Winning the Heart of Your Special Woman!

February 13, 2015

I heart my houseOK, gentlemen. The pressure is on!  What to buy your special woman this Valentine’s Day? Flowers die in a week. Chocolates are eaten up in a day or two. Jewelry can only be worn occasionally. This year, why not buy her the HOUSE you both have wanted for years! Great interest rates and new $0 down or low down-payment programs are available for almost any home buyer. Contact me and let me help you know your home financing options. I’m local, licensed, certified and have 17 years of lending experience – Ready to go to work for you or those you know.


The “BUT Loan”?

July 21, 2011

By Brian Short, CMC®, CRMS®, GMA®

How many times have you gone out to look at a possible house to buy and discover that you like everything about the house BUT – the windows, the flooring, the size of the closets, the way the bonus room is finished out (or not finished out) or the number of bathrooms? How many times have you thought, “There is no reason to move? We could just stay here in this house for 5-10 more years. Everything about this house still fits our needs BUT – the age of the kitchen and bathrooms, the size or number of bedrooms, the roof and siding need replacing, or the basement still leaks.”

What many homeowners and homebuyers don’t realize is that there is a loan available which will allow for the cost of repairs or renovation to be “rolled in” to a new loan used to buy or refinance an existing home. This loan is referred to by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) as the 203k loan but I like to call it the “BUT Loan” – for those who like everything about that house – BUT…!

Just think about your current home. Would you like to update the kitchen with granite countertops, new appliances and the latest cabinets? What could you do to your master bathroom to make it more useful or roomy when you both are getting ready for the day or to make room for your Jacuzzi tub which would help you unwind at the end of a busy day? Do the kids need an extra bathroom now that they are getting older? Do you love your neighborhood and everything about your location but desire to build a new master bedroom or family room to give your growing family the space they need?

Have you been shopping to buy a new house closer to work or the schools you like but can’t find a house which has what you need? Are you hoping to move out and far away from the rush of the sprawling city but are only finding old farm houses and houses which are very dated?

The FHA 203k – or the “BUT Loan” will allow you to borrow the money you need to make the house you are considering your DREAM HOUSE since you will be allowed to have the extra money upfront to contract with skilled workmen who will come in and kick out all of the “BUTS” which are keeping you from loving your house. The appraiser will assign the value of your new loan based on the final improved condition of your house after the repairs and renovation is complete. Matter of fact, if you are buying a new home you can even roll in the mortgage payments – up to 6 months – if you are unable to live in you new house while the rehabilitation is being completed.

The down payment on the purchase of a house using the 203k would still only be 3.5% of the improved value and if you are using the this loan to update or improve your current house this entire project could likely be completed at no out-of-pocket cost to you as a home owner except for an appraisal which would cost less than $500 and could likely be refunded at the closing. All other costs could likely be rolled into the new historically low rate loan.

Do you know of family members who are hoping to buy a foreclosed house at a great low price but keep finding houses which are beat up, stripped of the appliances or in dire need of repair or updating? The FHA 203k will make their dreams come true when they find out that they can pick out their own cabinets, counter tops, appliances, flooring, siding, paint and wallpaper and not have to drag out these projects over the next 1-3 years. They can have all of these updates and repairs completed even before they move in and roll all of these costs into their low rate 30 or 15 year mortgage.

This loan takes only a couple of weeks longer to close than a normal purchase or refinance loan to make sure all of the repairs have been carefully calculated and the work has been outlined in detail. Nearly any house would qualify for this “BUT Loan” and many borrowers – even those with some credit blemishes in their past – will qualify for this loan when they might have difficulty getting a conventional loan – with no money allowed to pay for the repairs.

If this sounds like something you might want to know more about check out the website: for more details and some “before and after” photos of houses which have benefitted from the “BUT Loan”. Happy dreaming!

Brian Short (NMLS # 168856) is a nationally certified, state licensed mortgage professional with over 13 years of experience as a “Dream Maker and Problem Solver” in middle Tennessee who works for AmeriFirst Home Mortgage (NMLS # 110139). He can be contacted through his website:

Choosing Your Mortgage Professional

June 20, 2009
By Brian Short, CMC, CRMS, GMA
“Shopping for a Mortgage Professional is much like shopping for a medical doctor or an attorney. Choosing your medical or legal care based on “who is the cheapest” may not really be the best strategy. You want you choose a professional who is trained, certified, experienced and has a good reputation.” 
Often times, this is my response to those asking for me to give them a detailed list of all their closing costs if they select me and my company to provide the financing for their upcoming home purchase or refinance of their current home.
I have heard of real estate industry partners telling their customers that choosing a mortgage professional is as simple as getting a “Good Faith Estimate” and comparing the costs contained on those documents.  This sets up the borrower to work with the “best liar”, too early in the 30-60 day process of finding a home, rather than getting the most professional financing help to get the deal closed correctly.
How can this be?  Aren’t all “Good Faith Estimates” accurate?  Aren’t all mortgage professionals the same?  Aren’t all mortgage companies the same? 
The truth is: the numbers on the “Good Faith Estimate” given too early in the process are RARELY CORRECT!  You see, the numbers on that document are affected by one or more of the following 13 variables below:

-> Sales pricegood-faith-estimate

-> Appraised value

-> Loan amount

-> Borrower’s employment status and history

-> Credit scores and payment history

-> Amount and source of down-payment

-> Date of closing

-> Immigration or citizenship status of the borrower

-> The housing type and location (Single family dwelling, Duplex, Condo, Townhouse, PUD, suburban, rural, urban, etc.)

-> The county where the home is located

-> Mortgage Interest Rate

-> The Term (length) of the Loan

-> The Title Company being used to close the loan

I have worked for several mortgage companies during my mortgage career and even owned my own company for 5 years. I know that some “loan guys” will “low-ball” the initial estimate, only to pull out the “surprise” at the closing table when your options for making any changes are very limited.  Of the 21 separate line-item fees on the “Good Faith Estimate” I give to my borrowers when they sign their loan application forms and disclosures, only one of those fees is the same for every loan and is not dependent on any of the variables listed above.

Mortgage interest rates change daily (sometime, even more often!). I could simply print off a “Good Faith Estimate” with made up numbers as some customers request (as other “loan guys” may do) but it will not be accurate because of all of these variables I have mentioned.  That process of collecting “Good Faith Estimates” prior to having all of the above variables identified will very time-consuming and wasted effort by the borrower and “loan guys” passing out worthless forms with inaccurate numbers.

My goal is to take the worry and uncertainty out of the process of originating, processing, underwriting and closing the loan.  I help guide my borrowers through their negotiations with their seller by providing honest numbers as they become available rather than simply making up numbers to get “my hook set”.

I have been in the business for over 11 years and nearly 100% of my business comes from referral and repeat business. A businessman can not build that kind of business by being a con-man, cheating others or participating in the bait-and-switch tactics that have riddled this industry for years.

This helps my my borrowers understand how I have built my business and how I provide a level of confidence and professionalism which will make my borrower’s Real Estate purchase a very smooth and cost effective transaction over the next.

So, you ask, how should I select the Mortgage Professional to close my loan for me?  I’m glad you asked.  Allow me to give you a few guidelines for starters:

1. Choose a Mortgage Professional who is EXPERIENCED.  Was he selling shoes or washing cars last week and then some buddy of his talked him into “trying out the mortgage business”?  Does he really know what he’s doing?  Has he been originating mortgage for 5-10 years?  Does he do this full-time or this just a hobby or part-time gig? 

NAMBCertified2. Choose a Mortgage Professional who is CERTIFIED.  Has proven to anyone that he knows the laws, the process, the programs and theory and mechanics behind the mortgage industry.  Has he taken courses and exams to measure his competency?  Is his certification a national designation? Is his certification from a professional association who can objectively measure and monitor his expertise or from some mail-order outfit looking to make few bucks?

3. Choose a Mortgage Professional with a GOOD REPUTATION.  Is your selection a true professional who is respected and well-known in his industry.  Who knows him and what kind of work he does?  Who has ever closed a loan with him?  Who can speak for his level of trustworthiness, honesty and attention to detail?  What do you know of his character and personality?

4. Choose a Mortgage Professional who is a PROFESSIONAL.  Does your choice know the market, the industry, the community, the history, the trends and your desires?  Is he a member of his professional association?  Has he been awarded and recognized by his peers and fellow business associates for his contribution to the industry and community?

During the month that your loan is supposed to close it is the most important transaction in your Mortgage Professional’s office.  “Getting it cheap” doesn’t mean much when your “loan guy” drops the ball and makes a mess of the whole deal simply because  he has “never seen anything like this before.”  That stack of bogus “Good Faith Estimates” collected 30-60 days prior to your closing will mean very little when you find out that returning phone calls, diligently following up on underwriting conditions, and working long hours to insure that all of the bases are covered on your deal are not his priority or part of his work ethic.

Paper is cheap, and ink toner to print fictitious loan estimates is even cheaper.  Experience, Certification, a Good Reputation and Professionalism are priceless life-long attributes and qualities you want in your Mortgage Professional.  Leave the spreading of such worthless papers to those lying, low-balling, bait-n-switching, short-termers who do not deserve to work with someone like you who, understandably, expect it to get done right the first time.

Raising the Bar for All Mortgage Professionals

November 18, 2008
By Brian Short, CMC, CRMS, GMA 
 Brian Short meeting with TDFI Commissioner Greg Gonzales

Brian Short meeting with TDFI Commissioner Greg Gonzales in Nashville. I have participated in meetings with Tennessee Department of Financial Institutions Commissioner Greg Gonzales off and on for nearly 6 years. My leadership positions within the the Tennessee Association of Mortgage Brokers ( have afforded me the responsibility and opportunity to receive an open door on many occasions in Nashville and Washington, DC with regulators and legislators who have influence over our industry. Each time I have been with the Tennessee Commissioner my consistent call has been for the need to increase the level of professionalism among those in our industry by requiring licensing, entry-level testing, background checks and continuing education. It has been my firm resolve that this kind of legislation and increased regulation would be good for all Tennesseans. I have been in favor of this kind of professionalism for all of my industry peers long before Rep Barney Frank and Sen Chris Dodd in Washington, DC ever got on this most recent - "shut down the predatory lenders" band wagon. Those of us in the mortgage industry have known that there were scoundrels among us. We knew that many who were originating mortgages really knew very little about the industry and even less about the harm that "short-sighted" loan programs could bring to a borrower's family, neighborhood or community. We knew that "interest-only", "no-doc" and "negative amortization" loans may have helped a desperate/greedy builder or Realtor sell a house, but in reality, those loans, very seldom were the best solution for any borrower who was stretching his or her monthly cash flow simply to buy more house than they could afford. In many cases, those who were leading the band wagon of "creative", "innovative" or "exotic" loan programs were simply pushing our industry toward risky loans which were not a sound or long-term lending solution for a unprepared borrower's housing dilemma. It has been my rallying cry for the past 6 years that the girl who cuts my hair for $12 every six-weeks undergoes more testing, licensing and continuing education than those in the mortgage profession in our state who are responsible for arranging the financing for the largest single lifetime purchase resulting in the greatest amount of debt for over nearly one-half of the remaining years yet to be lived by any first-time home buyer. Every other professional involved in the Real Estate transaction is licensed, tested and required to take continuing education - Appraiser, Home Inspector, Realtor, Insurance Agent, Home Improvement Contractor, and Title Attorney - every one, that is, except the mortgage professional. We are professionals whose work and expertise will have the longest-lasting effect on the home buyer - for better or worse! And yet, until 2009, no licensing, testing, background checks, fingerprints or education was ever required by the state of Tennessee!Last week I met, again, with Commissioner Gonzales and about 20 other mortgage professionals as we listened to him and others explain how laws that we had helped them pass earlier this year were going to result in new background checks, fingerprinting, entry-level education and testing being required for all mortgage professionals in the state of Tennessee beginning in 2009! These new laws will, undoubtedly, weed out some of those who have been "hiding" in our industry and have damaged the reputation of a very noble and difficult profession. I contend that the process of thinning out our ranks because of these "barriers to entry" into the mortgage profession will be good for those of who remain and especially good for Tennesseans who will know with confidence that the originator working with them will now have had to complete a background check, taken over 20 hours or initial classes and passed a test covering a set of basic information about the process of originating and closing a mortgage loan. All Tennesseans will be assured that their mortgage professionals will be keeping up on the changes in the state and federal laws and be reminded or what are ethical and unethical business practices because they will continue to take eight hours of additional classes EACH YEAR to keep their license current. This is great news for all Tennesseans!Brian Short meeting with a member of the US Senate Banking Committee, Tennessee Senator Bob Corker in Washington, DC earlier this year.

The new laws will also require that any mortgage professional working in any state across the country will be required to register in a National Mortgage Licensing System (NMLS) database to prevent a law breaking loan originator from simply moving across state lines to keep from being found-out and shut down as he or she cheats others, gets caught and then hopes to slip away to set-up these illegal practices in another part of the country without being found out.

Most of these new laws were being proposed and debated around the country long before our recent financial crisis and I’m not certain that any of these laws would have prevented the financial melt-down we have experienced over the past 2 years.  The “exotic” mortgage loans which have proved to be disastrously risky for many who have now experienced foreclosure were not the “brain child” of mortgage originators.  These programs came from the imiginations those sitting in the back offices of New York investment houses who were looking for creative ways to sell more mortgages to borrowers who were not qualified to buy home under the original guidelines. 

namb_certified_brochureDid government agencies and politicians pressure these investment houses and banks to offer these loans to give the appearance that certain socio-economic groups within our society were making headway or that lenders were not “discriminating” against minority groups or protected classes across the country?  I guess the “investigation” to be launched by many of those same politicians might actually discover some truth but it is highly unlikely that the real fault will be publicized for the sake of preserving the political future of those doing the “investigation” in the coming months.

The good news, however, in Tennessee, is that all mortgage professionals will now be held to a higher standard in the coming months and years. Each of these standards, this author has proudly far surpassed by aquiring and maintaining the nation’s highest level of certification in the mortgage industry for the past seven years.  Many Tennesseans have already experienced the benefits of working with a highly qualified and ethical mortgage professional who has taken (and taught) the classes, passed the tests and remains on the cutting edge of what is happening in the mortgage industry.  It has been my pleasure to work for those borrowers who desire and deserve that caliber of mortgage professional.

The author, Brian Short, is the nation’s only thrice certified mortgage professional. (Certified Mortgage Consultant, Certified Residential Mortgage Specialist, General Mortgage Associate)

Is your mortgage professional CERTIFIED?