Ask Val

March 31, 2011

Thunderstorm Warning Safety

Filed under: ASK VAL,Dear Val — Valerie Springer @ 6:17 pm
Tags: , , ,


Thunderstorm Safety

Spring is the time to start thinking about weather safety.  Spring can bring severe thunderstorms and tornados. Knowing what to do in the event of a weather emergency can be crucial.

* Listen to local news or NOAA Weather Radio for emergency updates.  Watch for signs of a storm, like darkening skies, lightning flashes or increasing wind.

*Postpone outdoor activities if thunderstorms are likely to occur. Many people struck by lightning are not in the area where rain is occurring.

*If a severe thunderstorm warning is issued, take shelter in a substantial building or in a vehicle with the windows closed.  Get out of mobile homes that can blow over in high winds.

*If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be in danger from lightning.  If thunder roars, go indoors! The National Weather Service recommends staying inside for at least 30 minutes after the last thunder clap.

*Avoid electrical equipment and telephones.  Use battery-powered TVs and radios instead.

*Shutter windows and close outside doors securely.  Keep away from windows.

*Do not take a bath, shower or use plumbing.

*If you are driving, try to safely exit the roadway and park.  Stay in the vehicle and turn on the emergency flashers until the heavy rain ends.  Avoid touching metal or other surfaces that conduct electricity in and outside the vehicle.

*If you are outside and cannot reach a safe building, avoid high ground; water; tall, isolated trees; and metal objects such as fences or bleachers.  Picnic shelters, dugouts and sheds are NOT safe.


Know the Difference

Severe Thunderstorm Watch– Severe thunderstorms are possible in and near the watch area.  Stay informed and be ready to act if a severe thunderstorm warning is issued.

Severe Thunderstorm Warning– Severe weather has been reported by spotters or indicated by radar. Warnings indicate imminent danger to life and property.

Thunderstorm fact:

A thunderstorm is considered severe if it produces hail at

least 1 inch in diameter or has wind gusts of at least 58 miles per hour.  Every thunderstorm produces lightning, which kills more people each year than tornadoes or hurricanes.  Heavy rain from thunderstorms can cause flash flooding and high winds can damage homes and blow down trees and utility poles, causing widespread power outages.

Visit our website to learn more,

If you are in need of residential financing the Birmingham AL area Valerie Springer is your gal.

Valerie Springer

205-995-7283 x 305


March 29, 2011

Purchase and Refinance Approved w/ Credit to 600

Effective March 28, 2011  Network Funding Mortgage Bank now offers FHA Refinance  and Purchase with credit scores down to 600 in many instances.

Not all 600 scores will qualify, it depends on the circumstances surrounding the score.  For further information please contact Valerie Springer .

Yours to Count On,

Valerie Springer

205-995-7283 x 305


March 14, 2011

Tropical Smoothie Cafe’ Meets Catering Needs in Greater Birmingham Alabama Area

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Springer @ 4:00 pm
Tags: , , ,

My friends Gordon and Julie Saunders have recently opened a Tropical Smoothie Cafe on Hwy 150 across from the Galleria in Hoover, AL.

I must confess, I missed the “smoothie” boat a few years ago and until Gordon and Julie had their Grand Opening, I had never enjoyed this great treat.

   I ordered my paradise and took a seat to take in all that was available.  Finally, taking turns, Julie and Gordon were able to come over and chat with me for a few moments and educate me on what all was offered.  I learned this was not only a  place to visit on bright and sunny days but also on days when you may not be feeling your best!  Who doesn’t enjoy that tropical feeling, even when it dreary?


If you will look closely you will see Julie and Gordon peeping through in the back!

I was also amazed that they had the ability to cater and make food trays for your outings, events and those moments when you just need to help someone out because of illness or death.  They provide a variety of options and their service is second to none.  What a great service to be able to call ahead, go by and get your order with a smile and no more worries.

I hope you will all go by Tropical Smoothie Cafe on Hwy 150 in Hoover, AL and please say hello to Gordon and Julie.  Tell them you read about this on my blog.  Who knows, maybe I will see you there!  Enjoy yourselves, life is too short.

Yours to Count On,


205-995-7283 x 305

February 3, 2011

Happy 50th Birthday Mick & Rick

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Springer @ 6:45 pm

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!

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


Yours to Count On,

Valerie Springer



January 27, 2011

100% Financing for Home Purchase

Filed under: ASK VAL,Dear Val,Realtor — Valerie Springer @ 8:41 pm

Individuals seeking to purchase a home in rural areas may do so by obtaining a loan through the Rural Housing Service program.  Under this program, there is no down payment required and the closing costs are less than most traditional loans. 

Borrowers must have a satisfactory credit history to be approved.  This loan is similar to other government programs, the RHS is a loan guarantee program. 

The location of property determines if the home qualifies and there are income restrictions and limitations.

If you are interested in purchasing a home using this program, please Valerie Springer for pre-approval and I will be happy to recommend you to a great realtor once the approval process is complete.

205-995-7283 x 305 

Yours to Count On,

Valerie Springer

January 25, 2011

Choosing A Realtor To Sell Your Home

Filed under: Appraisal,ASK VAL,Realtor — Valerie Springer @ 9:50 pm
Tags: ,

I would like to sale my home, how do I know which realtor to trust with the keys to my house and how do I find him/her?

In today’s market consumers have made it hard for a realtor to do a great job listing homes.  I know, I have listed my house this past year and even though I work in this industry it is hard to hear the equity I once had has been reduced.

Our home is personal and we all like to think we are above the rest in our financial decisions.  Certainly I would not have invested in anything that was going to depreciate???

In 2005, property values were thriving, in 2010 and 2011, not so much.  As a consumer we control who we hire to list our homes and the price we must have to execute a contract.  THEN, the games begin…

My research shows there are some great questions to ask in determining if now is the time to sell.

1.  On average, how many days will it take to sell my home? (Based on local information)

2.  How much are homes in my area, comparable to my house selling for today?

3.  How much would you suggest I list my home for at this time in order to get a contract?

Interview three agents and choose the one who gives you the lowest value, in most cases that is the one who is being honest!

 It is competitive and many agents feel if they don’t cater to the homeowner they will miss out on a paycheck AND if they don’t tell you they can get what you want you will find another who will give you lip service.

Remember, realtors work very hard for every dime they earn.  They spend money up front counting on the commission when the house sells.   Put your trust in your agent and understand they do this everyday, and have all of the data and statistics at their fingertips when you meet.  The information is the same regardless of which agent lists your home and the numbers are not going to change.

If you cannot live with the price the “EXPERT” suggests then you probably need to wait 6 months and try again.  Don’t waste their time or yours and don’t fill the market with overpriced homes.  Even if you were to get a contract, the house would still have to appraise for financing.

If you would like me to refer you to a great realtor please let me know, I work with some of the best in the business.  Good luck and remember to allow me to help you with your financing needs.  Please visit my website at or call me at 205-995-7283 x 305.

Yours to Count On,

Valerie Springer




January 19, 2011

Is the Debacle Over?

Housing starts for December were below expectations BUT Building Permits which is a great indication of future construction, were well above expectations.

Could this be the beginning of good news for our homebuilders?  Are interest rates really starting to rise?  What is going on in the market today and what am I not being told?  How much of an impact does China really have on the United States?  How does it all work?  What is QE2 and how will that affect me?

If you would like answers to the questions above, your expert is waiting to shed some light and help guide you as a well informed consumer.  You may call me at 205-995-7283 x 305 or send me an email at 

Yours to Count On,

Valerie Springer


December 29, 2010

New Year’s Day Traditional Meal

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Springer @ 6:05 pm

On New Year’s Day people everywhere set their tables for luck and prosperity!


At my house, we also join in on the festivities.  While most major holidays were spent with parents and grandparents, I decided years ago I would start a New Year’s Day Meal at my house for the happy three and anyone else who wanted to join us. 

We eat off our Christmas china given to me by my grandparents,  and use the beautiful crystal that sits in my china cabinet most of the year dormant.  I also break out the lace tablecloth and even though we usually eat during the day we light the candles.  This year due to the football games (Roll Tide) we will eat supper.

My menu has been consistant through the years.  The table is filled with the following:




GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE (for those who don’t eat TG’s)

HEN AND DRESSING (Cora’s recipe)








It is all in fun and another excuse for us Southern Belle’s to get in the kitchen and whip up a good meal.  Entertaining is what we all live for anyway.  This year we will host about 13 guests and are looking forward to once again having our home filled with laughter.

These and a few more!

Well…I must end this blog and make my grocery list, Happy New Year to All and I wish you a year filled with blessings and prosperity.  Love your family and cherish each and every moment!

Yours to Count On,

Valerie Springer  205-995-7283 x 305

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

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


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