Thursday, February 3, 2011

Happy 50th Birthday Mick & Rick

On January 30, 1961, in Lawrenceburg, TN, my mother-in-law received two bouncing bundles of joy.  My husband Mick was born 4 minutes ahead of his identical twin Rick.  Ruth, (mother-in-law) was surprised and shocked after Mick was born and the doctor proudly proclaimed, "there is another one"!  Their heartbeats were together so there was no indication she would have multiple births.

Mick and Rick were added to already robust family of five.  Parents Walter and Ruth Springer, already had been graced with three little girls, Vickie, Lynn and Debbie.  Before the family was completed, Randy, Christy and Keith came along rounding out with 4 boys and 4 girls.  A household of ten.

I started to date Mick in 1979, I was 17 years old.  While somewhere along the way I had heard they had a really large family it had escaped me.  I knew about Rick and Randy and somewhere in the back of my mind felt sure there was a sister but was blown away when Mick took me to meet his family and they were ALL there in the family room.  WOW!!!

They were all  very nice and while Mick ran through introductions I remember thinking, "How will I ever learn everyone's name?".  I wrote them all down in chronological order that evening when we left, and I practiced!  By the next weekend I new everyone's name and the fun started.

I have always believed birthday's are special and everyone should celebrate, regardless of age.  When you celebrate with twins it is double the fun!  I have been to lots of parties but Mick and Rick always seem to have the best.  (Maybe because I plan them???) LOL

Fast forward to January 30, 2011...Mick and Rick celebrated their 50th birthday with a crowd of family and friends.  The food was excellent and we had DJ Fuzzy in charge of the music.  It was certainly an opportunity to dance the night away and we did. 

Thanks to everyone who helped to celebrate a very momentous occasion.  It was a fabulous evening and our bodies were certainly sore the next morning.  Dancing is great excercise and it is so much fun!

I have always felt blessed to have Mick as my sweet husband, he is one in a million.  In 1979, I would never have been able to imagine us celebrating a 50th birthday.  Looking back, it has been an amazing journey and I am so thankful to have been on the ride!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Selecting a residential loan officer and banker may be the most important financial decision you will ever make.    Most mortgages are made for large sums of money.  This is something you think about only a few times in your life but I think about it every single day.

When most people think about "shopping"  to find the best rate, they will get on the phone and over the course of a few days call several different mortgage companies and ask "What is your rate and how much is your closing costs?"

May sound like a smart question to the consumer but to the  industry professional is one of the most "gullible" questions that can be asked.  You have immediately let the person on the other end of the phone know you are trying to play in the Major League and your athletic ability is keeping you in Dixie Youth.  

The first question a consumer should ask is, "What moves rates?"  If the loan officer cannot answer that question then you are talking to someone who is only trained to take your information and put you into the same mold as every other consumer.  At this point I would ask myself.. .

How can my loan officer guide me on the best time to lock my rate due to market conditions? 

How can I trust they really know what they are doing? 

Do I just take what they quoted me over the phone? 

How do I know they quoted me the best rate, is it because the other guy said his rate was higher? 

Is that really all there is to it? 

WOW, could these few questions have stopped the whole industry breakdown...That was easy! 

REALLY???  Could you possibly believe you received the best on any account? 

Interest rates move all throughout the day, sometimes we will have a reprice up to 3-4 times daily,  in volatile markets.  The only way a consumer can know for sure they are getting the best rate is to get a quote at the exact same time from multiple lenders and then the voice on the other end of the phone can tell you anything they think you want to hear because the rate is not locked until the rate is locked.   Ever heard of bait and switch?  If you are going to shop you better be ready to do a lot of leg work.

Closing costs, fees and discount points is another area of confusion to the consumer. 

To fully understand closing costs,most would need to sit down with three  good faith estimates and compare them line for line with a knowledgable loan officer or real estate attorney to explain which fees will not change on any of the three, and point out the rest  of the fees are three different opinions and the bottom line is the bottom line no matter who does the financing.

The fees in the 800's section will not change, every other fee listed is an estimate, someone's opinion.  Some lenders will estimate low to make sure the bottom line number reflects a greater savings.  Personally I over estimate everything because if you are happy with worse case scenario you will be thrilled the day we sit at the closing table. 

I will be with you at the closing table to make sure everything is as it should be and if you have a surprise it will be a positive one.  I have never had a client leave the closing table mad or upset with me or my estimates.  Most are very pleasantly surprised to pay less than they were prepared to spend. 

Over the last 10 years I have had a few clients who left to go to another lender because they "thought" they were getting less closing costs.  Some have even called me back after closing and apologized as their closing costs wound up being the same or more than what I had originally prepared.  These have been some of my best referral sources over the years and have come to  me for subsequent refinances and purchases.

There is much to do in today's market to do a pre-approval on someone.  Money spent to pull a credit report and hours of paperwork and phone conversations.  Many in our industry are 100% commission so please ask these questions up front and find trust in someone before the work is done.

On one of your largest financial transactions ever, are you looking for bargain basement and all that implies or integrity, knowledge and service? 

If you need a residential mortgage in Alabama, Valerie Springer is waiting for your call.

205-995-7283 x 305


Yours to Count On,

Valerie Springer