Jodi White Joins the First Home Team as Branch Manager of Our New Gainesville, VA Office

Spring is in full swing and First Home Mortgage continues to grow and thrive with the addition of our newest branch location, opening soon in Gainesville, Virginia!

Of course, an office is just a building, and it takes a team to really make things happen. That’s why we’re excited to announce that industry veteran extraordinaire Jodi White has joined the First Home family and will be leading operations in Gainesville as Branch Manager. Welcome home, Jodi!

The office may be brand new, but Jodi will be bringing nearly three decades of experience to her team, partners, and clients. Her background in mortgage lending spans 27 years, beginning as a loan originator in 1996 and extending into positions in management and branch operations, with an impressive list of top producer awards secured along the way.

“Jodi’s rich professional history and impressive performance record would make her a valuable asset to any lender,” said Matt Nader, Senior Vice President and Director of Sales for First Home Mortgage. “As we set down roots with this office location in Gainesville, we can do so with confidence that our newest branch is in the best of hands.”

Jodi has extensive experience with residential lending, mortgage financing, supporting first-time homebuyers, and both VA and FHA loans. She served on the Prince William Association of Realtors Board of Directors from 2016-2020 and holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Averett University.

“As a proud member of the real estate community in the Commonwealth of Virginia for over 20 years, I’m honored to be representing First Home by helping to open and lead this new branch,” said White. “I believe that partnering with the right lender can make all the difference for a prospective buyer, and through open communication and individual connections, my team and I will work hard to earn the trust of homebuyers in the community.”

When the new location opens its doors, it will bring the total number of First Home offices to 32 – furthering our commitment to establishing deep roots within our communities and helping local borrowers.

Introducing First Home’s Dream Program!

Exciting news for prospective homebuyers looking to enter the market: With the launch of our new First Home’s Dream Program, we’re offering down payment assistance worth up to $3,000 to low- to-moderate-income homebuyers on conventional 30-year mortgages!

We know that saving up for a home can be a huge challenge, especially in today’s housing market. As part of our commitment to making homeownership dreams come true, we’ve launched this innovative new program to help make homebuying more affordable for those who qualify.

Through First Home’s Dream Program, eligible homebuyers can receive up to $3,000 in down payment assistance – which can go a long way towards covering costs associated with purchasing a home. And the best part? This program is open to all homebuyers, not just first-time buyers!

We understand that buying a home can be a stressful and overwhelming experience, but we are here to make the process as smooth as possible. Our team of experts is always available to answer any questions you may have and guide you through the entire process.

At First Home Mortgage, we believe in supporting our local communities and helping families achieve their dreams of homeownership. That’s why we recently launched two other initiatives aimed at helping first-time homebuyers, and community service heroes in qualifying professions.

We are committed to making homeownership more affordable and accessible to everyone, and First Home’s Dream Program is just one of the ways we’re doing that. If you’re interested in learning more about this program and seeing if you qualify for this unique savings opportunity, reach out to one of our experienced, qualified loan officers to see how First Home Mortgage can help!

Don’t let the ghouls in through leaking windows this Halloween.

Are you looking to get your windows fixed or replaced before the winter? Before you do, let’s look behind the curtain and understand what type of sales tricks window salespeople will use.  

The company charges a higher price, ensuring you are overwhelmed by the initial quote.  

    •  This can be a common trend across many different types of vendors. Make sure you are paying attention to competitor pricing and getting multiple quotes. 

The company returns with a “better than ever” deal for you.  

    • Because they started high, this “better than ever” deal will actually be more reasonable to you, but still not a discount.  

You may think this is the best deal ever and jump to sign the contract, but this type of salesperson hopes you will make the jump on this deal because of the fear of the unknown. 

    • They want a quick close of the deal, take your time to look over all quotes to ensure you are going with the right vendor. Also, it would be a good idea to check out reviews from the company to see what other customers experiences are like.  

Larger companies also are aware that there are homeowners who make their purchase decisions quickly and will accept the initial quote and pay the inflated rate. This common sales tactic only adds to the company’s bottom line and supports its massive advertising budget. 

    • The overall takeaway is to not take the initial quote, make sure you shop around, and take your time!  

With a home renovation loan from First Home Mortgage, Sunday scaries and every scary in between will no longer be a concern. With a home improvement loan from First Home Mortgage, borrowers can complete their home renovation project with a fixed-interest rate personal loan. We offer loan term options that let homeowners pick the loan option that’s right for them. That said, don’t let vendors scare you into deals that could break the budget. Are you interested in learning more about renovation loans? Reach out to a qualified loan officer today to learn more!  

Don’t let owning a home top your list of spine-chilling terrors this Halloween! 

Vampires, witches, and ghosts that go bump in the night may have you shivering with fright, but don’t let owning a home top your list of spine-chilling terrors this Halloween. First Home Mortgage is here to lessen your fears and ease the panic regarding homeownership. 

Yes, you may need a down payment when buying a home. But did you know you may be able to put down less than 20%? Some buyers put down 3% or even less, depending on the type of loan, their income, and credit scores.  

Here are some easy steps to follow when making a home purchase:  

Contact a Loan Officer – If you are unsure about where to start first, it is best to consult with a loan officer. They can review your income and expenses and determine what type of mortgage and amount you could qualify for based on your finances.  

Contact a realtor – Once you know the amount of home you can afford, you can have your loan officer provide you with a few realtors to work with in your area. Realtors can help you with areas of interest and types of homes you like based on what you qualify for.  

Your credit – You will want to know your credit score to determine what you qualify for. Remember that you don’t need perfect credit to purchase a home, so don’t let that scare you off. The average credit score in the United States is 698, based on VantageScore data from February 2021.  

Gather all your documents! – When you put an offer in on a home, the process begins for collection of documentation to verify your income. Make sure you are ready! Some forms collected are W-2, tax returns, and pay stubs. You will usually need two years of documentation. 

Still afraid? Reach out to one of our qualified loan officers who can walk you through the home-buying process to make it less scary!


Three Things to Know about the Fed’s Rate Decision

The Federal Reserve just increased the Fed Funds rate .75%. What does that mean, and how does it impact the mortgage market? Here are three things to know about today’s news:

1. The Federal Reserve Influences Mortgage Rates, They Do Not Set Them

Many have the misconception that the Federal Reserve’s actions have a direct impact on mortgage rates. Many assume that if a mortgage was offered 6% this morning, it’s now 6.75% after this afternoon’s announcement. That isn’t the case, however. The Federal Reserve sets the rates banks charge each other, not the rates lenders offer borrowers. The Fed’s actions influence the overall rate environment; it doesn’t set those rates.

2. The Federal Reserve is Trying to Ease Inflation

The Federal Reserve is heavily-focused on easing inflation in the US economy. They are trying to be aggressive in their actions to stop inflation before it takes hold for the long haul. This is good news for home affordability; lower inflation helps boost borrower buying power.

3. Today’s Rate Decision is a Step in the Right Direction for the Economy

The Federal Reserve has two goals: full employment and price stability. The unemployment rate remains low at below 4%, but increasing inflation is causing problems in the US economy. The Federal Reserve’s focus on reining in inflation and today’s announcement will make a significant impact in helping to stabilize the economy as a whole.

Contact us or one of our qualified Loan Officers to learn more!

Author: James Baublitz, VP Capital Markets

Mortgage-Related Agencies to Know

When buying a home and exploring mortgage options, you’re likely to encounter different agencies you may not be familiar with. What do these mortgage-related agencies do and why are they important?

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are two separate entities that purchase mortgages from banks. Fannie Mae is short for the Federal National Mortgage Association while Freddie Mac is short for the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation. Both Fannie and Freddie’s purpose is essentially to give lenders more capital via the sale of mortgages which, in turn, allows the lenders to continue offering loans to additional borrowers. Fannie is the older organization of the two, having been established in 1938 while Freddie was established in 1970. They have different requirements for the kind of mortgages they purchase, and a key difference between the two is that Fannie Mae generally tends to buy loans from bigger lenders and commercial banks. In contrast, Freddie Mac tends to buy loans from smaller banks.


The Federal Housing Administration, or FHA for short, is a government agency that falls within the Department of Housing and Urban Development, otherwise known as HUD. The FHA was founded as part of the National Housing Act of 1934 introduced by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as part of his famous New Deal. The FHA offers mortgage insurance-backed mortgages to consumers via specific FHA-approved lenders (of which First Home Mortgage is one). FHA loans are often thought of as allowing individuals, particularly those with lower incomes, to obtain homes they would otherwise not be able to afford. FHA loans are known for their 3.5% down payment and lower closing costs and credit requirements.


The United States Department of Agriculture, also known as the USDA, is the federal department tasked with overseeing public policy related to agriculture, food, natural resources, rural development, and more. The USDA offers home loans for properties in eligible rural areas to low- and moderate-income households who meet certain requirements. USDA loans offer 100% financing (no down payment required), but borrowers must meet income eligibility; their income can not exceed 115% of the property area’s median household income. Check out their online eligibility tool to see if a property is USDA eligible.


The United States Department of Veterans Affairs, more commonly known as the VA, is the executive branch department that oversees healthcare and other benefits and services for military veterans. One of the services offered to veterans by the VA is home loans. VA loans are available to eligible current and former service members and surviving spouses. VA loans are known for not requiring a down payment or mortgage insurance, much like USDA loans, but there are no limitations on where a property may be purchased. To determine if your service qualifies you for a VA loan, speak to a Loan Officer and check out the VA’s requirements.

Are you thinking about buying a new home or refinancing your current mortgage? Contact one of our highly knowledgeable Loan Officers today to discuss your financing options.

The Best Home Technology Featured at CES 2022

What’s better than being a homeowner? Being a smart homeowner! And thanks to CES 2022, we now know about the incredible technology that will soon be available to make your life at home even easier. Here’s a look at our top five favorite items that were featured at the show.*

  • LG is taking cooking appliances to the next level. The company introduced the InstaView Double Oven Range that features InstaView technology – all you have to do is knock on the window glass and the interior oven light will turn on. It also includes a design that makes cooking more efficient by reducing bake times. And this oven can also be used as an air-fryer or in sous vide mode.
  • Programmable motorized blinds by Eve x Coulisse allow you to schedule when your blinds open and close. They include Bluetooth connectivity and Apple HomeKit so you can control them from your device.
  • In 2022, a light bulb is much more than just a source of light. Sengled has announced their new Smart Health Monitoring Bulb that will track your sleep, heart rate, and other biometric measurements including body temperature using radar. The bulb can work alone, or multiple bulbs connected via a Bluetooth mesh network work together to create a virtual map that can help detect human behavior. Camp said it could even determine if someone has fallen.
  • You no longer have to worry about cleaning and emptying your robot vacuum. The new Roborock S7 MaxV Ultra features a scrubbing feature plus an automatic mop-lift that raises the pad when going over the carpet. Its compatible Empty Wash Fill dock can also wash the mopping cloth and refill the tank with water, as well as empty the vacuum and clean the dock. Sign us up!
  • And last but not least, Kohler has done it again. If taking a bath at the end of the day sounds like a dream come true, you’re going to want to continue reading about their two new products. First up, the Stillness freestanding bath features light, fog, and aromas to help relax the mind. Kohler also introduced their PerfectFill technology that includes a built-in voice assistant to control how your bathtub fills, heats, and drains.

*First Home Mortgage was not incentivized in any way by the company’s and products mentioned in this blog post

Preparing For The Holiday Season

With the world slowly getting back to a new normal after Covid-19, this year’s holiday season might reflect the past holiday seasons, which for many is hectic. If you’re hosting dinner at your house this year, your mind is probably going through every detail before guests arrive. Here are a few pointers to help you stay on track and have a (hopefully) stress-free holiday season!


There’s no time to clean every inch of your home the day before your guests arrive, so prioritize cleaning efforts by taking care of what’s needed most. Start by getting rid of clutter from the main living areas and guest bedrooms. Clean the tops of your counters and coffee tables, removing anything unnecessary that takes up space or appears unorganized. If you’re down to the wire, store the clutter in the basement, unused closets, or car trunks. If it’s out of sight, it will be out of mind. You can always reorganize after your guests leave.

Guest Bathroom

If there’s one place you shouldn’t skimp on cleaning, it’s the bathroom. Even if the rest of the house can’t be spotless, pay extra attention to the bathrooms your guests will use. Provide extra toilet paper, fresh towels, clean bathmats, and toiletries (in case someone forgets). Empty your trash bins and remove personal bathroom belongings from the counters. This especially is important if you are hosting overnight guests.


Candles, cooking, and crowded rooms can mean disaster during the holidays. Make sure there are no decorations that could be considered a fire hazard, such as tall uncovered candles. Check your fireplace to see if it’s clean and the door is working properly. Smoke detectors should have fresh batteries and it’s always best to keep a fire extinguisher handy. If there will be children in the home, hide matches and lighters as well as any toxic cleaners.


Consider the number of guests and sitting space available. Bring in more chairs or ottomans and arrange seats so all the guests can move and engage freely. Also, consider the room temperature – a lot of people in one house can get stuffy, so don’t crank up the heat too much. Provide fresh sheets and extra blankets in the guest rooms in case anyone gets cold at night.


Since a home’s foyer has the most traffic, make sure it’s clear of any luggage or shoes. Have a designated place where everyone can place their belongings as soon as they enter. Provide extra hooks and coat hangs when needed. If possible, clear out a closet entirely for guests as well as drawers if they need to unpack.

Kitchen Zone

The kitchen will be the headquarters during the holidays, so make sure it’s ready. Clear your kitchen sink, drying rack, and counter space. Count all of your plates and utensils so you can provide enough for guests. Perform a quick scan of your fridge and create space by tossing what needs to go. Have containers ready for leftovers – for you and for guests to take home. If people tend to visit while you cook, place extra stools or chairs around or within the kitchen along with some drinks and snacks.

In the end, the most important thing to remember is to enjoy your family and friends. Make sure to find the time to relax and be thankful for the memories you’ll make at home!

Adding Value to Your Home This Fall

For most homeowners, fall is the season you adorn the house with harvest decorations and take in the colorful foliage. The new season can also be the perfect time to tackle some home improvement projects you have on your to-do list. The cooler weather makes outside DIY tasks more bearable, or if you decide to hire help, there may be more available contractors during the “off” season.

By making a few minor updates you can increase the curb appeal and overall value of your home. So, if you’re a homeowner planning to sell in the spring or you’re just looking to gain sweat equity, it might be time to roll up your sleeves and invest in a few simple improvements:

Paint the front door.
One of the most effective, yet simple, ways to spruce up your home’s exterior is by painting the front door. Applying a fresh coat of paint instantly gives your home a more polished look and the cooler weather is optimal for exterior painting. Repainting the shutters to match is also a nice touch!

Repair the deck or patio.
Having a deck or patio is something that home buyers value enormously. However, if the wood is warped, splintering, or faded, it becomes more of a problem than a benefit. The sight of a deck in poor condition can reflect badly on the overall aesthetic of the backyard. If your deck needs to be repaired, simply power washing or applying a new finish can do the trick. However, if the overall structure needs work, it’s probably worth the investment to hire outside help.

Power-wash the exterior.
The amount of value this adds to your home depends on the level of cleaning needed. Taking care of a few minor stains will help a home sell and it’s a moderately easy DIY project for the homeowner. However, if most of the exterior needs washing, hiring a professional could add phenomenal value when the job is finished. Although the cost of using outside help might be intimidating, having your home look like new will be worth it.

Replace the windows.
Windows can be a costly investment, so it’s wise to hold off on complete replacement unless there is serious damage, or the insulation is so poor it racks up utility bills. If you have large bay windows, periodic washing of the interior and exterior will help retain your home’s look and value.

Update your HVAC.
If your HVAC system is more than 15 years old, it might be worth it to upgrade. It’s not a major highlight on a buyers list, but if they point out the system is old, it could be a way for them to negotiate a lower price.

Clean the gutters.
Cleaning the gutters probably seems like a less exciting task on the home improvement list, but regular maintenance prevents larger problems down the road. Overlooked rain gutters could amount to foundation damage, which would mean substantial costs and devaluation of a home. To prevent future damage, make sure you stay on track with this chore and give your home the care it needs to last a lifetime.

New Conforming Loan Limits for 2021


The Federal Housing Finance Agency has announced the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac conforming loan limits for mortgages for 2021.

Each year, the baseline conforming loan limit is adjusted accordingly with the change in the average U.S. home price. House prices during the third quarters of 2019 and 2020 have increased by 7.42 percent on average; therefore, the Federal Housing Finance Agency is increasing 2021’s maximum conforming loan limit by the same percentage. This marks the fifth year in a row that there has been a limit increase by the FHFA. The baseline loan limit has increased by $131,250 since 2016.

The limit is different in some places known as high-cost areas. These are areas in which 115 percent of the local median home value is higher than the baseline conforming loan limit. The Housing and Economic Recovery Act establishes the maximum loan limit in those areas while also setting a ceiling on that limit which is 150 percent of the baseline loan limit. The new ceiling loan limit in most high-cost areas for 2021 will be $822,375, which is 150 percent of $548,250.

Here at First Home Mortgage, we continue to provide the highest level of customer service while adhering to social distancing guidelines. Our innovative communication technologies allow us to exceed your expectations while keeping everyone as safe as possible.

If you are considering purchasing or refinancing a home, please contact one of our Loan Officers today!

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