By Matt Allen
Vice President of Portfolio Lending

Harleys and Homeownership: How One Army Veteran Successfully Navigated the Revved-Up Housing Market

Nov 09, 2021

  • Success Story
  • VA Loans

Richard Rivera knew he wanted to join the military when he was in middle school and watched, helpless, as the Twin Towers fell on September 11, 2001. That week, he and his best friend made a pact to enlist the minute they were old enough, so they could do their part to protect America and her freedoms.  

As an adult, he followed through on his promise with his friend and enlisted in the Army as a generator mechanic. In nine years, Richard served two deployments, the first for 15 months and the second for four. Like most military members, Richard moved frequently and lived across the U.S. from Boston to Oklahoma before finding work in the private sector. But when his dad developed health problems, he decided it was time to settle into a home of his own to properly care for his father. 

He reached out to experienced NASB Loan Officer and retired Army veteran Luke Phillips (NMLS#1471647), to help him find his dream home. As a former Army chaplain, Luke has never wavered in his commitment to serving our U.S. military members and veterans and believes that their service deserves his best service. Richard shared his experience of buying his first home during one of the hottest housing markets in decades.  

What was your experience like looking for your first home? 

Surprisingly quick. I moved to Jacksonville on a Sunday and had exactly 60 days to find a home. As you know, the market is crazy. I put in multiple offers that week only to be outbid on all of them, and all my offers were over asking price! I knew it was going to be difficult, but the pressure to find a home in 60 days had me more worried.  

How did you finally get your new home? 

The seller was a widow who had a son in the Army, so we had a connection—she even turned down a cash offer because she trusted me with her home. And her late husband and I shared a love of Harleys, so when I bought the house, I bought his Harley too. The house and the Harley are both in good hands! 

Why did you choose NASB? 

A good friend that I trust recommended me to NASB Loan Officer Luke Phillips, who he’d used for his own home loan. Even with the recommendation, I reached out to four other lenders and said: give me your best and final offer, and I’ll make my choice. All the other lenders came back to negotiate, but not Luke. He was a straight shooter from the start and gave me his best terms. I could tell right away he was going to work hard for me, because I called him when he was working out at the gym, and he stopped what he was doing to help. That’s commitment.  

How would you describe your experience with NASB and Luke? 

Amazing. Listen, I can be very direct and almost rude sometimes. There would be days Luke would call me and I’d say-listen, I can’t deal with this right now. Call my realtor and figure it out. And he would! No matter how cranky I was, he always remained polite and upbeat.

"If you want someone who will treat you with respect, understands the mortgage and VA loan process, will look out for your best interests, and close on time, Luke is the loan officer for you."

He shared some stories from his own time in the service, and his authenticity made me respect him even more. He could relate to what I was going through, and he always followed up on his promises to get things done. I respect that. Most importantly, he knew the VA loan process inside and out, and always took the time to break it down for me, so I understood what I was doing and signing.  

What advice would you give to first-time or experienced veteran home buyers? 

Call Luke! Seriously—if you want someone who will treat you with respect, understands the mortgage and VA loan process, will look out for your best interests, and close on time, Luke is the loan officer for you. Even my real estate agent loved him and and she said she'd work with him again in a heartbeat. Bottom line-I’d recommend Luke to anyone—and already have! 

For more information on how NASB can help you with your home loan, reach out to NASB today!