Today- smart designs you can use with your mortgage financing if you are dreaming of paying your mortgage off early or acquiring some income-producing rental properties or just buying your first home. John Lawhon of Lawhon Landscaping will be covering some smart strategies for designing your home’s landscaping to make you happier living in your home the way you want to live there.

What part of real estate or real estate financing interests you the most?  Let’s stay in touch.  Email me at or call me at (901) 482-0354. Subscribe to receive our latest show notes and podcast every week. We will not sell your email address.  

To Your Success,

Jo Garner, Mortgage Loan Officer NMLS# 757308



Good morning, Memphis!  Welcome to our 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 YOUR HOME LOAN AND YOUR LANDSCAPING- DREAM IT, DESIGN IT, LIVE IT THE WAY YOU WANT IT.  Thank you to Joe Rojas, of Quality Title Pros for sponsoring Real Estate Mortgage Shoppe today.   If you are looking for a title company to close YOUR real estate loan call Joe at (901) 289-5821.

If you have a question or comment text me now to (901) 482-0354, or call me directly off the show at  the same number (901) 482-0354.  You can call us while we are live in the studio at (901) 535-9732 Today August 26th, 2017.


Today on Real Estate Mortgage Shoppe we will be sharing some smart designs you can use with your mortgage financing if you are dreaming of paying your mortgage off early or acquiring some income-producing rental properties or just buying your first home. John Lawhon of Lawhon Landscaping will be covering some smart strategies for designing your home’s landscaping to make you happier living in your home the way you want to live in your home.


John Lawhon of Lawhon Landscape and Design, it is always good having you in the radio studio.  The Lawhons have been business since 1958. You do the landscape designs, installation, irrigation and spray.  You do it all.   Tell us a little more about yourself and what Lawhon Landscape offers your clients. (John Lawhon introduces himself and talks about what Lawhon Landscape does)


(Jo) John, before we launch into some great ideas and stories for how to dream it, design it and live it the way you want to live, let’s look back at the mortgage market last week.  No news is good news they say, especially since mortgage rates are currently at the lowest levels we’ve seen since November 2016.  If your dream of refinancing and redesigning your finances didn’t quite work for you earlier this year, call me and let’s take another spin on my calculator. What didn’t work for you a few months ago may work now.  Here’s some good news for some borrowers.  Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac the largest mortgage programs in the nation will no longer be requiring appraisals on certain mortgage files in areas where the values are largely established.  This could save borrowers several hundred dollars on a purchase or refinance.  And for some more good news — the bank where you can find me has agreed to pay the veteran’s lender closing fees on the Veteran Home Loan program. But you have to talk with me personally so I can work with you.  You can connect with me at or call me directly at (901) 482-0354. MAKE YOUR PLAN, LET’S WORK YOUR PLAN. IF THE DEAL WORKS FOR YOU TODAY, DO IT TODAY!

(John Lawhon asked Jo where to find bargain priced homes in this current competitive market)


  • How would you design a home loan for someone who wants to buy a home at a discounted price that needs some fix ups?

You hear so many people talk about that the demand being so high for homes that it is impossible to buy at a discounted price anymore.   Wrong—there are still plenty of opportunities to buy homes for a steal. Most all of the bargain opportunities  I see are houses that need a lot of fix up and require cash OR a good loan officer that knows how to design financing on renovation and repair home transactions.

We can talk about some special renovation and repair loan programs for people buying the home for their primary residence.  They can get your purchase price and most of your repair costs financed into one fixed rate mortgage. Call me and we can walk through YOUR situation.

But first I want to introduce you to a savvy real estate investor we will call her Martina.  Martina works a 9 to 5 job but in her off hours, she scouts around and finds homes in stable areas that need quite a bit of renovation and repair.  She pays cash for the house at a deep discounted price by borrowing against some other investments. Once the house is in her name, she uses some of her credit line or unsecured loans from other people to fix up the home and get it ready to rent out.  

Once the house is completed, she gives me a call and I get her permanent mortgage approved on what I call my Quick Cash Back Refinance Program. Martina usually has the house completed in 30 days and I am ready to get her mortgage approved for 75% of the after repaired value or the amount of cash she paid at closing to buy the property.   She uses my refinance money to pay back most of her credit lines and then uses that money again to buy another great rental property and another one.  We use this program over and over again for her like rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat while Martina’s real estate wealth and income continues to grow.

We will talk about more of these financing strategies when we come later in the show. For now, though let’s how to dream it, design it and live in YOUR home the way you want to live by restructuring your landscaping.

John Lawhon, of Lawhon Landscaping, what are some of the most common requests you get from homeowners who want to transform their outdoor living spaces? (John starts talking about common landscape design requests and what details to consider before jumping into plans)



  • What are some common ways people use  their landscaping and how do you tailor the design to those needs?

-Back yard farming

-Patio entertaining

-Swimming pool and parties

-Low maintenance with easy-on-the-eyes shapes and colors

  • Who will be using your lawn and garden area?

-Young children



-Older family members

-Handicapped family members

  •  How much time and energy do you want to spend maintaining your landscaping?
  •   What type plants will love living in your local climate?
  • What are common rules to remember when determining where to place a tall plant or low growing plant so that it gives the best aesthetic effects?
  • What are some other services Lawhon Landscaping offers besides landscape designing and installation?
  • What are some of your most well-known projects?



  • Give an example of a home loan designed for someone who wants to BUY a home but doesn’t want to feel tied down?

Meet Josh. A young professional with big dreams, a burning desire to make it financially in his chosen profession. He is only a few years out of college and his dream of being able to have money work FOR him seems so far away and unattainable.

Josh’s challenges include being  saddled up with thousands of dollars in student loan debt, and feels like he is wasting his rent money paying his landlord’s mortgage investing his money in buying his OWN house. He would tell that even if he didn’t have the student loan payments, “What if I get a great opportunity with another employer and need to move? What if I just decide I want to live somewhere else?  I don’t want like I am chained to a house. I don’t want to be stuck, you know?”

Who do YOU know who share Josh’s hopes and dreams AND his challenges?  Let’s take a few minutes to think outside the box with Josh. What about THIS design to overcome some of the obstacles blocking Josh’s way to the way he wants to live?

Working with a good realtor to find a stable or appreciating market where prices are staying the same or going up. A good realtor and Craig’s list can offer good information on the going monthly rents for houses in the area. Mortgage payments in many areas are less than the monthly rents in the area. Josh pays less on the mortgage payments than he would pay in rent for the same type house. AND,  if he can’t sell later when he wants to move, he can easily rent the home for a profit.

A good mortgage officer can explore mortgage programs that will help Josh qualify for financing that he can afford even with the student loans.  Some programs will only count 1% of unpaid student loan balances for the payment or, if the payments are lower than 1% of the balance and fully amortized by the student loan companies, mortgage companies can qualify him with the lesser fully amortized amount.

A good mortgage officer will know which loan types have an assumability clause so that, in the worst case if the market is down in a few years and rates are up, a buyer could pay Josh some equity for his home and get the lender’s permission to take over his low-interest rate mortgage. Josh is NOT STUCK!  In fact he will probably end up with a nice profit.

  • How would you design a home loan for someone who wants to buy a home at a discounted price that needs some fix ups?

FHA 203K Renovation and Repair loan where you can buy the house, finance most of the repairs and, in most cases, walk into instant equity with very little down payment.

Home Style Fannie Mae conventional renovation and repair loan where you can buy a home at lower than market price and finance a lot of the repairs.  Both of these renovation and repair loans are great for people who want to walk into some equity when they are buying the home where they plan to live.  They can choose how they want to renovate the home.  They dream it, design it and live in it the way they want to live.

  • What about for customers who just want to pay off their mortgage early and get rid of it?

Getting rid of the mortgage really frees up money to be spent on more interesting things on the bucket list, or on grandchildren, depending on how old you are.

One day one of a 30 year fixed rate mortgage, it you pay one Principal and Interest payment per year, you can knock off 7 to 8 years off the loan. If you pay more than one Principal and interest payment extra each year, you can pay the mortgage off much faster.

Some of my clients that have been paying on their mortgage for a several years but have accumulated thousands of dollars in high interest rate, high payment other debt, have found their solution is to refinance their mortgage, add in some of the other debt and go back to a 30 year fixed rate on their mortgage temporarily.  

At first it seems like you are going in the opposite direction from where you want to end up.  But there is brilliance in the strategy of a well laid plan.  I have watched clients get really happy when they discover that paying off their high balance, high interest rate, high payment other debts into a low interest, fixed rate mortgage saves them sometimes over $1,000 or $2,000 month in overall debt payments. When I show them how fast they can pay the lower interest rate new mortgage off in less than 15 years by applying over half of the savings from having less debt payments direct to prepayments to mortgage principal, that’s when the light bulb comes on and these customers are really smiling.

Most of these clients have been very good money managers as a rule but due to sickness of a family member and loss of income and medical bills, they start racking up credit card debt.   Sometimes it is when a parent is trying to help pay for children to get through college. Once the disruption in the financial flow is under control, they can do a restructure on their financial lives and still get the mortgage paid off sooner rather than later.   



Real estate investors who have made their plan and are working their plan are the ones that tend to make the most money over time. In the case of partners or spouses buying real estate together, we work strategically with the limitations of the major mortgage players, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and their guidelines. Fannie Mae limits their low interest fixed rate 30-year loans to borrowers who own less than 10 financed properties—they can own over 10 properties, just not over 10 financed properties.

Take for instance a husband and wife team that own over 8 properties.  Since the well-known Fannie Mae mortgage guidelines will only offer their programs to borrowers who own less than 10 financed properties,  we work a plan where the husband puts some homes and the mortgages on those homes in his name and the wife puts a different set of homes with the mortgages on her homes only in her name.  That way between the 2 of them, they can enjoy up to 20 low interest, low payment Fannie Mae loans on their rental properties.  10 for the husband and 10 for the wife.  For anyone buying a primary residence, there is no specific limit on how many financed properties one can own.

John Lawhon shares tip about the helpfulness of mulch on flower beds to fight out the weeds.  Mulch keeps the time needed to weed your garden to a minimum.



Talk Shoppe offers free networking & education to anyone interested in real estate or in business. Talk Shoppe meets every Wednesday 9A-10A CT at Nova Copy Conference Center 7251 Appling Farms Parkway Memphis TN.   This Wednesday August 30th, 2017 Talk Shoppe  presents: “The Mastermind Principle: based on the book Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.   

Talk Shoppe events are free thanks to advertisers like Leah Anne Morse of Cartridge World in Collierville, TN 38017.  (901) 853 3230.  Taylor and Leah Anne Morse use the latest technology to make your recycled ink cartridges like new, saving you about 30% on your printing costs.

Thank you to our business coach Eric Eurich, of Focal Point Business Coaching. Eric is the winner of the distinguished Kaizen Award for certified business coaches. Eric can help you elevate your success faster with 1-on-1 coaching or in small groups.

Thank you Joe Rojas of Quality Title Pros for sponsoring this episode of Real Estate Mortgage Shoppe.  For your real estate closings, call Joe at 901 289-5821.

Thoughts and prayers go out to the people and animals in the path of Hurricane Harvey.






  • Dan Sater, WWW.CREDITSCORINGADVISOR.COM Author of The Top 20 Toxic Credit Mistakes
  • Mary Lou Nowak, Mid-South Home Helpers  Mary Lou knows what to do when it comes to what can work best when using non-medical assistance in the home of your elderly or handicapped loved one.   (901) 414-9696



Call: (901) 754-7474

Beautiful gardens begin with thoughtful design. The staff of Lawhon Landscape Design includes professionals with degrees in Landscape Architecture, Plant Pathology, Studio Art, and Agronomy. Our designers and plant professionals create outdoor living spaces with your lifestyle in mind.

Our many years of experience in design, installing, and maintaining Mid-South landscapes make us uniquely qualified to create gardens that are both beautiful and practical to maintain.

A Family Business

Our business was started in 1958 by Rex and Beth Lawhon and was one of the first weed control companies in the Southeast. Over the years, we have kept our client list small and personal in order to serve the gardens of Memphis with the best in lawn and shrub care. The high quality of our work has paid off over the years by the many repeat customers we have – both residential and commercial. We follow the philosophy of doing it right the first time. We hope that you will give us the opportunity to serve your garden needs as well.

In 1985, we expanded our family company by offering a complete design build landscape service. John Lawhon, with a degree in Landscape Architecture, offers complete landscape designs for every budget as well as outstanding plant installation services. In order to help maintain your landscape, we offer complete irrigation system installation. We have everything you need to make your home more beautiful than ever.


About Jo Garner

cell: (901) 482 0354

  Twitter: @jogarner

Jo describes her job description: As a mortgage loan officer, my job is to give my client the benefits they want from their financing terms– listening to my client and determine what’s of the most value to THEM–  What is their comfort level on a house payment, how much are they comfortable paying down, what type of financing do they need to get the house they 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. Whatever their personal priorities are, my job is to put together a mortgage with comfortable terms that will help them achieve their goals.”

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 20 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 20 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 is host of Real Estate Mortgage Shoppe  and currently publishes on her blog