Falling in love with ocean views, coved ceilings, a huge lanai, or a lush tropical garden is the easiest part of home shopping. Let’s face it, going to Open Houses can be fun (and also, they satisfy a weird, nosey quirk of human nature). But the complicated part of home buying isn’t so much deciding on which home to buy (school districts and ocean views, notwithstanding).
Rather, it’s navigating the legalese, contracts, financing options and ultimately, figuring out if you can afford the home that you want. The heart wants what the heart wants, but your bank is sometimes impervious to the wants of your heart.
That’s where the expert guidance of an experienced mortgage consultant comes in handy – not to mention that of a professional real estate agent, who helps you find that dream home that checks all your boxes, and then negotiates hard for the price you’re willing to pay.
The nimble, innovative and knowledgeable team at Element Mortgage are an integral, trusted part of our process here at Hawaii Life. Indeed, they’re part of our ‘ohana, popping in and out of our 17 offices statewide as frequently as our own 300+ agents to meet with home buyers on Kauai, Oahu, Maui and the Big Island.
Since sharing is caring, we want to share some of the reasons why we choose to work so closely with the mortgage pros at Element.
- Determining Your Buyer Power
- Relying On Trusted Experts
- Element Mortgage – Hawaii Life’s Preferred Lender
- Local Agent. Local Lender
- How Element Works With Us…And You
- Tools and Technology That Benefit Agents & Clients
- A Collaborative Approach = A Happy Home Buyer
- Who To Call: Lending Spotlight Series
Determining Your Buying Power
Whether you’re a Hawaii resident looking for your first home, or a retiree living on the mainland looking for your piece of paradise, two of the most complex aspects of buying a home are:
- Determining your budget
- Exploring your financing options
If you’re at the start of your career, you might wonder if you can get approved for that first home loan, especially with the cost of homes in Hawaii these days. If you’re settling into retirement, you might wonder if you’ve reserved enough cash and investments to carry you through your golden years, while still paying down the rest of your mortgage.
In between these two life stages, there are all kinds of life events that affect the financial aspects of home buying – a growing family, student debt, a career change, getting married or starting a new business. One of the most critical questions facing homebuyers is “What is my buying power?”. It’s empowering to have a clear picture of your budger. It also helps speed up the home shopping process, knowing exactly which homes are within your budget, what the outer limits of your offers can be, and calculating your monthly expenditures.
A quick conversation with an experienced mortgage consultant who knows the Hawaii market can you help you to assess your buying power (often without pulling a credit score) and determine your financing options.
Relying on Trusted Experts
As we mentioned, the shopping is fun – but the money part can be stress inducing! After all, you need to get right into the nitty-gritty of talking about (gulp!) …your finances. That’s why it’s critical to engage trusted experts when choosing a real estate agent and securing a home loan. A home is the most expensive purchase most people will ever make and is likely your biggest monthly expense (whether you’re currently a renter or a buyer).
Trust and expertise are extremely important to the process. Add to that mix the unique complexities of Hawaii’s environmental context and real estate regulations, as well as the fact that mortgage loans in Hawaii are, on average, higher than any other place in the United States.
That’s where our trusted friends and colleagues at Element Mortgage can help. Element’s Hawaii office is located in Kaimuki on Oahu, but their loan officers work across the state to serve homebuyers on Kauai, Maui, the Big Island, Molokai and Lanai, as well. They’re a valuable resource for anyone interested in purchasing property on Oahu or on any of the Neighbor Islands. Working with them is discreet, confidential and you can be assured that they’ll give you the best possible advice to help you achieve your goals.
Element Mortgage – Hawaii Life’s Preferred Lender
As our preferred lender, Element Mortgage is a trusted source for lending advice and services. Their mortgage experts have supported our agents across Hawaii and we’ve built relationships – both professionally and personally – with their team of experts. We recently got a chance to celebrate together at Worthshop, our annual conference series, where Element Mortgage was one of several event sponsors.
Just like the Hawaii Life real estate team, Element Mortgage is relentlessly relationship-focused. They put people first, with the idea that this is a lifelong partnership with shared goals and interests. They embrace local culture. They strive for efficiency and simplicity. And they expertly evolve with the changing real estate landscape by being innovative, nimble and responsive to homebuyer and agent needs.
It’s not just because of their like-minded collaborative approach to doing business that makes them our go-to source for mortgages. As a franchise of the larger American Pacific Mortgage Corporation (NMLS #1850) — Element is backed by one of the top 15 mortgage banks in the United States — American Pacific Bank. With that solid, stable financial backing in place, Element is also an independent brand with the freedom to create customized products and services, and provide local expertise to their island customers. Their team knows the islands and our communities inside and out.
Local Agent. Local Lender
Just like Hawaii Life real estate agents, Element Mortgage has a local presence in the Hawaiian islands and their lending experts are leaders in the Hawaii market. As local lenders, they understand Hawaii’s rules and regulations, common practices, and how to structure loans here in Hawaii.
They recognize the pitfalls to look out for throughout the mortgage process, including Hawaii’s unique governing land rules, underwriting, zoning and condo structure, and the specific financing needs of people living in Hawaii. A mainland lender might not have a strong grasp on these issues and therefore can be a risk.
Working with a local, knowledgeable loan officer has benefits that carry through to the underwriting and loan closing stages. Hawaii’s real estate market has a five-day closing period, which means that often things will come up during this stage of the transaction that the loan officer or underwriter will need to manage.
For example, the process for obtaining a permit for home renovations or additions is challenging in Hawaii and as a result, there are many “non-conforming” properties on the islands. Knowledgeable local mortgage consultants are more likely to successfully navigate this fraught process where mainland brokers might miss some details, resulting in broken promises and unhappy clients.
The Element Mortgage team possess the knowledge and intimate understanding needed to minimize potential risks and deliver awesome results for homebuyers. Their customer and agent services are a cut above what other lenders or mainland banks can offer, and their prices are highly competitive.
How Element Works With Us…and You
Here’s how it works: Hawaii Life agents refer their organic and online business to an Element Mortgage consultant, who then works directly with the homebuyer from pre-approval to closing. Mortgage consultant help define buyer purchasing power, map out a budget, identify property options that the homebuyer is qualified for, and serve as an expert advisor until the deal’s closing date. By working in close partnership with our agents, Element supports our agents and brokers in the field by co-creating lending strategies using Zillow, as well as social media, blogging, and digital platforms.
Many aspects of this process are unique in Hawaii, especially relative to the mainland, so it’s critical that loan officers understand this process from a local perspective and give expert advice on where the loan needs to go.
Tools and Technology That Benefits Agents & Clients
Not only does Element Mortgage’s team consist of knowledgeable and experienced lending pros that are embedded in Hawaii’s local communities, they also offer leading-edge technology and digital support services that help both homebuyers and agents alike.
In traditional real estate settings, agents and lending professionals share the same office, each with their own desk and area for lenders and realtors. With 17 offices across four islands in Hawaii, our uniquely collaborative offices are open spaces, not cubicles. We prefer to work remotely, popping into our local offices to meet face-to-face in our conference rooms. We work in shared workspaces and meet on comfortable sofas. Our bright, contemporary design elements welcome visitors. In short, they’re designed with today’s technology-enabled world in mind, and not for sitting at a desk all day.
With all the right technology in place, our agents are able to work virtually, meeting with Element’s team members and our clients as needed, and providing our shared clients with a seamless experience, enabled by the use of digital tools. Wet signatures are a thing of the past. We use DocuSign. In person meetings with our Element colleagues are always productive, but because we’ve developed mutual trust, we work as business partners, dovetailing their tools and ours for a fast, efficient process for our shared clients.
For their part, Element Mortgage combines face-to-face networking with modern technology to benefit both buyers and agents. Their company also embraces technology and offers a suite of digital and social media services to make property marketing easy; to enable their team to work directly with homebuyers, all while speeding up the process in a user-friendly way. Whether you’re a millennial or a baby boomer, a first-time buyer or looking for a place to retire to, the folks at Element know how to streamline the process for a smooth and efficient closing.
Here are some of the technologies, digital and social services they offer which are critical to a successful home purchase.
- AP Connect is a lead management platform that help mortgage consultants and their real estate partners to convert internet leads into results. AP Connect’s state-of-the-art dashboard connects people browsing for properties online (i.e using Zillow) with a call center-based expert that can answer questions, give advice, and recommend a knowledgeable loan officer within a few minutes.
- CRM Software enables agents to create personalized, branded websites for individual properties and easily share trackable links with their clients.
- Entre Dashboard is an internal platform that allows agents to save and track leads in a database for quick and easy reference.
- List Reports allow agents to plug in property information, including address, photos, and specifications and automatically generate professional marketing tools, such as open house flyers, websites and more.
- Mobile app developer allows real estate agents to create their own digital presence or mobile application using an intuitive platform that gives buyers and agents the tools to stay in the loop and informed with what’s happening with their home. The result is a Hawaii Life and Element Mortgage co-branded app. Home shoppers who find their perfect home at a Sunday open house can quickly download the real estate agent’s app and initiate the process immediately. Homebuyers can calculate mortgage payments, print pre-approval letters, upload documents using their smartphone camera, submit an offer and receive real-time updates on key purchase milestones. These include loan submission confirmation, underwriting status, and financing pre-approval.
A Collaborative Approach = A Happy Home Buyer
Providing agents and homebuyers with a menu of tools and technology to facilitate the home buying process is an integral component of Element Mortgage’s customized services, but their greatest value lies in their collaborative approach to doing business.
Element Mortgage loan experts co-generate shared opportunities for success in partnership with Hawaii Life agents, working collaboratively with us to create a seamless and efficient customer experience.
Together with our Customer Experience team, they support a shared advertising budget, generate opportunities, and co-create leads for sales and lending agents. It requires a lot of knowledge and skill to uphold a strong front-line customer service experience, but Element Mortgage understands our clients’ needs. Their rapport with our agents and this collaborative approach drives success for both parties, ultimately resulting in happy homebuyers.
Who To Call: Lending Spotlight Series
Homebuyers looking for a local loan officer who infuses the buying process with plenty of aloha, and who can simplify your journey using today’s technology can trust the Element Mortgage team. They understand people’s goals and dreams, how to navigate through a complex regulatory process, and how to professionally manage personal information to help you reach your real estate goals.
The team at Element Mortgage are ready to work with homebuyers across the state. At Hawaii Life, we are happy to introduce you to our trusted partners.
- Learn more about Meena Na – Foodie, Hiker, Boss Lady, Lending Guru
- Meet Joel Kurata – Musician, Finance Whiz, Lending Professional
- Learn More about Zack Diener – Surfer, Family Guy, “Cream of the Crop”
- Get acquainted with Chris Adriano – Maui Mortgage Pro, Army Veteran, Outdoorsman
- Spotlight on John Stengel – Marine Biologist turned Mortgage Professional
- Nicky Cruz – Mortgage Adviser On a Mission to Prove Human Connection Still Matters
- Elizabeth “Betsy” Orke – Homeowner and Loan Officer on a Mission to Be a Positive Influence