Eric Blumhardt says the best part of his job is moving day. That’s when his clients get to fulfill their dream of home ownership.
“We just closed eight homes over the last couple of weeks, which is nice because it shows what we are doing is paying off,” Blumhardt said in an interview in early December.
Blumhardt, an area loan specialist for USDA Rural Development, travels through Eastern Montana administering a home loan program for rural families.
“We go to rural communities all over Eastern Montana and work with low-income families and try to get them into their own homes by offering government assistance to those who qualify,” Blumhardt said.
Aside from covering such a large demographic area, another challenge is letting people know about the program, Blumhardt said.
“I’m trying to do an outreach program so communities know it’s out there and can utilize the program,” he said.
The program provides a variety of assistance, such as help with a down payment and subsidies to help the buyer pay for the mortgage.
The program can be used to finance different types of homes: new construction, existing homes, and modular or manufactured homes, Blumhardt said.
However, clients must have a good credit rating and must show the ability to repay the loan, he said.
“These are people who can’t typically get houses. But with the federal subsidy and no down payment, we’re allowing the dream of home ownership,” he said.
While completing his mass communications and public relations degree at Montana State University Billings, Blumhardt worked as a part-time sports writer for The Billings Gazette.
“I loved talking to coaches and getting insights on the game” during busy weekend shifts, he said.
Describe how you got where you are in your work today.
I worked as a legal examiner for the Bureau of Indian Affairs for six years prior to accepting employment with Rural Development. I’m extremely grateful for my time with BIA because so many aspects of that position prepared me for my current position.
What’s the toughest challenge that you have faced in your business?
The restrictions set in place to ensure that our borrowers are satisfactory applicants is challenging. Any time you are use a government program that allows government assistance, that’s just how the system works. The process is frustrating but well worth it in the end when we can provide the dream of homeownership to our applicants.
What did you learn from that challenge?
You learn that honesty and being forthright with the applicant is the best way of doing business. It’s easier to be upfront from the beginning than to work with a frustrated applicant down the road.
If you could make one positive change in Billings, what would it be?
I’d like to see continued expansion on activities for the youth of Billings. Allowing children the opportunity to develop and grow through sports with low costs, skate parks, performing in plays and employment opportunities will only enhance the growth of the child and instill life fundamentals essential for adulthood.
Aside from profit and loss, how do you measure success in your job?
My position allows for a very easily diagnosed measure of success, and that’s getting families into homes. The more qualified applicants that I can get into homes, the happier, not just myself, but USDA Rural Development is.
Which living person do you most admire? My parents, Craig and Florrinda Blumhardt. They are the epitome of selflessness and sacrifice.
What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?
My children, Jacob and Noah. I didn’t do too bad getting my beautiful wife, Marie, to marry me, either.
I’m happiest when I’m…
Home with my family. I truly relish my time with my wife and children.