HOBOKEN, NJ—Traditions have to start somewhere, and for Joe Pisa, President and CEO of Hoboken-based Northstar Funding, this one started with an e-mail in July 2012:
My daughter has Type 1 diabetes and every year we do a Central New Jersey “Walk to Cure Diabetes”. Thousands of people do the walk. Would you be interested in sponsoring (the event and) the Tshirts we wear on the walk?
For Pisa, declining the invitation wasn’t even an option. “Type I (“juvenile”) diabetes is everywhere,” he says. “The daughter of one of our clients has it. One of our employees has it. It affects us in society, and it affects us close to home. We participated as sponsors in 2012, and again in 2013, and we’ll plan on it for 2014, as well.”
Pisa’s company also sponsored “Bark in the Park” to raise funds for the animal shelter run by the Liberty Humane Society in Hoboken. “We’ll continue to invest in these types of programs going forward,” he assures. “We want to help where we can, and these are two excellent causes.”
Pisa says it’s an extension of the philosophy behind Northstar Funding.
Even his electronic signature proclaims, “I can help you!” and he means it.
“A lot of people are being locked out of the housing market because they are interested in non-traditional properties like condo-tels , non-warrantable properties, or co-ops, or because they’re self-employed and didn’t calculate their income properly on the application, have less than perfect credit, or are foreign nationals,” says Pisa. “Our job is to find what keys need to turn in order to open those closed doors. And we’re good at it!”
While conventional loans are the bread-and-butter of the mortgage industry, and a mainstay of the loans Northstar Funding writes, Pisa says that Northstar is known for its ability to close loans that are non-conventional. It’s a hard-won niche.
“We provide clients who have credit problems with a very specific blueprint of how they can improve their credit by taking the mystery out of how to get a mortgage,” says Pisa. “In some cases, we’re able to help them not only qualify for a loan, but also qualify for a better loan in just a few weeks or months.
“We go over tax returns with our self-employed applicants and analyze their deductions and write-offs to see if these are property categorized.
“Perhaps most important of all, we take the time to listen to what people say and what they’re really looking to accomplish. If someone says he wants a 30-year fixed rate loan, but only plans to be in the home four or five years, then a 5- or 7-year Adjustable Rate Mortgage is actually a better financial choice. If someone has a second home that he can’t refinance, and he plans to leave it to his children, it might make sense to put the children on the loan now.”
Pisa says it’s not unusual for him to suggest a real estate investment strategy and have his client say, “Now, why didn’t my bank tell me that?”
“I often feel more like a mortgage doctor than a mortgage lender,” says Pisa. “When I talk to someone about a loan, I’m not just making a sale. I’m educating someone on his financial health. I want people to understand that their mortgages should be a tool, not a burden.
“A mortgage needs to be woven into a client’s overall long and short terms goals so they can build wealth instead of accumulating more debt.”
Northstar Funding, located in Hoboken, NJ, lends in all five boroughs of New York City, as well as in Florida, California, Connecticut, and New York State, and throughout New Jersey. Contact the office at (800) 917-1595.