Buying a home, whether for the very first time or not, is an exciting time. At Suncadia, we know how important it is for members of our community to purchase a home they will love for years to come, one that fits their lifestyle and that they are happy to come home to weekend after weekend. That’s why we have partnered with some of the best home builders, architects and lenders in Washington. Here, we chat with Steven Davidson and Ryan Fred who specialize in homesite and construction loans at First Interstate Bank.
Tell us about First Interstate Bank and your role there.
Founded in 1968, with headquarters in Billings, MT, First Interstate is a community bank offering a variety of services. Our expertise is lot and construction lending for golf course/resort communities, and custom residential construction financing. We have worked with Suncadia for three years now and with 50 to 60 families, many on them on multiple properties and transactions. Together, we have been in the business for nearly four decades.
Finding the right mortgage broker can be challenging. What do you think are the right questions to ask a potential lender?
Service is the best thing to ask about because going for whoever offers the cheapest rate isn’t always the best option. We excel in the service we provide after the loan closes. When you’re building your dream vacation home, you want to make sure your builder is getting his draws in a timely manner to keep the subcontractors happy, and keep the project moving as fast as possible. One way we do this is by proactively ordering our new construction progress inspections in anticipation of the builder’s draw each month to keep the money flowing.
As a lender, what is your goal? How do you best serve your customers?
Our goal as a lender is to keep everyone happy: the client, the builder, processing, and underwriting. We want to make sure we understand the client’s expectations up front so everyone is on the same page regarding timing of the project. Most folks will simply buy an existing home and so they’ve had mortgage experience with that but not necessarily with construction on a new homesite. We will hold the client’s hand, so to speak, and show them the steps on how to get the project off the ground.
Our experience is our best asset. Our team does roughly $120,000,000 per year in this type of lending. In my opinion, we know this program better than any other lender in the nation!
How is your mortgage approach different or unique?
We do everything in house, from processing to doc drawing and builder draws. We manage the project from start to finish and if there are any questions or issues before, during or after, we are there for the client. Your loan doesn’t get shipped to some third party after funding; we stay in constant contact with the client and builder. We specialize in the ‘service after the sale.’
How does your service differ from what other lenders or companies offer? How is your approach different or unique?
Our program is an all-in-one construction loan. Some other lenders have a two-step program: two sets of fees, two sets of paperwork, two headaches. Our rate is locked in up front to protect the client from any rate hikes during construction. If rates are lower at completion, the client is welcome to refinance if they choose. We also gather 99% of the documentation we’ll need for the transaction right up front. We don’t draw out the approval process by continually asking for additional documentation. We gather only what we know the underwriters will want and nothing more.