By Shari Valenta
Peter and Karla Dimond, the owners of Centennial Mortgage Professionals, have been lending to satisfied clients since 1995. Peter Dimond, a whiz at numbers and problem solving, has previous experience as a stockbroker and a realtor. His wife, Karla, is an easy-going person with a background in communications.
The two work diligently in their Centennial home office, in a cheery sunroom. The Dimonds sometimes advise prospective borrowers in the casual setting of the couple’s own backyard.
The couple met while working at the former Deane Buick Automotive Center. She was the executive assistant for Dick Deane himself and he was a car salesman. The two dated for a year without telling any of the other employees.
After eight years at the automotive center, Karla Dimond decided to enter the mortgage business and work at home full-time. Her husband joined her in that venture in 1997. The two haven’t regretted their decision.
Peter Dimond admits he wasn’t always good with money, but believes that’s a benefit in their business.
“I wasn’t a perfect money manager in the past,” he said. “I recognize problems and I think that brings something to my ability.”
On his website, he cautions borrowers about what he calls potential time bombs, such as high interest rates, huge fees and interest-only loans. Today, it’s easier to make mistakes, because the mortgage industry has become more complicated than ever.
“It used to be that all that was available was a 20-percent down, 30-year loan, with a fixed rate,” he said. “Over the years, the Federal Housing Administration set a goal that 70 percent of all Americans should be able to own a home. They loosened up the credit restrictions during 1998 and 1999. Now there are many types of loans.”
He explained that conventional notes are for people with good credit and jobs. Most people shoot for a medium credit score of 720 (Fair Isaac Corporation FICO).
“The big thing today is alt-A or subprime mortgage notes,” he said. “Those are for people with bruised credit. These kinds of loans may have a lot of restrictions, but almost anybody can have one, if they’re willing to pay the price.”
He said he can write a loan for a credit score as low as 500.
“It just takes more of a down payment, a higher interest rate and more paperwork,” he said. “Karla and I have learned how to ‘correct’ people’s credit. For example, what if we want a 680 credit score, but for some reason, yours turns out to be 660? We try to analyze ‘why’ that happened. There could be as much as a whole percent point difference in between scores of 660 and 680.”
According to Dimond, a percentage point could make a difference in what type of loan is available–such as full documented versus a stated loan. In a full documented loan, both income and assets are disclosed and verified, but in a stated loan, income and assets are disclosed but the amounts aren’t verified.
“We analyze credit by checking if you know you’ve paid a bill that’s showing as late,” he said. “If we can prove that it was paid on time, we can legally change a credit score in as little as three days.”
He said one client with good assets came to him a year ago, because he was having trouble with his credit score. The client wanted to mortgage his house so he could use the money to buy more houses and fix them up for a living. Unfortunately, he was “a trust fund baby with no income to report.”
“His assets were liquid. His house was worth 1.8 million dollars, and he owed one million dollars on it. He had terrible credit, because he never had to worry about taking care of bills,” Dimond said. “In one year, we were able to build up his score to over 600.”
The client did that by doing small things, such as getting charge cards and paying his bills on time.
“He can now access his assets, without interest rates costing him an arm and a leg. Before, we could only get him an interest rate of 15 percent on a loan,” Dimond said. “Now we can get him down to as low as seven or eight percent. Most lenders won’t take the time and hold a client’s hand like we will. I think that’s the biggest thing we do over anybody else.”
Dimond mentioned other examples. One case was a housewife who never built up any credit, since the bills were always in her husband’s name. When he passed away, she needed credit merely to function in the modern world. Dimond suggested she lease a car for a time in her name.
“In a lot of situations, reports have misinformation,” said Dimond. “One client had a credit report with a 670 score. He didn’t want to pay a large rate to qualify for a house and wanted a 680 score. I went through his credit report and corrected three or four items, various things such as being late on a loan payment. Challenging it usually takes up to 60 days. I was able to correct it in as little as three days with the proper documents.”
The Dimonds are also compassionate about their community.
“Karla is a member of the Women’s Council of Realtors; she was treasurer of WCR’s mile high chapter in 2004,” he said.
The Dimonds have also been members of the Optimist International Club. Peter Dimond has served on the St. Patrick’s Day parade committee, and has been involved with the Littleton Fire Protection District, the Arapahoe County Building Authority and the Highlands 460 Homeowner’s Association in unincorporated Arapahoe County. Presently, he’s active in the Carbon Valley Chamber of Commerce and Centennial’s Tiffany neighborhood.
The Dimonds are also teaming with Angel Flight West, a nonprofit charitable organization of pilots. The organization provides free air transport for financially distressed people with medically-related transportation needs. Proceeds help support pilots who donate their time, expenses and airplanes to fly the missions.
For every primary loan closed through March 2006, Centennial Mortgage Professionals plans to donate $500 to Angel Flight West. The Dimonds also plan to do other programs that give back to the community throughout the year.
Looking for a lender? For friendly advice from the couple who cares about our community, try Centennial Mortgage Professionals.
For more information, call 303-220-4776.