Is it time to refinance your home? Or, are you in the market for a new property?
The Mortgage Team at Elevations Credit Union can assist with your home loan questions and application. Mortgage Loan Officer Chris Cullen has partnered with Colorado residents since the early 1990s as a knowledgeable mortgage loan resource with experience in real estate. Learn more about his approach to home loans at Elevations.
Growing up, Chris Cullen watched his father make a living in the real estate industry. So, it’s no surprise Chris followed in his father’s footsteps, developing a natural talent for financial services. “I had a minor in real estate in college, and I got my real estate license in Virginia right out of college. So, I’ve always had an interest in it,” Chris says.
A career path in home and property services
Chris started working in the mortgage industry in 1993 and obtained his Realtor® license in 1995. Over the years, he’s alternated between both the mortgage and real estate industries helping folks find, sell and finance the perfect properties. In October 2015, he decided to focus on residential home loans and joined the Elevations Home Lending Team. He offers both home purchases and refinances with FHA, VA, conventional, jumbo and portfolio loans.
“One of my strong suits is that I know the real estate process, and I know the purchase contract backward and forwards, so I am able to help a lot of agents structure offers or help them, giving them ideas and suggestions,” he adds.
Chris says he enjoys walking Elevations members through the home loan application and answering questions about the entire purchasing process, from what to expect during home inspections to understanding points, fees, and credits on a loan.
Buyers with the fewest contingencies are desirable to sellers, he explains. If you’re moving out of a rental property and into your first home, the sale isn’t contingent on the sale of a current home, which can be a good sign for sellers. However, if you are selling your current home to buy the next, Chris can talk with you about a transitional HELOC, so you don’t have to wait for the sale of your home to have a down payment ready for the new property. It’s these sorts of creative strategies that Chris enjoys navigating for members.
Tips for first-time homebuyers
Although he works with a range of buyers — from those shopping for a vacation home, or downsizing to a condo, or investors acquiring more properties — he enjoys advising people on their first home purchase, too.
“I like sharing financial guidance with them and giving them things to think about that they might not have thought about before. I enjoy designing the loan and just educating borrowers on the process,” Chris says.
Chris suggests first-time homebuyers put their best foot forward by securing a mortgage preapproval early in the purchase process. This document shows your Realtor® and the home’s seller that you’re financially ready for a home loan.
“In this market, it’s so competitive that it goes a long way to have an Elevations preapproval letter. We’re the top lender in Boulder County. That carries a lot of weight when the listing agent is looking at multiple offers,” he explains. “I always follow up with the listing agent and reassure them that, essentially, this horse is going to get to the finish line. We should not have an issue with this loan. I let them know that we’ve already pulled credit, we’ve verified income, we’ve verified assets, and it’s just a matter of getting the appraisal.”
He also says shoppers must be aware of their credit score and how it will affect their eligibility and loan options. Boosting those numbers with the guidance of a financial advisor might be the first step in their home-buying journey.
When asked what he enjoys about working for Elevations, Chris explains that it’s not only about being part of the most respected financial institution in the area. It’s the convenience and genuine helpfulness of having in-house underwriting, loan officer assistants, mortgage processors, and an entire team of financial professionals available to members, which keeps everything running smoothly.
Making time for family and fun
When he’s not getting creative with home loans for Elevations members, Chris spends time with his teenage daughter and maps out trips to visit his family in Florida, Seattle, and Maui.
He also explores many hobbies, including motorcycles and homesteading. His adventure motorcycle riding has taken him on trips to the Baja Peninsula – from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas. He also enjoys life at home tending his two beehives, a handful of pet chickens, and a pair of goats on his acreage about 20 minutes north of Boulder.
Chris is an avid musician who plays guitar and sings with a local Americana band. He’s looking forward to future gigs when the pandemic is a lower concern.
Have more questions about mortgages and refinances? You can meet with Chris (NMLS# 1424894) at the Elevations Credit Union Boulder Diagonal Branch or by video chat. He’s also available by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone at (303) 443-4672 x2216.