Today Pat Goldstein, “The Gold Standard” in real estate will sharing some ways her customers have made some smart moves on their real estate transactions. I will be sharing from the mortgage desk how some of my mortgage clients have made smart moves and were spared some very expensive mistakes in their home buying experience. Avoid mistakes and make some smart moves on your own real estate transaction by learning from others’ experiences.

What do YOU want to accomplish with YOUR mortgage? Let’s talk about your plans. Call me at (901) 482-0354 or email at Subscribe to get weekly Real Estate Mortgage Shoppe podcasts with show notes at

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 BUYING OR SELLING YOUR HOME-MOVES TO MAKE & MISTAKES TO AVOID. Subscribe to get our weekly blogposts with podcasts at Call us while we are live at (901) 535-9732 Today is September 28th, 2019.


(Jo) Also, back again in the studio is Pat Goldstein, realtor with Crye-Leike in West Tennessee and North Mississippi. Pat is known in our community as the “Gold Standard” in real estate. She has reputation from her clients for being able to “find a needle in a haystack.” The designations and awards she has earned in her more-than-30-years experience would take too long to enumerate, but above all of that, Pat, you love what you do. (Pat introduces herself and talks about what she does for her clients)


(Jo) The mortgage business has been a big part of my life for over 25 years. Getting to work with mortgage clients who are trying to buy a home or refinance one they already own is like playing to win alongside them on the same team in sports. When I know what my customers’ goals are, their challenges in finding the home they want to buy, then there’s that little trophy-like thrill you share with them at the closing table.

For some of my clients, when they decided they wanted to buy a home, they made an offer on the first home they found and that was that—it was easy. For others they have faced one challenge after another, after another, but they kept pressing forward. They keep searching and making offers. Finally we all celebrated at their real estate closing.


Their story reminded me of the famous Thomas Edison’s story. After he had tried two thousand different filaments unsuccessfully trying to invent the light bulb, his assistant sighed telling him, “Nothing has worked. We have failed. We have learned nothing.”

Edison replied confidently, “Oh we have come a long way and we have learned a lot. We have discovered two thousand ways NOT to invent a light bulb.” Thomas Edison went on to invent the light bulb, and made many other breakthroughs and lots of money. What would have happened if Thomas Edison had given up on his efforts? I believe someone else would have invented the light bulb and gotten the fame AND the fortune from the invention. (on the live show, I said Thomas Edison invented the telephone. Everyone knows Alexander Bell invented the telephone. Asking your forgiveness for my “brain freeze” on air.)


Get with an experienced mortgage loan officer. Get prepared so you qualify with the exact right financing. Get an experienced realtor with a good reputation to help you. Keep searching until you find the house that you know will work for you. If you know other people are making offers to purchase the same home, then make the best offer you can to get it-but don’t go past what you can comfortably afford. A good realtor who knows the market and can advise you of ways to form your home purchase offer to get you the best chance of having the seller accept yours over someone else’s offer.

The former first lady of the United States, Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.” That’s some good advice! By putting experienced reputable real estate pros on your team, you can use their knowledge and experience to make some smart moves and avoid costly mistakes.


Pat, what is some advice you have to give to home BUYERS in today’s competitive real estate market? (Pat covers her top tips for home buyers in a competitive market)

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. Connect with me at When we come back Pat Goldstein of Crye-Leike Realtors will be sharing some of her top tips for Moves To Make and Mistakes to Avoid when you are buying or selling your home.


2nd segment after 9:15 break: Our Look Back Memphis Trivia Contest is brought to you by notable Memphis historian, Jimmy Ogle. For information about Jimmy Ogle, go to . The Look Back Memphis Trivia Contest is sponsored by John and Jennifer Lawhon of Lawhon Landscape (901) 754-7474 the Lawhon’s can help you plan your landscaping if you have a BIG, BIG project or a smaller project or you can do the big project in phases . The Lawhons are giving away a $25 gift card to the first person with the correct trivia answer. If you know the answer to our trivia question, call us at 901 535-9732

Garner # 161 * 09/28/19

Natch, the Bear!

Question: I may be responsible for the formation of the Memphis Zoo in 1906 since I was the first attraction along with a wild cat some exotic plants and some birds. Who am I?

Hint: I was once the mascot for the Memphis Turtles baseball team, but I wasn’t a turtle. But I got jumpy because of the noise and snapped at some children who got too close to me so I lost my position as mascot

Hint: I was once used as a payment for a shipment of shoes for a customer in down in Natchez, Mississippi. My name was derived from part of the name of this place

Final Hint: My original owner was Albert Blanton Carruthers. Who am I?

Answer: Natch, the Bear! My name is Albert Blanton Carruthers, a shoe businessman. Once I made the decision to forego a standard payment in the form of United States issued dollar bills, but instead accepted livestock (actually a wild animal). A customer of mine stationed deep in Mississippi – in Natchez – was not able to make a regular payment on their account and so instead they sent to me one young male black bear cub. I named him Natch, from whence he came.

I convinced the Memphis Turtles baseball team to take the bear as a mascot. Well, the fans absolutely loved it, but after a while, the bear grew jumpy because of the noise of the game and he snapped at the young children who got too close to him. I had no choice but to accept the bear returned to me by the captain of the team. I decided to tie the bear up in front of my home and allow him to live under the shade of a tree. But soon, the bear had dug up an entire flowerbed.

I was beginning to get a bit worried about the future of Natch when Robert Galloway, father of the Memphis park system, appeared. He and I entered into a collaboration of sorts: I would tie Natch up in the park for all to see, he would send a fellow over to feed the bear, who would become a city attraction As it turns out, Galloway had a few exotic animals and plants in his care and sought to house them for public consumption, too. And so he lobbied for and donated to the cause of a zoo in Overton Park. After donations were received, the Memphis Zoological Society was founded on April 4, 1906 with one black bear, a handful of plants, some birds, and a wildcat.

***A.B. Carruthers in Soul Of The City at Elmwood Cemetery on October 25-26. Reservations required, call 901-774-3212 or go to or for more information.



  1. What are some of your top tips that you give to your clients you are selling a home?

  1. Staging tips from curb appeal to cleaning and decluttering inside, lighting (story about customer that groaned when Pat told him he needed to do some major repairs before listing, but he did them and got top price for his home)

  2. Do repairs you know before listing your home

  3. Touch up paint clean off roof and clean out gutters

  1. How do you determine which is the best offer to accept when there are multiple offers?

  2. What are your top tips for moves to make and mistakes to avoid for home BUYERS?

  1. Know what you want in a home and which items on your list are highest priority.

  2. Get preapproved with a reputable lender on terms that you are comfortable paying monthly and for cash needed to close

  3. If you are making an offer on a home where there are multiple competing offers on the same house, make your highest and best offer and do it right away. You usually don’t have time to wait if there are multiple offers on the table.

  4. Move quickly in getting required supporting documents to your lender to avoid delays

  5. Spend time driving through the neighborhoods that interest you to experience what the traffic and the people are like there.


  1. Share some of your top tips to your mortgage clients who are buying a home.

  1. Know your personal comfort level on a mortgage payment per month. What is the maximum you can afford to pay per month. What is the maximum you can afford to pay down at closing without disturbing your emergency fund? Spend some time reviewing your paystubs and bank statements with your credit card statements. How much are you really spending each month? Which expenses can you reduce or eliminate?

Many of the financial gurus in books and seminars suggest that keeping your total house payment, including principal and interest, taxes and insurance and any mortgage insurance should not exceed 25% to 28% of your gross income. All of your debt, including your new house note should not exceed 38% to 43% of your gross income. The mortgage software will probably allow you to exceed these ratios significantly, so it is up to you to determine your personal comfort level.

  1. Make sure you leave plenty of funds in your bank account after your home loan closing to allow for unexpected expenses. You don’t have to put 20% of the sales price as a down payment. There are several loan products that would allow you to get in for 3.5% to zero down.

According to the Real Estate Today show through the National Association of Realtors, 90% to 95% of people needing down payment assistance to buy a home, do not know there are programs to help home buyers with the down payment .There are other down payment assistance programs available to first-time home buyers in other states other than Tennessee. Most of them have restrictions, similar to the programs we have been discussing today. If you want to know more, Google “Down Payment Assistance” and the name of YOUR state and you should hit the jack pot. Many metropolitan cities have their own down payment assistance programs with certain restrictions. ask an experienced, reputable realtor in your area what programs THEY recommend. They usually know what programs are good and which ones may be not so advantageous. You can also check with Rob Chrane at Down Payment Resource, supported by Housing Finance Agencies across the country, for assistance programs in YOUR city and state.

You have several down payment assistance programs available in the Greater Memphis area such as: Tennessee Housing Development Agency, City of Memphis Down Payment Assistance, Shelby County Down Payment Assistance programs and more .

  1. Credit- Most everyone in this audience today has 3 credit scores from the 3 big credit bureaus—Equifax, Experian and Transunion. If you have high credit scores, then you should easily be able to get great terms when you go to buy a house or a car or a credit card. If you have low credit scores, you may get stuck with a higher down payment requirement, higher interest rates and payments or even no loan at all.

I do not represent a credit repair company and, when mortgage clients have errors on their credit reports, I refer them to the three big credit bureaus and to the merchant reporting the error to get the errors corrected. With almost 30 years experience in the mortgage business, I have some stories to share with you that I hope will help you develop credit habits that will keep your credit scores high and your life happy.

Sam and Sally Smith’s story


Sam and Sally Smith are newly married and expecting their first child. Saddled up with student loan debt had kept them strapped for cash and existing in a small apartment, not large enough for their expanding family. Sam regretted his carefree days in college charging up the credit cards he accepted in the mail. It was so easy to use them –even for necessary items, but a few missed payments and a collection account tanked his scores.

When Sam tried to was denied credit to purchase a car he needed to get to work, reality came like a slap in the face. It was time to make a plan and stick to a plan to get his credit back working for him and not against him.

Sally’s story was a little different. She had stayed away from credit altogether and did not have a credit score at all. Her income was too low to qualify for a house on her own, so the plan was to build her credit and make Sam’s credit better.

Due to Sam’s bad credit, in order to get a car, he had to buy what he described as a “rust bucket on a roller skate.” He said he paid way over the blue book value for the car and had a loan that had an interest rate in the double digits. The payment he described as “Ouch!”

When Sam and Sally went to apply for a mortgage to try to get out of the cramped apartment and into a house, the news was not what they wanted to hear. Even if he could improve his credit score up to a 640 from his current 565 score, he would be paying about a half point higher on the interest rate. Over a period of time, the financing would cost him almost $10,000 more than what he would pay if his scores were higher. But he had a plan to move the dial up on his credit scores in just a few months. Sally’s plan would get her a decent credit score in only 30 days.

Sam and Sally committed to take the steps to strengthen their credit. They began making some positive changes. We celebrated when they closed on their first home. Here’s some information that helped Sam and Sally. Hopefully it will help you too.

If you want to set out on a road to good credit, first know what your credit looks like today. Every year you are allowed to check your own credit for free by going to Check all three credit bureaus to make sure there are no errors on your report.

If you find errors on your report, contact all three credit bureaus and the merchant reporting the erroneous credit, informing them of the error and asking for the erroneous credit to be removed from your report. In the letter, make sure you identify yourself, your social security number (to the bureaus) and your address and contact information. Be sure and include the merchant name, address, phone number and account number also. The merchant reporting erroneous credit has a limited time to respond to your request to correct the report, so it is a good idea to get tracking on the mailed letter. You should hear back in about 30 to 60 days.

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

Do-It-Yourself Credit Fix-

If some of the negative credit reporting was not in error but was really bad credit on your part, then there may be some things you can do to lessen the negative blow.

If you have collection accounts showing with balances still owing, you may want to call he creditor a make a deal with them to get them to agree to stop reporting every month on that collection account. In the past collection agencies reported the collection once and never reported again. But today, they often continue to report month after month until.

Each time a negative late pay or 30 days or more or a collection account gets reported on your credit, it is like taking sucker punch to the gut because it drops your credit scores so badly. Even if you set up a small payment plan in exchange for the company not making any more negative reports about you.

A representative from Equifax Credit Bureau told me once that, the best authority on credit scores is the internet website . This site gives you some great tips on keeping your credit score the highest it can be.

Some of the greatest credit scores are from 780-850

Really good credit scores that still give you the best in rate and terms on loans is around 740-779.

Still good but not considered the best are credit scores at 700-739.

Average scores come in around 660-699

Once your scores are below 660, you pay a lot higher interest rate on loans you apply to get and your payments are high.

Many of the mortgage companies across the country have set limits to the minimum credit scores they will accept from 620 to 640.

Jump-starting your credit scores-

The site shows you where to concentrate on getting the best and quickest results on jump starting your credit scores.

  1. Make your payments on time, never going over 30 days late. Payment history makes up about 35% of your credit score

  2. Keep the balances on any revolving accounts like credit cards UNDER 30 % usage. If your usage is 10% or lower, then you could raise your score even more over a short time. Credit usage percentage makes up about 30% of your credit score

Example: Credit limit $10,000 on your credit card.

30% usage on a $10,000 credit line means for you to never allow the balance owed to go over $3,000 at anytime during the month. (Make your payment on time)

  1. Stay away from 12-months-same-as-cash accounts. These tend to score like a maxed out credit card and can drop your scores 60 to 100 points quickly

  2. Old, established history on credit cards gives you better credit scores. Length of time on a credit account makes up about 15% of your credit score


  1. Have a professional home inspection done on the home that you are buying. If your home purchase contract says the transaction is subject to a satisfactory professional home inspection, you can get this done as soon as your offer is accepted.

  2. APPRAISALS: Sometimes the loan underwriting software will not require a full appraisal on a property. But, if there will be a full appraisal on the property you are financing, please inspect the subject property for repairs that may be required prior to closing by the appraiser. Some common required repairs are leaky roof, rotted wood, peeling paint, torn flooring, broken tile, non-functional plumbing, electrical or HVAC systems, drainage problems, holes in sheetrock, broken windows, foundational problems, termite damage, hazardous waste on property, etc.

If the property is in a flood zone, flood insurance will be required. Appraisal values are determined by the assigned appraiser. Comparable property sales over the last 6 months to a year on houses like the subject property in the subject property neighborhood are used to determine the official value used by the mortgage company. Government guidelines require the mortgage company to order an appraisal and have the appraiser to be assigned to the property by a third-party, government approved order agency separate from the mortgage company.

The mortgage company must order the appraisal from the approved agency. Appraisals from other mortgage companies and appraisals ordered by anyone else, are not qualified to be used under current loan regulations.

Appraisal fees are not refundable.

  1. Do’s And Don’ts For A Smooth Mortgage Process

  1. ______(initials) It is vitally important that you do not change anything on your asset statements after Jo has reviewed your bank statements. Any decrease in your assets could make or break your loan approval or cause a delay in your closing. ANY LARGE DEPOSIT NOT PAYROLL RELATED NEEDS TO HAVE THE SOURCE DOCUMENTED. (You can get images of the deposit and copies of deposit slips from your bank.)

  1. ______(initials) If you are legally married, and buying or refinancing a primary residence, even if your spouse is not on the loan nor on the title, your spouse will be required to sign a few key documents to keep your title clean under the state law. Change in marital status could cause problems on title.

  1. ______ (initials) When it comes time to provide bank statements or any asset account, or tax return, it is necessary to provide ALL pages of the statement, even if it is a blank page. On asset account statements, make sure the name of the bank, your name and at least part of the account number appears on any bank documentation you submit to us.

(If you turn in a 401k statement, please get a letter from the administrator stating terms of the plan including terms of withdrawal—even if you are not withdrawing funds)

  1. _______ (initials) Please do not make any changes to your income or manner of payment from income from your business or employment. When it is time to send tax returns, please send ALL pages including any K-1s if applicable. Even if your income is increasing, under current loan guidelines some methods of income payment are not allowed to be counted as qualifying income so it is important to let your loan officer know of upcoming changes right away to make sure the type payment of income is acceptable for loan qualification purposes. If you own 25% or more of a business, please send all pages of the business tax returns for the past 2 years also. (In some cases underwriting may require a year-to-date Profit and Loss for self-employed borrowers.) Note: If your IRS transcripts or tax returns indicate that taxes are owed, you must document the source of funds to clear the taxes owed or show proof of accepted payment plan and proof of three months payments made to IRS or other agency to clear debt.



  1. ________(initials) If you file your tax returns right before or during the loan process, this can delay your loan process by a month or more due to the time it takes the IRS to fully process and log your numbers into the government required IRS third-party transcript for that tax return that must be included in your loan file. You may consider filing an extension on filing your IRS return in order to avoid this delay. (Underwriting may ask for a year-to-date Profit and Loss for self employed borrowers.)

  2. _______ (initials) Do not open any new credit accounts (and especially not a 12-months-same-as-cash account.) Do not add balances to any existing credit accounts. Do not apply for any new credit during the loan process. Do not make any changes on your credit status.

  3. _______ (initials) Please check your tax returns and make sure you are not showing any business losses from a side business. If you are showing losses on your tax return from a business, please notify your loan officer.

  4. ________(initials) Make sure that you keep your accounts paid current during the loan process. Even though you are planning to pay off an account at closing, please do not allow this account or any others, including any mortgages, to go 30 days late even if the closing the delayed. (This could cause your credit scores to drop right before closing and jeopardize your loan approval.)

  5. ________(initials) If you are refinancing your home, please make sure the home has not been listed for sale on the market within the last 6 months. REMEMBER THAT ON A PRIMARY RESIDENCE, THERE IS A 3 DAY RIGHT OF RECISSION BEFORE MONEY IS DISBURSED.

  6. _______(initials)Due to the new TRID government lending guidelines, there are mandatory delays set up throughout the process, giving you a chance to review the terms as the process moves forward. If you change anything that triggers a change in the final terms after final disclosures have been sent, this could delay your closing to wait on new documents to be received by you and the mandated delay period completed.

  7. ________(initials) Due to a rising number of incidences of hackers/scammers attempting to redirect wired closing funds, please do NOT have any funds wired before verifying the wiring information with your loan officer and the attorney’s office. There may be additional steps to take to ensure your money is wired to the correct account.

REAL ESTATE TIP OF THE WEEK (Pat Goldstein shares her tip for home buyers—Make a detailed list of the amenities you MUST have in your new home. List all items listing them in order of priority. List items you do NOT want from your new home. Give this list to your realtor. With this list, your realtor can save you lots of time by only looking at homes that have the amenities that you need): Jo’s tip: Lawrence Yun, chief economist for National Association of Realtors says that this is a great time to refinance. If you have some other debt (especially high interest rate debt) that you would like to consolidate into a low interest rate refinance, we can look at financing options to see how much interest cost it could save you.


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John Maxwell “If you want to grow, you need to get over any fear you may have of making mistakes.”

Henry Ford “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you are right.”



  1. Brandon Thompson, Home Inspector with HomeTeam Inspection Service (Memphis, TN ) (901) 848-2388

  2. Clint Cooper, owner of Redeemers Group (Germantown, TN) Home Foundation Repairs

  3. Bernice Ross, national real estate columnist (Austin, Texas)

Transitional Music: “It’s a Mistake”  by Men at Work;   “We Can Work It Out” The Beatles; “Signed Sealed Delivered” by Stevie Wonder;  “Memphis” by Johnny Rivers for the Look Back Memphis Trivia Contest



WHAT DO YOU WANT TO ACCOMPLISH WITH YOUR MORTGAGE? (901) 482 0354 twitter @jogarner NMLS# 757308

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