First Home Mortgage Welcomes Michael Parsons as Branch Manager of our New Gaithersburg, Maryland Branch

Big news – we’ve got a new branch, and just the person to lead it! We are thrilled to announce the opening of our new location in Gaithersburg, Maryland, and the appointment of Michael Parsons as its Branch Manager.

Michael is more than your average mortgage professional – he’s also a natural leader who started his own brokerage in Rockville, Maryland when he was just 26 years old! Since then, he has accumulated more than 30 years of mortgage experience in the Washington metropolitan area, including time spent serving as President of the Maryland Mortgage Bankers & Brokers Association (MMBBA) and founding Chairperson of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference (MARC).

After growing his brokerage into an Independent Mortgage Bank (IMB) in 2010, Michael eventually made the decision to sell the company and explore new options – a journey that would lead him to First Home. As Branch Manager, he will help us continue expanding the scope of our operations and reach new communities through our Gaithersburg office.

“I am thrilled to join the First Home team,” said Michael Parsons. “Our long-term home ownership vision and entire financial plan is at the core of what I believe will drive personal and generational wealth for both first-time and experienced homebuyers. I look forward to working with the Gaithersburg team and supporting our clients in their homebuying journey.”

At First Home Mortgage, we are committed to providing exceptional results and superior service to our clients. With Michael’s leadership and the support of our highly qualified and experienced professionals, we look forward to serving more customers in achieving their home ownership goals.

Welcome to the team, Michael! We are excited to watch you shape the growth and success of our Gaithersburg office and team.

A Simple Guide to Spring Cleaning: Five Tips for a Healthier, Happier Home

Spring is finally here, and it’s the perfect time to freshen up your home with a good cleaning and decluttering. While it may seem daunting, following some simple house cleaning tips can make the process much more manageable:

Plan it out

Before you start cleaning, make a plan. Decide which areas you want to tackle first and what tasks are most important. Creating a checklist can help you stay organized and focused on what needs to be done. Consider tasks that are often overlooked, such as changing your air filter, wiping down the walls, and machine washing your curtains.


One of the most helpful things you can do when spring cleaning is declutter. Take some time to go through every room and get rid of anything you no longer need or want. Consider donating or selling items that are in good condition and throwing away or recycling anything that is broken or unusable. This can help create more space and make your home feel more organized.

Deep clean

Once you’ve decluttered, it’s time to deep clean. This includes dusting, vacuuming, mopping, and wiping down surfaces. Don’t forget to clean the areas that are often overlooked, such as baseboards, light fixtures, and appliances. Giving your home a good deep clean can help get rid of any dirt or grime that has built up over the winter months.

Wash windows

Let the sunshine in by washing your windows inside and out. Use a squeegee and a window cleaning solution to get streak-free windows. Don’t forget to clean your window sills and frames as well. This can help brighten up your living space and make it feel more open and welcoming to guests.


Once everything is clean, it’s time to organize. Use storage solutions to keep everything in its place, and label items for easy access. This can help keep your home looking tidy and make it easier to find things when you need them, while making the most of your space.

By following these simple spring house cleaning tips, you can have a fresh and organized home in no time, helping you reduce stress and improve your overall well-being. So, put on some music, grab your cleaning supplies, and get ready to give your home the TLC it deserves!

Whether you’re getting your house in order for a spring seller’s market or a first time homebuyer looking to make a purchase, First Home Mortgage is here to help! Reach out to one of our qualified loan officers today to learn more.

Congratulations to Matt Nader, Our New SVP, Director of Sales!

First Home Mortgage is excited to announce that Matt Nader, Branch Manager of our Annapolis, Maryland office, has been named our new Senior Vice President, Director of Sales!

As a mortgage industry veteran with over 17 years of experience, Matt has distinguished himself through top-notch client service and world-class leadership. In his nearly five years with our team, he has earned the title of top originator for the last four consecutive years.

Those who have worked closely with Matt can attest to his professionalism and his qualifications for this well-deserved promotion to his new role, including the President of First Home Mortgage, Steve Lagana.

“As a co-leader of our Annapolis Branch, Matt has excelled,” said Steve. “The Annapolis team has grown under his leadership, delivering high volume and successful outcomes. Despite his busy schedule, Matt is generous with his time, and has a solid reputation for supporting and assisting our loan officers not only in Annapolis, but across the entire organization.”

As Senior Vice President, Director of Sales, Matt now joins the First Home Mortgage executive team, where he will work alongside other leaders to foster a vibrant and effective workforce dedicated to our customers and working partners.

“The last five years of originating at First Home have been the greatest chapter of my career,” said Matt. “I am looking forward to this new opportunity, and I can’t wait to dig in deeper with our sales force and marketing team to further build our origination business, open new relationships, and continue to be the best retail mortgage provider in the U.S.”

Congratulations on the new role, Matt – we can’t wait to see what you’ll accomplish next!

First Home Mortgage Wins 2023 ICE Innovation Award!

First Home Mortgage is proud to announce our latest achievement as recipient of the 2023 ICE Innovation Award in the category of Best Application-to-Closed Loan Conversion Process! 

The ICE Innovation Award “recognizes industry leaders who are pushing the envelope by creating extraordinary solutions with ICE Mortgage Technology to achieve their business goals.” Recipients of the award have utilized ICE Mortgage Technology solutions in revolutionary ways to improve the digital mortgage experience and enhance overall consumer engagement.  

Here’s what ICE Mortgage Technology had to say about why we earned this distinction: 

“First Home Mortgage discovered that the key to increasing conversion rates was to remove all roadblocks at the initial application stage and solve problems before they arise. By customizing applications based on service area, and even for individual loan officers, they were able to confidently direct borrowers to the Encompass Consumer Connect® portal knowing that they’ll get all the correct information they need right from the start. Being able to take complete applications and have the applicant upload their documentation right at the beginning is crucial for loan officers to quickly identify potential issues and deal with them early in the process. First Home Mortgage now delivers a smoother borrower experience and has achieved an outstanding application-to-closed-loan conversion rate. 

The entire First Home Mortgage team is honored to have won this award from ICE Mortgage Technology, a leader in the mortgage technology space with a reputation for developing tools that modernize the real estate experience. “We’re thrilled to recognize forward thinking companies that embrace technology that deliver the American dream of homeownership to their customers and create competitive advantages for themselves,” said Jonas Moe, SVP, Marketing and Market Strategy, ICE Mortgage Technology. 

The award illustrates how industry leaders are acknowledging and appreciating our efforts to deliver exceptional experiences to our borrowers through the use of superior technological solutions, like the Encompass® loan origination software developed by ICE Mortgage Technology. 

“Just recently, one of my Encompass support specialists was on a three-way call with a borrower and loan officer,” said Eric McCall, VP of Operations at First Home Mortgage. “The borrower was having some trouble navigating the system and she was blown away by the loan officer’s ability to walk her through the system. With his knowledge of the product, the loan officer was able to quickly resolve the issue and avoid frustrating the borrower.”  

We couldn’t be more excited to begin 2023 with such distinguished recognition for our longstanding commitment to supporting our customers in making their dreams happen! Contact us today to see how the experts at First Home Mortgage can put our technical innovations to work by getting you pre-qualified and into your dream home! 

The Federal Reserve Increases Federal Funds Rate – Here’s Why It Matters!

The Federal Reserve’s latest meeting just wrapped up, so what are the key takeaways for you?

This afternoon, the Federal Reserve increased the Federal Funds Rate by .25%. It’s critical to understand that when you might see headlines about the Fed increasing their target rates, it usually doesn’t directly impact the mortgage rate you’re able to obtain. In fact, rates for 30-year conventional mortgages have declined by more than 1% over the last few months according to major market surveys.

The Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee implements policies that help to speed up or cool down the overall U.S. economy. Because inflation has been reported at levels above the Fed’s stated target, the Fed has been trying to slow down the economy and get inflation back under control. Their primary mechanism to do this is to raise the Fed Funds Rate – the rate that banks charge each other to lend money back and forth. When this rate increases the economy tends to slow down, which helps get inflation back in line.

Believe it or not, today’s announcement of a .25% increase in the Fed Funds Rate is actually the smallest increase the Fed has made in almost a year (since March 2022)! This means that the Fed is starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel in our current economy, and we’re likely approaching the end of the rate-hiking cycle. Lower inflation means we all have more purchasing power, and our paychecks can stretch further month-to-month!

While today’s news is positive, it can still be tricky to navigate our current market. Contact the experts at First Home Mortgage today to stay informed on your homebuying decisions!

Introducing First Home Heroes!

We’re proud to announce the launch of our new First Home Heroes program! We want to recognize the heroes in our communities — including first responders, teachers, and medical professionals — and thank them for everything they have sacrificed to protect us, educate us, and keep us safe and healthy.

This new initiative reduces some of the out-of-pocket closing costs associated with the loan application process to help make homeownership a reality for these everyday heroes!

This reduction is made possible by eliminating certain fees during the lending process. Eligible borrowers will have their application, underwriting, and processing fees credited back to them at time of closing, up to a maximum of $1,585.

This new program builds on our efforts to help make homeownership a reality for all — especially those who most deserve it!

If you are a police officer, firefighter, educator, or medical professional (including nurses, doctors, and other healthcare workers), you may be eligible! If you’re purchasing a new home, First Home Heroes is here for you.

Contact one of our qualified loan officers today to see if you’re eligible

The Federal Reserve Just Increased Target Rates – What It Means for You!

The Federal Reserve has just shared their perspective on the economy – so how does it impact your homebuying process?

Today the Fed increased their target rates by .50%. Importantly, this doesn’t mean that prevailing mortgage rates increased overnight! In fact, average mortgage rates have actually declined since the Fed’s last rate announcement in early November.

The Fed periodically raises and lowers the Fed Funds rate in order to either speed or slow the pace of the overall economy. With inflation continuing to remain above the Fed’s stated goal, they are trying to slow down the economy and bring inflation under control. The Fed’s dual goals are to increase employment rates across the economy, and to maintain low inflation. Today’s action is an effort to get inflation back in line.

The good news is that the pace of inflation has been slowing in recent months. The Fed recognizes this; accordingly today they were able to raise rates by the lowest amount since June, a sign that they are beginning to see results in their fight against inflation. That’s good news for all of us: lower inflation means our dollars go farther every month!

Tracking what the Federal Reserve’s actions might mean for your homebuying decision can be challenging. If you’re thinking about purchasing a home, contact the professionals at First Home Mortgage today to help stay informed!

New Conforming Loan Limits Are Here!

The results are in, and they could have an impact on your home buying journey. Effective today, homebuyers may now borrow up to $726,200 in most counties and up to $1,089,300 in higher-cost areas!

The limit on conforming loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is assessed annually. In September, First Home Mortgage responded to a challenging market by updating the conforming loan limit to $715,000 in most counties and allowing qualified homebuyers the opportunity to borrow above the limit while still enjoying the efficiencies of a conforming loan. Today’s announcement pushes that limit even higher to $726,200 for most borrowers.

This news follows the 2021 increase to $548,250 and the 2022 update up to $647,000. Taken together, this represents a 32% increase in just two years. Click here to see how your county compares to the surrounding region — and, as always, don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our qualified loan officers with any questions!

Author: James Baublitz, VP of Capital Markets

Home Inspection: Factors to Keep in Mind when Buying a Home

Home Inspections help buyers to identify any major issues with a home before closing. An inspector will evaluate the property and write up a list of major and minor repairs that need to be made. Without any penalties as a buyer, you are able to walk away from the purchase offer if there are major defects found with the home. This is ideal for any buyer that doesn’t want the burden of high-cost fixes after closing. Here are some things to keep in mind when purchasing a home.  

  • Home inspection contingencies. A home inspection contingency gives buyers the opportunity to hire a professional home inspector of their choice to point out any issues with the home, both major and minor. With this contingency in place, buyers can walk away from the purchase offer if they choose to. 
  • Financing. Keep in mind many lenders will not finance a loan without a home inspection.  
  • Home inspections can find life-threatening problems like mold or faulty wiring, which could cause a fire.  
  • Inspectors will examine the exterior and interior parts of the home, including but not limited to electrical, plumbing, roof, HVAC, and foundation.  
  • You can negotiate! Home inspection results are a great way to negotiate if you want the home but don’t want to be stuck with all the fixes. Negotiating through the seller fixing some items or shaving off money from the offer could help with the list of issues that arise.  
  • Buyers will typically have a window of time after the home inspection is completed to terminate the purchase and sales agreement or negotiate if they choose.  

Are you interested in purchasing a home and have questions? Reach out to a qualified loan officer today to learn more!  

Introducing First Home Advantage

We’re excited to announce the launch of our new First Home Advantage program! We couldn’t be more excited about this chance to provide exceptional service to first-time homebuyers — this new program is an opportunity to level the playing field for those who may have been overlooked in the past due to issues with their credit score. 

Under the First Home Advantage program, eligible first-time homeowners will see substantial reductions in offered rates. Borrower eligibility is based upon both their annual income and geography, with different income limits in specific counties. In certain high-cost regions, annual incomes as high as $168,600 are eligible for this program. 

This new program builds upon First Home Mortgage’s commitment to delivering exceptional service to all potential borrowers, especially those engaging in the process for the first time. Despite a substantial increase in prevailing mortgage rates in 2022, over 40% of loans originated by First Home Mortgage have been to first-time homeowners. With the launch of the First Home Advantage program, you’re one step closer to your first home! 

Even as home prices continue to increase, First Home Mortgage is still able to offer competitive rates to borrowers like you, thanks to the new First Home Advantage program. While the current market presents a challenge, our loan officers can safely guide buyers through the process with confidence and ease. If you’re in the market to buy a home, get in touch with the experts at First Home Mortgage — let’s see if you’re eligible so we can help get you home! 

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