Mortgage companies have dropped off like flies in the last few years, and you have to figure that those left standing are doing so because they’re doing something right.
Many mortgage lenders work as if they are in it for the one-time payoff, and are seemingly not all that concerned about what happens next – to the client, their clients’ families, or even to their own companies. That’s why it’s so refreshing to meet a seasoned professional and dad like Nate Kuchera, who believes it only makes sense to service people in such a way that they’ll want to come back to you in the future – a philosophy that has served him well, both professionally and personally.
“Growing up I knew I wanted to help people in some way, so I tried to bring a different approach to an industry that needed honesty, transparency and sound advice,” says Kuchera, senior loan officer for the Newport Beach-based Bank of Manhattan. “Our business can be like many others, where the focus is mainly about ‘closing deals,’ but I’ve learned if you don’t take care of the borrower at the beginning, middle and potentially months or years after the transaction, you will just be status quo.”
Founded in 2007, Bank of Manhattan specializes in delivering relationship banking services and residential mortgages to families, entrepreneurs, family-owned and closely-held middle market businesses, real estate investors and professional service firms.
Nate, whose office is located in Fashion Island in Newport Beach, has personally gravitated to the jumbo and super jumbo loans as a specialty in response to demand from his clients, but he also covers all aspects of residential lending including construction and multi-family.
But Nate isn’t just a mortgage professional in a highly challenging market – he’s a dad. And being a dad influences the way he does business.
Marmalade: How has becoming a father given you a new or different perspective on your work?
Nate Kuchera: When I was growing up, I watched my father make our family his priority. He would get up at 4:15 a.m. to exercise, get to work and work very hard, then make sure he got home in time to be with his kids. I don’t think he or my mom missed many events while we were growing up. My dad was successful and well respected in his work. The biggest thing I’ve learned from that is balance. Now that I have a family, I’ve tried to implement some of those principles I learned from my parents. I feel very fortunate that my job enables me to spend time with my kids in the morning before school and in the evenings. I am, however, very dedicated to making sure my clients and my business partners’ needs are met. My team works together to make sure it all runs smoothly. Overall, I think the new perspective I have is gratitude – just being thankful that we’ve been able to survive and thrive in our business, despite all of the changes in our industry.
M: Any tips for families looking for the right loan partner?
NK: Make sure the loan agent you are working with is truly working to find you the best option for your needs. Sometimes that may mean telling the family that purchasing that new home right now may need to wait. Typically in our business word of mouth referrals are great, so ask friends and family members you trust to tell you who they’ve worked with.
M: What are some of the heartaches and headaches families can avoid if they work with the right mortgage lender?
NK: It really helps to be prepared. These days, whether you are purchasing or refinancing, you need to be prepared to provide two years of tax returns, W2’s, recent pay stubs, and a couple months of bank statements. It’s usually best to have these items reviewed along with a recent credit report. Having them up-front and early in the process can save big potential problems down the road. Loan transactions can have very important deadlines that, if missed, can be expensive or cause you to lose a home you are trying to purchase. These potential problems can all be mitigated with just a little planning and, of course, working with the right mortgage lender.
M: Any special advice for first-time homebuyers?
NK: For first time home buyers, it’s extremely important to get pre-approved before you start looking for homes. Make sure to have a credit report run, complete a loan application and have your financials reviewed. Let the loan agent know if you are going to use your own funds for the down payment, or if you may be having a family member provide a gift towards the down payment. Make sure to discuss the various loan options that are available. Obviously, working with a real estate agent who is knowledgeable is equally as important, so take time to find someone you trust, and put your mortgage lender in contact with the agent before you submit offers or open escrow.
M: When it comes to the right loan and home, would you offer parents of young kids different advice than those with older kids or teenagers?
NK: We work to provide our clients the best loan products based on where they are in their life, and of course their plans for the future. For example, a younger family may think a 15-year fixed mortgage is best so that they can pay off their loan early, but the best approach may be a 30-year fixed, so that they have some cushion to handle unexpected expenses that may arise. They may not realize you can still accelerate the mortgage and treat it like a shorter term loan. If we don’t take the time to discuss specifics with each of our clients, we are not doing our job properly.`