go to sign the papers.Kathy
i recently refinanced my house through Partners Mortgage in Pleasanton
(Julie) I had a first time home buyers loan initially and you weren't
able to refinance until now and it was a little complex, but they were
fast, knowledgable and helpful
We used Holmgren and Associates for the purchase of our first house and the
refinance of the house recently. Our broker is Zach Griffin who has been
quite good. He got us a cheap refinance with no points and fees and
reappraised our house so that we got rid of the PMI (mortgage insurance).
Their phone is 339-2121.
My mother in law, who is a real estate agent recommended them, and she's
seen lots of mortgage brokers. Myriam
I recommend Joe Nichols with Schnell Investment Co., 1517 5th St.,
Berkeley, 525-4050. He has worked with us on two refinances and secured the
loan for our current home. Our financial situation was unusual and
complicated and Joe proved to be resourceful and persistent. We have
benefited from his sound, balanced advice on several related matters. He is
very pleasant to deal with, as is the receptionist in the office. Rachel
The man who earned every penny: Joseph Nichols of Schnell Investment Co.
525-4050 (5th St. in Berkeley. I'm pretty sure that's their current
number.) Also I've heard very good things about Fishman Financial Group on
My tenant-in-common/downstairs-neighbor and I were very pleased with
Schnell Investment Co. on Shattuck Ave. in Berkeley, both for our
initial purchase eleven years ago and a refinance about 5 years ago.
And we were not exactly a standard situation: we were two single
women buying a duplex, where she had 75% of the down payment and I
had about 60% of the income. I think it was Joseph Schnell we
worked with most.
My Berkeley realtor is telling me that if I don't use one of her
approved local brokers that I might jeopardize my ability to offer a
competitive bid on a house--either the seller's agent won't trust my
lender, or an out of town loan agent might pose a slower close b/c
s/he may have questions re the appraisal. I've talked to 2 mortgage
brokers in Berkeley, and 1 loan agent for Countrywide in Napa
(referred to me by my banker--who's not w/ BofA). The Countrywide loan
agent is offering the best mortgage loan of the 3. Is my realtor right
in saying that she doesn't trust Countrywide, and if the loan agent is
not from Berkeley that my bid might not be accepted or that closing
might be delayed?
mortgage seeking mom
We got the same advice when we were in the market but that was
3 years ago when times were different! Remember this is about
having a pre-approval letter, not about the actual mortgage.
Get a pre-approval letter from one of her ''approved lenders''
but get one from your preferred vendor as well. When you find
a house, give them both but remember, once the offer is
accepted, you can get financing from any legitimate source you
Best of luck,
fellow home buyer
''if I don't use one of her approved local brokers that I might
jeopardize my ability to offer a competitive bid on a house''
Did you possibly misunderstand her? In other words, does your
agent work better with her recommended loan brokers (don't know
what she means by ''approved'') or does her experience with them
show her that they can deliver?
What she might mean is that you won't be competitive with a buer
who knows that they can actually get a loan - one who has been
approved for an amount, and with an agent who can deliver the
loan by the close date.
Also, when you say that Countrywide is offering the best loan,
there are so many factors in a loan. Are you comparing apples to
apples? Has each of the agents qualified you and given you
quotes on loans you can get? We're in a credit crunch right now.
Personally, I would not go with Countrywide. I would choose a
good loan broker bc that person has access to many more sources
than Countrywide and can give you a Countrywide loan.
Here is a superb one:
415-748-2626 (she's in East Bay and covers our area even though
area code for her cell is 415)
Wow. That sounds outrageous to me. Frankly, you'd be unwise to
stick only to local folks when searching for a mortgage--too
limiting. It strikes me as irresponsible for your real estate
agent to discourage you from shopping around. We own 2 homes and
searched all over online for the best rates. Neither mortgage was
very local & no one cared. And we bought when there was a ton of
competition. Frankly, I'd get a new real estate agent because I
wouldn't trust that person.
Using a local lender for a pre approval letter can be very
helpful if you are faced with a competitve bidding situation.
I have over 15yrs of experience in the Berkeley housing market
and have seen many offers be dismmissd due to an out of town
pre approval letter. The real estate community here is small
and in the past some out of town lenders have proven to be
I should mention however that in no way should pay a higher
rate to use a local lender. Your best bet is to get pre
approved both locally and out of town and to use the local pre
approval letter with your offer. Once your offer is accepted
you can than choose to work with the lender you are most
comfortable with. By no means are you obligated to use a
lender due to a pre approval letter.
You should also not be paying any fees for pre approval so
getting pre approved in both places should not be a problem or
cost you anything.
No your mortgage lender does not have to be local, and no Country
wide does not take longer than other lenders. I had them, and
always found them good. But I am not sure how good their
Are you sure you want to keep your Realtor? She sounds like
she's high pressure. You are the buyer, this is your market.
There are a lot of great realtors in this area, make sure you are
happy with yours.
I am a mortgage broker in Alameda, not Berkeley. You should be
able to use whoever you want, someone you trust, who is giving
you the best possible loan and rate. In a tight bidding
situation though, you may be better off using someone the
agents know who has a proven track record of successfully
closing loans, as long as they are offering you a comparable
deal. It's good that you are talking to more than one mortgage
broker. Choose the one who seems the most honest and gives you
enough information so that you know exactly what you are
getting. Compare closing costs. Try to get the broker to submit
your loan to the lender for a pre-approval and give you a copy
of the pre-approval underwriting determination so that the
listing agent can see that you have financing in place. You can
have your agent recommend a local appraiser if using an out-of
town loan broker. As for Countrywide, there has been a lot of
negative press, so just make sure that what you are being told
is the real deal. I'm sure there are many reputable people
working at Countrywide, just be careful.
NOPE! with emails and fax, you don't have to have a local lender.
you can even go with a strictly online company, though it is very
nice to have the service of a broker you're in contact with.
(i've done both ways.) your agent probably feels comfortable
working with the person she knows. it's all about how responsive
your lender's contact is with your agent and the escrow officer.
i'd assume seeing a better interest rate will make your offer
more attractive - the backup offer on our house was the same
price as ours, but we had the better financing and probably the
lower interest rate because the seller's agent said there's no
way we'd be able to get such a good rate and even allowed wiggle
room for the rate.
as for countrywide, given the housing crisis right now, i don't
know if it's any worse than just about any financial
institutions. given that countrywide went through their blowup
last year, hopefully they're managing better these days. good luck!!
- lover of emails and fax
I think your agent is giving you incorrect information. I read
a study that said using a broker actually cost $300 more than
approaching the bank yourself. I bought a house in February --
started the process in November -- I called Wells Fargo--
the ''preferred'' lender for UC Berkeley -- supposedly. I gave
all info over the phone while shopping at TJ's.
Home Mortgage Consultant
Wells Fargo Home Mortgage
2801 4th Ave South
Minneapolis, MN 55467
800.525.3880 x75040 Toll-free
WF Employees: 800.777.9888 x75040
Relocating Clients: 800-452-9988 x75040
We bought a house this spring. Our offer was lower than the
other offer but the listing agent recommended to the sellers that
they take our offer since our pre-approval letter was from BofA.
We had not planned on getting financing through them given their
really high interest rates. So we refinanced with American
Enterprise Bank of Florida one month after we closed with BofA.
BofA's service was miserable and we had to get an extension to
release the finance contingency but their no closing cost loan
made this tactic financially feasible. We went from a 8% ARM
with BofA to 6.25% fixed with AEB.
I've heard a lot of real estate deals have fallen apart over the
last year due to lenders changing the rules and not funding loans
to people they had previously given pre-approval letters to.
We've bought a couple of houses and in both occasions the lender
was someone who worked with the realtor. The second time we
tried to use an out of town lender that we had previously used to
refinance our first house, but we were highly discouraged from
our realtor to do so. It seems that, administratively and
legally, it is OK to do it, but realtors really prefer to work
with their own lenders. My suggestion would be to show the rates
you got with Countrywide to your realtor's lender and ask them to
this page was last updated: Oct 31, 2012
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