All for the family
Deciding it’s time to say goodbye to their Mr. Mom lifestyle, Verona couple decides to launch a mortgage firm.
From the pages of In Business magazine.
Several years ago, Jason and Cindi Stampfli were busy raising three children while holding demanding jobs — Jason in the mortgage industry and Cindi as an oncology nurse. Jason’s job allowed for flexibility while Cindi’s did not. “He was really working two jobs,” she clarifies, “including being Mr. Mom.” Meanwhile, the job she loved was also limiting her time with their kids and family activities.
Something had to change, they decided. Jason had always dreamed of owning his own business, so Cindi made the tough decision to leave nursing to help him reach that goal.
It was a huge learning curve, she admits, and required her to study for and pass a rigorous loan originator’s exam. “I didn’t know that I didn’t know so much!” Cindi exclaims. But true to Jason’s dream, they opened Stampfli Mortgage in April 2017 on the same Verona street where he grew up.
“Our niche as an independent third-party originator is having all the options,” Jason says. “Other places might force you into their best loan, but it may not be the best option for you.”
Why not go to a local bank?
“We offer the same loans as banks — Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae — for 30-year fixed-rate loans,” Jason answers, “but we have more investors and more options. We’ll search all the lenders and shop mortgages to get people into the best deal for them. If we can’t do it, we’ll send them somewhere else, and vice versa with the banks.”
And, he says, they’ve worked hard to establish an honest, transparent, and ethical rapport with both lenders and clients in an industry that was largely blamed for bursting the U.S. housing bubble a decade ago. After 16 years in the industry, Jason had seen the best and the worst of it. At one point, he states, “government regulations were zero” when it came to qualifying people for adjustable-rate mortgages, and he’s glad the tables have turned.
“I just love this business,” he says. “Nothing beats the thrill of handing a new homeowner keys to their new house.” At the same time, he feels it’s important to educate people, particularly first-time homebuyers, about the mortgage process.
Admittedly, they’ve been riding the wave of a crazy real estate market. Rent increases are pushing people into home ownership, Jason explains, and the lack of inventory continues to be a challenge.
“People are scared,” he says. “They know they can probably sell their house in an hour or a day, but then what? Where will they go when the cost of other places and competition is so high? That’s the biggest challenge I see,” he says. “Nobody knows what’s on the other end, and there are so many buyers coming in with cash offers who get the deals first.”
It’s all led to a pick up in home building, he says, “but a lot of people are still on a month-to-month lease waiting to pounce.”
Partners in work, life, and play, the Stampflis funded their company with a combination of equity from their home and personal savings. Jason is a senior mortgage advisor, while Cindi, as office manager, handles compliance, accounting, website design, social media, and event planning. In 2017, the company’s first year, they recorded 47 closings in just nine months.
Working as partners presents its own challenges, too. “We have three kids ages 14 to five, so there is no real work-life separation,” Cindi says. “You figure that out quickly when there’s a family or work emergency, and we’ve had both. That’s when it’s important to be able to rely on trustworthy staff.” They’ve added one full-time and one contracted employee since launching.
But their true mark of success has been learning to work together effectively. “What I think we have is a complete and total appreciation of what the other person does,” Cindi states. “Before this, Jason didn’t understand what my nursing stresses were, and I didn’t understand how stressful his job could be.” Now they have each other’s shoulders to lean on through thick and thin.
Stampfli Mortgage LLC
303 S. Main St.
Verona, WI 53593
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