New Trier grad facilitates low mortgages for veterans
Dan Chookaszian has taken his gratitude for veterans and turned it into a big part of his career. The Private Mortgage Banker for Perl Mortgage helps veterans obtain Veterans Affairs mortgages. | JACKIE PILOSSOPH~for Sun-Times Media
837 Milwaukee Ave.
Updated: March 19, 2013 9:48AM
WILMETTE — Daniel Chookaszian has a deep appreciation and respect for veterans.
The 31 year old New Trier graduate was raised in Wilmette and spent 12 years volunteering as a chaplain for a North Shore state-run facility for retired and disabled veterans.
“As I began to learn their stories and understand their family situations, the difficult experiences they had while serving, and the struggles they had when they returned to civilian life, I grew to love them,” said Chookaszian, who holds a B.S. in business management and a master’s of divinity from Moody Theological Seminary. “They’re dealing with a lot of pain and difficulty.”
Chookaszian has taken his gratitude for veterans and turned it into a big part of his career. The Private Mortgage Banker for Perl Mortgage helps veterans obtain VA mortgages.
VA mortgages are loans that are backed by the government, where veterans do not have a down payment requirement. The rates are also slightly lower than conventional mortgage rates, and there’s no mortgage insurance required, which makes the rates even lower.
“Veterans deserve this,” said Chookaszian, who writes articles for Scotsman Guide to educate other lenders on VA loans, and who is frequently quoted on the subject in the Chicago Sun-Times. “They have such a high level of developed character, and they have shown the ultimate sacrifice to protect others. To see them struggle when they get back is a travesty.”
The VA loan program, which has been in existence since World War II has proven to be successful, not only for veterans, but for the government. When it comes to the percentage of defaults, government tracking shows that VA loans default less than any other type of mortgage, including conventional, FHA and jumbo mortgages.
John Pope, of Wilmette, is a veteran of Vietnam who saw an article in the Sun-Times about VA loans and contacted Chookaszian.
“I found Dan to be very knowledgeable and helpful, and he always keeps in touch,” said Pope, who not only did his initial VA loan through Chookaszian, but did a refinance with him when interest rates fell. “It worked out really well for me.”
Chookaszian, who has been a mortgage broker for seven years estimates that about one third of his business is now VA loans. He said there is no age discrimination for VA loans, and that he’s worked with veterans who are in their 80s.
The process of getting a VA loan is pretty simple. The mortgage broker pulls up a veteran’s eligibility certificate from the VA portal website. Using the certificate, their credit is then pulled, and the process is virtually the same as the process for any other type of mortgage.
“I love the fact that I am stabilizing the financial aspect for these people,” said Chookaszian. “I had the wife of a veteran look at me and say across the closing table, ‘This is the first time I’ve had anything benefiting our family since we sacrificed my husband in the military, and now he’s returned and we’re getting this wonderful benefit out of it.’”