New Hires

Welcome Patricia Madison

May 17
Category | New Hires

Homestead Funding would like to welcome Patricia Madison who recently joined our Lagrangeville, NY sales team.

Fondly known as “The Mortgage Lady”, Patricia has been working primarily with home buyers and homeowners since 1992 in NYC, Westchester, all Five Boroughs, Fairfield and Putnam counties.  Her vast and diverse experience delivers the best options and solutions to her clients every time!   Whether you are buying a turnkey existing home or one that needs repairs or renovations . . . building a new home or tearing one down and building a new one.  Already own your home and thinking of refinancing and/or renovating – she can go through the many options.   

Clients, peers and real estate professionals have voted her in as one of Westchester Magazine’s Five Star Mortgage Professionals for the last 3 years in a row!

To Learn more about Patricia visit her webpage.

Welcome, Patricia!



Welcome East Syracuse Branch

May 14
Category | Branches

Homestead Funding is excited to announce that our Brewerton, NY branch has moved to a new and improved East Syracuse location. You can now find Eric, Heather, Lauren, Mark and Tracy at 6333 Route 298, Suite 200 East Syracuse, NY 13057.

Join us in welcoming the East Syracuse team!


Eric Johnson was born and raised in Central New York. He’s worked in the mortgage industry for nearly two decades and is still as passionate about his career as the day he started.

If Eric had to describe his Loan Originator philosophy, it would be that every transaction requires the same amount of attention and dedication as the one before it. He takes the necessary time to work with his customers to figure out their specific needs, and then structures their financing accordingly.

Eric says he’s excited to work with Homestead “because of the new tools and resources they provide us. Having the newest tools and technology allows me to provide my borrowers with a one of a kind mortgage experience. And at the end of the day, my customers’ satisfaction is the most important thing.”

To learn more about Eric, visit his webpage.


Heather Connell is a former Midwesterner who now resides in Syracuse and has spent the last ten years in the mortgage industry. She enjoys walking her clients through each step of the process, so they feel completely comfortable with all decisions they make.

Heather’s Loan Originator philosophy is “great service, from start to finish.” For most people, buying a home is the most exciting purchase of their lives. Because of that, she wants to make sure that all her clients have an amazing experience. Heather says she is excited to work at Homestead Funding because we offer many different loan products. “This allows me to look at my clients’ needs and find the perfect product that is right for them,” said Heather. “Another great thing about Homestead is our support staff. When you work with me, you can rest assured that you have a team of industry professionals working together to help get your loan closed quickly, and seamlessly.”

To learn more about Heather, visit her webpage.


Lauren Elizabeth DiMaggio was born and raised in Rome, NY. She feels honored to help her friends and neighbors achieve their dreams of home ownership in the Utica-Rome area. Lauren has over nine years of experience in financial services, with six of those being years exclusively in the mortgage industry. Integrity and dedication are the foundation of her business.

Lauren’s mission is to provide her customers with the expert knowledge and guidance they need to obtain their home financing goals. She customizes each home financing solution to each individual client’s needs, while providing superior customer service and commitment.

Lauren says, “At Homestead Funding, I have an experienced and highly-trained team of people behind me who are supporting me and my clients while providing exceptional service throughout the entire process. I will effectively manage the transaction from beginning to end so that you can enjoy the experience of home ownership.”

To learn more about Lauren, visit her webpage.


Mark Lenkiewicz was born, raised, and currently lives in the Syracuse area. He attended SUNY Oswego and graduated with a degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing and minors in Philosophy and Economics. 

Having been in the mortgage business for five years, Mark is excited to be a part of the Homestead Funding team. Mark says Homestead provides him with a great a support system and offers a wide variety of products and services to help his clients with all their purchase and refinance needs.

Mark is available 24/7, respond quickly, and takes the time to listen and understand his clients’ needs. He is dedicated to service and adapts to the style of his clients for more personalized service.

To learn more about Mark, visit his webpage.


Tracy Styer has 20 years of lending industry experience. She is an expert in draw construction loans and is dedicated to finding you the best financing solution.

Tracy builds her business around honesty, trust, and integrity. Her idea of integrity is to always put your needs first, to be your advocate, and offer solutions that work best for your objectives. Tracy sees to it that you are well informed, so you can make smarter choices, and your financing comes to you with no surprises or hitches. Tracy’s entire team has many years of experience in draw construction loans, which means you’ll receive quality customer service.

To Learn more about Tracy, visit her webpage.

New Hires

Welcome Sydney Lewis

May 14
Category | New Hires

Homestead Funding would like to welcome Sydney Lewis who recently joined our Cornwall, NY sales team.

Sydney entered the mortgage industry in 2008, after originally working on Wall Street. As a graduate of St. John’s University with an Accounting major and Finance minor, Sydney would describe himself as a “numbers person.”  This, being one of Sydney’s greatest attributes, will permit him to analyze varying scenarios and to identify the mortgage product that will work best for your individual needs--one that corresponds to your financial need(s).

Sydney says, “there is no greater reward than seeing my clients receive the keys to their dream home(s).” When you work with Homestead Funding Corp. and Sydney, you can rest assured we are a well-oiled machine that will easily guide you through the home buying experience and get you to that closing table faster than our competitors.

Sydney looks forward to working with you. Give him a call today!

To Learn more about Sydney visit his webpage.

Welcome, Sydney!


Pre-Qualification vs. Pre-Approval: What’s the Difference?

If you are starting the home buying process, you may have heard that you need to get pre-qualified or pre-approved. Although many people use these terms interchangeably, there are very important differences between the two terms that every homebuyer should understand.

Pre-qualification is seen as the first step in the mortgage process, and is usually done over the phone or online with a Loan Originator. You provide the lender with an overall financial picture, including your debt, income, and assets. The lender reviews everything and gives you an estimate of how much you can expect to borrow. Pre-qualification is based solely on the information you provide to the lender and can give you a starting point for your homebuying search.

A pre-approval can be done first or as a next step after pre-qualification. It requires the borrower to complete an official mortgage application and supply all the necessary documentation to perform an extensive check on your financial history and current credit rating. During the pre-approval process, you will discuss product and rate options because this is often based, in part, on your credit score. You may even lock in an interest rate.  You will receive a conditional commitment in writing for an exact loan amount, allowing you to look for a home at or below that price level. Pre-approval puts you at advantage when you are negotiating with a seller because they know you are one step closer to being able to afford their home.

The advantage of completing both steps before you begin house hunting is that you will have a good idea in advance of how much you can afford. You won’t waste time with guessing or looking at properties that are beyond you means. The pre-approval also enables you to move quickly when you find the perfect home, because the seller knows that your offer is serious, especially in a competitive market.



Tips and Tricks for First Time Homebuyers

  • Start with a realtor that you trust. You might be spending a lot of time with this person. Make sure it’s a good fit.
  • Get Pre-approved or at the very least pre-qualified. Make sure you know how much house you can afford BEFORE you start looking. Shopping for anything without a budget will only set you up for failure and disappointment.
  • Know your deal breakers. It’s important to know your WANTS vs. your NEEDS and to remind yourself of them while you’re looking for houses.
  • Take pictures! Start each photo with a picture of the house flyer with the address. You’ll thank yourself later. This will make life MUCH easier when you’re going back and looking at them. Also, make sure to take pictures of the home’s greatest strengths, but also any issues you see.
  • Take notes! Keeping your thoughts organized about each home you view is key. Make sure to take notes as you go, or immediately after viewing EACH home you see. You won’t remember everything when you get home so this will be key when reevaluating the homes you’ve seen.
  • Don’t just focus on the home. it’s easy to get caught up with the new white kitchen or beautiful hardwood floors, but you need to be careful. Make sure to take note the area surrounding the home. Will your commute to work be easy? Does the neighborhood meet my needs? (If you’re starting a family, a quiet street might be preferred over a busy one). Swapping out countertops or backsplash is relatively easy. Picking up the entire house and moving it to a more preferred neighborhood… not so much.
  • Lastly, trust your gut. For some people, it might take viewing 20 homes to finally find the right one. But, for others, it might be the first or second home you visit. If you’re confident that you’ve found the right home, embrace that feeling.

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