I meet Jeff Daniels about five years ago at a business networking group. At that time Jeff was working on his own as a motgage broker. He was starting to build his business in the Manchester and Glastonbury area. I could tell that with Jeff's great personality, energy, and desire to suceed that he was someone who was going places. He now manages an enterprise that has seen impressive growth in the last four years. During our interview Jeff never once mentioned how bad the economy is here in Connecticut. He is just focused on adding more branches to his business.
Timothy Becker: Jeff, how did you get involved in the lending business?
Jeff Daniels: I got started in the business in Las Vegas in 2003. My brother Bill had a mortgage company in Irvine, Cafifornia and that inspired me to get into the mortgage industry.
Timothy Becker: Was the real estate market hot at that time in Las Vegas?
Jeff Daniels: The real estate market was very active at the time. Within a year I saw real estate prices double. I came to Connecticut in 2004 and I started building mortgage referral sources.
Timothy Becker: When did you join Primary Residential Mortgage and has your business grown since that time?
Jeff Daniels: I joined Primary in 2009 and we started as a single branch in Manchester as a part of Primary Residential Mortgage which is headquartered in Utah. We now have added 10 additional locations to our division. Our latest location is in Celebration, Florida.
Timothy Becker: What is your impression of what happened with mortgages in 2008?
Jeff Daniels: The guidelines became too lax and that allowed people to make bad investments. There were products out there that required no income, no assets, no job, with no money down. These loans were good for certain people but not for the average person. Now the guidelines have tightened and the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction.
Timothy Becker: What type of mortgage loans are most popular today?
Jeff Daniels: FHA loans are very popular. They require a 3.5% down payment. USDA loans for rural housing are becoming more common. USDA loans require no money down, and like the FHA mortgages are government insured. The majority of our customers still are doing fixed rate mortgages and locking in low rates.
Timothy Becker: Are there any new products that you are offering?
Jeff Daniels: We are now offering reverse mortgages. Rob Wilson is our reverse mortgage sales manager. Reverse mortgages allows a person 62 or older to purchase a home or to get access to their home equity. A person who purchases a home and puts approximately 40% down with a reverse mortgage will not have to pay any mortgage payments and will only be responsible for property taxes, homeowners insurance, and utilities.
Timothy Becker: Why should borrowers consider a mortgage company rather than a bank?
Jeff Daniels: Home loans are all that we do. We are direct lenders and we have a lot more flexibility than a typical bank. We all have state and federal licenses. I'm licensed in nine states and I need to take continuing education to maintain those licenses. A loan officer that works for a federally chartered institution doesn't need a license.
Timothy Becker: Jeff, do you have some advise that you could share with people that are buying a home or refinancing?
Jeff Daniels: Ask people you know for a referral, sit down, ask questions, and make sure that you are comfortable with the people you are dealing with.