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Credit crunch?  Can't borrow?  For those who are overleveraged or have bad credit then it possibly is true.  However, for the great majority of Berkshire and Bennington County buyers, credit is readily available particularly at small and midsize local and regional banks where mortgage lending continues to be a mainstay of their business model.  Here in our special corner of New England, I talk to bankers frequently, and they all tell me the same thing:  "Stop watching the news!  We have money to lend to good customers, we want their business, and we are very competitive on rates.  Send them in to us, we can help!"   

The high level of negative news has certainly put a chill in the market and scared many.  Meanwhile prices of real estate have dropped significantly boosting affordability levels that haven't been this attractive in years. 

Interest rates are at historic lows with long term financing readily available under 5% at some area lenders as I am writing this (though there are indications that rates may soon rise so this may prove to be the very lowest point).  How fantastic is that?!  Says one local mortgage loan officer, Deb Corey of Chittenden Bank  a top regional lender with substantial available capital and resources:  "We have plenty of money to lend and are continuing to close many mortgage loans each month. With rates this low, now is the perfect time for buyers to speak with a mortgage lender and determine what they can afford to purchase." 

The best advice we can offer is to get yourself to a local lender, learn the options, and get yourself prequalified to determine just how much of a loan you may qualify for in today's low interest rate environment. Obviously rates and programs vary from one lender to another.

We do not recommend on-line sources of financing for a host of reasons. Often they have hidden costs, their processes can be very long and frustrating, you wind up dealing with a bank or mortgage company from anywhere in the country and lose the local control and advantages our area banks offer.

The bottom line message here is that money for residential loans is plentiful, available and relatively "cheap". The prices of homes and real estate in general are very attractive and good buys can be made. Local lenders and experienced real estate brokers like ourselves are here to guide and help you through the purchasing and financing process with ease and efficiency.

This same  message is true across the board for residential, land, or commercial lending and echosed by all the other lenders in our market area. Here is a partial list of who to call:  Myra Wilk, Williamstown Savings Bank 458-8191; Cindy Salt or Myra Wilk, Hoosac Bank 663-5353; Nancy Hunt, South Adams Savings Bank 458-2141; Darcy Field, TD Banknorth 458-8321 (Option 3); Debbie Kushnet,  Greylock Federal 458-3104; Patty Szukala, Adams Co-op Bank 664-4571; or Debbie Corey, Chittenden/Berkshire Bank, 802-442-7608.

Please feel free to contact me at or at 413-458-5000.  We can point you in the right direction.  We welcome your business and yes, there is money to lend! 

Posted by Phil Coleman January 21, 2009

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