Ask Val

May 11, 2011

Give Or Take

Filed under: ASK VAL,Dear Val,Family — Valerie Springer @ 8:54 pm

Throughout my childhood and into my adult years I have heard the saying  “Give or Take”…I believe most would see the scales as being even but I believe there is a far deeper meaning to this quip from the past.

After the events of the past weeks, my mind has been in over-drive and I have tried to take inventory of my journey up until now.  The people who have been in my life in the past… alive or dead, those who showed up un-announced…for good or bad, those who are part of my life through no choice of my own…blessing or nightmare and those who will forever remain a part of my existence…because of a deep love or bond that is never going to be explained. 

I believe there are really ONLY two types of people, but for my blog I am going to say three types and you will understand in a moment.  The two types are as follows:

*GIVERS’

*TAKERS’

The third would be:

*TAKERS’ WHO BELIEVE (or try to convince others) THEY ARE GIVERS’

Givers’ are gracious.  They lovingly spend their time trying to help others and are always there to lend support and have a kind word for their family, friends or strangers.   The dictionary meaning says to present voluntarily and without expecting compensation; to bestow; to give back; return or restore: bring back to life by the way they treat others.

Takers’ are only looking out for their best interest and how they are suited.  They have little regard for others outisde their immediate circle.  The dictionary says a taker is someone who will voluntarily take hold or possession by any means possible; to control by force or artifice; to take personal gain at the expense of others.  Existing only to see what they can gain from others.

Takers’ who believe (or try to convince others) they are Givers’ are the worst.  Deep inside they know their manipulations but believe they have convinced those around their motives are genuine.  They are not thankful nor appreciative unless it benefits them directly and then they  believe they are deserving of any gratuities they bring into their own fold; greedy.  These people have no regard for others unless they are about to be exposed.  These wreak havoc on everyone in their path but are quick to blame others for their misfortune and slow to take responsibility.

In business as well as personal life we meet all three.  Givers’ are fabulous and as a Mortgage Consultant in the Birmingham, AL  area I have been blessed with my share, thankfully.  Takers’, I have had those as well, if everything were easy we would never learn life’s lessons.  The last…I refer to another lender!  (wisdom)

Please call Valerie Springer for all home mortgages, I would be honored to help you.

Yours to Count On,

Valerie Springer

 

 

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May 2, 2011

DO YOU LOVE ME? TEND MY SHEEP John 21:15-19

Filed under: Alabama Tornadoes April 2011,ASK VAL,Family — Valerie Springer @ 2:19 am

This one I have thought about since Wednesday April 27, 2011.  “Sweet Home Alabama” was ravaged by tornadoes and I am forever changed. 

Thursday morning I woke to a heavy heart and wondered what could I do?  I called my friend Rhonda Brantley  and before we had spoken for 10 minutes there was a plan.  Not one she thought about or one I had thought of but two minds playing off each other knowing we must do something.  You see, Rhonda’s daughter Kate was in a dorm at University of Alabama.  We knew Kate was physically fine but she was hungry and those words to a “Momma” are heartbreaking.  If Kate was hungry so were others.

Rhonda called Merry Margaret and before you know it we had donations coming from Joe’s Italian, Chuys, and P F Chang’s.  A few phone calls and a post to facebook and we had individuals calling in with monetary donations from different states.  We posted a place where we would meet to gather and load our vehicles.  Strangers were showing up with chips, pop-tarts, water, honey buns, peanut butter crackers, fruit and gatorade.  Others bought hot dogs, Tazikis, Chic-fil-a and  about 300 Quizno sandwiches.  We purchased cookies, plates, wet wipes, forks, napkins, pudding, jello, apples and more water.

 

Together Rhonda, Merry Margaret and I loaded up in the Denali with all other space packed to the ceiling.  We were followed by Michelle Gill and Louis who were in a truck filled to capacity headed to T-Town to feed about 500!  (yes in a matter of about 3 hours, by the grace of God had great food to make a difference for some hungry college students)   We had heard over and over how we were never going to get into Tuscaloosa but we knew beyond a doubt if we had to walk it in this food would get to those in need.

The Lord has a way of walking before us and lighting our path and he didn’t let us down this time.  We got off at the Cottondale exit to buy  200 more hamburgers and roast beef sandwiches.  Unfortunately we could not get in the door and at that moment started to realize this was the first area folks from Tuscaloosa could get too that had food and power.  These two young men (college students) pulled into the spot beside us while we were re-grouping in parking lot.   Since we didn’t have a GPS signal, internet or cell signal we needed someone who knew their way around and could get us to the Rec center on campus.  The guys said they would take us but they needed to get something to eat…we had lots of food and when we said P F Chang’s they graciously said for us to follow them.  Jonathan from Charlotte, NC and Arturo from Miami, FL  offically our angels.  I have tried to find them on FB but so far unsuccessfully.  I HAVE FOUND THEM!  🙂

We had not traveled very far when we were introduced to destruction.  First, tears streamed down my cheeks and then I became very nauseated.  I thought I was going to need Merry Margaret to pull over so I could throw up.  This feeling never left. 

Our two angels brought us into the back side of the rec center and we were greeted by students eager to help us unload.  Thankful for food and water and  wishing to share with others.  We spent about an hour here and Kate encouraged us to move on to harder hit areas.

 

We re-loaded and headed for 15th street.  We were able to get to a command post and the police officers suggested we take food to the Rosedale and Alberta City areas.   We made our way back down 15th street and this was when I first felt like we were in a war zone.

 It was almost like an out-of-body experience.  I was there but it seemed as if I were really just watching this unfold without really being physically present.   We followed the Crime Lab  bus and even though we knew what it was didn’t say a word.

After loading the cars again with food and drink we headed to Alberta City.  The police officers would stop us but once they knew we had food let us enter areas that were off limits.  (again, a way made by the Lord)  They would tell us to be careful and we would proceed.

The sights we had seen up until this point were terrible but there are no words to describe Alberta City.   I saw things I have never experienced, looked people in the face who literally had nothing, saw families walking out with everything they had in their arms and danger looming all around us.  You could smell freshly cut wood, gas, a burnt scent and finally death.

I was emotionally drained and so thankful I was part of this journey.  I now have a new kind of bond with Rhonda, Merry Margaret, Kate, Michelle and Louis, we have walked through this terrible valley together.  We were not hurt, did not have damage to our belongings or home and all of our family and friends were safe and accounted for.  We did not see or pull bodies from the wreckage and still…best I could tell, none of us were able to function on Friday beyond existence.

 I knew I would blog about my experiences but just not sure when my mind could wrap around what my eyes witnessed.  Today in church it all came together when our teaching was on John 21:15-19 Jesus asked Simon Peter three times, “do you love me?” and three times Simon Peter said yes.  Jesus replied, “feed my lambs, tend my sheep and feed my sheep” after each question. 

As Christians we may have hurt someone or been hurt ourselves, but there is nothing we can do the Lord will not forgive.  Even if He has to reassure us “three” times.  We can still be His hands and feet and work for His glory.

Thank you Lord for keeping your hand of protection over my family and friends.  I pray for those affected by the storms and ask for them strength to endure.  I am so thankful I was allowed to be a messenger for you on Thursday.  Still listening for Your voice showing me the next step.  Believing for miracles.

DO YOU LOVE ME?  TEND MY SHEEP   John 21:15-19 

Yours to Count On,

Valerie Springer

205-995-7283 x 305

www.vshomeloans.com

February 2, 2011

Shopping for Mortgage Rate & Closing Costs ~ Properly

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

NO ONE CARES HOW MUCH YOU KNOW UNTIL THEY KNOW HOW MUCH YOU CARE

Yours to Count On,

Valerie Springer

 

 

December 3, 2010

Downpayment on Home ~ Gift Funds Allowed

Filed under: ASK VAL,Conventional Mortgage,Dear Val,Family,FHA Loan,Gift Funds — Valerie Springer @ 3:54 pm
Tags:

Question:  I don’t have enough money for a down-payment, but my Grandmother would like to gift me some money to help…can she do that?

Answer:  Yes she can but we must go through the proper transfer to make the transaction go smooth.

Gift Funds are an allowable source for downpayment money on the purchase of a home.  This money can come from a grandparent, parent, sibling, spouse, fiance’, future in-law or godparent.

The gifter along with purchaser would sign a gift letter stating the money is a gift and no repayment is expected.  Then, the gifter would also have to provide a bank statement, all pages, with proof they have the money to give.

Next step,  once the check has been deposited into the purchaser’s account we would need a copy of the cancelled earnest money check from the gifter and an updated printout of the purchaser’s bank account showing the money is there.   Remember, if a bank printout, bank must put the banking stamp and intials on each page to prove it is authentic.

Really a very easy process but make sure you speak with your loan officer before moving funds around from one account to another.  It will save much time and paperwork!

If you need an approval for home purchase or refinance, Valerie Springer is waiting for your call.

Yours to Count On,

Valerie Springer

 

September 23, 2010

Mother, No Other Name So Sweet

Filed under: ASK VAL,Dear Val,Family — Valerie Springer @ 9:16 pm
Tags:

On September 26, 1940, a very special little girl was born to Jack and Cora Lee Holcombe.

Linda Holcombe Barnett

Through the years she has carried many names.  A few that come to mind, Daughter, Sister, Wife, Niece, Aunt, Cousin, Sister-in-Law, Room/Team Mother, Friend, Mother-in-Law, Caretaker, Honey (to her grandchildren) but the sweetest name to me is Mother.

For most of my life I thought everyone had a Mother like mine.  Why would I think differently, it was all I had ever known?  My Mother worked during a time when it was not popular for women to have jobs.  It wasn’t easy juggling a career and family life but somehow she managed to do it, and do it well.

I remember when I started first grade, crying everyday because I missed her so much.  I remember how much fun we had on weekends going to the movies, skating, to a play, concerts, bowling, out to eat at a nice restaurant, swimming, horse-back riding and driving the car way before I was old enough for a driver’s license.

I remember going on a field trip to Oak Mountain and losing my money before we ever left.  I called Mother in tears and she left work and headed to the school with two safety pins, 2 five dollars bills and a big smile on her face.  She took me to the restroom and pinned $5 inside each side of my bra!  No scolding or words that made me feel bad, only encouraging me not to worry and have a great day.

I remember coming in too late at night when Mick and I had broken up…waking her at 2 am with tears streaming down my cheeks because I couldn’t find him.  She just hopped out of bed got dressed and together we went driving all over the place looking for him.  Daddy probably wasn’t very happy and thought I was a drama queen, but Mother was always by my side. 🙂

We had the most wonderful time planning my wedding.  You see, I wore my Mother’s wedding dress and she had let me try it on ever so often since I was a little girl.    This made the real event even more special.   And, one other thing, my sweet Grandmother was my matron of honor.  Did I also forget to tell you we were all married on November 7?

The next great event was the day I had my sweet little Ashlee.  Again, Mother was right there and when Mick arrived at the hospital they made Mother leave the room, but I knew she was just on the other side of those doors.  She stayed with me the night Ashlee was born.  After everyone had left, I called for them to bring my baby. (Very different then)  I had barely gotten to see her.  Sometime shortly after her arrival in my room, I fell asleep.  I woke the next morning and Mother was still sitting in that same chair holding that same sweet baby with the most beautiful smile on her face.

I could go on  and on, but my emotions will not allow that today.  I think you get the picture and understand why I know “Mother” is the sweetest name.

Happy Birthday and I am so proud my first blessing was you!  Originally written September 23, 2010, reposted May 8, 2011.  Happy Mother’s Day!

Valerie

 

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