In a Nutshell: Sammamish Mortgage is an online lender that helps clients select and apply for the right mortgages. Some of the company’s most popular products include conventional mortgages and bridge loans that let clients purchase a home before selling their existing one. What sets Sammamish Mortgage apart is the company’s commitment to education and personalized service. And if would-be borrowers don’t have the credit score necessary for loan approval, the Sammamish Mortgage team will work with them until they boost their score.
Bridge loans have grown in popularity in recent years. The loans are sought by families who haven’t yet sold their homes but want to buy new ones before they finalize a sale.
Sammamish Mortgage ranks first in bridge loan lending because it was an early adopter of the product. Now, other lenders are starting to offer the program, but Sammamish Mortgage has a deep understanding of the process and how to use it to benefit borrowers.
“Families might choose a bridge loan rather than having to wait or get a personal loan. It’s definitely trending a lot more,” said Jonathan Larson, Digital Marketing Manager at Sammamish Mortgage.
Because Sammamish Mortgage was an early adopter of bridge loans, Larson and his team have created a dedicated landing page and videos about the product to educate the public. Education is a cornerstone of Sammamish Mortgage’s philosophy.
“One of the biggest things we’ve done well is search engine optimization. That’s kind of where my heavy background came from, making sure all our pages are optimized for users and search engines. We’re really good at optimizing and pushing out the content so people can actually find it,” Larson told us.
Sammamish Mortgage monitors trends on market conditions to determine which mortgage products clients may be more interested in.
For instance, a once-popular offering that has become less desirable in recent months is the cash buyer program. Clients who don’t have the funds to compete with cash buyers sign up for this program in which the lender buys the house outright and sells it to the buyer with financing plus a program service fee. But since housing costs and interest rates have increased, this program has trended downward as the market became less competitive.
Always popular, however, are conventional mortgage programs.
Helping Would-Be Homeowners Improve Their Credit
Sammamish Mortgage has been operating since 1992. Today, the company is primarily an online mortgage provider that allows borrowers to refinance, buy new homes, and purchase investment properties. The company operates in four Northwestern states: Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Colorado.
One reason Sammamish Mortgage has been successful for so long is that the lender prides itself on transparency.
“Everybody comes to our website to see the live mortgage rates, as well as the 10 or 12 different programs they could go with. Then, if they want to get started, they can click on an online application,” said Larson.
In other words, clients don’t have to seek out a mortgage lender to get more information; they can find it themselves.
Sammamish Mortgage is also committed to educating borrowers on a variety of topics, guiding clients toward the most relevant products. For example, many clients need advice about how to improve their credit scores. That can drastically improve their chances of getting approved for mortgages.
“We have a lot of blogs about how to improve credit scores, and how to check your credit score. And the reason we can offer such competitive rates is because we require a higher income and a higher credit score,” Larson said.
Clients with scores below 660 can work with the company’s loan officers who will guide them to resources and offer credit-building advice.
“We’re happy to work with anybody. We just want to make sure they’re investing the right way and not getting into anything that gets them in trouble — financially,” said Larson.
Simplifying the Buying and Refinancing Process
Sammamish Mortgage has been owned by the same family since its founding. That steadiness has helped the lender maintain a community focus while considering what clients want and the areas it serves.
The lender believes that clients should understand what they’re getting into, whether they want to buy a new home or refinance. Sammamish Mortgage uses Google Insights to figure out what questions users want to know about the homebuying process. That knowledge guides it toward the relevant types of content it creates.
For one, not every client understands mortgage loans and what they entail.
That’s why the lender created a homebuying guide that walks the user through the preapproval process and helps them choose a lender, decide how much to spend on a house, and find an agent.
“It’s a 10-step guide that walks the clients every single step so they know how to get a home or refinance,” Larson told us.
These resources not only help potential clients but also assist officers in educating clients along the way. Even would-be borrowers outside of Sammamish Mortgage’s service area can use these resources to research home buying and refinancing.
“They can just go on our website, and they’ll go through the guides. If they have questions, we’ll be there to help answer them and walk them through the steps. That’s why we have the live chat feature on the website,” Larson said.
Another important feature of Sammamish Mortgage is its in-house team. Every member of the staff works together in the same office, which makes them more collaborative and customer-centric.
Mortgage Trends that Encourage Homebuying
That customer focus attitude led Sammamish Mortgage to create one of its recent programs, Diamond Homebuyer. Borrowers who opt for this program receive even more personalized assistance from the team.
“Customers expect more tools online, more resources online. So, we’re trying to provide that as best as we can. That’s one trend we’re seeing a lot more of and that kind of works hand in hand with the programs and things we’re building,” Larson said.
Sammamish Mortgage also wants to start working with more lenders and agents on their content marketing and tools. For example, the company is currently developing its rate pro tool that lenders can put on their own sites for free.
“A lot of agents and lenders have problems providing these resources to their clients. So, we are moving forward on creating that type of package,” Larson said.
After 30 years in the business, Sammamish Mortgage is still a leading lender in the Pacific Northwest. Larson said that one reason for the company’s success is its efficient in-house team. With everyone working collaboratively, the team can move more quickly and efficiently to approve and underwrite loans.
One of the benefits of not outsourcing any of its services is the increased control Sammamish Mortgage has of its processes, according to Larson.
Sammamish Mortgage emphasizes a collaborative ethos, which is appealing to its clients and distinguishes it from competitors.
“We’re taking care of your investment in the house; we’re not sending it off to another company that could possibly create issues. That’s why we really pride ourselves on in-house service and our transparency,” Larson said.