Lending Leaders
How A Mortgage Insider Buys A Home

Ever wonder how a mortgage industry expert navigates the home buying experience? LodeStar’s CEO Jim Paolino just bought his first home and is eager to share his thoughts on the experience.

On a call with Jim, someone in the industry once lamented that their clients have never bought a home. But Jim, a mortgage pro, hadn’t purchased a home either, until this spring.

Lots of people told Jim he was crazy. Prices are way, way up. But Jim wasn’t worried as much about what things used to cost. After all, if it’s in budget, it’s in budget. As a homebuyer, he found it helpful not to think about how much cheaper x property was 5 or 10 years ago, because it’s all about what fits into your budget now.

First steps?

The first step was to get some education for both him and his wife and set a baseline. His wife is not a mortgage industry insider, so instead of assuming he had all the answers and trying to educate her, Jim decided to take a course with her and learn some new things himself. They signed up for a hombuyer 101 course, offered by the indefatigable Stacey Rihl, a veteran of the podcast, who has as passion for educating first-time homebuyers.

Jim knows a lot about very specific points, but he learned a lot about others. For example, while he could talk closing costs in all fifty states all the live long day, he was grateful for a refresher on mortgage insurance and pre-qual vs. pre-approval.

To Zillow or not to Zillow?

Jim gives a resounding, “Yes.” Zillow is the best way to see a home and gauge what’s in your budget quickly. Also, Zillow lets you know if a certain property doesn’t have some of your non-negotiables. For Jim those were, central air (which the house he and his wife bought actually doesn’t have), outside space, and a good location. Also, Jim loves to cook, so a good kitchen layout was a big hope.

Stay tuned for future episodes of the Summer Session of LodeStar’s Lending Leaders to hear more about Jim’s homebuying experience as a mortgage industry insider.


Thanks so much for being tuning in to LodeStar Lending Leaders! We can’t wait to resume our conversations about the mortgage industry and related topics when season 3 begins in September 2022.

To listen to this and other episodes of the LodeStar Lending Leaders Podcast, check out our YouTube channel. Please consider subscribing! It helps us out a lot. You can also find us on Anchor.


For anyone looking to purchase a home in the greater Philadelphia, Jim can’t recommend the following realtors highly enough:

Amanda Benincasa
Elfant Wissahickon Realtors
P: (215) 247-3600
C: (215) 520-0991

Jim Benincasa
Associate Broker
Elfant Wissahickon Realtors
P: (215) 233-3434 Ext. 532
C: (215) 850-6020
F: (215) 233-0903