Dan Baird

NMLS# 253418

Sr. Home Loan Specialist

Dan Baird
Sr. Home Loan Specialist

NMLS# 253418
State Lic: UT # 5498907;
2180 South 1300 East
Suite 100 & 120
Salt Lake City, UT 84106
Direct: (801) 791-8174

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It’s all about service at Academy Mortgage, and our company has been meeting the needs of homebuyers across the United States since 1988. I joined Academy because of its strong reputation for integrity-based mortgage lending, its unwavering commitment to responsible lending practices, and for its broad portfolio of mortgage solutions and tools.

Since joining Academy, I have helped many individuals and families attain the dream of homeownership. Whether you want to buy a new home or refinance an existing mortgage, I will provide a customized solution for you at competitive rates. No brokering, no middleman, no hassle, no surprises.

Academy is a direct lender, which means that my Branch and Regional Offices are equipped to complete the entire loan process in-house—all loan processing, underwriting, closings, and funding are handled locally. As a result, we have a proven track record of closing loans as quickly and efficiently as possible.

I will be in control of your loan file from start to finish, and I will be up-to-date on the status of your loan at all times. I understand the importance of maintaining continuous communication throughout the loan process and commit to providing you accurate, timely, and honest mortgage advice.

I invite you to put us to the test. Let me show you how simple and easy securing a mortgage can be.

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Read these articles to educate yourself on the mortgage process and industry.


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We are proud to be one of the top independent purchase lenders in the country. We achieved this distinction by continually providing exceptional customer service and by following responsible lending practices, especially in today’s rapidly changing economy.Adam Kessler, CEO, Academy Mortgage

NMLS# 253418

State Lic: UT: 5498907;

Corp Lic: UT: 5491140-MLCO;


How to find the perfect real estate agent

Making a home purchase is a big decision and a huge financial commitment. With the stakes so high, it's nice to have someone in your court to help you find a suitable home and advise you on making a good offer - this person, of course, is your real estate agent.

Finding a real estate agent that you like to work with and has your best interests in mind is the first step many people take in their house-hunting journey. But it takes more than just finding the first agent a Google search comes up with; it's important to know that the agent is experienced in finding the type of home you're looking for and is someone you can get along with.

Ask the right questions

Before looking at homes and reviewing residential mortgage options, interview a handful of agents to choose the right person to hire. Ask them:

If an agent is new to the industry or new to your area, he or she may not have the industry knowledge to find your ideal spot. This is one reason it's important to inquire about how the agent plans to find you homes to tour.

Some agents simply review the multiple listing service and quickly search for homes in your price range and preferred neighborhoods. Sometimes, this simple step is enough to find your ideal home; other times, a little more legwork is necessary. A dedicated and experienced agent will know how to seek out homes that aren't on the market yet or how to issue a direct mail campaign for their client, NerdWallet explained.

Look at their backgrounds

There are certain licenses and certifications that real estate agents either must or may want to pursue. Find out which qualifications your potential agents have.

First off, they should be licensed by the state you're looking for a house in. You can usually find this information online, Bankrate noted. Additionally, you may be able to find about any complaints filed against the agent through the regulatory body that licensed him or her. This information is good to know before moving forward with this person.

Next, find out what additional certifications the person pursued. An important one is a National Association of Realtors membership - this means the person knows, understands and adheres to a code of ethics with their clients. Other distinctions might include:

Agents may list these designations on their website or in acronyms on their business cards. Or, you can simply ask about additional training they've completed.

Make it official

Once you've determined who the best agent for you is, it's time to move forward with that person. Agents typically want their clients to be exclusive to them. Real estate agents make their money on the buying or selling of a home; if your agent helps you find a home but you wind up closing the deal with another agent, that person did a lot of work for no payout.

To protect themselves from getting swindled by inconsiderate or uninformed buyers, many agents require clients to sign a buyer's agent agreement. If you sign this form, legally you can't go with another agent unannounced. But, if you find that you and the agent aren't a good fit, you can terminate the contract and move on with someone else, Realtor.com reported.

If you haven't signed a contract but have met with the agent on several occasions, that person might assume (whether correctly or incorrectly) that you are exclusively working with him or her. This could simply be a rookie mistake on the agent's part, so you might want to step up and get clarification.

"Once you've found this special agent, you should sign a buyer's agent agreement to make it official," Rosanne Nitti, a california-based Realtor with RMN Investments & Realty Services. "This means you can both move forward with confidence - which is important when you're embarking on something as huge as buying a home."

Academy Mortgage is one of the top independent purchase lenders in the country as ranked in the 2015 CoreLogic Marketrac Report. Visit www.academymortgage.com to find a loan, get a rate, or calculate your payment today.


Tips for first-time homebuyers

Buying a home for the first time can be an incredibly exciting but also stressful time for those hoping to enter the housing market. A house may be the largest purchase made in a person's lifetime, so it's important that the process go smoothly to prevent unnecessary worry or financial strain.

Here a few things shoppers should know when looking for their first home.

a key with a keychain of a house is being handed from on person's hand to another with an actual house in the backgroundKnowing what you want ahead of time can be greatly beneficial when looking for a home for the first time.

Consider what you want first

It's important to determine what kind of living space works best for you and your family. Do you need a home with bountiful yard space and a two-car garage? Or would a condo in multi-unit building suit your needs? What does the ideal residential neighborhood look like to you? Are there certain home amenities you could not live without? These are all considerations you must take into account before beginning any other phase of the home buying process.

Perform a credit check

Your credit score can affect the kinds of mortgage loans you can be approved for and what your interest rates and loan terms will be once you are approved. USA Today noted that you should check for and subsequently dispute any errors found in your credit report. You should also try to pay off any outstanding debts which could be lowering your score even further.

Lenders often run an inquiry into your credit history when opening a new credit account of any kind, which could adversely affect your score temporarily. To prevent this happening during mortgage applications, do not open any new credit accounts.

Financing and down payments

Determine the total cost of any prospective homes you look at – considering the property taxes, closing costs, insurance, maintenance costs and other factors. This can help guide you in assessing your budget for a potential down payment and your monthly house payment, according to Investopedia.

Weighing your mortgage options is another huge step in the home buying processes. Would a fixed conventional mortgage work best based on your income? Could an adjustable rate mortgage benefit you the most early on?

Down payments also do not have to be at the traditional 20%. Some lenders allow for less but this could result in higher overall costs and paying for private mortgage insurance, according to USA Today.

There may also be tax credits and lending programs for first-time homebuyers, veterans and residents of certain municipalities you can use to your advantage to help lower interest rates and down payment amounts.

Home inspection

Once your loans are approved and you find your dream home, a thorough inspection of the residence still needs to be conducted to ensure it's safe and up to your standards. Hire a professional to inspect the property. If any abnormalities are discovered that were not previously discussed, you generally have the option to rescind your offer or have your deposit refunded.

Academy Mortgage is one of the top independent purchase lenders in the country as ranked in the 2016 CoreLogic Marketrac Report. Visit www.academymortgage.com to find a loan, get a rate, or calculate your payment today.


5 questions to ask yourself before buying a home

Exploring the idea of buying a house can be an exciting, nerve-wracking and uncertain time. Late night browsing on housing websites, trying to figure out which neighborhood to live in and what your priorities are can be as overwhelming as it is thrilling. To help you out in this life adventure, here are five questions to ask yourself before you apply for a mortgage and start packing:

1. Is the mortgage realistic?

Are you really in a place to buy a five-bedroom home with a pool? Sure, the listing price may have dropped a few thousand dollars in the past month, but be realistic when setting a budget and remember that any purchase is never a good deal if you can't afford it. When considering conventional mortgage rates and your long-term future, don't just try to picture yourself paying that amount for the rest of the year. Instead, picture yourself paying that mortgage every month for the next five to 10 years. Are you able to pay a sizable mortgage this year because you had a strong quarter with high commission earnings or a raise? Do you expect your income to increase or remain the same for the foreseeable future?

If you're stretching your budget, you can calculate some small sacrifices and adjustments to see whether a mortgage is feasible. When you consider eating at home more frequently and traveling less, however, also factor in how this will affect your quality of life. Most people could stand to tuck more money into their savings accounts or put it toward a mortgage, but if you love your weekly nights out and yearly tropical vacations, decide what's really important and whether the extra bedroom is worth it.

2. What will the commute be like?

Whether you're moving across the country for a new job or relocating to the suburbs for a bit more space, be sure to take into account your daily commute. Again, it's all about quality of life - an extra 10-15 minutes for better schools and a backyard is probably worth it, but if you're looking to increase your commute by 30 minutes or more each way, remember that this will affect your daily life in a tangible way. An extra hour each day, for example, adds up to about 250 hours per year.

There's no wrong answer here - if you're fine with a longer commute and have options such as express commuter trains or live in an area with less traffic than average, a few extra miles won't matter as much. Decide what you're comfortable with and how a longer commute may positively affect your budget or negatively affect your daily life and adjust accordingly.

3. Will you want to stay long-term?

Opting for a starter home as a first-time buyer is a great option to enter the housing market without breaking the bank, but that doesn't mean you have to settle. For instance, a smaller ranch home may be the perfect option if it's in a desirable area that you can picture yourself staying in for a few years.

Make sure you pay special attention to your surroundings. If you're moving from the city to the suburbs and enjoy the hustle and bustle of an urban area, you may want to move to a location with a thriving downtown area complete with walkable streets and access to coffee shops and restaurants. You're not bound to staying in a home for decades, but the moving and buying process is significant enough that you should try to imagine whether you'll be happy in a house and neighborhood for at least a few years.

4. Have you included extra costs?

It may not be as fun as looking for your dream home, but the devil is in the details, so make sure you're calculating the extra costs such as water bills, electricity, gas and home repairs. If you're a first-time buyer, you may not be accustomed to undertaking your own plumbing repairs (goodbye, landlord), so take note of any property changes you'll need to make upon moving.

What's more, according to U.S. News & World Report, homeowners will spend between 1% and 4% of a home's value on maintenance costs each year. That can add up to thousands each year. A little planning and budgeting can go along way, so keep these expenses in mind.

5. What's the future of your family?

Are you planning to have kids? Do you predict you may become a caretaker for an aging parent over the next couple of years? A home is a long-term investment, which means you should always keep the future in mind when deciding on buying a property. If you're a new parent, you should ask yourself whether you plan to have more children in the future. If so, should you get a house with an extra bedroom, or do you plan to move when your children are still young enough to comfortably share a room? Do you imagine your kids playing in a spacious backyard, or are nearby parks plenty for your family?

Or, if you've arranged to take care of a parent in the next few years, you may want to find a home with a first-floor bedroom with an easily accessible bathroom for someone with mobility issues. For that matter, if you're looking for a home to live in well into your retirement years, the same applies - what will your life look like in the coming years, and how will your living space fit into those plans?

There are many things to think through when buying a home, including these kinds of practicalities and long-term thinking. By taking your time while planning the next several years of your life and looking for a home that's worth the effort, you'll be able to enter the homebuying market with your eyes open, ready to find a home that's the perfect fit for your life.

Academy Mortgage is one of the top independent purchase lenders in the country as ranked in the 2016 CoreLogic Marketrac Report. Visit www.academymortgage.com to find a loan, get a rate, or calculate your payment today.