Noel Stiller

Production Manager | NMLS 374167
Phone | Fax:
516 S Front Street, Mankato, MN 56001

Mortgage lending is more than selling loans. It’s about helping people achieve their homeownership goals. Whether that’s helping them reach a better financial position or connecting them to the home of their dreams, it’s about guiding them to the finish line.

My industry experience has taught me to take the time to understand my customers: What’s their story? How can I help them in their pursuit of a home? When I see my customers as real people with real goals, needs, and dreams, I get to match them with the best loan product and create a truly seamless lending experience.

Everyone has a story to tell. What they need is a Loan Originator who will listen, customize a loan to meet their needs, and guide them every step of the way.

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Owning a vacation home is seen as a life goal for millions of Americans, but is it the right choice for you?

Owning a second home is a dream that many Americans share. Who doesn’t picture themselves living the good life in a beach house from time to time, or spending time in a cozy cabin somewhere in the mountains with their family? While we all like to think about these dream homes, only a relative few are able to actualize these goals. Like any major decision, purchasing a second home comes with pros and cons that you should be familiar with before you make a final choice. Owning a second home may be a dream, but it’s up to you to decide whether it’s the right move for you. Luckily, your good friends at Cardinal are here to help you figure it out.

pro: um, you have a second home.

Owning a second home is a dream for millions of people, and making that move is a great accomplishment! Owning another house in a place away from home is a good look, and it comes with a lot of perks. Weekend getaways are easier, and you’ll always have a place to stay on a family vacation. The only problem is…

con: it’s second home or bust.

Many people with second homes tend to get tied down to one location when it comes to traveling. If your vacation home is a beach house in Florida, it’s hard to justify—much less afford—an alternate vacation overseas unless you’re just loaded. This logic can also box people into feeling that they need to constantly visit their second home to make the investment worth it, which isn’t wrong by any means. It just means you need to be sure that your second home is a place you won’t get tired of in five to 10 years.

pro: you can rent it out while you’re not there.

Renting out your second home is a popular way to generate extra income among people with vacation homes across the country. Many popular retirement spots have very active rental markets that bring in premium rents during the busier seasons. It’s pretty easy to list your home on the internet and find people who will want to stay in your home. The catch is…

con: renting out your home is a lot of work.

Many people say that renting out a second home on your own is like having a second job. If you’re already retired you might welcome the extra work, but if not, it could be tough to deal with. There are rental management services that can rent out your unit for you, but they’ll take a substantial piece of your revenue depending on the services they offer.

Renting out a second home on your own is like having a second job.

pro: you’ll have a place to retire.

Buying a second home in a place you would want to retire can go a long way in making a smooth transition when the time comes. It presents great opportunities to vacation and get acclimated to the area before you move there for good. You can get to know your neighbors and establish community ties that may prove useful down the road. On the other hand, it may convince you to retire somewhere else. Using a second home as a trial run for retirement is a great idea if you’re not quite sure what you want to do when it comes time to stop working.

Owning a second home should be enjoyable, not another financial burden to stress you out.

con: it costs a lot of money!

THIS JUST IN: Houses cost money to own and operate. ALSO JUST IN: A second house would cost even more to own and operate. Ideally, a second home would be smaller than your primary home, but most people have higher standards for second properties they intend to own rather than rent, which can sometimes translate to higher prices. Depending on where you plan on purchasing a second home, the cost may be higher than your primary home. On top of that, you’ll have to pay homeowners insurance, real estate taxes, HOA dues, utility bills, and other expenses like furniture. Now, these costs can be offset by renting out your second home, but like I said earlier, it’s easier said than done.

pro: but you can get tax deductions!

Even if you choose not to rent out your second home, you can still get a sizeable income tax deduction. For example, you could write off both the full amount of the real estate taxes you pay on the property as well as the mortgage interest you pay on the loan used to buy the home. These tax deductions may not offset the costs completely, but they can reduce them to the point of making them a lot easier to manage. Check with your tax professional for a better understanding of the deductions your second home may make you eligible for.

so how do i do this?

First you’re going to want to determine your ideal second home location. Think about the future. Will this be a retirement home? Do you want to be in the mountains? On the ocean? Many resort areas have a wide range of properties to fit a variety of different budgets, and the larger the area you’re considering, the easier it may be to find a property you like enough to buy.

Next, you’re going to want to establish a price range. Owning a second home should be enjoyable, not another financial burden to stress you out. Try not to reach. Pick a home with a price that’s within your means. If not, you’ll end up more financially strained than you’d like to be.

Finally, you’re going to want to talk to a local real estate agent. A good real estate agent that knows the local market will be invaluable in your search for a new home. They can help guide you through the purchase process, and may be able to help you manage the home while you’re away.

Using a second home as a trial run for retirement is a great idea if you’re not quite sure what you want to do when it comes time to stop working.

a final word.

Basically, owning a second home really comes down to whether you have the means to purchase and maintain one without bringing too much financial strain on yourself. Owning a second home may sound like a dream come true, but it’s definitely not for everybody. If you think you can manage, go for it! If you’re second guessing, do your own research. It’s super important to make sure you’re prepared before you pull the purchase trigger. If you’re not so sure, call Cardinal. We can help you through the process and give you real options on how you can responsibly get into a second home.

Have you financed a second home through Cardinal? Where is it? We want to know! Tell us all about your experience with your second home on social media!

In the most competitive housing market on record, you’ll need a survival kit to secure the home of your dreams!

Whether you believe in climate change or not, there’s no denying that the housing market has been heating up for a while now. According to Danielle Hale, chief economist for, this year’s spring market is shaping up to be the most competitive housing market we’ve ever seen. But why? Simply put, there are a lot of buyers, and not a lot of sellers.

A variety of factors have pitched in to create a harsh environment for anyone looking to buy a home these days, and from the looks of things, it’ll only get worse with time. Years of underbuilding and labor shortages have led to record low inventory while Millennials have begun to reach prime home buying ages. It’s a collision course that has been set for years, and the catch-up effort is too little too late. It’s rough out there. But a challenge never scared you off. In fact, you welcome it. You’re a survivor! You’re going to get the house you want for a great price, and here’s how.

1. The three ps

Persistence. Patience. Preparation. These virtues are essential to everyday life, and you’ll need all three in order to get a home you really like in this competitive housing market. Buying a home in today’s market isn’t easy by any means, but it is easy to get down on yourself if things aren’t going your way. That’s why it’s important not to give up, to stay patient, and to always be prepared and ready to act if an opportunity presents itself. The right attitude goes a long way when it comes to house hunting, and focusing on the Three Ps will make for a smoother, less-stressful process.

Persistence. Patience. Preparation. These virtues are essential to everyday life, and you’ll need all three in order to get a home you really like in this competitive housing market.

2. Cash buyer? No problem

So you’ve found the house you really want and you’re ready to make your offer, but there’s a problem. You’re going up against a cash buyer. For those of you who don’t know, a cash buyer is simply that: a home buyer who plans on paying for the home with cash. OK, well what’s the difference? Cash buyers are seen as more of a sure thing, and paying with cash can really expedite the closing process. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t win! Don’t panic! You can beat them if you follow a few simple steps.

  • Move quickly: Part of the appeal of selling to a cash buyer is how much it speeds up the process. If you can expedite your part of the process to compete with the cash buyer, you’ll give yourself a decent shot at beating them. Ask your lender if you can get a head start on your mortgage by being proactive and sending any questionnaires that need to be filled out ahead of time.
    Ask your lender how quickly they can send an appraiser to the property and how long the loan will take to turn around. If you can get your appraiser in and out within 48 hours, you’ll be in good shape going forward.

    Finally, you’ll want to get your inspector in and out as quickly as possible after your offer is accepted. It may take a few hundred dollars extra, but it’s worth it to speed up what can be the lengthiest part of the process and show the seller that you’re serious about buying their house.

  • Overpay: Yeah, I know. It doesn’t sound great, but cash buyers tend to expect a discount because they’re offering cash and it’s a sure thing. You can counter this by offering more money, even if you think it may be more than what the home is worth. A few thousand dollars may not do the trick, but if you can offer 5% more than the cash buyer, you may be able to swing the momentum in your favor.

Note: These tips will only work if you’re prepared. You need to have everything in order if you’re going to beat a cash buyer to the punch. Organization is a must, and a little extra dough saved up won’t hurt. I told you, those Ps are important.

3. get your mind right

It’s time to get serious. You’re buying a house, not picking what you want for lunch. You’re going to have to put the work in. Sure, a good real estate agent will help a ton, but ultimately, you’re the one who’s buying. It’ll take a lot of effort and some sacrifice on your part too, so you’ll have to be mentally prepared. There will be highs and there will be lows. The average home search takes up to TWO YEARS from start to finish, so the Three Ps are important here. This isn’t the time to play around. Go in with your best offer and if it doesn’t work out, be ready to regroup, switch gears, and try again somewhere else. There’s no time to pout—your plan B may be someone else’s plan A.

4. Tug at their heartstrings

Believe it or not, some buyers will bolster their offers with “love letters” to sellers about how much they want their house. Even crazier? They work! Don’t be afraid to make yourself known to the seller and appeal to their emotional side, especially if you’re competing with an investor or a cash buyer. Sellers almost always want to know something about the potential buyer. Here’s your chance to let them know. Tell the seller who you are, why you love the home, and what your intentions are for it. It’s been the difference in home buying successes and failures more times than one.

The right attitude goes a long way when it comes to house hunting.

Buying a home is an exciting time in anyone’s life, but it can also be really frustrating if you don’t go about it the right way. I know it sounds corny, but having the right attitude throughout is just as important to the house hunting process as your budget. You need to be flexible, open-minded, and focused throughout if you’re going to snag the home of your dreams. This competitive housing market is like the Wild Wild West, so you’ve got to be quick on your feet and can’t be afraid to shell out a few extra bucks here and there to get what you want. You may have to appeal to a seller emotionally if that’s what it takes, but take those Three Ps with you wherever you go. You’re ready now. Go get ’em, Champ.

Did you learn something new from this blog post? Have a story to share about your home buying experience? We want to know! Tell us on social media!

Thinking about buying an investment property? Here’s how to start off your career as a real estate tycoon on the right foot.

1. neighborhood watch

One of the most important elements in buying an investment property is the neighborhood it’s located in. The quality of neighborhood in which you purchase your property will not only influence the types of tenants you attract, but your vacancy rate as well. For example, if your property is located near a college, your tenant pool will likely be mostly made up of students and you will probably encounter vacancies during the summer months. The surrounding areas can also offer public amenities that can boost the value of your property. Knowing the neighborhood you’re buying in and planning accordingly is key in owning a successful investment property.

2. beware of property taxes

No matter where you go, taxes will follow. Property taxes are always something to look out for as an investor as you’ll want to know how much money you’ll be losing to them. High property taxes aren’t the worst thing if your property is in a prime location for long-term tenants, but the two don’t always go hand in hand. The municipality’s assessment office will have all the tax information you need on file, but it’s also a good idea to talk to some homeowners in the community before you make a purchase.

3. Check the number of listings or vacancies

Check for other listings and vacancies in the area. If there is an unusually high number of listings for an area you’re interested in, it may be a sign of a seasonal cycle or it could mean that the neighborhood has “gone bad.” Make sure you know which one it is before you buy. You’ll need to know whether you can cover for any seasonal decreases in vacancies or if the neighborhood just isn’t a viable option for an investment.

4. See the future

It’s important to see what the plans are for the area you’re planning on investing in. You can check with the municipal planning department for information on all the new developments that are coming to the area to get a good glimpse of where it’s heading. If you find that a lot of new apartment buildings, business parks, and malls are in the works, it’s a good sign that the community is growing. On the other hand, you’ll want to be wary of developments that could hurt the value of your property such as the loss of activity-friendly outdoor spaces and additional housing developments that could compete with your property.

5. Price check

It goes without saying that rent payments will be the primary source of income from your investment property, so you’ll want to know what the average rent in the area is before you set your price. If the average rent isn’t enough to cover your expenses (mortgage payment, taxes, etc.), there will be no return on your investment and you’ll have to find somewhere else to buy. Make sure you have a good grasp on where the neighborhood is heading because big future developments could mean an increase in not only rent, but property taxes too.

6. Prepare for a big down payment

Mortgage insurance isn’t available for investment properties, so you’ll need at least a 20% down payment to attain traditional financing. And putting even more down can get you a better rate. You’ll want all the help you can get as loan costs are typically higher for investment properties. If you’re serious about real estate investing, start saving up now! And give us a call. We’d love to help you finance your next investment property.

7. Start small

The process of buying, repairing, maintaining, and managing an investment property isn’t one to make light of. It’s a lot of work! So if you’re just starting out, try to avoid buying a major fixer-upper or a large property. Get your feet wet by purchasing a single apartment, condo, or duplex to get used to the work of investing in real estate and figure out if it’s really right for you.

Do you have any additional tips for anyone looking into real estate investing? We want to know! Tell us on social media!

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