Imagine, Assess and Take Action on the Best Mortgage Terms

Written by Posted On Monday, 13 September 2021 00:00

“The first step in getting what you want from life is deciding what you want.” Ben Stein 

Your mortgage is usually the biggest debt you have. It is usually the one debt you keep the longest too.   Getting the right terms on your mortgage will impact your financial struggles and successes through life.  


Describe what you want in your home.  What are the amenities in the house that are a necessity? Describe the surrounding area where you want to live. Do you want to be in the city, the suburbs, or out in the country?   

How long do you plan to keep the home and the mortgage? What other activities will be a part of your lifestyle?  Will your home be located near those events and activities? What other financial events do you expect over the next five years?


How much can you comfortably afford to pay each month on your house payment? The usual advice you can find on financial posts and podcasts suggests keeping your total house payment under 33% of your gross income.  The total house payment includes taxes and insurance, mortgage insurance, and association fees.  These same financial gurus suggest keeping total debt under 43% of your gross income, including the new house payment.  Think about other activities where you spend money.  Your comfort level may be different than the standard recommendations. 

How much can you comfortably pay down to buy that house that is calling your name?   Remember to keep a healthy amount of emergency funds ready in the bank.  If you are short on funds to close, check out for down payment assistance programs in your area.  If you have a house to sell and will have a windfall profit coming to you within a few weeks of buying the new home, you may want to look at a temporary bridge loan to help until you sell the other house and pay off the bridge funding. 

Consult with a trusted financial advisor.   Other great resources to help you gather the information you need are reputable realtors, a knowledgeable and trustworthy lender, home inspector, real estate attorney and insurance professional. 


If you need down payment assistance, the geographic location of your home will be key on which programs are available. If you plan to keep this home longer than five years, a general rule of thumb is to stay with a stable, fixed-rate mortgage program.  The lower the interest on this loan, the better. If you are paying extra money to buy down the mortgage rate, make sure the difference you are enjoying in the lower payment will more than pay you back for the extra buy-down funds you paid for the lower rate. 

If you are not planning to keep the home for more than five years, the general rule of thumb is to minimize your costs to buy the house. The down payment you can get back if values continue to rise over time, but the closing costs to third parties is a cost to do the transaction and eats into your profit when you sell shortly down the road. 

Compare mortgage terms with other lenders.  If you are shopping mortgage terms with different mortgage lenders over a two-week period, you can risk getting a few credit pulls from mortgage companies. Those mortgage inquiries score as one inquiry to give you a chance to shop for the best terms without being penalized on your credit score.  

Remember, the lowest rate is rarely ever the best deal.   Look at the details on the estimate of closing costs. Some lenders quote an extremely low rate but have higher fees than a different lender quoting a little higher rate.  

Get your copy of Jo Garner’s new book “Choosing the Best Mortgage-The Quickest Way to the Life You Want.”  An essential mortgage guide with stories of people finding the right loan and overcoming common barriers.  

Buy on Amazon and Barnes and Noble or 

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Jo Garner

“Whatever YOUR personal priorities are, my job is to help you get the mortgage terms that will give you bragging rights when you talk about it and help you score on hitting your goals.”

As a mortgage loan officer, my job is to help you get to the benefits you want from your financing terms. What is most important to you? I can help you find the financing terms that will help you get to what you want.  What is your comfort level on a house payment? How much are you comfortable paying down,? What type of financing do you need to get the house you want to buy or refinance?

Different clients have different priorities in life—some are buying their first home with very little down payment funds. Some are recovering from medical challenges, divorces or preparing to send children to college and some are embarking on a long term goal of buying properties to build rental income.”

Jo Garner is a mortgage officer with extensive knowledge in tailoring mortgages to her customers who are refinancing or purchasing homes all over the country. She offers conventional, FHA, VA or other loan programs for refinancing and purchases.

Jo can help you look at rent vs buy, when it makes sense to refinance, how to get the best deal on your home purchase financing.  

Jo Garner has been in the real estate/financing business for over 25 years.  She got her start in Portland, Maine where she first began her real estate career. She received her real estate education from the University of Southern Maine and was personally mentored in San Diego, California by Robert G. Allen, author of Nothing Down, Creating Wealth and The Challenge

On moving back to West Tennessee in 1987, she went into business buying and selling discounted owner-financed notes secured on real estate.  In 1990 Jo went to work for a residential mortgage company and has been a mortgage loan officer for over 25 years.  Her goal is to offer excellent, affordable service to her customers, tailoring the loan programs to the specific needs of her clients.  

In addition to her work in the mortgage field, Jo Garner is the primary sponsor and founder of Talk Shoppe in Memphis. Jo Garner also host the radio show Real Estate Mortgage Shoppe airing on News Radio AM 600 WREC and iHeart Radio with podcasts and show notes published on

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