A nice, quaint house in the country was for sale.  

Jarod and Kaylinda DeTurk were real estate rookies. 

By using the expertise of Heartland Bank’s Mortgage Lending Department, the young couple purchased their first home with minimal stress and moved in just in time for a highly anticipated December event.

Jarod and Kaylinda began house hunting in early 2015. The young couple had established careers (Jarod in agronomy and Kaylinda in senior photography) and were more than ready to trade rental payments for a mortgage and home equity.

They viewed several nice homes in Kearney, but what they really wanted was to live in a rural area similar to where they both grew up. In March, they found a match in a home for sale in Dawson County. 

The home they found was a 1-story ranch-style home and yard that came complete with a meandering creek. When they drove up to the property, they could not stop staring at its canopy of established trees – the perfect kind for tire swings and barefoot kids. 

“We fell in love with it,” Kaylinda said. “We could see ourselves raising a family here and the potential of this house.”

Finding the house would turn out to be the easy part for the high-school sweethearts, who had just learned they would be a family of three by the end of the year. 

Buying it on their own? That was going to be the complicated part. However, with the help of Heartland Bank Mortgage Relationship Manager Fili Sanchez, the first-time homebuyers’ stress was eased.


“I literally talked to (Fili) every day for three weeks,” she said. “He would piece things together when we didn’t have any idea what we were doing... It would have been a very time-consuming process if we didn’t have his help.”

Fili is a Vice President and Mortgage Relationship Manager for Heartland Bank. He offices at the bank’s Kearney Branch but serves the home mortgage needs of the Kearney, Riverdale, Burwell, and Ord markets. Fili is nearing his 10th year as a mortgage lender, but he still remembers buying his first home and the confusion and frustration that entailed. 

“I try to slow the process down and break down any unknowns, especially for first-time homebuyers,” said Fili. 

Kaylinda explained that she peppered Fili with questions: What about the down payment? What do we need to bring in for taxes? House Inspection? 

“He actually gave me the numbers for the home inspection and the appraisal and, I called them.” It was comforting for the couple to follow Fili’s lead through each step of the real estate closing, from the home inspection to comps and purchase contracts.

Fili explained that the DeTurks were well-educated about the process and easily handled the little surprises that popped up during the home buying process, such as finding out they needed flood insurance.

They also sped through the process by using all of the communication tools the bank offers, from the online application, to text and email communications.

Both Kaylinda and Jarod had been Heartland Bank customers since high school (when the bank was the State Bank of Riverdale.) In Jarod's opinion, it was nice to continue working with their local provider.  

“They really helped us out. They answered questions that weren’t really even their responsibility,” said Jarrod.

The house is their home now; no more rental restrictions. The DeTurks ripped up flooring, replaced drywall, painted, and tore down exterior sheds. It’s now ready for them and their baby.

“To be called a homeowner is a really good feeling,” Kaylinda said. 

They advise other future homeowners to plan and research before they look for homes. This will allow them to react quickly when the right house comes on the market. 

Most of all… “Work with someone you are comfortable with. It’s a relief,” said Kaylinda.

Rebecca Svec

Rebecca is a freelance writer and editor. She graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a degree in Journalism and wrote for daily newspapers in Nebraska for ten years. She spent the next decade in Doane College’s marketing and communications office. She currently coordinates marketing and social media for an insurance and real estate company in Geneva, Nebraska.

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