Q+A with Local Mortgage Experts

Local Rochester Minnesota Mortgage Experts

Q+A with Local Mortgage Experts

Teamwork makes your dream work. We’ve learned that getting the best players on your team is what contributes to the greatest success – not just for us, but for you.

So, we’re taking some time to sit down with some of our most trusted partners to learn more about them. Previously, we chatted with Victoria Juran, an Executive Closer at Rochester Trademark Title Services. Today, meet Jason Griggs and Heather Fuelberth from Bell Bank Mortgage.

Local Rochester Minnesota Mortgage Experts
Heather Fuelberth, Jason Griggs, and Stacy Jahraus from Bell Bank Mortgage in Rochester.

North House: Tell us what each of you do at Bell Bank Mortgage? What exactly do you do? How many years have you worked there?

Jason Griggs: I am the Branch Manager and have been with Bell 8 years, but I have been in the lending business for 27 years. 

Heather Fuelberth: I have been a Senior Mortgage Loan Office at Bell Bank Mortgage for 6 years, having been in the mortgage industry for over 25 years. I have a passion for helping clients achieve their dreams of home ownership.

NH: When is the best time of the year to refinance your home?

JG & HF: Refinancing your mortgage can be done at any time of year – there are a variety of reasons someone may refinance including lowering their interest rate, monthly payment or loan term, removing monthly mortgage insurance, paying off additional debt or taking cash out. We analyze each customer’s short and long term financial goals and present various solutions that best meet their needs. Lenders do tend to be slower in the middle of winter, but it’s important to refinance when the rate is right for you. 

NH: What are some of the biggest red flags for someone who might not be qualified for a loan?

JG & HF:  When qualifying someone for a loan, their credit history, income and assets are all reviewed. Probably the biggest reason someone may not qualify for a loan is their credit history, but I am willing to work with buyers with less than perfect credit to devise a plan to increase their credit scores to qualify to purchase a home in the future. Debt to income ratios are another big consideration, so occasionally buyers may need to pay off some debts to qualify for the higher priced home they want. Again, we will go over all the different options with prospective buyers. Also, a new job in a new field or recently self-employed can involve more steps, but don’t let that stop you! We will work with you to get the information we need.

NH: How long typically does it take to apply and get approved for a loan?

JG: It can be as short as 30 minutes or longer if we need documentation for someone that is self-employed. 

HF: The online loan application on my website at www.heatherfuelberth.com is easy to complete and only takes about 10 – 15 minutes to complete. Many times the preapproval can come the same day, but may take longer depending on the situation. In some cases, we need to spend extra time getting buyers into the best product possible.

NH: What do you most love about your job and the mortgage process?

JG: I love seeing the joy that comes with purchasing a home. That process is so gratifying! 

HF: I simply love our employee culture: Happy Employees, Happy Customers! I love working with buyers from start to finish, helping many achieve the dream of homeownership that they never thought possible. I love working with repeat customers and now many of their children as well!

NH: How many types of loans do you offer and what is the most common? (10 year, 15 year, 30 year, fixed rate etc.)

JG & HF: We do Conventional, FHA, VA, MN Housing, USDA, Jumbo, Dr. Loans, First Time Buyer loans. That’s a lot of acronyms, but the bottom line is that we have options and we’ll find what’s right for you. We offer fixed rate and adjustable rate mortgages with loan terms from 10 – 30 years.The most common loan term is the 30 year fixed rate loan as that has the lowest monthly payment and allows buyers to qualify for more home.

NH: When looking at the market, what do you predict 2021 to look like in the housing industry?

JG: I think it will dip down a little from 2020 but not drastically.

HF: With interest rates at historic lows and all the anticipated growth in the Rochester area, 2021 should have a very robust housing market in our region.

NH: The rates right now are the lowest they have ever been, do you have any insight as to how long these will last?

JG: We don’t see anything changing much until at least 2022. It’s a great time to buy a house or refinance! 

HF: No one has a crystal ball, but interest rates are anticipated to stay low for quite some time. Even if they go up .50% – 1.00%, the rates are still historically low!

NH: In Rochester, MN what is a recommended downpayment for a house?

JG & HF: Five percent is the most common but more is always better. You will lower your monthly payment and overall cost of the house. It pays to save up.

There are also many first time homebuyer programs that allow buyers to purchase a home for as low as 3% – 3.5% down and VA and USDA Rural Housing loans allow buyers to get in with NO down payment. We also work closely with the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency to provide down payment assistance loans to help buyers get into a home for as little as $1000 of their own funds.

You can learn more about Bell Bank Mortgage by visiting their website.