Today you will get some great information on what works and what doesn’t work with Debt Resolution plans. What are some strategies you can use first before declaring bankruptcy.

I will be covering some quick tips on keeping your credit scores high and positive actions you can take during the season period following a bankruptcy.

Let’s stay connected! Subscribe to get Real Estate Mortgage Shoppe podcast with show notes every week in your email inbox. Call me and let’s discuss what YOU want to accomplish with YOUR mortgage. (901) 482-0354

To Your Success,

Jo Garner, Mortgage Loan Officer NMLS#757308 (901) 482-0354



Good morning, Memphis! Welcome to our internet listeners and podcast listeners across the 50 states! You’re on Real Estate Mortgage Shoppe. I’m your host, Jo Garner, Mortgage Loan Officer. You can connect with me at Our general topic is AVOIDING PITFALLS WITH DEBT RESOLUTION WHEN QUALIFYING FOR A MORTGAGE Subscribe to get our weekly blogposts with podcasts at Call us while we are live at (901) 535-9732 Today is February 1st, 2020.


In the Real Estate Mortgage Shoppe studio for the first time, the expert in areas of Debt Resolution, Attorney Bruce Ralston. Bruce, I have heard so many good things about you as a professional and as a person. You are known for truly helping your clients resolve debt issues before using bankruptcy as only a last resort. Tell our listeners a little bit about yourself and what you do for your clients (Bruce introduces himself and talks about the services he offers his clients)


(Jo) As a mortgage loan officer, it is such a joy and a privilege to be on the journey to homeownership with people buying their home. As we are talking about Debt Resolution, I am remembering some very determined families who faced seemingly impossible odds when it came to building back good credit.

One particular young family, the Flannerys, lost their jobs, their cars and their home during the economic downturn around 2010. They had two young children and yearned to own their own home again so their children could play outside safely and not be cooped up in an apartment.

The loss of the car and health issues delayed this couple getting the better-paying jobs they needed so the cycle of hardship pressed down on them. Mr. Flannery said, “Time after time I would finally get up on my feet and something else would crash in on me and take me down again. It was like a terrible movie where you just want to click off the television, but you can’t because the movie is about you and you are the actor on the stage and the film is still rolling.”

The Flannerys considered signing up for a program to help them resolve some debt issues, but there was a cost to the program. They tried something else but it didn’t work either. No quick fixes. They went to a special meeting about managing finances at church one evening and that is where I got to meet the Flannerys.

Through a strong faith in God and just tenaciously working on their budget and applying any extra to paying off some debt and paying down some credit cards, the Flannerys emerged debt-free a few years later. I got to be on their homebuying journey as their lender. It was a spectacular celebration that day at the loan closing.

What do YOU want to accomplish with YOUR mortgage? Make your plan. Let’s work your plan. If the deal works for you today, let’s DO IT TODAY. Contact me at or call me at (901) 482-0354. I would like to hear your story and explore some mortgage programs that might help you.

Bruce Ralston, you are a very experienced Debt Attorney. I am positive you have met many people like the Flannerys in your business as an Attorney and Counselor At Law. How is what YOU do for YOUR clients different from so many of the Debt Relief companies in the market?

(Bruce Ralston launches his topic –just because you have turned all your debt over to a Debt Settlement company does not shield you from creditors suing you or coming after you and your credit in other ways. Stay local with reputable, trusted attorneys to advise you. Bruce shares other advice too)

You’re on Real Estate Mortgage Shoppe. I’m your host, Jo Garner, Mortgage Loan Officer. What do YOU want to accomplish with your mortgage? Make your plan. Let’s work your plan if the deal works for you today, let’s do it today. When we come back Attorney Bruce Ralston will be sharing more tips on the best way to deal with student loans. He will show you what to watch out for with Debt Relief companies –the pros and cons of using them.



2nd segment after 9:15 advertising break –It’s time to talk shop with Talk Shoppe’s Business Tip For Real Estate Professionals. Talk Shoppe is a marketing company offering free education and networking to anyone interested in real estate or in business. Talk Shoppe is made possible by the financial support of its sponsors and advertisers. For more about Talk Shoppe, go to (shoppe) For our Talk Shoppe Business Tip today we have Talk Shoppe sponsor, Mark Loden, owner of MKL Personal Budgeting Service. Mark, I have heard people say that you and your personal budgeting service has set them on the road to getting out of debt and living more fully. Take a moment and share a tip for our hard-working real estate pros out there… (Mark shares a budget tip on clues to help you decide when to purchase a new car)


  1. What is a description of the most common challenges you help solve for your budget clients? People who are coming out of extenuating circumstances and need to get control of their debt and finances
  2. How is the best way to contact you? (901) 624-0052




  1. What are the pros and cons of working with a Debt Relief company?
  2. What signs do you look for when identifying a debt relief scam?
  3. Student Loan Struggles
  4. Credit Reporting -What you need to know…
  5. Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
  6. Lawsuit Defense
  7. Garnishment
  8. Mortgage Issues
  9. Property Tax Issues
  10. Bankruptcy as a last resort—Chapter 7 and Chapter 13


  1. Here are some tips on how to get the house you want for a payment and down payment that comfortably fits your budget.
  2. Be ready for the race to win if you are considering buying a house in this market. The small number of homes available for sale compared with the high number of people wanting to buy homes now while the financing is still a bargain, is causing buyers to compete with multiple offers from others trying to buy the same house. Know in as much detail as possible what you want in a house—how many bedrooms, baths, access to the city or not, other amenities. Communicate this clearly with your realtor.
  1. Have a very strong preapproval letter from your lender. Some sellers are looking more for the surest offer than the highest offer. Have your income and asset documents and other loan documents ready to hand over to your lender.
  1. Get to the truth about what you can comfortably afford on a house note and what you can comfortably afford on a down payment for a house, continuing to keep a healthy emergency fund in the bank. You want to enjoy making your house payment each month.

If you are that person who just cannot force yourself to go through all of the last 12 months bank statements and credit card statements to put together a working household budget, then turn up the volume on some good tunes, set a timer for as long as you need to review the last 3 to 6 months bank statements and credit card statements. Write down how much you are spending each month and where your money is going. Don’t forget bills you have to cover once or twice a year.

Calculate your true income after taxes and deductions. Your income-to-debt ratios ideally should be where your total house note and all other debt should not exceed over 40% to 45% of your gross income. Some loan program software will preapprove you will debt ratios as high as 50% to 55%, but who want to be handcuffed to a house note with debt ratios that high?

If your debt ratios are too high, let’s talk about what you want to accomplish with your mortgage financing. It may be possible to rearrange some debt to make your cash flow each month more manageable. Don’t pay off any debt until you have talked with your loan officer. Depending on your situation, it may be more advantageous to you to keep more money in the bank than to use it to pay down debt.

  1. What type tweaks to your credit report can help you qualify for more attractive terms on your mortgage.

I am not a licensed credit repair person and I direct my clients to the credit bureaus for any final corrections or fixes. There are no guarantees that you will get the exact results you want 100% of the time. What I am sharing with you is based on close observation and study of the cause and effect on numerous mortgage client credit reports).

  1. Make your payments on time and do not let them get over 30 days late.
  2. If a creditor is contacting you about a collection account, pay it as soon as possible or set up a payment plan with the lowest possible payment per month with an agreement with the collection company not to report negative information about you to the bureaus.
  3. Never use more than 30% of your credit card limits. For example, if your credit limit is $10,000, you would never want your balance to go over $3,000. Your utilization habits on revolving account activity makes up over 30% of your credit score.
  4. Stay away from 12-months-same-as-cash accounts. Most of the time these type accounts are scored as maxed out revolving accounts. I have seen these accounts drop someone’s score more than 100 points.
  1. How long do you have to wait following a bankruptcy or foreclosure before you can qualify again for a home mortgage?
  2. Bankruptcy Chapter 7:

2 to 4 years from the discharge date of the bankruptcy depending on the mortgage loan program and depending on the type of documentation you have to prove extenuating circumstances that caused the bankruptcy like loss of income, death of a breadwinner, serious illness causing loss of income. Other factors are considered like reestablished good credit. These are a few examples

  1. Bankruptcy Chapter 13 There are many factors that are considered for time for seasoning after a Chapter 13 Wage Earner bankruptcy is filed. For instance, if you have filed a Chapter 13 Wage Earner bankruptcy where you are making payments on 100% of your debt and have paid as agreed for a full year or more, you can apply for an FHA mortgage.

You will need to be prepared to prove with satisfactory documentation an acceptable reason for extenuating circumstances that caused the bankruptcy. Reestablished good credit is important. Borrowers under Wage Earner Bankruptcy need permission from the court to enter into a mortgage also.

There are several other conditions that need to be met when applying for a mortgage after declaring bankruptcy within the last few years. The point I am making is that there are ways to get a mortgage and own your own home again in less than 7 years in many cases.

  1. Foreclosure Depending on the particular loan program you are applying to get, you may need to wait 3 years to 7 years following the completing on the foreclosure. That is not the day you turned in the keys to the house. That is the day the mortgage company transferred or sold the property.

There is not enough time on this show to go into the details of what happens if you have a deficiency judgement against you if the bank had to take a loss when they resold or transferred your property to someone else.

  1. Short sale on a home The wait time following a short sale is not normally as long as the waiting period for a full foreclosure depending on the details and circumstances
  1. Deed-in-lieu of foreclosure The waiting period following a situation where the borrower volunteers to give the property back to the lender without the full foreclosure can be a shorter time also depending on the details and circumstances.

Disclaimer: Mortgage loan regulations change frequently.

To get more information about the loan guidelines as they apply to you, call me and let’s talk about the specifics of your credit event.

Also, here is a link to some of the Fannie Mae regulations. You can do a google search to find other Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or FHA regulations
  1. Other tips for qualifying for a mortgage
  2. Don’t go buy anything on credit once you have a prequalification from your mortgage officer. Right before you close on your new mortgage, the underwriters and compliance teams complete a soft-pull on your credit to make sure thing has changed.

That means no co-signing for anyone else either.

  1. Don’t change jobs in the middle of the loan process. And please don’t change how you are paid.
  2. Albert Abbott was freshly out of the military with a job as a new hire. The salary wasn’t great but, at least he could qualify for the mortgage to buy the house that he wanted.

As we our mortgage team was processing Albert’s mortgage papers, we noticed that, in the middle of the loan process, Albert had switched from a salaried employee where the employer withholds Federal Income taxes and other deductions, over to a 1099 subcontractor position.

As a 1099 worker, the employer no longer withheld Federal Taxes and other deductions. Now, that Albert was self-employed, he would have to pay his own taxes because now he was self-employed.

When I asked Albert about the switch from being an employee to being self-employed he said, “Because I can make a lot more money.” His eyes bulged outward when I informed him that the government mortgage program he wanted would not allow us to count any of his self-employment income until he had been on the job or at least 2 years to set up a track record.

Albert decided that “less is more” and arranged with his employer to return him to his employee status, even if he was making less money. At least he would be able to qualify for his mortgage.

Some of my mortgage clients who have been self-employed for 2 years or more still have problems getting qualified for their mortgage loan because they don’t show a lot of income on the front page of their tax return.

Who do YOU know who is self-employed with good credit but keeps getting turned down by banks when they apply for a mortgage?

Let’s talk! I know some details in the fine print of the mortgage regulations that sometimes will allow me to add back certain expenses to income which can sometimes help that self-employed borrower get approved for the mortgage they need.

How To Contact The Credit Bureaus

Equifax Information Services

PO BOX 740241

Atlanta, GA 30374-0241

(800) 685-1111


701 Experian Parkway

PO BOX 2002

Allen, TX 75013

(888) 397-3742

Transunion Consumer Relations

2 Baldwin Place

PO BOX 1000

Chester, PA 19022

(800) 888-4213

REAL ESTATE TIP OF THE WEEK (1 to 1.5 minutes to share a real estate related money-saving or time-saving tip-Mark Loden, owner of MKL Personal Monthly Budgeting Service offers a tip to our real estate pros on how to free up funds and get rid of stress when it comes to personal budgets):

Attorney Bruce Ralston shares a tip for listeners who need help with Debt Resolution but cannot afford the legal fees.

Local Free Legal Clinics:

2SLAC – Second Saturday Legal Advice Clinic. (Monthly)
Main Library; 3030 Poplar Ave; first floor meeting rooms; 10:00 a.m. – noon
Second Saturday of every month, so date always between 8 – 14
30 – 40 lawyers of all stripes, plus 10 or more paralegals, so the odds of finding a good match for your problem are high.
Usually 100+ clients, some with multiple issues.
Open to the public. Organized by Memphis Area Legal Services

Attorney of the Day (Weekly)
Every Thursday 1:30 – 3:30 pm (except holidays and a couple of weeks around Christmas)
Old courthouse at 140 Adams Ave.; Room 134 (first floor; southeast corner)
From 2 – 5 lawyers; usually 20 – 30 clients, so it moves fast, and most advice is general. Advice will be good, but the odds of finding a lawyer to help with unique problems are small.
Open to the public. Organized by Memphis Area Legal Services

Veterans Legal Clinic (Monthly)
Second Tuesday of every month; noon – 2:00 p.m.
1407 Union Ave., 11th floor
Veterans only. Must pre-register via the VA.
3 – 6 attorneys; 5 – 25 clients.
Organized by Memphis Area Legal Services and the VA.

Midtown Legal Clinic (semi-annual?)
Idlewild Presbyterian Church; 1750 Union Ave.
Very similar to 2SLAC
Other churches sometimes have similar events.
Organized by Memphis Area Legal Services and Idlewild Church.

Pro Se Divorce Clinic (Daily)
9:00 a.m. – noon; Monday – Friday.
Old courthouse at 140 Adams Ave.; Room 134 (same as AOTD, above)
Produced entirely by Community Legal Center.


Talk Shoppe offers free networking & education to anyone interested in real estate or in business. Talk Shoppe meets every Wednesday 9A-10A CT at Concorde Career College 5100 Poplar Ave 1st floor Memphis, TN This Wednesday February 5th, 2020 Dr. Richard Ranta, Founder and Dean Emertius of the College of Communication and Fine Arts at University of Memphis. Past Chairman of The Memphis and Shelby County Film and Television Commission. Dr. Ranta presents “The Latest on Filming In Memphis, TN” For more about Talk Shoppe

Talk Shoppe events are free thanks to advertisers like Mark McLaurine, owner and HVAC strategist at Refrigeration Unlimited. When your heating and air system needs an expert contact Mark McLaurine at

Thank you also to Leah Anne Morse of All Things New. Leah Anne specializes in helping people downsize or move into different lifestyles and spaces. Leah Anne can make the move easier and more enjoyable. Contact Leah Anne at (901) 488-9733

2. The Tigers are playing basketball today. GO TIGERS!

4. Subscribe at and you can get our weekly blog posts with podcasts conveniently in your inbox.




Earl Wilson-“If you think nobody cares if you’re alive, try missing a couple of car payments.”

American Proverb “In God we trust; all others pay cash”



  1. Mary Lou Nowak, owner of Mid-South HomeHelpers (non-medical assistance in the home for your aging or handicapped loved ones) Mary Lou knows what to do to help you and your loved ones remain safely and comfortably in their own home. (901) 414-9696
  2. Pat Goldstein, realtor with Crye-Leike, Inc in West TN and North Mississippi. “The Gold Standard in Real Estate” (901) 606-2000
  3. Kelly Inman, Next Day Access in Memphis, TN Next Day Access can supply you or your loved one with wheel chair access, grab bars, chair lifts etc within 24-48 hours (901) 617-4675

Transitional Music: “Money” by Barrett Strong, “I Might Be Cheap, But I’m Not Broke” by Rik Roberts; “We Are Debt-Free”  Flash Mafia Music; “Taking Care of Business” By Bachman Turner Overdrive—just the music and no lyrics for the Talk Shoppe Business Tip For Real Estate Pros.



Welcome to the MKL Personal Budget Planning Experience!

My name is Mark Loden, counselor and founder of MKL Personal Budget Planning System. I do not sell investments or insurance of any kind. I am a budget specialist and I teach people the Essential Tools for managing their personal finances through a monthly bill paying budget plan. My service is simple and straight forward; not a ball and chain, but an organized plan that includes all your monthly budget needs and will help you to:

  • Pay bills on time and stop collection agency phone calls
  • Pay down debt such as credit cards, personal loans, etc.
  • Set aside money for future needs such as clothes, car maintenance, vacations, savings and much more
  • Learn how to manage your money so well that at any given time of the month, you will be able to know where you stand with regard to groceries, gasoline, savings, etc, in order to monitor your priorities and see them become reality.

It is a “Fiscal Fitness Plan” for your personal finances!

901.624.0052 Office



Bruce Ralston

Attorney & Counselor at Law

2670 Union Ext’d. #1200

Memphis, TN 38112

901-543-5045 (This number follows me everywhere)

901-432-5212 fax

901-235-DEBT – Text messaging ONLY



WHAT DO YOU WANT TO ACCOMPLISH WITH YOUR MORTGAGE? (901) 482 0354 twitter @jogarner NMLS# 757308 (currently working with Sierra Pacific Mortgage, Inc)

“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