Mortgage and Portfolio Loan Guide

Year of Creation

Adam Lesner | Brighton, Michigan | Mortgage Loan Officer NMLS 198818

2014 was a year like no other for me.

From business to family, my year has been extremely unique. I don’t know if there has ever been more rewarding time in my life.


We welcomed our 2nd daughter, Juliynn into the world on January 10th. Juli came as quite a surprise because my wife Jenna and I tried for years to have our first daughter, Adriynn. Low and behold we found ourselves with a second blessing to call our own. Naturally, Juli is the girl with mostly hand-me-downs from her sister, so that part was easy.

What came as a bit of a surprise to me was how leaving the house for a quick trip involved a 2 hour preparation. Diapers, food, bottles, back-up clothing (for blow-outs), a couple toys, etc. Getting ready to leave for an event IS an event. Wow, I had no idea! There is always that unexpected fit, mess, or unpredictable nap that can throw off the entire day.

People always say “Your life changes when you have kids.” I used to roll my eyes and think “Yeah? Really? I’m pretty sure I get that your life changes when you have kids.” But until you have kids, you have absolutely no clue.

You also cannot fathom the joy they bring to each day. The little noises they make. The looks they give. The daily growth that takes place. They bring magic back into the holidays. Watching someone learn new things, and being a part of that development is incredible. I try to be the cool Dad. I try to bring balance to the table. Fun, but responsible. Goofy, but respectable. I wish I could press pause and enjoy these rugrats in this stage a little bit longer. Witnessing and contributing to their growth fulfills me with happiness which I’m unprepared to describe in words.


After working for 2 mega lenders in previous years, I made the decision to shift my gears to work for a smaller lender this year. Why? Well, for 5 years I ended a lot of my conversations with “oh you know what, we don’t do those types of loans, your best bet is to contact your local lender or credit union.”

A lender that is homegrown, and will take a look at the borrower’s entire situation. An opportunity to look at mortgage lending from a common sense perspective. Even if the borrower doesn’t fit inside the normal lending guidelines, we have options.

It’s refreshing to say the least.

The challenge? Well there isn’t as much company provided marketing and visibility compared to what I was accustomed to. In the past, the majority of my business was generated from the marketing dollars the company I worked for spent. And I was at their mercy for how those calls rolled in and how they were dispersed.

Doing my own marketing now has put me more in the driver’s seat. Not exactly the most “safe” route to take. But a chance to be creative, and come up with my own ideas. Strengthening myadam lesner michigan mortgage pro own professional credibility, and expanding my own online visibility as a reliable mortgage guy. This blog you’re reading right now, my YouTube channel, social media, and more. Since I started taking this approach I’ve done more business for friends and family than ever before (which I am extremely grateful for), and even featured in a couple articles (like the one on this site click here). It’s been a fun transition.

Now I get people from all over Michigan and nation-wide contacting me for guidance on their mortgage needs as a result of some of the stuff I (along with some awesome people who have been featured guests on my blogs and videos) have done this year.

I can’t tell you how cool it is to get a call from a stranger who says “Hi Adam, I found you online, not sure if you can help me or not, but here’s my situation…” It’s extremely rewarding! Especially when I’m able to get it done for them, and several lenders told them NO already. We don’t approve everything, but we say “yes” to some of the most unique lending scenarios I’ve seen.


With my wife growing in her craft as a photographer, and getting her own studio opened up in Howell, this year is sure to bring new successes and challenges. We’re giving it our all to set the example to our kids that you can and should do what you love.[su_frame align=”center”]Studio Sesh howell michigan photography[/su_frame]

5 Awesome Advantages of Owning Real Estate

Buying a house isn’t for everyone.

The truth is, it’s kind of a pain in the you-know-what to be a homeowner sometimes. If the power goes out, it’s on you bro, better get a generator. If a window breaks, sorry dude, figure it out.

Even though there are some big responsibilities that come with owning a home, there are some excellent advantages worth mentioning!

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Your payment goes toward something.

Yup, it’s called a mortgage. Every month you pay that sucker, the balance of that home loan goes down (just a bit at first). The only time that isn’t true is if you have an interest only mortgage (not a ton of those still out there), where your payment only goes toward interest for the first X number of years. But for the majority of people, their house payment goes toward building equity and paying that bad-boy down.

The alternative? Pay rent (aka pay someone else’s mortgage for them). This leaves you with a lease agreement that you have to stick with, in a house you really can’t change to your liking. The result? You despise writing that rent check every month because you know that even if you did stay there for 30 years, you would still have next month’s payment due on the 1st. Keep in mind, rent typically increases every year. So not only achievement-18134_640would you be paying someone’s mortgage for them, but when it’s all said and done you’ll be paying a higher payment on something that has no liability attached to it. I know, I know, most people don’t rent in the same house or apartment for 30 years. But whether it’s 30 years or 3 years, do you really want your hard-earned money going into someones pocket and have nothing to show for it after 3 years?

I hear the chirping already… “Adam, not all homeowners have equity after a few years of owning. Heck, some were underwater on their homes in 2009 and they made mortgage payments for 10 years before that.”

Yes, you’re right. I am aware of that. Don’t forget, many people put themselves in that place because they used their home like an ATM. Taking cash out of their home to buy a shiny car, or to keep up with the Joneses. I agree with you… if you continue to cash in your equity, you won’t have any equity to speak of. Yes there were other factors that played into the housing crisis like people getting approved for loans they can’t afford, appraisers trying to meet the needs of lenders, and straight-up fraud. But the mid-to-late 2000’s housing bubble was an exception to the rule. Historically, housing prices move steadily (but reasonably) upward.



Increased sense of pride.

Yes, too much pride can be a bad thing, but being a homeowner is confidence builder. The thought and preparation it takes to buy a home figure-25590_640requires a lot of guts and strategy.

Think about it… You are sitting in your apartment. Channel surfing. You “accidentally” leave it on HGTV while you reply to a few text messages. “Property Virgins” is on, and buying a house looks fun. You suddenly decide that you are capable of buying a home. You Google: How to buy a home. You find a blog that talks about home ownership, and now you’re feeling super geeked. You call a local Realtor, and she asks you if you’re pre-approved for a mortgage. “Pre-approved?. Umm not yet.” Your Realtor insists that you get pre-approved first, and get your ducks in a row.

You ask your friends and family who to call for a mortgage. The next thing you know you’re gathering up your financial identity and giving it to your mortgage guy. You find out there are a couple of things to work on, and it’s probably going to be about 6 months until it’s time to start looking for a home.

You spend the next six months getting your finances squared away, and following your loan officer’s guidance to a T.

  • Paying down your credit cards.
  • Making no large (unverifiable) deposits into your bank account.
  • Get a couple small collections deleted from your credit report.
  • Now you’re ready.

Your Realtor finds you a sick deal, and you make an offer. You negotiate a price that is a win/win for everyone as long as the seller is willing to do a few repairs that the inspector noted. You give your earnest money deposit. It’s game on. Appraisal is ordered. Thirty-ish days later you bring a crisp cashier’s check to closing for the rest of the funds needed. This was pretty much all of your savings, but you saved for this exact moment! To own your home! Now you have the keys, and you feel like you can sit at the big kids table at Thanksgiving this year.

It all started with a little channel surfing mixed with a dose of inspiration.



Get more for your money.

dollar-499481_640In Brighton, MI and most of Michigan (if not all) you get more bang for your buck by owning your home instead of renting. Let’s look at a quick example. Here is an actual “for rent” listing on Craigslist right now:

$750 / 2br – 775ft22 BR Condo (Brighton)

Great Location. Beautiful updated 2 BR Condo in Hidden Harbour Condominiums opposite Meijer store in downtown Brighton. Central A/C, appliances, washer dryer in the building. No pets please. Water, hot water, trash pick up, Snow removal included in the rent. Available Dec. 1, 2014. Walk to shopping and near x-ways.

Here is an example “for sale” listing on Craigslist right now:

$59900 / 2br – 950ft2TOWNHOUSE for Sale in Brighton

2 Bedroom, 1.5 bath END unit offers extra windows and light, along with added outdoor living space. New Pergo flooring in kitchen and dining areas, also includes newer stove and frig. Newer windows throughout. Large Master Bedroom (16 x 12), and 2nd bedroom (11.5 x 10) both have mirrored closet doors, ceiling fans and lots of light. Finished basement with new glass block windows has built-in storage areas, along with a large separate laundry room. Neutral colors throughout home. Back door leads to private covered patio area, surrounded by green space & trees. Outside area is large enough to entertain and garden.

Running rough numbers on the second one, it looks like $596 including principal/interest/taxes/insurance/mortgage insurance/homeowners association dues

So for 125 more square feet of living space, you pay $154 less per month.

I pulled that up with a few mouse clicks, there are never-ending examples of this.



Ability to make a house a home.

Take the above for rent listing for example. “No pets please.” It didn’t say no dogs over 30 lbs. It didn’t say no pit bulls. It didn’t say no snakes. Itpuppy-345334_640 said NO PETS.

Why are there so many restrictions on renting? Well, consider this for a moment. If you owned a home, and rented it out, would you want to give the tenant (renter) the ability to do whatever they wish with the property? No? Why? Because you never know how bad they will trash the home. Resulting in you (the owner) having to renovate the property once the tenant moves out. Who knows how much that will cost? Who knows how bad their 1-year-old boxer tear up the carpet? Well ultimately the owner will have to deal with it. So it’s in the owners best interest to be selective on what will be considered when renting out their property.

When you own your home… you decide. You decide on upgrades, pets, colors, etc. You get to make it yours.

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Tax deduction.

The tax deduction that you get from paying mortgage interest is in many cases the largest tax deduction for many homeowners. Unlike credit card and car loan interest that you pay, the mortgage interest that you pay is tax-deductible. Even wealthy borrowers who could pay off their calculator-158109_640mortgage 3 times over with their assets keep their mortgage because of the tax deduction that it brings.

This is a huge benefit for people who look to consolidate some credit card debt because not only does their overall monthly budget improve, but the interest that they pay results in a larger tax deduction. As I mentioned in the first advantage at the beginning, it’s not wise to use your home like an ATM, and take cash out multiple times just to buy stuff. But if you look at it from a common sense standpoint, many times consolidating debt into your mortgage makes good financial sense. If you find yourself refinancing every couple of years in order to consolidate your credit card debt, there is an issue. Might want to chop those cards up so that you don’t find yourself in the same position over and over.

This might be a helpful resource to answer some questions surrounding your possible tax deduction.

What do you think?

Across the United States it is more cost-effective to own than rent in suburban areas. Do you agree? Leave a comment below and tell share your thoughts.

Adam Lesner | Brighton, MI | Mortgage Loan Officer – NMLS 198818

6 Reasons Homeowners are Happier People

Happiness thru Homeownership

6 Reasons Owning a Home Will Make You a Happier Person

The economy is getting better. Mortgage rates are still low. Home prices are still fantastic in many areas. But those are just market conditions. Let’s put those aside for now. Instead let’s take a look at why acquiring your piece of the American dream will make you a better person. Below are the reasons you’ll be happier as a result of being a homeowner.

1. Impressing the opposite sex. Chicks dig a guy that can buy his own home. Being a high quality partner in the eyes of our mate is something we all strive for. We are happier when we feel a genuine connection with the person we want to impress. What better way to prove you’re a keeper by showing you have the ambition to be a homeowner? It’s proven that 87.3% of women would be more likely to go on a 2nd date with a guy that owns a home versus a renter (yes, I just made that up, but I’m sure it’s close). Not only that, but your relationship can become more dynamic when you’re not sharing a paper thin wall with “Old Man Smokie” in the apartment unit next door.

2. You will have better credit. Having good credit gives you flexibility, and a feeling of accomplishment. Having bad credit can lead to frustration, and a feeling of being inadequate. When you own a home or are preparing to buy a home you tend to take better care of your credit. What’s the worst that can happen when you’re late on a rent payment? Maybe a late fee coupled with a cold shoulder from your land lord. Big deal? Not really. What’s the worst that can happen if you’re late on your mortgage payment? Credit score drops, and you get denied for financing on that car you promised your daughter for her graduation gift. Pretty serious. So as a result, you’re more inclined to be on top of your finances, and keep things in order as a homeowner. The responsibility of carrying that mortgage naturally motivates you to grow, and become more of a well rounded individual.

3. You can have whatever kind of dog you want. Man’s best friend. When you come home after a long day of work, there they are. Wagging with delightful appreciation. Telling you “Welcome home my friend. I missed you so much. You are an awesome person!” Happiness on four legs. If you’re renting you will be limited to your housing options depending on what kind of dog you have. Don’t believe me? Pull up craigslist, and search “pet friendly” in the rent section. You’ll find a handful of listings. Usually homes that allow dogs up to 20 lbs. Yeah, good luck with that. However, if you buy your own home, you can get the English Mastiff from The Sandlot if you so desire. Restrictions may apply in condominiums, and neighborhoods with strict homeowners association policy.

4.Gets you closer to retirement. If you play your cards right you can feel much more comfortable when it’s time to retire. The vast majority of people don’t stay in a home for 30 years and pay off their original mortgage. But if you are disciplined enough, you can time it out so that you don’t have a housing payment in your golden years. Here is a realistic example: Buy a house at 28. Sell home and upgrade to nicer home at 33, with room for the family to grow. At 38 refinance the home to finish the basement, and do needed upgrades. While raising kids you’ll probably want to keep the payment low and stay on track with a new 25 year mortgage since you’re already 5 years into the mortgage. After the kids graduate college you’ll be an empty-nester at 55. No more college expense allows for higher mortgage payment. With only 8 years left on the mortgage, you put an extra few hundred dollars per month toward the mortgage, and pay it off in 5 years. At age 60 you’re ready to retire with no mortgage payment.                         

5. Better problem solver. Owning a home inspires you to think and fend for yourself. There isn’t some maintenance phone number you can call to have someone come out to fix a leaky faucet. You have to figure it out. Again, this forces you to put on your thinking cap and do things you wouldn’t normally do. When you are put into that position you’ll be surprised on how creative you can actually be. Yes, there may be a considerable amount of swearing involved. Yes, there may be several wasted trips to Lowes. But when you complete a task that you’ve never done before, you become more comfortable taking on bigger challenges.

6. Stronger sense of self worth. Have you ever gone to a friend or family member’s house within the first few months of them buying it? Their whole demeanor is shifted from before they bought their home. There is something special that happens when it actually hits you. When the “I can’t believe it’s really mine” feeling enters your mind, it’s a moment of fulfillment. You think back on all that you have done to get to that point of getting the keys to your front door. The time you spent perfecting your resume to get the job you needed. The months or years it took to save for down payment. The attention to detail it took to pay all your bills on time to have good credit to qualify. It’s a real confidence builder when all the pieces of the puzzle come together.

Are there new challenges and frustration that are involved when owning a home? Of course. But that’s the beauty of it. You learn so much, your patience is tested, and you grow as a result of it all.

Looking at the BIG Picture

being too serious (found this in my sock drawer, dated 12-28-09, funny how some thoughts are timeless)

Being successful, being a good husband/dad/son/brother/friend is important to me. Obviously those things are important. We need to remember to slow down, take a step back, and appreciate life. Appreciate each moment for what it is. Appreciate our surroundings. Appreciate the people in our lives for who they are, and what we an learn from them. Be conscious of our thoughts.

I feel like life is a puzzle. All the pieces of the puzzle are already there so there is no reason to worry about not being able to find the right piece. It’s just a matter of opening your eyes. Being able to maintain composure and confidence that you’ll find the right piece is what “it’s” all about. Sometimes it seems like a piece fits with a little push, just to later find the piece that naturally falls into place. But it’s okay. When it’s all said and done, your puzzle will be a masterpiece. Don’t worry. Appreciate. Have confidence.

P.S. If you have no one to share it with, it means nothing.

The Introduction

This is the introduction of our daughters Adri and Juli. Till now, Adriynn was an only child (for 17 months 😉 ). We were nervous, but the ending says it all.

Oh what a year…

…okay, what a year and a half I guess you’d say. After being what I felt was chained to a desk for 4 years we decided to pick up and head back down south a bit. Quite the disappointment for the grandparents of our brand new baby girl. Not only did we expect their support, but asked for their help to load the moving truck. We sought independence and flexibility. An opportunity to grow and set time aside for us. House hunting in Kentucky in 95 degree weather with a 9 day old baby wasn’t exactly ideal, but hey, we like road trips. After barely getting settled into our new home in the country we were faced with tragedy 3 months in a row involving family up in Michigan. A death in the family is never easy to bear. Especially when they are young or unexpected, and of course when they’re young and unexpected. We certainly did our best to be there for our loved ones, and give what support we could. As the shock settled in we were able to regroup and become closer. Eventually Jenna and I were able to have a couple nice, quiet holidays with our little bundle of joy. Over time we enjoyed different places to eat, met new friends, and even got a little crafty when building some things around the house. It was pretty much what I was hoping it would be like, but something was missing.

Somewhere in there we had friends and family who were kind enough to visit. It was always nice to see familiar faces. They were all fairly surprised to see how we were literally living in the middle of nowhere in the rolling hills of Kentucky. It was pretty cool seeing Amish riding horse and carriage on a regular basis. I loved it. So much wildlife, friendly people, and nobody was really ever in a hurry. Almost a different world really. It would take an hour inside the grocery store just to get a couple things because people would stop us and talk about how cute Adriynn is and then tell us their life story; oh and then tell us all their kid’s lives stories. “Don’t these people have somewhere to be?” was something we’d laugh about regularly. Over time we learned to appreciate it and slow down.

Work was going well. My leader that I worked directly under was one of the best leaders I have ever worked for. A real passion for what he did. It was contagious. While I was there I developed relationships with colleagues that I will always carry with me and appreciate. I was happy with how things were going, but still something was missing.

One afternoon Jenna called and asked to meet for lunch. I figured it was just a chance to meet and see Adri for a quick break. Turned out it was to give me the news that we had another baby on the way! I was surprised to say the least. We tried for years to have our first child. But this was a turning point for me. Our family was growing. When knowing you’re going to have that second child something changes. I came to realize what was missing. Having that face to face interaction with the people that I have spent years building relationships with on a regular basis. The idea of not being able to share the joy that I feel when watching our children grow was taking me over. When thinking about having another child in the mix it was just an easy decision to make. I wanted our kids to know their family. I wanted them to grow up with their cousins and our friend’s children.

It comes down to having that genuine connection with people. There’s just something special about it. Not just with family, but people from all different areas of life. Whether it’s family, sports, business, music, movies, art, whatever. When you talk with someone and find that one thing that you both happen to care about; it clicks. You let your guard down and you can be you. Of course I can be me wherever I am, but now I’d prefer to build upon, and establish new relationships in an area that I can share the joy of my children with their family.