Vice President with Coast Capital Group
Coast Capital Group located in Corona del Mar and Hermosa Beach, offers mortgage solutions for borrowers looking to purchase or refinance their properties. After watching the industry evolve over the last 15 years, Kuchera shares his insight into the current mortgage lending environment.
Q: How has Coast Capital Group been able to thrive amidst all of the changes in the mortgage industry?
A: We’ve been able to bridge the gap for borrowers by developing exclusive relationships with the most competitive lenders known in the marketplace. While most borrowers are being treated like a number by their bank or the few jumbo lenders out there that most mortgage companies are working with, we have been able to excel. Our approach to financing is to truly help the borrower with sound mortgage advice, and our goal from day one has been to develop lifelong relationships with our clients.
Q: What are the biggest challenges or “myths” you see out there today in mortgage lending?
A: Many consumers and Realtors are still under the misconception that they are not lendable or that banks aren’t willing to lend. We’ve watched our industry evolve from a point of little regulation, to where it is now with excessive regulation, but the bottom line is banks are making plenty of loans and rates are still near historic lows. For example, 2008 was a bad year for many of our Self Employed Mega Jumbo borrowers, but in early 2010 our investors were underwriting to current cash flow which allowed borrowers to purchase properties at very distressed levels. Recently, we have seen more portfolio lenders come to market to provide even more options for consumers; even if you have been turned down by one of the larger institutional banks.
Q: What are some specific pieces of advice you can give?
A: Never assume and always get a second opinion. Every single one of the deals we are referred into where financing is falling apart could have been avoided had the loans been properly underwritten from the onset. Second, plan ahead. If you are buying, get fully pre-underwritten so you are prepared to put in a strong offer knowing there is no doubt about your financing.
Q: What is Coast Capital Group’s niche or “sweet spot” in regards to financing?
A: Our “sweet spot” has been the ability to quickly approve and close transactions for these otherwise un-qualified borrowers by properly analyzing financials and having the ability to talk through each transaction with the actual decision makers of our investors who don’t typically get involved in individual transactions. There are ways to leverage other properties, access down payments from alternate sources, use foreign assets, and utilize assets that may otherwise be illiquid.
Q: Where do you see rates going this year?
A: Of course we all wish we knew, but recently we’ve seen a dip over the last few weeks from the approx. 1% jump we saw in rates in December and January. We’re still in a period of extremely low rates, historically speaking. You can still get 30-yr. fixed rates in the mid to high 4% range on conforming loans, and jumbo rates are still in the low 4%s to the low 5%s, depending on the program. Many analysts feel that mortgage rates will likely start to trend slowly upward as the rate of unemployment starts to decline.
Q: What made you get into the mortgage business?
A: After realizing early that I wasn’t going to make it as a professional athlete, the one thing I did know growing up was that I wanted to help people. The mortgage business doesn’t seem like the place to go to do this, but in many ways I feel like we have over the years. Our industry and the financial sector in general have been under heavy scrutiny after the events over the last few years, but this has been an opportune time to reach out to those looking for direction and answers. Coast Capital Group has a dedication to its clients that I have yet to see at any other company, and at the end of the day that’s what makes us proud to be doing what we do.