July 14, 2015

VHDA Hits the Road, Bringing Homeownership Opportunities to Southwest Virginia, Eastern Shore, Northern Neck and Southside Virginia

Michael Locking
How do you provide affordable home loans to residents in rural areas where banks aren’t easily accessible? That was the question facing the Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA) in 1996 when it began expanding the availability of its affordable mortgage loans to first-time homebuyers in the Eastern Shore, Northern Neck, Southside Virginia, Southwest Virginia and surrounding counties.

The answer? You go the extra mile with the VHDA Mobile Mortgage Offices — a pair of recreational vehicles converted to offices on wheels. The job is to deliver a customer-friendly environment with Internet access and the personal assistance of Michael Locking, a VHDA mortgage professional with 20 years of experience who services Southwest Virginia, and Allen Andrs, a VHDA mortgage professional with 30 years of experience who serves the Eastern Shore, Northern Neck and Southside Virginia.


More Than a Mortgage Office

While the main purpose of the Mobile Mortgage Office is to provide loans that can enable rural residents to buy their first home, it also offers other important services. This includes addressing credit problems, prequalifying buyers for a home loan and making arrangements to take the homeownership education class required of all VHDA borrowers.

The Mobile Mortgage Office loan originator also spends a lot of time counseling homebuyers to address credit problems and re-establish their credit. Some may need to take time to clean up their credit histories, and Locking and Andrs can advise them how to go about doing that. They’ll also work with a customer for as long as it takes to get their credit up to speed so they can qualify for a loan.

Sometimes first-time homebuyers have trouble coming up with the necessary funds for a down payment. This is another area where VHDA can help out – with its loan programs. It’s possible for a borrower to get into a home with less than one percent total cash out of pocket.

Proven Customer Satisfaction

From first-time homebuyers to real estate agents, everyone who has been involved with the Mobile Mortgage Office seems to agree that what makes this outreach successful is the reputation VHDA’s home loan originators have earned with their customers over the years.
Allen Andrs

“People trust us because they know we’re not going to give them bad advice,” said Locking. “They go away satisfied with a good loan and good information. Plus, I always tell them that any questions or problems they may have, call me – and that’s from the day they are prequalified for the loan until the day they pay it off.”

VHDA is the only housing finance agency (HFA) in the U.S. that provides a Mobile Mortgage Office to serve rural citizens seeking low-interest rate loans. The mission of the mobile office is the same as VHDA’s – to help Virginians attain quality, affordable housing.

“To see someone’s face when they find out that they can really buy a house is wonderful,” Andrs said. “VHDA’s mortgage loans really do make a difference in people’s lives.”

How to Find VHDA’s Mobile Mortgage Office in Your Area

Locking’s Mobile Mortgage Office regularly visits the Southwest counties of Alleghany, Botetourt, Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Rockbridge, Russell, Scott, Tazewell, Washington and Wise. And Andrs regularly visits Accomack and Northampton in the Eastern Shore; Essex, Lancaster, Northumberland, Richmond and Westmoreland in the Northern Neck; and the Southside counties of Brunswick, Charlotte, Franklin, Greensville, Halifax, Henry, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, Nottoway, Patrick, Pittsylvania, Prince Edward and Southampton.

“We park the mobile offices in areas that are very familiar to communities, usually near a Walmart, the DMV office or in shopping centers,” said Andrs. Locking added “And we both run ads in local papers with the weekly schedule of area visits. Folks can also go to VHDA’s website at vhda.com/MobileOffice to find out when we’ll be in their area.”
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