Wil Harmsen is a passionate man. He works as a residential lender. Those two words do not necessarily evoke passion, but the way Wil tells it, he will do whatever it takes to help someone get a home loan. His office, Cornerstone Home Lending, Inc. is at the crossroads of Main and Townsend in Montrose and his specialty is financing homes. He also works in Ouray and Delta Counties.
Montrose’s economy suffered through the Great Recession as did the rest of the country. The Western Slope seemed to take somewhat longer to bounce back compared to other areas. According to Harmsen, “The market is really good. If you have a house under $250,000 and it’s priced well, it’s gone. The rental market, however, is really tight. There’s a good deal of new construction—up on Spring Creek, Brown Ranch, Waterfall Canyon.”
Passion No. 2 is his family一all girls. He met his wife Amy in 2004, while he worked at Wells Fargo Bank and she would deliver title policies from Montrose County Abstract. They have three daughters, Gabby,3, Isabella, 5, and Addison, 8. His eyes light up when he describes how they are becoming expert wildlife spotters. “They’re just fantastic, good girls,” he said. “They spot animals before Amy and I do.”
His third great passion is wildlife photography. The family has made one or two trips a year to Yellowstone. They’re finding wildlife a little closer to home these days, having recently bought a cabin in the Little Cimarron area, east of town. “We’ve seen moose and bear, and the girls absolutely love it,” Harmsen exclaimed.
Each of the girls has their own little camera. “I’m teaching them art the same way my grandparents taught me art.” There’s a lot of Colorado history in his family. His grandparents, Bill and Dorothy Harmsen started Jolly Rancher candies and they were great art collectors. They converted a Greyhound bus into an RV, and with Wil aboard, traveled the Northwest and Southwest looking for Western American art—rugs, Kachinas, jewelry. Both grandparents have written books on what they’ve collected.
“As my grandparents opened up the world of art to me, my parents gave me the gift of the outdoors,” he said. “It’s great to be able to give that to my girls.”
His father, Bill Harmsen, was the San Miguel County Attorney and the 7th Judicial District Attorney.
He likes the helping part of his job. “I love knowing I’m getting them into a home. And it was really hard and they worked hard to own their own home and build wealth.” In the same vein, Harmsen is the president of the board of Habitat for Humanity, a non-profit helping people own their own homes.
His dreams include those three little girls. “I’ll probably retire someday and have a gallery with my wildlife photographs. “But I want to take the girls all over the world and have them take pictures.”