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Lee Hardin

VP of Mortgage Lending
113 Cedar St., Sandpoint, ID 83864
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NMLS: 707780
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The GR team was extremely helpful in every way from helping us find a great construction lending partner to providing outstanding customer service throughout the processes to closing. Thank you to Lee Hardin, Lauren and Allison for your timely and flexible efforts!! We appreciate you all.

Stephen C. | May 2018

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Lee interview Q&A

How long have you been in the mortgage business and what inspired you to get into it?
I have been in the mortgage business since 2000 and it has been an incredible journey! My entry into the business was a little unexpected. I was half way through my Master’s Degree in criminal justice when I was approached by a friend about joining his team. I reluctantly went in for an interview and decided it might be better than my current job at the time, working night shift in a jail. Now, millions of dollars in closed loans and 17 years later, I am grateful to that friend for introducing me to my career. I am inspired every day with my ability to change people’s lives by finding the right loan program to meet their needs.
How has the mortgage industry changed since you started, and what would you expect in the future?
Of course, over the past 17 years I have seen countless changes in everything aspect of the industry. Rates are always changing and always will. One of the biggest changes, and the one that has been the most burdensome for many of my borrowers, is the documentation requirement. I don’t see the documentation requirement changing much in the future but what I do see is technology improving to make submitting it easier for the borrowers. Already we have an app where customers can directly upload their paperwork rather than having to print it all out and drive it to an office. As a new generation of tech savvy, first time home buyers enter the market having the technology to keep up with them will be critical to earning their business.
What can borrowers do to insure a smooth mortgage underwriting process?
The process of buying a home, especially for the first time can be confusing. The most important thing a customer can do is to ask questions until they feel comfortable they have a good understanding of the process and what will be required of them. In addition to that, these Ten Commandments are a great guideline ?? 1) Thou shalt not change jobs, become self-employed or quit your job. 2) Thou shalt not buy a car, truck or van (or you may be living in it)! 3) Thou shalt not use charge cards excessively or let your accounts fall behind. 4) Thou shalt not spend money you have set aside for closing. 5) Thou shalt not omit debts or liabilities from your loan application. 6) Thou shalt not buy furniture. 7) Thou shalt not originate any inquiries into your credit. 8) Thou shalt not make large deposits without first checking with your loan officer. 9) Thou shalt not change bank accounts. 10) Thou shalt not co-sign a loan for anyone.
Summary of where you grew up: family, affiliations, college, high school, etc.
I was born and raised on the South side of Chicago. Both my parents worked full time and consequently I spent a lot of time at my Grandma’s place. What’s ironic, now that I have joined Guaranteed Rate, is that I remember watching the fireworks at what is now Guaranteed Rate Field from my Grandma’s home. The school where my Mom worked as a principal, was right behind the field and she would always get tickets from the team for letting them use her school’s parking lot. So, I guess you could say joining Guaranteed Rate has felt like “coming home” even though I now live in Idaho. After spending my high school years at De La Salle Institute, I attended Lewis University in Romeoville, IL on a baseball scholarship. Following college, I began my Master’s Degree in criminal justice. I would go to school during the day and work in the jail at night, until that one day I went in to interview at my friend’s mortgage office. I did mortgages in Chicago both banks and brokers before moving to Idaho in 2007. In 2007 my wife and I got married in Maui, and we still dream of living there one day. We had our one and only kid, Zaiden, in late 2016 and now we find ourselves having to push that dream of Hawaii life out by about 18 years! From 2007 – early 2017 I worked for a local bank doing mortgages. In 2017, after making my place in the community, I decided it was time to return to being a broker. I love that in the role of a broker I can offer my services in a more personal way and provide the community lower interest rates and fresh technology.
Tell us something that makes you unique or something wacky, yet interesting about you?
Some may consider it wacky that when I go out to eat I am known to order two entrées; it doesn’t matter if it is brunch or dinner. My passion for food extends beyond my ability to eat it. I miss the food in Chicago so much that I order Chicago pizza, steaks, and hot dogs (and yes, even the buns) to be shipped to Idaho.

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