The Many Loan Options for Home Buyers

Gavin Ekstrom pic

Gavin Ekstrom

With over 20 years of experience helping people with their mortgages, Gavin Ekstrom serves as senior area manager at Citywide Home Loans in Colorado. Since he began in 2010, Gavin Ekstrom has built the company from a single employee to more than 175, over five locations.

There are many different options available to those seeking a loan for their first home. Conventional loans often require a down payment of around 5 percent as well as reasonably good credit, but there are many ways to get a homeowner’s loan that Citywide can help with.

State bond programs offer a low-cost loan option with low interest rates that may be more accessible to many people than a conventional loan. There are also mortgages available that are insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) that tend to have lower down-payment requirements as well as flexible terms, so many people who may not qualify for a conventional loan could find this option very attractive.

The US Veterans Affairs office can provide longer-term loans with favorable terms to veterans as well as to those in active service and surviving spouses. If your home is under construction, special loans are also available that can help finance the home being built. Citywide works to ensure that people find a loan from these options and others, so that they can comfortably invest in their own home.


About the Veterans Administration (VA) Home Loan Guarantee Program

Veterans Administration pic

Veterans Administration

As an experienced mortgage professional, Gavin Ekstrom draws on an in-depth knowledge of federal loan programs. Gavin Ekstrom serves as senior area manager with Citywide Home Loans, where he helps clients understand such opportunities as the Veterans Affairs Home Loan Guarantee Program.

Through its Home Loan Guarantee program, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) works with lenders to make borrowing more affordable to qualified borrowers. This includes current members of the armed forces as well as non-dishonorably discharged veterans, surviving spouses, and members of the Reserves or National Guard.

Qualifying individuals borrow directly from lenders but benefit from the VA’s backing. This leads to a number of more favorable terms, including less stringent down payment and mortgage insurance requirements.

The VA Home Loan Guarantee Program also allows eligible borrowers to finance closing costs. This can enable a borrower to finance every aspect of the loan. Approval does depend on the borrower’s credit history and ability to qualify through a lender.

Fortunately, the VA’s relationship with lenders allows for more generous qualification benchmarks as compared to traditional mortgage applications. Rates are competitive within the market, and approved debt-to-income ratios are typically about 3 percent higher than those required on the open market.

Single-Family Housing Loans from the USDA

Gavin Ekstrom pic

Gavin Ekstrom

As senior area manager for Citywide Home Loans, Gavin Ekstrom oversees the origination and processing of lending in the Denver, Colorado, region. Gavin Ekstrom draws on an in-depth knowledge of United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) loans and other federal programs.

The United States Department of Agriculture, or USDA, offers its guaranteed loan program for single-family housing as a way to improve ownership affordability in rural areas. The program offers 90 percent note guarantees for low- to moderate-income applicants who wish to build, improve, or relocate housing in eligible areas. These guarantees make it possible for banks to offer loans to these potential buyers.

The program is available to nationals, citizens, and qualified aliens who intend to maintain the purchased residence as their primary dwelling. Funds may go toward the purchase of a new or existing property or toward repairs of a residence in an eligible area. Repairs may range from structural rehabilitation to the connection of utility lines and can include the installation of accommodations for residents with disabilities.

Mortgage Rate Determinations – The Basics

Gavin Ekstrom pic

Gavin Ekstrom

Gavin Ekstrom has led as senior manager for Citywide Home Loans in the Denver, Colorado, area since 2005. Gavin Ekstrom comes to his role following 15 years as a loan officer, during which time he helped numerous clients apply for and understand mortgage lending.

The complex process of mortgage rate fluctuation begins with the basic rules of supply and demand. If there is a high demand for mortgages, rates are likely to rise so that lenders can take advantage of consumer interest. Similarly, if homeowners show a greater interest in selling, rates often rise commensurately with increased home availability.

Mortgage rates also depend on the overall health of the economy. When indicators such as job availability reports and consumer confidence show a thriving economy, mortgage rates tend to rise in turn. Inflation tends to have a similar effect, as fears of a limited money supply causes a rise in interest rates.

Banks offer additional consideration to the likelihood of finding buyers for mortgage-backed securities. A rise in loan origination can lead to a drop in prices, which drives rates higher. For this reason, federal buyers often step in and purchase securities to keep prices low and thus benefit the consumer. The overall process is extremely intricate, but demand remains a primary driving force.

Boulder Chamber Presents BWLG WOW Marketing Factor Seminar in November

A professional mortgage lender in Greenwood Village, Colorado, Gavin Ekstrom serves as the senior area manager for Citywide Home Loans. Gavin Ekstrom is also a member of the Boulder Chamber, the region’s key business support and advocacy organization.

In November, the Boulder Chamber’s Business Women’s Leadership Group (BWLG) will host the BWLG WOW, which offers marketing and public relations professionals an opportunity to improve their businesses’ marketing and publicity tactics. The session focuses on teaching participants how to implement a “wow” factor that draws in new clients. Covered topics include building solid marketing plans, developing strategies for working with the media, and creating public-relations policies. Additionally, participants will receive coaching on some of the industry’s newest and most effective marketing techniques.

One of the Boulder Chamber’s most active groups, the BWLG strives to provide education, leadership, and networking opportunities for business women. Its sessions focus on the professional development of women throughout the country.

The Best Places to Visit in Arizona

A mortgage loan officer with more than two decades of experience in primary and secondary markets, Gavin Ekstrom currently serves as area branch manager at Citywide Home Loans in Denver. In his free time, Gavin Ekstrom enjoys traveling across the United States, including to Arizona.

There are many excellent tourist spots to visit in Arizona, including the following:

The Grand Canyon: Perhaps the best-known landmark in Arizona, the Grand Canyon attracts millions of tourists from around the world each year. You can view the vast canyon from the North or South Rim, or you can get a closer look by hiking the various trails, rafting the Colorado River, or taking a helicopter ride.

Hoover Dam: This landmark is located on the border of Arizona and Nevada, linking the two states across the Colorado River. Finished in 1935, Hoover Dam is home to Lake Mead, the country’s largest man-made lake. While at the dam, you can camp, fish, and hike at the Lake Mead Recreation Area, which stretches 1.5 million acres.

Sedona: Located an hour and a half outside of Phoenix, this city is home to the Red Rock State Park. You can see the beautiful red-rock mountains from nearly every spot in Sedona and can view them up close on hikes as well as bike and horseback rides. The city also hosts jeep tours that will take you farther into the mountains.

Monument Valley: Bordering Arizona and Utah, Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park offers some of the most stunning views in the county. The landscape features red-rock mesas and sandstone formations that reach heights of 1,000 feet. At the park, you can take driving or photography tours to explore the area.

Mortgage Leadership Program from CMLA

An area branch manager at Citywide Home Loans in Denver, Colorado, Gavin Ekstrom guides branch growth and works with local real estate agents. Previously, he served as a mortgage loan officer. Gavin Ekstrom maintains membership in professional organizations such as the Colorado Mortgage Lenders Association (CMLA).

The Colorado Mortgage Lenders Association offers the Mortgage Leadership Program (MLP) to help those in the mortgage business improve their leadership skills. MLP provides participants with opportunities for networking with other industry professionals. Participants also follow a curriculum covering areas ranging from company analysis to the legislative process. Additionally, members have the opportunity to volunteer in the local community with a service project.

Prerequisites for the MLP consist of a written reference from a company executive or member of the CMLA’s Board of Directors, completion of the Certified Mortgage Lender (CML) designation, and at least two years of experience in the mortgage lending industry. For more information about how to apply, testimonials, the mission of CMLA, and other details, visit