Almost no one buys a home upfront with cash. Instead, homebuyers get a loan, a mortgage, from a bank. They pay off the mortgage in fixed monthly payments based on the total amount of the loan and the interest rate. Simple, right?
Here in the Hamptons there are numerous home loan companies but none that have grown as quickly as Guaranteed Rate has over the past 12 years. Despite its growth, it still hasn’t lost touch with its small-business roots.
The name might be new to the Hamptons, but the company and its employees are not.
Guaanteed Rate was founded back in 2000 by Victor Ciardelli. With a view to providing home buyers with customized, affordable loans, this model has allowed the company to expand into 49 states and conduct over $50 billion in loans for hundreds of thousands of homeowners since 2000.
Last October, Guaranteed Rate, the second largest independent home loan company in the U.S., and Manhattan Mortgage merged, combining both companies’ valuable resources.
“We have the largest presence, the best setup in the Hamptons,” says Christopher Minardi, Guaranteed Rate Branch Manager in East Hampton. “We still have the same team, same office, same contacts, same approach as we’ve always had,” he says, referring back to Manhattan Mortgage.
Manhattan Mortgage had been providing individuals and families alike with affordable home loans for over 20 years in the Hamptons. Founded by Melissa Cohn, the company has prided itself on its personal touch and hands-on style business.
“Our company is in a unique place right now,” continues Minardi. “The merger has kept our rates lower than our competition, allowing us to write more mortgages, but still in a one-on-one style of business.”
So, what are some of the basics of home purchasing?
“First off, shopping for a mortgage, whether it’s your first or you’re refinancing, is similar to shopping for any other product or service,” says Hilary von Maur, the vice president of mortgage lending.
Real estate buyers, just like any other consumer, want to get all their needs at the most affordable price. Although for many, the process of purchasing a home is incredibly daunting, being properly prepared will save you some unwanted stress.
One of the most important items for getting a low mortgage rate is a high credit score. In many instances, the primary determinant that impedes obtaining a home loan rate is credit, so if you plan on purchasing a home or refinancing, make sure your credit score is where you want it to be.
Why Guaranteed Rate has been so successful in its lifetime is largely due to the company’s smorgasbord of personalized home loan options.
“We have a Cheesecake Factory menu when it comes to personalized home loan options,” says Minardi. “It can be a stressful environment, that’s why we demystify the mortgage process.”
The first critical step in buying a home is figuring out how much you can afford to spend. Typically, future homebuyers should aim to put down at least 29%.
Putting more money down up front will hopefully reduce your monthly payments. In a perfect world, homebuyers should aim to keep their monthly payments to about 30% of their gross monthly income.
“Nowadays, there are a lot of people involved in the process of buying a home,” says Minardi describing the course of action.
Minardi describes the process with two sets of characters. First, you have your primary characters, your attorney, real estate broker and mortgage broker.
Then, you have your secondary characters, the appraiser and home inspector, who are subsequently involved in the process. Try to know or have an idea of who you want to help you during
The days of refinancing or purchasing a house on a handshake are over. The process has become extensive, leaving homebuyers inundated with paperwork and statements.
“What sets us apart from the rest is we’re all about service,” says Minardi. “We change your oil for free.”
Future Hampton homebuyers should swing by and see what their future may hold. It doesn’t cost a thing to try until you’re ready to buy.
For more information, visit guaranteedrate.com or check out the East Hampton branch at 40A Newtown Lane. 631-324-1555