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Bringing together old-school values and customer service...

SACRAMENTO—Bringing together old-school values and customer service with state of the art technology, Mason-McDuffie Mortgage Corp. has continued to expand in the broader Sacramento market.

Based in San Ramon in the San Francisco Bay Area, Mason-McDuffie moved  into Sacramento in 2008 when veteran mortgage banker Dave Heard came on board to lead the office at 2033 Howe Avenue. Heard started with the original Mason-McDuffie 33 years ago and worked with the founding principals for many years during his career.

Since establishing the office, Heard has recruited experienced loan officers that he has prior experience with to staff the Sacramento office as well as offices in Folsom and, most recently, Elk Grove.

The attraction for the experienced loan officers is simple: Mason-McDuffie’s commitment to efficiently serving their loan officers and their clients.

Chad Focht, a mortgage advisor in the Elk Grove operation, said, “Mason-McDuffie has a very old-school way of doing business. Because of this, we can routinely close loans in 21 days. We over-staff—one loan officer to one support staff and have a team supporting every loan officer.

“We look at everything that could be a problem or deny a loan upfront so buyers’ agents can have confidence their clients will qualify. Another example of this is with short sales. Every company must wait for a short-sale approval letter before proceeding into underwriting and many lenders do not start the approval process until they get that final letter. Mason-McDuffie does all of the work upfront except the appraisal so once the letter is issued, we can close the loan right away,” Focht said.

That service commitment has allowed Mason-McDuffie to recruit experienced loan officers from competitors who routinely take much longer to close loans.

Looking at the current market, both Focht and Heard observed that the inventory varies as banks release foreclosures or approve short sales.

“We’re seeing a lot of niche first-time buyers as well as a lot of short sales and foreclosures,” Heard said.

Mason-McDuffie processes the full range of federally insured loans, including U.S. Dept of Agriculture 100 percent financing loans and 203K renovation loans. The USDA loans typically are only available in rural areas with specified zip codes and to borrowers who qualify to repay.

The renovation loans work particularly well in homes that are being sold “as-is.”

“The 203k is a perfect tool on a stripped house where the previously owner took out the appliances. It works particularly well in the streamlined situation where the necessary work doesn’t exceed $35,000,” said Heard.

“Lots of agents as well as banks are scared of the 203ks because they don’t understand them—particularly that the work can be finished after the close of escrow,” he continued.

The principals of Mason-McDuffie re-established the company in late 2005, bringing the brand back that dates to 1887 in the real estate industry. The company has grown steadily by adding experienced loan officers as the industry has consolidated. The company has offices in six states and has 15 branches in California.