In 2005, Pablo Lopez and Theresa Lentini took a leap of faith and celebrated the opening of a home loan company in their Lake Mary living room with a business model based on honesty and integrity. Twelve years later, Home1st Lending is once again celebrating, this time with a new corporate headquarters that opened in July overlooking Lake Eola.
“We are growing, but not forgetting where we came from,” says Mia Lemus, daughter of Pablo and Theresa and assistant vice president of marketing for the family-owned suite of offices, which was headquartered in Heathrow for many years. “Our roots will always be in Lake Mary, and we are maintaining an office on International Parkway. We are moving our corporate headquarters because growth has been so strong.”
Home1st Lending, which also conducts business in Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, Louisiana, Colorado, and Mississippi, prides itself in maintaining relationships with more than 60 lenders so staff can best meet the needs of customers by offering individualized, tailored loans. Home1st Lending’s originators undergo extensive mortgage industry training to meet those goals. You won’t find any one-size-fits-all solutions here.
From the founders to the originators to the administrators, the staff follows a strict game plan assuring compliance with all relevant rules and regulations while creating loan programs to truly fit the needs of each client. That kind of integrity has been instilled at every staff meeting since the company’s inception, a conduct honed by Theresa during her 25-year-career in New York’s financial industry, including a stint at Lloyd’s of London.
“We have a very strong compliance department,” says Mia. “Everything is by the book.”
Within two years of launching their business, Theresa and Pablo, like the rest of the country, found themselves locked in a major economic recession. But because Home1st Lending has never pushed customers into unaffordable loans, their business persevered. Being honest paved a path to success.
A business could not reach the heights Home1st Lending enjoys today without a dedicated employee base. At Home1st Lending, it’s not only the customers who sing the company’s praises, the employees do, as well. Many of those hired in the early days are still with the company. The VP of operations, Christian Lopez, has been with the team since day one, and the VP of sales and marketing, Zachary Bleznick, began his career with Home1st in 2008.
“Our employees love working for this company and speak often of how well they are treated,” says Mia. “And, in turn, that’s how they treat our customers.”