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Veteran Secures Second Mortgage for Home Improvements in Just Weeks


AMS specializes in serving active-duty servicemembers and Veterans, and we’re always willing to go that “extra mile” to help Members like the Carrillos who recently closed on a second mortgage – and in only two-and-a-half weeks.

“When all of the other lenders had turned us down or tried to [take advantage of] us with bad loans, AMS was there,” Raymond Carrillo, Sr. wrote in February 2023 when his loan closed. “When I had lost faith in this world that there was no one who wanted to at least give me a chance, AMS was there. We will forever keep you in our thoughts and prayers.”

Related: Members Refinance in Just Three Weeks to Pay Off Second Mortgage

Fighting for the American Dream

Raymond joined the U.S. Army in 1965 and was stationed at Old Fort Ord, California. He eventually transferred to Germany and volunteered for the Vietnam War, where he served 12 months in the 1st Infantry Division, also called the "Big Red One” and “the Fighting First.” The 1st Infantry was involved in the Tet Offensive of 1968, and the largest operation of the Vietnam War, Operation Toan Thang, among other offensives.

For his service in Vietnam, Raymond was awarded a Bronze Star Medal in 1967. He left the Army in 1968, and worked for Chevron as a maintenance mechanic. He went to college, studied business management for two years and started working in construction, eventually earning his contractor's license and becoming a general contractor.

He and his wife (now of 40 years) bought their first home in Livermore, California at that time.

When Cynthia was transferred to Rancho Cordova (near Sacramento) the two purchased a rural property where they could raise livestock and grow their vegetables. Raymond went to work for Del Webb, a major homebuilder, becoming a construction superintendent. After five years with Del Webb, Carrillo left to start his own contracting company, building homes and doing remodels and repair work until his semi-retirement.

Moving to Their Forever Home – and Planning Some Upgrades

The Carrillos sold their farm and purchased their current 4-bedroom, 3-bath Rancho Cordova home 13 years ago. They plan to stay in their current home for some time. “We have everything we need here,” notes Raymond, including a built-in barbecue, in-ground pool, and built-in spa. Eventually, he hopes to pass the home on to the couple’s daughter.

As Cynthia nears retirement in 2023, they wanted to upgrade the home’s 15-year-old HVAC system and install drought-resistant landscaping. “We thought a second [mortgage] would be the right option to cover the cost of those upgrades,” explains Raymond.

A second mortgage is a loan secured by the property that the homeowner takes out in addition to their original (purchase) loan. The second, like a cash-out refinance, lets them draw equity out of the home for minor repairs or other uses. A second mortgage generally carries a higher interest rate than purchase mortgages but not as high as credit cards or personal loans, for example. Second mortgages are available with VA Home Loans, FHA loans and conventional mortgages.

Related: Refis and Seconds: How to Get Money Out of Your Home

Applying (and Applying!) for a Second Mortgage

From October 2022 through February 2023, the Carrillos contacted a few lenders to apply for a second mortgage. But because there was a “mark” on their credit, they were having a tough time. While those lenders weren’t saying no outright they were urging the couple to refinance their purchase loan (which has an interest rate of 2.25%) instead. That would give the Carrillos an all-new mortgage loan at prevailing rates (about 6.5% in February 2023) increasing their monthly payments.

“We had just about given up when I wrote to AAFMAA Mortgage Services (AMS) asking for help,” says Raymond. “As a Veteran, I thought ‘somebody's got to give me at least one chance to get this loan’.”

Raymond heard back from AMS and was put in touch with Mark Wendler, the branch manager in AMS’s Denver location. Wendler checked the couple’s credit and told them he thought he could help. “For our part, we made sure to respond to Mark with whatever paperwork or information he needed to keep things moving,” Raymond says.

Their second mortgage for $65,000, which often takes up to 30 days to originate and close, was completed by AMS in just two-and-a-half weeks. The 20-year loan has an interest rate of 9.75%, which is a very good rate for a second mortgage in the current market.

“Mark definitely has our respect and our gratitude, and I let him know that. He just had to give this old Veteran a chance – that's all I was asking for. And he gave us a good rate and kept the closing costs to a minimum,” says Raymond. “We were just astounded.”

We’re Here to Help

Whether you’re thinking about buying, ready to start home-shopping in earnest, or considering a refinance, you can count on an AMS Military Mortgage Advisor to provide you with an honest and fair comparison of your mortgage options, including a wide range of affordable mortgages designed to meet your needs.

Ensuring AAFMAA Members obtain the best mortgage possible is our mission. Get your free mortgage assessment today or give us a call at 844-422-3622!