Lenderama was born out of a passion to help loan originators and other industry professionals improve their service to their customers. It was this vision that inspired the launch of Lenderama.com in January 2005, officially making it the first blog to cover the mortgage industry. This original vision for Lenderama made it the perfect platform for Top of Mind to use to launch our Lenderama Website Platform.
To ensure this website platform lived up to the Lenderama name, we knew above all else the content would have to be stellar. Thus began the Lenderama Content Project. With the help of industry SEO/web guru Mark Madsen, we brought together some of the sharpest originators in the field, each tasked to write about their own specific area of expertise. Some of these originators are Top of Mind clients, some are not. Some are consistent Lenderama blog contributors, some are not. But all the same, there are a lot of heavy hitter names on this contributor list and this page is dedicated to giving credit where credit is due, thanking each person for making our website content the absolute best in the industry.
Note: The Lenderama content project actually took place back in 2010, so this article giving credit to our contributors is loooooooong overdo.
|Mark is a licensed Las Vegas real estate professional and has been listed multiple times in National Mortgage Professional Magazine as a Top 40 Under 40.As an owner and author on an expansive list of nationally recognized industry web sites, Mark has been publishing articles online about homeownership education since 2005. Mark is also the co-founder of the nonprofit Mortgage Revolution movement that raised $50,000 for charity in 2010.||
|Andy is a mortgage professional out of Boise, ID, and is an experienced in all aspects of home financing. Andy specializes in helping home owners and buyers avoid or overcome obstacles to home ownership.|
|Bill is an originator out of Glen Burnie, MD and prides himself on having the experience and professionalism to help his clients find the mortgage product that best suits their situation. Bill is considered an expert in FHA mortgage lending.|
|As a mortgage lender in St. Louis, MO Bob specializes in FHA mortgages and helping first time home buyers purchase their first home.|
|Brad is an experienced mortgage professional out of Fairfield, CA, first-time home buyer coach, financial author, and avid golfer. Brad attributes his success to three core principles: know your lending guidelines, understand the credit scoring model, and stay focused on helping home buyers and real estate agents adapt to the changes in our industry.|
|Cynthia is a mortgage lender serving all of Northern VA and specializes in FHA 203(k) Rehab loans and USDA Rural Housing loans.|
|David is passionate about helping his clients finance their homes and drives nearly 100% of his Phoenix, AZ area business from referrals from satisfied clients.|
|Derek is a Senior Loan Officer and CMPS graduate out of Yuma, AZ and specializes in Helping first time home buyers. Derek is also passionate about helping educate current homeowners on the “New Rules of Equity Management” and “How to Manage Your Mortgage to Create Wealth”.|
|Doug specializes in the proper and responsible use of debt in order to create wealth. Doug operates his mortgage business out of Medina, OH and is driven by strong business ethics and the belief that each and every relationship is built on trust.|
|Eddie is a mortgage originator specializing in the Northern Colorado area. His Expertise in USDA Rural Development Loans has been a key factor to his success.|
|Fred is a senior mortgage consultant out of Eugene, OR. Fred is a Vietnam era veteran and specializes in Government Lending Products.|
|Senior Home Loan Consultant since 1993, providing real estate financing for clients across the country. Conventional, FHA, 203K, USDA, VA, and Reverse Mortgage Loans for purchase or refinance.|
|Anchorage, AK mortgage banker, Jackie Toppin has helped over 5000 families successfully finance their homes. Her experience has enabled numerous clients to locate hard to find down payment funds, helped them solve credit issues, and assisted them in determining “How much home they can afford.”|
|Jason is a mortgage professional located in Harleysville, PA, a Montgomery County suburb of Philadelphia. He specializes in first time home buyer loans and education, as well as in FHA Loans.|
|Jeff is an industry educator and publishes a monthly newsletter for Mortgage Loan Officers called The FHA Originator. He is a former FHA Direct Endorsed Underwriter trained by HUD and was successful FHA originator in MI for over 15 years. A featured FHA expert and national speaker for some of the mortgage industry’s top professional communities and publications, such as LoanToolBox.com, The National Mortgage Professional, and The Scotsman Guide, Jeff is recognized for his extensive knowledge about current FHA guidelines, politics and procedures. He has become such a trusted source of FHA information to the industry, that if you Google search: Jeff Mifsud FHA, his name is referenced in nearly every entry for the first 5 pages.|
|Jim is one of the leaders in approving home loans in Atlanta, GA – whether a conventional, FHA, VA or Rural Housing Georgia loan, as well as Atlanta jumbo loans.|
|John is an Oakland, CA mortgage professional. He enjoys teaching people in the Bay Area how to be smart about using money, and to understand how to effectively navigate the process of home financing with the resources they have available.|
|Jonas is an experienced financial blogger, social media coach, and SEO fanatic. Jonas operates as a successful mortgage professional out of Fairfield, CA and also works as a national sales manager for Top of Mind Networks.|
|Jonathan has been in the finance / mortgage industry since 2001 and specializes in FHA & FHA 203K renovation loans in Georgia & Alabama. With his knowledge of the FHA 203K renovation loan process, along with the close relationships he has developed with Realtors, contractors, architects and appraisers, Jonathan is able to create a unique and highly profitable renovation loan experience. This turnkey approach has not only helped his home buyers create massive equity from the day the renovations are done, but has also made him Georgia & Alabama’s #1 FHA 203K expert. Jonathan’s expertise also spreads to green renovations and green renovation financing. Through the use of the FHA 203K and his renovation loan network Jonathan can show you how to go green with FHA!|
|Justin is a mortgage professional in Mesa, AZ and provides fast, friendly, knowledgeable service while getting the best mortgage products available for his clients.|
|Ken is Loan Officer in the Triangle and Fayetteville areas of North Carolina, specializing in FHA First Time Home Buyers, USDA Zero Down Loans, VA Home Buyers, FHA Streamline Refis & VA IRRRL.|
|Kevin is Chicago’s #1 expert in Strategic Financing, an avid hockey fan, and FHA Specialist.|
|Leesa has the ability to write a wide variety of loans but has a niche in doing rehab loans. With more foreclosures on the market then ever evolving into the specialty of renovation lending just made sense. The range of rehab loans include FHA 203k, FannieMae HomeStyle, FannieMae HomePath and Escrow Hold Back. Whether selling a home that needs help or wanting to buy a foreclosure that needs work Leesa can walk you through how renovation loans work.|
|Lynda specialize in many areas of residential loan financing including: FHA first-time home buyers, FHA purchases, FHA cashout refinances, FHA streamline refinances, FHA 203k streamline purchases, FHA jumbo purchases and FHA jumbo refinances.|
|Mark is well versed in all aspects of the lending business, from government loans, FHA & VA, conventional and jumbos. Mark has worked in various aspects of the Mortgage Business, and describes starting his relationship with RPM Mortgage as the “culmination of years learning from the best and applying principles of success to my own business.”|
|Mike has accumulated an extensive knowledge in all aspects of financing and is well known in the Utah community for his service and plans to continue to help Utah grow for many more years.|
|Michael has been in the lending industry since 1991. In that time he’s directly helped over 1,400 families finance the purchase of a new home or refinance an existing loan to a lower interest rate. He’s known for educating his clients so they may make smart decisions about their home financing and writes a weekly column for his local newspaper.|
|The goal of edgevolution is to inject life into your marketing, whether through templated or custom designs. Video, print, presentation; if you have a message to send, we can help.|
|As Dean of Homeownership University, Scott is passionate about education and believes that in the age of the internet and instant information, the consumer is ultimately empowered with the ability to make informed decisions and choices.|
|Shashank is a mortgage industry Top 40 Under 40 recipient, Bay Area Mortgage Expert, and award winning author and speaker.|
|Tim has worked helping home buyers with their mortgages since 1989. Tim is a lifelong Orange County, CA resident and holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from The University of San Diego. Tim and his team make sure the home buyers they work with, especially First Time Home Buyers, are well informed of all the loan programs available to them, including FHA, VA, Fannie Mae, PERS, and STRS loans.|
|Tim uses his God-given talents to make a positive contribution in the lives of others. He operates his mortgage business with honesty and integrity and always acts in his clients’ best interests. Since 2007, Tim has served on the Board of Directors for the Minnesota Mortgage Association (MMA).|
|Tony Croft is a Mortgage Advisor and a Certified Mortgage Planning Specialist in Hoboken, NJ. His team specializes in helping individuals and families understand the mortgage process, find, qualify for, and own the home of their dreams. His goal is to make the mortgage experience as enjoyable and stress-free as possible.|
|Victoria operates her mortgage business out of California and specializes in luxury real estate financing from $500,000 to $20 million.|
Updated 3/9/2011: Daniel Rothamel takes the high road for the sake of his family:
My original article minus a few minor revisions follows:
Meet the new press – you. Earlier this month, we witnessed the impact of social media in toppling a dictator in Egypt. The story I’m sharing this morning certainly pales in terms of scope – but is no less powerful an example social media’s role in bringing people together in the pursuit of justice.
You don’t really need me to rehash the controversy on our blog. There are much better articles summing things up elsewhere:
I am inclined to share my personal take on the issue:
There used to be a saying in the advertising/PR business – “There’s no such thing as negative press. If people are talking about you, it’s a good thing”. Well I’m not so sure that’s true anymore. Case in point, the article I shared above written by Jay Thompson had already risen in Google’s Search Rankings to the #5 position – after only one day. (Author’s note 3/9/11: Mr. Thompson has since “de-indexed” his blog article on the Lones Group vs. Rothamel suit, meaning that it will no longer rank prominently on Google). If you’re a prospect checking out The Lones Group with the idea of working with them – this firestorm of a story might give you some pause. I can’t imagine people are going to read all these blog articles and twitter posts and rush over to spend money with Ms. Lones. That’s for sure.
Our civil legal system is inherently flawed. In our society, someone with enough money and/or malevolence toward another can practically ruin them emotionally and/or financially. This is because we don’t have a “loser pays” system. I wonder if Ms. Lones would have filed her lawsuit if she’d be on the hook for Mr. Rothamel’s legal fees once the verdict came in? I wonder what would happen if Mr. Rothamel also could be compensated for all the lost sleep, stress and wasted hours Ms. Lones suit will inevitably cause him. Tort reform is absolutely a critical issue that must be addressed in this country.
I believe we all want to make a positive difference in others’ lives – and having a blog is an affordable and powerful way to help others. That being said, before you start blogging and jump to someone’s rescue, I do have one piece of advice – do your homework first. Never take someone’s word for who is right and who is wrong. A few years ago, I made this mistake and published an article I ended up pulling down off the site. Also, I recommend making your point tactfully rather than losing your cool with your prose. Sometimes, we say things in anger that we later regret. Certainly, we husbands know full well how amazing a memory our wives have when it comes to this – but Google’s memory is FOREVER!!!! And Google knows more people than our wives too!!!
In closing, I wanted to loop back to the statement I made to open this article. One hundred years ago, the press played a critical role in protecting us from injustice and exposing abuse in society. Unfortunately, it seems that the American public sees more value in learning who got popped last night at the liquor store than we care about real issues… like tort reform!!! Our media is slanted - either left or right. But the power of the pen lives on in the form of blogging and social media. We are living in very exciting times – where each one of us can really make a difference. One regular guy at Google started a revolution that will reshape the future of a great nation. One of my closest friends brought The Lones Group vs. Daniel Rothamel to my attention through his blog and together we’re making a difference too. (Author’s note 3/9/11: the firestorm that resulted in the blogosphere has been labeled as “cyber-bullying” by some. I respectfully disagree. In this article, and in many others I’ve read, the core message was… and still is… inspired by coming to the defense and support of a good man. It also illustrates how flawed our justice system is – and how it can be leveraged to choke out the little people…as in… me and you. I’m extremely inspired by the way Mr. Rothamel handled the situation. On the other hand, I’m angry because I don’t think justice is being served. And that’s the rub.)
If you don’t yet have a blog, I hope this article helps convince you to start one. If you are a Top of Mind Networks “Surefire System” client, you even get your blog built, hosted and maintained for you free of charge. All you have to do is fill out the Lenderama Website Set Up Form and we’ll run with the ball. It’s rewarding… and dare I say it… even a little bit fun! Thanks for reading – and for sharing this story with others. We need to take care of the good guys out there.
Since Top of Mind Networks and I are in the process of building a comprehensive Mortgage Blogging Tutorial Page on Lenderama.com, I thought I’d share the Slide Show from MRev.
We’ll actually breeze through a few of these key points in tomorrow’s weekly Mortgage Blogging webinar.
Mary’s True Confessions: Remember when M.C. Hammer sang: “You Can’t Touch This”?…..was he talking about “Freddie Mac backed upside down mortgages”???
Let’s travel back in time (no, not to the 80′s and working our parachute pants) to Spring of 2009. There was a waft of new optimism in the air when Fannie Mae’s DU Refi Plus arrived (sound familiar? if not, check out my last blog!).
Despite the onset of HVCC and sharp decline in home values, Fannie’s new program immediately allowed brokers the opportunity to streamline refinance Fannie Mae owned mortgages, regardless of which lender owned the borrowers current mortgage, to a new lender of the broker’s choice. Within a few weeks I noticed that many brokers had rediscovered that portion of their database that they had long ago given up on…..you know, that part of your database that you never thought you would be able to refinance again??? It was the black hole portion of your database. The chasm filled with those purchase deals you did during the height of the real estate market. That portion of 80/20 loans or perhaps the guy you helped get a large 2nd mortgageon his property shortly after the purchase of his new home and prior to the needle bursting the housing balloon.
Well, Wahh-Lah! DU-Refi Plus was your new government program designed to help off-set the crappy earlier government regulation. So more than likely over the past serveral months, you have turned and burned and closed alot of deals. Most brokers considered it a mini refi-boom-if you can believe that! But, the excitement and earnings kept them from noticing the numerous deals that did not qualify for DU Refi-Plus. So, up until now, MC Hammer was right. You couldn’t touch Freddie Mac backed mortgages in upside down scenarios.
Well Hammer, “times have changed”! Now, Freddie is out with their streamline program and it rivals Fannie’s DU Refi Plus. Before now, those upside down mortgages backed by Freddie but owned by lenders that no longer have wholesale departments (such as Chase, Citi, GMAC or IndyMac) were not able to refinance to a new lender. Now those tasty little nuts that have been hiding inside your database are ready to be cooked over an open fire this Christmas. So, get with the program and review these Freddie Relief highlights:
- max LTV is 105%
- CLTV is UNLIMITED!! This should help that customer above with the enormous 2nd mortgage!
- Debt ratios up to 60%
- minimum credit score is 620
A.E. Lowdown: Lia Webster of Plaza Home Mortgage, Inc. comments_”My office just started doing these and they are a huge hit! One little helpful tidbit, the subject property can also be recently listed. It needs to be off the market prior to application date but it can be as little as 1 day off!” That is huge!!
If you have any other questions or need direction on where to go to take advantage of this program, give me a shout. Quick Close Processing loves to help you close more loans!
Got any successs stories, processing tips or questions?? Send them my way, I would love to share with our readers!
Okay, so my buddy Mark Madsen has been an avid mortgage blogger for the better part of three years. For two of those years, I’d get a weekly phone call or email saying “Dude, you’ve gotta get on board”. And for two years I resisted. It just seemed like a waste of time. But finally I relented and gave blogging a shot. Now that I’m a year into the game, here’s why blogging has stuck with me:
1) It keeps my mind limber
Above all, I find myself paying closer attention to everything around me, both personally and professionally. When I set up my Google Reader and populated it with all the mortgage/real estate RSS feeds I could handle, I instantly doubled my knowledge base on our industry. No longer was I relying on the misinformed mainstream media for my mortgage news. Rather, I’m getting the story behind the story – my counterparts’ uninhibited take on current events. Guys like Tom Vanderwell and Martin Andelman really cut through the BS. Why? Because they really don’t care what we think of their take – they’re writing for themselves first, us second – and I want my news delivered with some passion. They don’t need to run their articles through an editor (like newspaper reporters). They don’t have to worry about their story being cut from the day’s events (like TV reporters). They can write for as long or as short as they feel. They can use potty language if they want to accentuate points – try that in the New York Freaking Times!
2) It helps with SEO
This was probably my initial motivator when I started blogging a year ago. We created a quick down-n-dirty blog on the Wanna Network platform, and it instantly helped Top of Mind appear on the search engines for critical key phrases such as “mortgage crm”. That was proof positive for me. I figured, okay, well if I’m going to invest my time into blogging AND we might actually see some long term business from it… what the heck? Chances are, this is why you might consider dipping your pinky toe into the blogging waters. Obviously, people are using the internet to research mortgage and real estate options – it’s critical that they’re finding you. At Mortgage Revolution, we’re going to cover advanced aspects of mortgage blogging and SEO – hope to see you there.
3) It’s Addictive, Fun and Productive
Blogging is time consuming, especially when you’re first getting started. The good news is that like everything else, you’ll get better and more efficient with practice and time. If you’re like me, your mind is always wandering onto new ideas and topics of discussion. The ability to publish my random thoughts – and the idea that others might join in a discussion – really motivates me. I ran into Mary Schaber Eyler at a party over the weekend. Mary just had a baby boy and is getting ready to pick her column back up on the Top of Mind Blog. Anyhow, Mary was under the impression that people weren’t enjoying her articles because she hadn’t seen a lot of comments. However, when I check the traffic statistics on this blog, Mary’s articles consistently show up among people’s favorites, and they are getting found in the search engines. For us novice bloggers, if you’re not seeing a lot of comments on your articles, don’t get discouraged. Just keep writing. Mortgage people don’t really tend to comment – they want to get in, read, and get out as quickly as possible.
4) Blogging Complements my Mortgage CRM Activity
Everyone reading this article is a marketer in his/her own right. And as marketers, our ultimate goal is to attain “top of mind” awareness. There are different levels of being “top of mind” of course. I think I’ll write an article on that later this week (see, another blogging idea just came to me as I write this article!). At Mortgage Revolution, my presentation will focus on creating synergy between your offline CRM (ie: meetings, phone calls, letters, etc) and online CRM (ie: social media, blogging, etc.). That’s CRM nirvana baby.
There are other reasons to blog, but those are my top 4. Yours might be completely different. But make no mistake, blogging has a real ROI if you’re willing to commit.
- Image by Randy Stewart via Flickr
Obviously all of the contributors on Top of Mind are bloggers. And I am guessing that a fair number of the readers are bloggers too. I don’t know about you, but I often wonder if I am doing it right. So, I took a little time last night to research that question: “How do you blog better?”
Here is what I found:
1. Write to be Helpful – This is the number one tip from Chris Brogan’s 10 Blogging Tips and I think it says it all. Blogs are simple publications and no one subscribes to a newspaper or magazine with gaining some value from it. Decide early on how you are going to help your readers and be true to that objective with every post.
2. Conquer Your Fear of Blogging - This is another goodie from Chris Brogan. Much like sales has phone anxiety; a lot of beginning bloggers have a fear of blogging. Will my post be good enough? What if I make a grammar or factual error? What is no one shows up? Guess what? Every blogger experiences each of these. Blogging is a growing and evolving experience for the author. Jump in! You will get better with age.
3. Learn to Build an Audience - Readers are humans, not stats in your Web analytics. Don’t forget that, it will go a long way towards your success in attracting and gaining their loyalty. We that being said lets look at the number one factor in building a strong audience on your blog-consistency. That’s right; people are driven by normalcy and habits. For a blogger that means delivering focused, consistent, predictable content. Of course that doesn’t mean boring. It just means you are posting regularly, on a similar concept, and using a predictable format.
(I swear I will quote someone other than Chris Brogan in a minute, but he is a master!)
4. Teach Your Readers to Subscribe - Very few people know what RSS is, even less know how to use it. However, increasing your subscriber base it critical to long-term blogging success. So, teach your readers to subscribe. Then make it easy and obvious.
5. Learn a Little SEO - “If a tree falls in the forest does it make a sound if no one is there?” This is the sad state of many new blogs. You should learn a little bit about amplifying your blog and cornerstone posts in the search engines. This is the modern online marketing megaphone-learn the basics of how SEO works.
I don’t profess to be an expert (that is why I consulted the experts), but I do know that blogging can be a great business development and lead nurturing tool for your mortgage business. That is why I do and would encourage you as well to do a little reading on how to improve this marketing strategy.
What are your tips on better blogging? Who are your favorite blogging mentors? Please leave a comment and help us all get a bit better.
I was reading this article on Duct Tape Marketing this morning and got to thinking how realtors and mortgage professionals could put this strategy to use for them. This article describes how local business owners can use the Google Local Business Center to add their business to a directory within Google.
I am sure you have all seen search results from Google that look like this image, where they list out certain businesses that match your criteria and show them on a Google Map. This directory is how that comes to be. So the old saying goes, “Real Estate Is Local”, so why not use the tools Google is giving us to make our business more easily found by local people who are searching for it?
And if anyone is utilizing Google AdWords you can now link these to your Google Local Business Profile and have your physical address show up in the Ad based on the address of the person doing the searching. Check out Local Extensions for more information.
Based on your profile, Google will also show you some cool analytics. Within the dashboard you can view how many people clicked on your profile, what keywords they searched for to get them there, and you can even see their physical location if they searched for driving directions.
This profile also allows you to add more than just your company name, phone, and address. This is also another great spot where you can add a back-link to your website or blog and embed some additional keywords. I have not attempted to measure the SEO benefits of this, but I can assure you it will not hurt. All things considered, this is just one more tool you can use to help people find you. It takes about 5 minutes to setup and you are done. Other than checking your analytics from time to time you really never have to touch it again.
If you’re on the fence about mortgage blogging, the following video will help answer the question: What’s In It For Me? We focused on “Googleability”. In other words:
1) Are you being found online? Trust me, your referral sources and prospects are checking you out via Google before they decide to do business with you.
2) What mortgage related search terms are people researching online? This introduces the concept of search engine optimization – but we keep it very simple.
This free class is sponsored by NAMB. Are you a NAMB member? If so, thank you. If not, please join today. We all need to support our industry and it begins with your trade organization. Thanks to my good buddy Mark Madsen for his energy and selflessness. We hope you enjoy the class: