Veteran Glenn Friedlander wrapped several strands of ribbon around the column and across the walkway leading to a brand-new home in Merced one recent morning.
Then, wife Charilyn tied on a big bow as their 10-year-old son Kiero played with baby daughter Zaniah Joy. Consider it a red-ribbon moment for the Friedlander family.
Moments later, with CalVet Loan Originator Eric Myrdal and members of the construction crew looking on, Friedlander used a small pair of scissors to cut the ribbon and welcome the family into their brand-new, CalVet-financed home in southwest Merced.
“I’ve done over 800 loans at CalVet and that’s a first,” Myrdal said of the ribbon cutting ceremony. In fact, Myrdal found it so unusual – and inspiring – that he drove two hours from Sacramento to Merced to witness the moment, and to meet in person for the very first time the 20-year Navy veteran whom he’d guided through the loan process.
“I was gob smacked,” Myrdal said. “That’s why I made a point of coming down here for this.”
“My mentor,” Friedlander calls him.
The ribbon cutting culminated in what Friedlander had dreamt of for years, to pre-qualify for a CalVet home loan. Indeed, the Friedlanders were able to qualify because they listened to Myrdal, improved their finances, and demonstrated how much they wanted the five-bedroom 2,815-square-foot home.
Born on Guam when his father served in the Air Force, Friedlander spent two decades as an aviation boatswain’s mate in the Navy. He served aboard aircraft carriers – including the USS Abraham Lincoln and USS Ronald Reagan. He also served on the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard – the same ship that was destroyed by an alleged arsonist in San Diego in 2020 and recently scrapped. He served in the first Gulf War in 1991, while other tours of duty took him to Sasebo, Japan, and other ports along the Pacific Rim.
After retiring from the military in 2009, Friedlander ultimately received an 80 percent disability rating from the VA. In 2011, he began working for U.S. Veterans Affairs at the former McClellan Air Force Base in Sacramento, helping other veterans negotiate the process of getting disability ratings.
“They’ve been to wars,” he said. “Some vets don’t know they qualify (for a CalVet Home Loan). I didn’t know I qualified.”
He commuted daily to Sacramento from a home they rented in Elk Grove. They wanted a place of their own, but their financial history stood in their way; so did home prices in the Sacramento area.
That changed when Myrdal did what he does with so many veterans who come to CalVet for financing: He looked at their credit history, identified items that needed to be fixed, and counseled Friedlander on how to fix them.
“He is the perfect CalVet vet,” Myrdal said. “I triaged the things he needed to clean up to qualify. ‘Do this, this, this, and this. … ’ Many of them, when I do that, I never hear from them again. But Glenn responded. We kept in touch every month. He accomplished every single thing to meet the VA loan requirements.”
When Friedlander pre-qualified for up to a $400,000 loan, he and Charilyn started house hunting. But every time he found one within his budget, someone else outbid him – in one case by more than $100,000.
He began searching outside of the Sacramento area and found a new development under construction in Merced. They got a home on a corner lot for $386,000 that is much larger than anything they could have purchased in Sacramento. It’s a block away from the school their children will attend. Additionally, during the loan process, his disability rating was upgraded to 100 percent. That qualifies him not only for higher benefits, but also for a significant reduction on their county property taxes.
Finally, Friedlander can mostly work remotely, commuting to Sacramento only two days per week.
“A blessing in disguise,” he calls their new home.
And one worth a ribbon cutting ceremony, Friedlander decided.
For more information on obtaining a CalVet home loan, CLICK HERE or call us directly during regular business hours at (866) 653-2510. We are happy to help.