Custom Mortgage Program for Custom Builders

handshakeGerstad Builders partners with an outstanding mortgage company that easily and conveniently assists our customers with the financing of their new home.  Just because an interested buyer doesn’t have perfect credit, an emergency fund saved, or doesn’t make a ton of money doesn’t mean they will not qualify for a mortgage.

If you have decided to buy a Gerstad home within our communities of Bailey Estates, The Trails of Dawson Creek or The Trails of Pheasant Ridge, our mortgage partner, Charles Mathison, has a deal for you! Thanks to a special program offered by Charles and his company, with a credit score as low as 620 you can potentially purchase your new Gerstad home with ZERO-percent down, AND get a break on your mortgage insurance!

This program, which is insured by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is only allowed in select areas.  They have deemed that the areas of Williams Bay, WI, Poplar Grove, IL, and Richmond, IL meet their standards to qualify for this special rural development program, with The Trails of Pheasant Ridge in Richmond, IL being one of the only communities in the northeastern Illinois area to qualify!

These USDA home loans are not subprime, they are guaranteed by the government, and they are stable, 30-year-fixed-rate products. Borrowers must meet certain maximum income qualifying requirements, and they must fully document their income, assets, etc. to qualify for the loan. While Gerstad will still require a small down payment to start construction, those funds will be put into an escrow account and refunded to the buyer at closing.

Charles Mathison, with Great Lakes Home Mortgage, is a lifelong resident of northern Illinois. He has partnered with Gerstad for the last 10 years and has been a mortgage broker for 14 years total. As a mortgage broker, he is constantly shopping for the best programs and deals for his clients – deals that banks often cannot offer. He provides his clients a custom mortgage experience with the best available program to fit their individual financial situation and home equity goals.

Mathison holds a Bachelor’s degree in marketing, but throughout college he excelled at and really enjoyed his finance courses, and quickly learned he was a numbers person. As a mortgage broker he states, “The entire process appealed to me. I love helping people, and in this business I get to play a major role in helping my clients make one of the most exciting purchases of their entire lives.  I essentially help make their dreams come true.”

As a person who loves face-to-face interactions, and who enjoys meeting people in general, Mathison is a local broker who finds it rewarding to be able to meet you personally at the building site, or wherever is most convenient for you, to discuss matters. “In the beginning, I may seem like a big burden to my clients,” states Mathison. “I am a very thorough and forthcoming person.  There is a lot of paperwork and documents that are time sensitive and things can get stressful, but I can say that I am truly there for them throughout the entire process, from the prequalification to the closing.  They always grow to appreciate me and the service I provide, especially when the approval and closing processes run so smoothly. And afterward, I’m often invited to housewarming parties!  And then I stay in touch with my clients with personal touches, like birthday and holiday cards.  I’m sort of old-school like that.” Mathison describes himself as a broker who is not “just a one and done.” He keeps a database of clients, watches interest rates and contacts clients personally after the closings if he can ever save them some money. They are part of his “forever business.”

With ten years of experience as a broker for Gerstad homes, and as a native of the area, Mathison states, “Gerstad started in McHenry years ago and they have continued to hold a great reputation there. Even when the industry reached a standstill, they built custom homes and stayed strong in business.” He continues, “They’re great people, and so friendly.”

Interested homebuyers are encouraged to take advantage of this rural housing program and contact Charles at his office at 847-549-5663 or email at To learn more about Great Lakes Mortgage or to apply for a loan online, visit

The communities of Bailey Estates, The Trails of Dawson Creek and The Trails of Pheasant Ridge all feature spacious homes with plenty of open, green space. The atmosphere is quiet, but the city is just minutes down the road. To learn more about our communities, visit


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