Mortgage and Portfolio Loan Guide

Networking in Livingston County Michigan

I learn something special from everyone I meet.

The young bucks trying to make an impression. The thirty-somethings building their legacy. The seasoned pros with the wisdom you can only gain through a lifetime of persistence and hard work. They all have something special I take away from each interaction.

I attend at least one event or gathering on a weekly basis in Livingston County and southeast Michigan with the goal of connecting with someone. Not necessarily the typical “making connections” with big-wig idea. More along the lines of seeking a genuine conversation with a fellow Michigan professional, and having that “Yup, this is a cool person that I would like to do business with” type of connection.

One event in Livingston County was particularly intriguing. The Livingston County Association of Realtors (LCAR) hosted their annual Education Expo, or “Education Sensation” at Cleary University in Howell, MI. We had the opportunity to be a sponsor for this event, and have a booth like all the other vendors (lenders, inspectors, title insurance, attorneys). What was unique about this event is how there was an incentive for everyone attending the event to visit each vendor booth. When visiting each booth the individual has a “scavenger hunt” checklist they aim to complete. The checklist consisted of pre-written questions to ask each vendor (the questions of course are chosen by each respective vendor). Whoever gets the most correct answers on their scavenger hunt checklist wins a prize!

interesting concept livingston county networking

  • Sponsor an event related to your industry
  • Set up a booth with goodies
  • Come up with a question that you want every one of your prospects to ask you.
  • Ultimately highlighting what specifically separates you from your competition!

Not only do they have to ask you the question, but they have an incentive to write down the answer! Naturally this forces them to not only listen, but it then leads into a memorable conversation. Of course time constraints can limit the effectiveness of the interaction, but you get the point. You are naturally positioned to talk about your business in a way that is unique, and more likely to connect with everyone involved in the discussion (as long as you’re clever with the wording of the question).

michigan first mortgage mug2I didn’t have any idea how powerful that was going to be.

Of course, I was too wrapped up in the preparation of the event, sneaking my business card into each giveaway coffee mug. Little did I know that our heavy-duty coffee mugs weren’t going to have the lasting impact that we were shooting for. It was the quality of the conversations that provided the greatest value. Who woulda thought?

There are so many resources in Livingston County to take advantage of, and help gain exposure for your business. LCAR is great if you’re in the real estate industry. Definitely connect with the Greater Brighton Area Chamber of Commerce as well. They have an event (almost daily) where you have an opportunity to network with local business owners and professionals. Their tireless support  team seems to be truly interested in helping you succeed and grow. Of course the big picture goal in all of this is to create genuine relationships within the community, and change the world! The Greater Brighton Area Chamber of Commerce will surely play a part in that if you’re building your business in Livingston County.

Zero Down Mortgage – USDA Home Loans

RD loan

Zero Down Mortgage

Did you know that even if you’re not a veteran you can buy a home with a zero down mortgage in many areas? And it’s not too good to be true. There are, however, some restrictions regarding location and income.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development guaranteed loan usdalogoprogram is a government loan designed to help low-moderate income earners purchase a home in “rural” areas. However, you may be surprised to see what the government considers to be rural and low-moderate income.


The income restrictions will vary across the country and even across each state. Here is an example for my local market in Livingston County, Michigan. For a guaranteed RD loan the annual household income must be at $93,450 or below. Even if the spouse is not a borrower on the loan, their income will be used as a factor in the household income. USDA looks at the whole picture, not just the applicant. You can use this tool to help you get an idea if your family qualifies for an RD loan in regards to income. Remember when using that tool, you’re looking for qualifying on the guaranteed loan, which will maximize your buying power from in income standpoint.


Many folks are shocked when they take a look to see that their neighborhood is in an area that is considered to be a “rural area” which allows them to get a zero down mortgage. Just outside the metro Detroit area and not far from many major cities Rural Development financing is available. Although the mapping tool on the USDA website is not 100% accurate, you can use this tool to give you an idea of what areas are eligible. You may be pleasantly surprised to find that you don’t have be living “out in the sticks” to be eligible for Rural Development financing.

What is also exciting about RD loans is that you can buy a condo with this program as long as it’s within the eligible geographic limits. Crazy right? Some people call RD loans “farm loans” and you can buy a condo with them. How awesome is that?!

What to Expect

  • Make sure you have your ducks in a row in respect to credit. You don’t need to have perfect credit, but it needs to be reasonable.
  • The process may take a little bit longer than other loans because it needs to get final approval by USDA after the lender approves it. However, right now in my particular market in Michigan, the RD turn time is 2-3 days. So not a significant delay currently.
  • Mortgage insurance is significantly less than FHA on a monthly basis, about 1/3 of what it costs on FHA.

There are so many expenses to consider when buying a home. So if you have an opportunity to buy with a zero down mortgage, and you qualify, why not take advantage of that opportunity?

Watch Video:

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.

Greater Brighton & Livingston Real Estate Pros

Where Realtors, lenders, title pros, inspectors, investors, and professionals alike come together to share market trends, and exchange referrals. Share relevant industry articles. Respect the privacy of your clients. Feel free to promote open houses in the greater Brighton, Michigan (Livingston county and Oakland county) area. If your buyers have unique needs connect them with the right expert. Spam and redundant promotion will be removed. Be engaged, and create more business for the community!

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Do I Really Need a Realtor? LOL

Is a Realtor Necessary in this Market?

It’s 2014 for goodness’ sake! With so many mobile apps and websites, you literally have the world in the palm of your hand. Is it really necessary to use a Realtor when buying or selling a home? The answer is Yes! I’ve had the pleasure of working with Livingston County, MI expert, Wendy Hoover. Wendy was able to give me some feedback as to why having a Realtor in your corner is more important than ever.

Why do you need a Realtor?

The home buying process should be fun and exciting and is also one of the biggest financial investments you will make. It is important to have someone on your side to help you navigate through all of the ins and outs of finding your perfect home. It’s all about you…your needs, your dreams, your goals, your questions and your concerns. It’s important to chose a Realtor that you are comfortable with and who has your best interests in mind.

A good real estate agent will save you time, money and headaches. We guide you through the home buying process from start to finish. The first step is to talk to your lender to determine what type of financing would be best for your individual situation, and get pre-approved. In this market, good homes go fast so it is critical to have a pre-approval letter to submit with any offers you make. Most sellers won’t even look at your offer without knowing that you are a qualified purchaser.

The next step is to analyze your needs, search listings, and view properties. Your Realtor will have access to listings as soon as they come on the market, and will be able to guide you towards listings that will work for you and your financing so that you aren’t wasting time.

When you do find a home and are considering making an offer, your Realtor can research homes that have recently sold in the same area and are comparable to the home that you want to put an offer on. This will help you make an educated decision based on current market value. We will also counsel you on market conditions and trends so that you have the best chance of getting your offer accepted.

Your Realtor will negotiate the terms of the contract, coordinate inspections, resolve issues and work with the title company and lender on your behalf to ensure a smooth closing.

It really is a team effort, and there are many pieces to the puzzle. Whether you are a first time buyer or you are well seasoned in the real estate market, it always pays to have a good team on your side. To start searching for homes today, please feel free to visit my website or call me at 810-534-2026.

Insurance, and why you’re wasting money on it…

One of the joys of being a homeowner is having the appropriate insurance coverage to help you take care of significant damage to your home. Kyle Zimpleman, from New Hudson, MI, is the featured local expert who has provided some simple tips to make sure you’re not throwing away your hard earned cash on coverage you don’t need.

The 8 reasons you are most likely paying too much for homeowners insurance:

1. Land value isn’t excluded. It’s unlikely the land beneath your home will be stolen or burned in a fire. Insure the value of the home only.

2. You have a low deductible. Consider a deductible of at least $1000. If you can afford to raise it to $2500, you may save as much as 25-30%.

3. Your policy is outdated and you’re paying for coverage you don’t need. All too often, people pay for coverage they don’t need and even for items they no longer own.

4. You have a low credit score or errors in your credit report. Check your credit scores and make sure they are correct. If your credit has improved then see if you can be re-rated.

5. Your home isn’t safe. It may be lacking deadbolts, a smoke detector, fire extinguishers or a burglar alarm. Make those improvements and you should see a positive change in your premium.

6. You haven’t consolidated your coverages. You could save anywhere from 10-30%! Consider bundling your insurance needs with one provider.

7. You made small claims. Frequent claims can drive up rates. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Insurance is meant to protect from catastrophic loss. The guy sitting in the wal-mart parking lot offering to fix your tiny dent in your windshield for free will ask for your your insurance information. Might be best to skip on that one.

8. You have unnecessary extra coverage. Don’t buy coverage you don’t need. Earthquake coverage is unnecessary in most areas. Don’t schedule jewelry if it’s inexpensive, etc.

Kyle is the owner of the Zimpleman Agency which specializes in homeowners insurance in Michigan. At the Zimpleman Agency the main focus is proper insurance coverage for your situation in life. Therefore, it’s not about providing a quote but protecting you from the risks of everyday life. Their goal is to create a trusted relationship that you can count on as your insurance needs change over time.

Zimpleman Agency
56849 Grand River | New Hudson MI 48165
P: 248-716-6125