Your Local Michigan Mortgage Specialists

What you need to know about homeowners insurance?

February 15th, 2021 by Ima Admin

Homeowners insurance protects your home and personal property as well as your liability from accidents that injure others or damage their property.  There are various coverage levels and costs which is where things can get complicated.
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Refinance Options When Rates Are Low

February 19th, 2020 by Ima Admin

Is It The Right Time to Refinance Your Michigan Mortgage Loan?

The answer to that question really depends on your unique personal circumstances. That’s why while Inlanta Mortgage offers many options to help Michigan homeowners lower their mortgage rates or free up cash for renovations, college tuition or other important life events, we always recommend talking to one of our S.M.A.R.T. mortgage specialists before you apply.

When you refinance your home, you are paying off an existing loan with proceeds from a new loan. Generally, when you refinance you are taking advantage of improvements in your credit, built-up equity, changes to terms, or drops in market interest rates. Benefits of refinancing can include lowering your current payment, changing the term of your loan to raise or lower your amortization length, or borrowing against the equity in your home to get cash out.

With today’s historically low interest rates, many people find it beneficial to refinance to take advantage of great rates or to shorten the amortization period of their mortgages to reduce lifetime interest paid. Those not looking to cash out some of their equity will find our Streamline refinance options fast and easy.

For homeowners looking for home improvement cash, there are unique types of home loans designed specifically for renovation. There are also several types of general cash-out options. When rates are low, it can make sense to do a home refinance instead of a homeowner line of credit because you are also lowering your rate or amortization length (if desired). A new mortgage is often the most cost-effective approach to financing major projects that carry a long depreciation life and improve your home, such as swimming pool construction, a lifetime roof, or a long-term energy efficiency project like implementing geothermal heating.

Team Arnold and Team Ferrick will help you select the best option for your purpose. The following is an overview of options available for refinancing your mortgage loan. Talk to us about your goals to find the best fit. Determining the right refinance option for you will in part be determined by the type of home loan you currently have, your LTV (loan-to-value) ratio in the case of cash-out refinancing, and the current value of your home according to an appraisal.

 

Regular Refinance Options

  • Conventional Refinance
  • FHA Refinance
  • VA Refinance
  • USDA Refinance

 

Streamline Refinance Options

No-appraisal streamline refinances are used solely for the purpose of lowering the monthly mortgage payment. In other words, you don’t have the option of cashing out equity under the no-appraisal program.

  • FHA Streamline Refinance – In order to refinance using the FHA Streamline Refinance program, your mortgage must already be FHA insured. The mortgage to be refinanced should be current (not delinquent). The refinance is to result in a lowering of the borrower’s monthly principal and interest payments. No cash may be taken out on mortgages refinanced using the streamline refinance process. Contact a mortgage loan professional at Inlanta Michigan to discuss FHA Streamline Refinance opportunities.
  • VA Streamline Refinance  – otherwise known as an IRRRL. This program lowers your interest rate by refinancing your existing VA home loan. No appraisal or underwriting package is required when applying for an IRRRL. An IRRRL may be done with “no money out of pocket” by including all costs in the new loan or by making the new loan at an interest rate high enough to enable the lender to pay the costs.

 

Cash Out Refinance Options

Access the equity in your home and get cash that you can use to meet all kinds of financial goals. The existing mortgage and any liens on the property are paid off and replaced with a refinanced mortgage.

  • Conventional Cash-Out Refinance
  • FHA Cash-Out Refinance
  • VA Cash-Out Refinance

FHA 203K Rehabilitation Loans

FHA 203K Rehabilitation loans are an important tool for community and neighborhood revitalization. The 203K program offers borrowers the resources to rehabilitate a home that may be in need of repair. Borrowers have the option of refinancing with a 203K loan in order to make improvements on their existing residence or to purchase a new home in need of repairs.

HomeStyle® Renovation Loans

The HomeStyle® Renovation Loan program allows a borrower to renovate, repair, or improve a home or investment property. HomeStyle® combines a home purchase or refinance with home improvement financing in one loan with one closing. HomeStyle® renovation loans let you customize a home to your liking or make needed repairs.

 VA 100% Cashout Refinance VA’s

VA’s Cash-Out Refinance Loan is for homeowners who want to take cash out of your home equity to take care of concerns like paying off debt, funding school, or making home improvements. The Cash-Out Refinance Loan can also be used to refinance a non-VA loan into a VA loan. VA will guaranty loans up to 100% of the value of your home.

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    It’s NOT All About The Rate

    February 19th, 2020 by Ima Admin

    It’s true that mortgage rates are at a historic low right now – so low that you might be inundated with junk mail, spam and calls from churn-and-burn mortgage companies. In fact, today’s rates are not so far from the all-time low for the benchmark 30-year rate. which was 3.5 percent in December of 2012. With rates slipping over the past few months, affordability for purchasing is increasing.

    For example, a 1 percentage point difference (4.5 to 3.5) on a $250,000 mortgage can mean $144 less per month in mortgage interest.

    While this is great news, sound financial planning avoids knee-jerk reactions to rate fluctuations. Instead, it’s better to take the long view, and do a thorough analysis of the best way to leverage current conditions.

    The bottom line is that great rates alone should never drive a new mortgage or refinance application. The benefits are case-by-case, depending on your unique circumstances. That’s where guided, mathematical analysis comes in.

    Three Scenarios in the Great Rate Debate

    • Increased affordability is great news for first-time homebuyers who are ready to say goodbye to renting and for those ready to move up to their dream homes.
    • Saving up for a conventional downpayment may not make sense given the rate of housing increases, which would offset the advantage of the lower rate.
    • Existing homeowners who are tempted to refinance need to first determine their break-even point, the length of time they plan to stay in the home, and all their other financial variables.

    Case 1: Ready to Move

    If you’re ready to pull the trigger, consider yourself lucky that you’re doing so at a great time to enter a mortgage, rate-wise. Over the long term, you’ll save tens-of-thousands of dollars by locking in at a great low rate. Our S.M.A.R.T. mortgage specialists will guide you through the best mortgage structure to realize your goals for financial security and find the product that best fits your circumstances.

    Case 2: Thinking About New Purchase

    If you’re just now thinking about purchasing a new home and are motivated by the low rates, here are a few of the considerations our S.M.A.R.T. mortgage specialists will guide you through:
    First-time homeowners should evaluate whether waiting to save up a bigger downpayment makes sense or not. For example, paying PMI (mortgage insurance) might be cheaper than waiting when home values are appreciating at 5% or more each year. The extra affordability of the low rates can be eroded quickly by increasing home values.
    Purchasers who already own a home should evaluate the best use of their sale proceeds. While it’s traditional to use proceeds as the downpayment on a new home, the proceeds might work harder elsewhere when mortgage rates are so low, handily off-setting the cost of PMI. For example, using proceeds to pay down revolving debt could make more sense and keep more money in your pocket at the end of the day.

    Case 3: Leveraging Home Equity

    For those who have a considerable amount of home equity, the first step in considering a refinance is to determine your break-even point. Once you know how long it will take to “pay back” the refi cost, then you can balance that against your imminent life circumstances. For example, if you might relocate for work in a year and your “break even” point is 16 months, then it wouldn’t necessarily make sense. Another consideration is your financial goals. For example, if you’d like to generate recurring revenue through an investment property, low rates make it an attractive time to do so.

    Whatever your scenario, talk to a S.M.A.R.T. mortgage specialist to analyze your circumstances and map the best course for your financial security.

    Get a S.M.A.R.T. Consultation on Rates

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      What is a S.M.A.R.T. Mortgage Consultation?

      April 22nd, 2019 by Ima Admin

      At Inlanta Grand Rapids, we think “outside the bank” with our S.M.A.R.T. Mortgage Consultation. S.M.A.R.T. stands for consultations that are: Strategic, Mindful, Authentic, Results-oriented, and Timely. It takes more than great rates to make a great mortgage. It takes the right team, the right product and the right process to set you up for future financial success. Inlanta is different in that we listen, we assess your unique circumstances and goals, and then we find the right fit for your financial future.

      The right mortgage program can mean the difference between actually closing on your dream home or watching it drift away due to a bureaucratic quagmire and shoddy planning. It can mean the difference between sending your kids to college one day or saddling them with debt because you were talked into a low-rate ARM that ballooned. You need a partner who can guide you through the dizzying array of mortgage products to help you find the right, affordable fit that won’t leave you house-poor but won’t have you leave money on the table either.

      So start S.M.A.R.T. – talk to one of our specialists today!


      What’s the Right Time To Look Into Your Credit?

      March 22nd, 2019 by Ima Admin

      Are you a renter who hopes to one day own your dream home? Are you looking to move up from your starter home? Did something catch your eye driving by?

      If you think you’ll even LOOK at a house for sale in West Michigan this year – or next — it’s time to take a closer look at your “real” credit score. That’s because you need to ensure your financial ducks are in a row BEFORE you can house-hunt with a mortgage pre-approval in hand.

      In the tight real estate market Grand Rapids and West Michigan are currently experiencing, where multiple offers above asking price have become the norm, you cannot afford to be house hunting without a bona fide pre-approval in hand. Not a pre-qualification, a pre-approval. What’s the difference? Well, at Inlanta, a pre-approval means taking a deep look at your eligibility, your unique considerations, and going through initial underwriting to secure assurance that your loan will close and that you know exactly what to expect in terms of payments and closing costs.

      By going through our Pre-Approval process, clients are then able to have us generate property and price-specific approval letters on demand. Not only does that make the offer stronger, but it is also a smarter way to negotiate. An open qualification letter that spells out your maximum leaves too much room for sign-backs, and at the same time, isn’t as confidence-inspiring as a bona fide pre-approval.

      If you hope to be in the buying market this season or next, talk to one of the S.M.A.R.T. Mortgage Specialists at Inlanta Mortgage Michigan to get ready to win your bid on your dream home. It all starts with understanding your credit and your program eligibility. Contact us to get started.


      Get the Score on Credit Scores

      January 22nd, 2019 by Ima Admin

      There are lots of places on the internet to learn your credit score. But if you’re planning to purchase a new home, these online scores don’t tell the whole story. A consumer score is meant to be educational. All information is the same that will be found on a mortgage report, but the weight given in scoring is completely different. The idea is that the consumer can see how they compare to national averages and can catch errors. Mortgage scores are based on FICO Scores, which have many different versions and the newest model is rarely used right away in the industry.

      Generally speaking, myfico.com is the only source to get your true “mortgage” scores. Of the FICO scores, there are different types of scores used by auto lenders, credit card companies, and mortgage companies.

      • FICO Credit can range from no credit to scores between 300 and 850
      • 750+ is considered excellent credit
      • There are 3 Bureaus who report credit that all banks use to determine credit worthiness. They are: Experian, Equifax, and Transunion.
      • However, the types of free online scores most consumers see are actually different than what a lender uses.

      Need help getting ready to apply for a pre-approval or mortgage? Contact one of our S.M.A.R.T. Mortgage Specialists today.


      5 Questions to Ask your Bank BEFORE applying for a mortgage

      September 9th, 2018 by Ima Admin

      Make sure to ask your bank these 5 questions before applying for a mortgage.  We know the many great services they offer, but we specialize ONLY in mortgages, which gives you an upper hand.

      #1: Will I be pre-approved or pre-qualified?

      As we’ve stated in this previous article, being pre-approved and pre-qualified are two different things and the latter doesn’t have any value when the rubber hits the road. The purpose of a pre-qualification is to give a general idea of what to expect, but nothing is concrete until the more in-depth analysis of the pre-approval process. At Inlanta, we do a lot of the legwork during this step to give you more buying power when it comes time to make an offer.

      #2: What does your loan process look like from beginning to end?

      Since we are doing an in-depth analysis of your financials upfront the loan process moves smoother and quicker.  With your income and assets evaluated from the beginning we are able to streamline the mortgage process and get your loan into our processor right away and on to underwriting.  During the underwriting stage you will most likely be requested for a few clarifying documents to complete the process.  The underwriter may also request some updates to the appraisal report and purchase agreement.  This is done just to make sure everything matches exactly.

      You are looking for a mortgage loan process that is smooth and flows cohesively.  Many times the person you originally speak to has no control on what the process looks like or what is happening.  That can be frustrating for all involved.

      Learn More About Inlanta’s Loan Process

      #3: How long does it take to close my loan?

      This is a much bigger question than it appears.  We will start of with the standard answer; most mortgage transactions take 30-45 days.  There are an overwhelming number of variables that can cut this time frame down to 10 days but also as many that could extend the loan to more than 45 days.

      Generally speaking, Inlanta closes mortgage transactions in 20 days.  The reason why we are able to close faster is because of our upfront work to truly pre-approve our clients as well as Inlanta’s commitment to work off of your purchase contract date.  We will try to do what is needed to get you to the closing table on your agreed upon date.  This does take your cooperation to provide all the documentation and paperwork that is requested by the deadlines given to keep everything on track.

      #4: Do you use an appraisal management company?

      This seems like a small detail in the grand scheme of things, but it’s an important question to ask.  All appraisals are not created equal.  An appraisal management company is a third party who has a large number of appraisers signed up to work for them as contractors to insure they are not unduly influenced by the mortgage lender.  These appraisers have to do more appraisals to earn the same amount of money and many times will accept orders outside of their area of familiarity.

      There is an additional option to have a separate internal appraisal desk that manages the ordering of appraisals to ensure the appraisers are local and complete a thorough report. The biggest benefit of using a local appraiser rather than an outsourced one is that he or she will have first-hand knowledge about the area and neighborhood.  Additionally, the appraisers can be vetted more thoroughly.

      If you want to get a better idea on what an appraisal management company is and how it came about; read this from NAR:  NAR Issue Brief: Appraisal Management Company Q&A

      #5: How and when will I be communicated with?

      You will be communicated with every step of the way. The mortgage process is complicated, but having all parties involved work together as a team will keep it from being difficult. Keeping everyone in the loop, whether it’s by phone, email, or text, is key to achieving this, and rest assured that Inlanta Mortgage Grand Rapids will do our part to make sure everyone involved is on the same page.

       

      Already have a pre-approval?  Take a minute to check your quote.



      Inlanta Mortgage – #1 Independent Mortgage Broker in WI

      January 18th, 2018 by Ima Admin

      number 1 mortgage lender grand rapids mi depicted by charts and world

      The Inlanta Grand Rapids Mortgage team is proud to share the news that its parent company, Inlanta Mortgage WI, has been named the #1 Independent Mortgage broker in Wisconsin, where the company is headquartered.

      “Our team is delighted to celebrate Inlanta’s 25th Anniversary with the news that our parent company closed the highest number of loans in its home state,” said Grand Rapids Inlanta Mortgage branch manager Jonathan Arnold. “The news comes amidst our local growth in the Grand Rapids market as a premier independent mortgage company. It’s my personal mission to become the go-to lender for Michiganders.”

      As an independent mortgage banker, Inlanta offers a larger variety of loan options such as VA, USDA, and FHA, than is typically offered by most lenders. The Grand Rapids Inlanta team is also able to serve the entire state of Michigan, including underserved rural markets whereas many lenders only focus on the larger loan amounts in bigger metro areas.

      About Inlanta Mortgage

      Headquartered in Pewaukee, WI, Inlanta Mortgage was established in 1993. The company has grown to over 40 branches in 20 states and over 250 employees. Inlanta Mortgage’s mission is to be the home financing partner that you trust to serve your family, friends, and community. Their team of dedicated mortgage professionals is committed to delivering an exceptional experience using honest and ethical lending practices.
      Inlanta Mortgage was named a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Top Workplace in 2014, 2015, and 2016. Inlanta has been consistently recognized as one of the “50 Best Mortgage Companies to Work For” by Mortgage Executive Magazine and one of the country’s “Top Mortgage Employers” by National Mortgage Professional.

      Grand Rapids Mortgage Branch

      Locally, Inlanta branch manager Jonathan Arnold has been recognized as a “Rising Star” by the Michigan Mortgage Lenders Association and was named top producer of all Inlanta branches for the third year in a row last year. Arnold’s teammate, Katrina Cole, was also acknowledged as a “40 Under 40” to watch by the MMLA, for which she serves as President of the West Chapter. Arnold is regularly called upon to share his expertise in the Grand Rapids residential real estate market for investors and homeowners who want to navigate the burgeoning real estate market.

      For a jump on the spring market, download this Grand Rapids Real Estate Buyers Guide:

      Get the 5 Secrets to Winning in a Tight Real Estate Market

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        Free Mortgage Calculators and Affordability Calculator with New Inlanta “IMhome” App

        November 28th, 2017 by Ima Admin

        Inlanta Mortgage Grand Rapids is happy to say “there’s an app for that!” with the release of its robust “IMhome” app, which features mortgage calculators and homebuyer guide information. Are you a first-time home buyer wondering what kind of mortgage payment you can afford? Maybe you’re in the market to refinance your home, and want to run some scenarios. Or you’re ready to move up to your dream home and would like to see what’s involved in getting a Jumbo mortgage.

        You can run scenarios for different types of mortgages, and save your calculations. The app, brought to you by Grand Rapid’s leading Mortgage company, will also allow you to upload documents if you decide to apply for a home loan, and will keep your communications organized with it’s simple, easy-to-use interface.

        Features of the IMhome Mortgage App

        Take a moment to scroll through these screen shots to see the different mortgage calculators available:

        • FHA Mortgage Calculator
        • VA Mortgage Calculator
        • USDA Mortgage Calculator
        • Conventional Mortgage Calculator
        • Jumbo Mortgage Calculator
        • Affordability Calculator
        • Amortization Schedule

        In addition, you’ll have quick links at your finger tips for:

        • Homebuyers Guides
        • Loan Application
        • Loan Status Updates every step of the way
        • Scan and upload documents securely
        • Easy Access to call or text your loan originator
        • Plus News, Guides and a Glossary of mortgage terms

        How to Install Inlanta’s IMhome Mortgage App

        Check out this quick video tutorial to help you get started.


        Inlanta Mortgage Grand Rapids Helps Veteran Journey to Homeownership

        October 17th, 2017 by Ima Admin

        Bryan Heath and his wife Danielle outside of their new home in West Michigan

        Inlanta Mortgage Grand Rapids recently had the pleasure of helping a local veteran on his quest for homeownership through the VA Mortgage program. Bryan has elected to share his story to raise awareness of the challenges vets face in financing homes and re-entering civilian life. If you know someone his story can help, please share this article.

        The Plight of Veterans

        • Homeless Vets: According to the National Coalition for Homeless Vets, the national average of veterans homeless on a given night is 39,471. Meanwhile, another 1.4 million vets are considered at risk of homelessness due to poverty, lack of support networks, and dismal living conditions.
        • Traumatic Brain Injury and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: According to Wounded Warrior, there are currently 433,000 veterans who suffer from Traumatic Brain Injury, and 13.8% of veterans who will be diagnosed with PTSD.
        • Suicide: According to an updated 2016 Study by Veteran Affairs, an estimated average of 20 veterans commit suicide per day in America – representing 18% of all suicides. A growing body of research suggests that stable housing may help reduce stress, which is an important aspect of suicide prevention.
        • Substance Abuse: While there is no definitive national statistic currently available, various studies suggest that substance abuse affects anywhere from 15% to 39% of the veteran population who served in Afghanistan and Iraq, and that substance abuse is on the rise.
        • Where to get help: Veterans Crisis Line offers text, chat and phone support plus features an online database of where to get direct assistance. Visit https://www.veteranscrisisline.net/

        Far From Home

        For Bryan Heath, a home of his own would be his “safe place.” But finding that sense of peace and belonging was a long hike through dangerous terrain. The journey would span Afghanistan and the battlefields of Iraq, but little did Bryan know his gravest danger wasn’t on foreign soil. The perils facing veterans on home turf in the USA are multiple, and in some cases, can be just as deadly as engagement. Twenty veterans will take their lives today, according to Veterans Affairs research, and at higher risk of suicide are the thousands that suffer PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury. A staggering 39,471 veterans across the country will be homeless tonight. (See sidebar.)

        An even larger number of Afghanistan and Iraq veterans will struggle with alcoholism and other forms of substance abuse to tame the ravaging horrors of war.

        When Bryan joined the Marine Corps right out of high school in 2002, he had no idea he’d face these perils when he returned to US soil.

        After boot camp, the young Grand Rapids man was sent to Afghanistan for his first tour of duty, where he served as a “Motor T” – marine-speak for transport driver.

        Pretty soon, the US was fully engaged in Iraq, where Bryan would spend two more tours that would leave him, and thousands like him, struggling with PTSD when he returned to civilian life.

        “I was anxiety-stricken. I’d shut down. I’d have cold sweats at night, flashbacks…” Bryan recalled.

        Kent County has the fourth largest veteran population in Michigan, estimated at 36,000. According to a report by the US Department of Veterans Affairs, an average of between 11-20% of veterans who fought in the Iraq war suffer PTSD. Bryan would become one of those statistics.

        But before he knew of the struggle he’d face on his return and the haunting legacy of Iraq, he would be blindsided by a loss closer to home. Four days after his discharge, his mother died. Gone were his dreams of spending time with her, supporting her in her illness, when he got out. Those plans had sustained him through the worst times in Iraq. He’d been counting the days to see his mom again.

        “I was devastated. Why was this happening to me? My life became a whirlwind where I spent the next three years drowning in alcohol and living for the moment. If I wasn’t wasted, I didn’t feel comfortable,” Bryan recalls.

        Re-Entry to Civilian Life: From Jobless and Homeless to Moving Forward

        Bryan Heath and his family standing outside of their new West Michigan homeBryan’s experience seeking relief from the overwhelming anxiety and the night terrors of PTSD in the bottom of a bottle is not uncommon among vets. According to the National Veterans Foundation, one study estimated that 39% of Afghanistan and Iraq vets showed signs of substance abuse. Another study in the Journal of the American Medical Association estimated that 12-15% of 88,235 combat veterans deployed to Iraq reported abusing alcohol. A NIDA study estimated that 25% of vets aged between 18 and 25 exhibited substance abuse or mental health disorders, more than double the incidence of older veterans.

        “If I’d known then what I know now, I wish I’d have taken steps to get involved with the VA (Veterans Association) right then,” Bryan said.

        His path to sobriety and the development of coping skills for civilian life were both thanks to the help he received when he eventually reached out to the VA and joined support groups. That, and the enduring love of a good, strong woman, helped put him on a path toward stable employment and home ownership. But the road was fraught with the snowballing consequences of his early struggles when discharged.

        “In 2009, it was not a good economy. I was living paycheck to paycheck through a series of temp jobs,” Bryan said. “Survival was the focus, and my credit rating suffered.”

        Like many vets, he and his family were homeless, staying with friends and family for a few months. After that, it was a series of apartments and eventually a mobile home.

        At the time, homeownership seemed like an impossible dream. Meanwhile, four marines he’d served with had taken their own lives. That scared him more than anything. So too did a year-long separation from the woman that had become his wife, Danielle. When they reunited, Bryan knew he had to get serious about creating a stable life for himself and his family.

        “That pushed me to reach out to ‘the wizards’ at the VA. They truly do help. It’s all in how you deal with it,” he said

        For Bryan, ‘dealing with it’ meant doing some serious self-study in a range of group therapy settings, from AA to VA.

        “What I came to understand is that I wasn’t ‘owed’ anything. But I did have benefits, and I had to use them and put forth the effort. You’ve got to work at it,” Bryan said. “I had to stop feeling sorry for myself and develop new coping strategies.”

        Bryan caught a lucky break when he was offered an apprenticeship as a machinist at a local company committed to helping vets in 2011. Stable employment was the first piece of the puzzle that would later help him access a VA loan through the Jonathan Arnold team at Inlanta.

        After a rocky interlude early in his apprenticeship, Bryan returned to sobriety and reconciled with Danielle.
        “We were going to work this out. We knew we loved each other. We pinched every penny that we could. We didn’t want to live paycheck to paycheck. We wanted a place to call home.”

        The Path to Home Ownership

        The next step was to sit down with Jonathan Arnold, Inlanta VA loan expert and branch manager, to map out a strategy for restoring his credit in order to qualify for a VA mortgage.

        “I honestly thought he’d laugh at me. I felt bashful,” Bryan admits. But Danielle was adamant. They were going to do whatever it took to qualify.

        In Bryan’s case, that meant paying down debt to strategically improve his credit score, which had been battered during his struggle with PTSD and substance abuse combined with an unstable income. Danielle took the reigns and put him on “an allowance.”

        During the credit clean up process, the Heath family caught another lucky break.

        The score minimums for Inlanta’s government-backed loans, including the VA, were dropped from 620 to 581 in qualifying circumstances. The Heaths met those circumstances.

        “From day one, Jonathan and his team said they could get me there. I was very much amazed. I thought it was going to be much harder than it was,” Bryan said. “To me, it was a breeze. Everybody made sure we knew how to get something in when it was needed. They were top of the line, amazing,” Bryan said.

        “From day one, Jonathan and his team said they could get me there. I was very much amazed. I thought it was going to be much harder than it was,” Bryan said. “To me, it was a breeze. Everybody made sure we knew how to get something in when it was needed. They were top of the line, amazing,” Bryan said.

        Unlike many of his veteran friends who found qualifying for a VA home loan nearly impossible, he said his experience was “very smooth.” He credits this comparative ease to the pre-application guidance he was given.

        “Jonathan gave me a list outlining exactly what we had to do,” Bryan said.

        Together with an all-star effort from realtor Josh Livingston from JH Realty Partners, Bryan’s “home” team stuck with him through the first half of 2017 all the way to a June closing.

        Every day, Bryan and Danielle would drive past their dream home on their way to work, filled with anticipation. They were tired of rentals, trailer parks, and relying on the good graces of family members. Their dream was within tantalizing reach. They were packed up and ready to go two days before the deal closed.

        On closing day, as soon as they got the keys, Bryan, Danielle, and their daughter, Destiny, sprawled out on the bare living room, soaking in the joy of accomplishment and amazed that it had really happened. Django, the family’s American bulldog, tore around the huge, fenced backyard for an hour, reveling in his off-leash freedom.

        For Bryan, home ownership has brought another kind of freedom – freedom from stress, and a feeling of safety.

        “It’s alleviated a lot of my stress and tension. If you have PTSD or traumatic brain injury, homeownership is only going to help,” he said. “I’m more at home than I’ve ever been in my life.”

        In their short time in their new home, the Heaths have already hosted a family boxing party, and are looking forward to hosting their first Thanksgiving gathering, something they’ve never been able to do. Bryan doesn’t mind tending to his “honey-do” list. Like freedom, it’s been hard-won.

        “Having a place to go home to that’s yours…it’s the key to everything,” Bryan said. “It’s your safe space.”

        For others who are struggling as he did, Bryan wants them to know it’s important to reach out and receive support through the VA and the veterans’ community. It might feel like a long journey, but there’s light in the end. “There’s hope out there.”

        How to get help:

        Bryan has learned first hand that one of the most useful strategies for re-integration with civilian life and dealing with PTSD is to join veteran support groups and “talk it out.”

        If you’re a vet, consider reaching out to the local Veterans Administration at: https://www.va.gov/directory/guide/facility.asp?ID=429

        For additional support or to Donate to assist veterans, visit: http://www.westmichiganveterans.com/

        For veteran fellowship and outdoor recreation opportunities, Bryan is grateful to the Veterans and Sportsmen United, http://www.veteransandsportsmen.org/ 269.214.0835

        For information on AA, use the location finder available at: http://www.aa.org/

        For help applying for a VA mortgage or seeing if you would qualify, Contact the Jonathan Arnold team at Inlanta Mortgage Grand Rapids.

        For help finding a new home, Bryan highly recommends Joshua Livingston
        JH Realty Partners:  josh@wearejhr.com 616.550.2251