A Post for Pastor Christi’s Friends

Last week Pastor Christi was at a party (I guess like a pastor party or something), where she met several people who read this blog. Yay!

Pastor Christi at the Party

She also discovered that most of them don’t know what we do around here.


Dear friends, allow me to explain.

If you were to buy a house tomorrow, would you pay for it in cash?

Paying Cash for a House

No?Not Paying Cash

Okay, then you’d call us.

Here’s what we do:

What Does a Mortgage Banker do

That’s it. Call us when you are ready to begin house-hunting. We’ll get you the loot to buy the house. (Well, James or Will or Shane or Gobe will get you the loot. I’ll be in my cube browsing the Anthropologie website and eating quinoa.)

Now please continue to read my blog and please continue attending parties with Pastor Christi and please call us when you need a home loan so that they won’t fire me.

Happy Tuesday, folks!

Why V-Shaped Mortgage Banker Will Needs to Stop Weight Lifting

You know how whenever someone puts their house on the market you see a big realtor sign in their yard? Ever wonder who puts those bad boys in the ground? I’ll tell you who does it. It’s V-Shaped Mortgage Banker Will.

Here’s the thing. V-Shaped Mortgage Banker Will is married to a Petite-Shaped Realtor, and the Petite-Shaped Realtor needs help nailing For Sale signs all over Houston for the houses she lists. So somehow she suckers Will into doing it for her, along with lots of other assistant duties. Let’s explore this, shall we?

You Realize You’re a Day Laborer, Right?

An Interview with V-Shaped Mortgage Banker Will Zugheri

Just the Assistant: Okay Will, what all do you do for your wife, professionally speaking?

V-Shaped Will: Well, I put out all of her signs and take up all her signs once the house she has listed has sold. (Pauses to ponder his next sentence.) Now these aren’t the easy signs where you just step on them and they slide into the grass (motioning stepping onto something with ease). She has the big signs with thick posts at the bottom. You have to have a post hole digger to put them in.

JTA: You have to have a post hole digger?

VSW: I’ve been through several of them. I’ve also broken a couple pipes in folks’ yards. We have a landscape guy on speed dial now.

JTA: Is it because you’re shaped like a V? Like, you’re all “Raaahr!” and throwing all your strength into the holes?

VSW (laughing because he is a happy V-Shaped person and not like the grumpy ones on roids): Something like that. But now I know what to look for. I know all about the different types of soil now. When I broke the first pipe, it was the pipe for their sprinkler system and water started filling the hole I’d dug.

JTA: That could be cool because it would create like a geyser to draw attention to her sign. You should start doing that on purpose.

VSW: We should do exactly that. But now I have a poker tool to help me test the ground before I pull the heavy equipment out. I also carry dirt with me to fill the holes when I take the signs up.

JTA (mouth agape): You carry dirt in your mid-life crisis car?

[Note: Will has a BMW to help him cope with the aging process.]

VSW: I take my wife’s car to do the signs.

JTA: Where do you get the dirt?

VSW: I buy it. There are so many grades of dirt. You can get it for like eight dollars or 99 cents. I go towards the end, toward the 99 centers.

JTA: Tell me Will, how many pieces of equipment from Home Depot does it take to be your wife’s assistant?

VSW: Let’s see. There’s the post hole digger, and then the rod I use to test the soil, then the dirt, and I have a grinder to sharpen the post hole digger.

JTA: Dude, you realize you’re a day laborer, right? Does she pay you?

VSW: I’m pretty cheap labor. But she always says thank you. Every time I get in her car she thanks me. But sometimes I still remind her that I put out the signs. I’ll talk about how my back hurts from putting out all the signs that day.

JTA: I would do that to. Except for I’d slip it in. I’d be like, “Yeah today when I was putting out the fourth sign I saw a bird.” What else do you do for her?

VSW: Open houses – sometimes my wife gets tied up so I sit in them in while people come through.

JTA: You answer questions and stuff?

VSW: I can answer mortgage questions and talk about rates of course because I’m a mortgage banker, but I can’t say the square footage of house. You have to be a licensed realtor to tell someone the square footage, so I just point to the flyer and say “It says on here…”

JTA: Ha! You just have to sit there all dumb in the corner. Anything else?

VSW (all nonchalant): I put gas in her car, too. Like this morning I asked if she was going to have to do a lot of running around. She was, so I filled her car up.

JTA: Ohmygosh my husband does that too, and it speaks straight to my soul. You’re a good husband, Will. How many signs do you have to put out today?

VSW: Today I have four.

JTA: Maybe you should sit at my desk since you’re really just an assistant, too. Do you think you’ll start your own blog? Like, Just the Other Assistant dot com? Here, sit at my desk.

Will the Assistant

Okay folks, please honk at Will the next time you see him laboring away on the side of the road, just to encourage him. But don’t honk too many times because the dude apparently doesn’t realize his own strength so he might end up ripping a live oak down with his bare hands in the midst of the distraction.

Now, you all have a fab weekend while I show Will how to set up his WordPress account.

Will Zugheri got in Trouble

We had a meeting today, a meeting in which V-Shaped Mortgage Banker Will got in trouble…

Before we all headed to the conference room, Will leaned over to me like he was about to let me in on a secret. My ears perked up because I figured if Will had any secrets, they’re really good ones, like maybe he’s with the mob (he’s not).

Instead, Will quietly said, “If the occasion arises, if you feel the need to stand up for me in the meeting, I give you permission.”

“Like if I say you have a good heart and that the bosses should think about that?” I suggested.

“That would be great,” he said. He nodded. “Yeah, talk about my heart.”

Once in the conference room, things got tense. It started with James studying a sheet of paper that somehow represents Will (y’all know good and well I don’t understand this business so don’t even ask me what the paper was about), and Will staring at the paper, too, but looking like a scared little boy:

(If the pictures show up small, refresh your page because I spent like an hour on these.)

Will in Trouble 1

Then James was like, “Will, you’re in big trouble, man.”

Will in Trouble 2


Will in Trouble 4

Here’s what Will said back, and y’all I’m not making this up – this is verbatim from my notes:

“I’m getting more and more aware of, uh…But I did…uh…”

Then he started talking about himself in third-person plural for some reason. I’ve heard the third-person thing is a self-defense deal but the plural part is new to me.

“We’re taking steps to…”

Will in Trouble 5

After the meeting, James called everybody out to watch V-Shaped Mortgage Banker Will do 100 push-ups (we don’t play here).

The funniest part of this picture is that nobody’s even watching except for Front Desk Wonder Lady Christi and she was only watching because she got bored at the front desk . It’s like, totally normal that they’re doing push-ups in the middle of the mortgage office (and for the record, James did the push-ups alongside Will):

Will is in Trouble 5

Also for the record, after forty push-ups, James swapped from doing man-push-ups to push-ups like my mom does them (which are fine for my mom, but come on y’all).

And lastly for the record, people, V-Shaped Mortgage Banker Will does have a good heart (spiritually and physically thanks to the push-ups).

Are Interest Rates Through the Roof and Are We All Going to Die?

My Boss Chad thinks he’s the man now. He brought breakfast to this realty group and gave a lesson on lending and mortgages and a bunch of other super boring stuff. The realty group wrote a blog about his visit, complete with a fancy picture, and so now Chad thinks he’s totally famous since he’s highlighted on two blogs. I checked out their website and have noted two interesting facts: 1. You must be insanely beautiful to work there. 2. The insanely beautiful workers have a really cool workspace with big windows and eco reclaimed furniture. I’d be more beautiful if I had furniture like that. I bet they all drink green tea and shop at farmers markets; I just bet you.

Did I mention I still have ants on my desk? And that it’s not even really my desk, just a random open one I’m squatting in until they give it to someone else?

Exhibit A

Exhibit B

Exhibit C

Hey, cool realty company, call me [insert knowing wink here]. I can come make myself useless at your office anytime you like, just like I do at this one.

Speaking of real estate and whatnot, I know y’all don’t come here to read about what you could just find out on CNN (ha! like anybody watches CNN), but hang with me for just a few paragraphs so that you can impress people this weekend.

If you’re like me, you’ve been seeing news stories and headlines saying mortgage interest rates are up. And if you’re like me, you don’t click on those stupid links, and instead click on the link that shows how two movie stars wore the same dress. So instead of clicking on the stupid links, I caught V-Shaped Mortgage Banker Will in the middle of his chicken break he takes every day, and I asked him what’s really going on.

Are Interest Rates Through the Roof and are We All Going to Die?

An interview with V-Shaped Mortgage Banker Will Zugheri

Just the Assistant: Listen Will, are interest rates really up?

V-Shaped Mortgage Banker Will: Yes.

JTA: Are they crazy high now? Like should people be jumping from buildings?

V-Shaped Will: Not at all. I’d say they were still crazy low actually. Put it this way. I bought my first house in nineteen ninety, ninety, uh –  oh gosh when did I get married?

[Just the Assistant Note: At this point, Will totally forgot his anniversary and pulled out his calculator to calculate when he got married. I’m not making that up.]

1991! Got married in 1991 and bought my first house in 1991 and the interest rate was somewhere around 9%. Anyway, I remember my parents were really excited for me that I was getting a mortgage in the single digits. To put it in perspective, rates today, though they’re higher than they were three months ago, are still roughly half of that rate I got back then.

JTA: Do you think they’ll continue to rise?

V-Shaped Will: Good question. I think there’s a better chance of them rising than decreasing.

JTA: Should people try to buy a house soon then?

[JTA Note: This next part is why Will is awesome…]

V-Shaped Will: If someone is house hunting and close to making a decision, now would be a pretty good time to do that, for sure. I think it’d be financially prudent to do that. But I think what’s more important is finding the right house. You know, if you rush into this because you think the rates will go up next week, but then two weeks later you drive by the house you want at night and it’s not what you thought, you won’t be happy. Just find the right house.

JTA: Ah, good advice, Will. That’ll be good for the blog because it’ll show everybody you’re honest. I also want to show everybody how you eat chicken every single day. Then everybody will be all, “Hey, I eat chicken too! Mortgage bankers aren’t all that different after all!”

Will Eating Chicken

Mortgage Bankers: They’re Just Like Us!

Alright folks, you get back to reading something more interesting than a mortgage blog on the Internet, and I’m off to apply insect repellant to my ant bites and pull some folks off the window ledges and tell them we’re fine. We’re just fine.

What’s Ups

Here’s what’s ups…

  • V-Shaped Mortgage Banker Will is remodeling his house, so while the carpenters refinish his floors, he’s staying with his mother. This morning he woke up to coffee on a tray with condiments in a little glass boat. I’m thinking he should stretch out that remodel.
  • The Bosses hired a new guy named Britt. Britt is louder than my brother (my brother is the loudest human living in the state of Georgia). I honestly don’t know what Britt’s role is yet, but I think it has something to do with yelling, “HEY JASON CAN YOU LOOK AT THIS?!” from his office. More on Britt later.
  • A client told Hottest Mortgage Banker in Texas Hayley to kiss his a$$. Want to know why? Because Hayley asked for his business tax returns. The guy ran his own business. Every single person in the country who owns their own business will need to provide business tax returns in order to obtain a non-shady mortgage. But this guy went totally berserk and said he was going to another mortgage company. Hayley had already locked him into an extremely low interest rate with no fees. Rates increased the day the borrower left us, meaning that the next mortgage bank he goes to will charge him a higher interest rate (in addition to asking him for his business tax returns).
  • We’re all leaving early today to go bowling. If you call and get a voicemail saying your mortgage banker is in a meeting, we’re actually just bowling. It’s some sort of team building activity. There may be a trust fall at the end.
  • Hayley accidentally called a realtor babe a few weeks ago. Thankfully I was loitering nearby with my camera.
  • Bye Babe
  • Three people showed up to the Save the Blog party last week. The Save the Blog party was not last week, but three readers showed up at Cottonwood exactly one week early. I have lovely readers; apparently I do not have detail-oriented readers.
  • I still need more people to come to the actual Save the Blog party. Please, please, help me out. Email me (mchristinaledbetter@gmail.com) or comment below to RSVP.
  • There will be free food and drinks at the party.
  • Please come to the party.
  • Please.
  • Off to bowl.

Things Fall Apart (Seriously)

I came in the office today and walked directly over to Online Dater Jason to inquire about his love life. Instead of finding a smiling, noisy Jason like usual, I found a gloomy Jason all hunched over his desk wearing a visor and glasses (he doesn’t wear glasses). Here’s the thing. Jason woke up in the middle of the night with his allergies going haywire and eyes itching galore. Two hours later he woke again, scratching at his eyes like a wildcat. And this morning when he finally got up, the guy was nearly blind. “Jason,” I said, “I think our readers need to know what you’re going through.”

“I don’t think so,” he said.

“You above sympathy loans?” I offered.

Not above sympathy loans, after all.

Not above sympathy loans, after all.

That got me thinking, maybe I could play up everybody’s ailments here. I passed Hottest Mortgage Banker in Texas Hayley’s cube. “Got any ailments?”

She thought for a while, and then lit up. “I bumped my hand on the door!”


Please send us loans.

Please send us loans.

After seeing the attention everyone else was getting, V-Shaped Mortgage Banker Will offered to drum up a flesh wound by smashing his head into his desk.

Ailing Will

Okay, y’all, I’m not even kidding about this next part. As I was prancing around the office asking people for their ailments – “Anybody got any bursitis?” – the ole Boss James walked in. He’d been at the doctor. An orthopedic surgeon. And he was wearing this giant leg cast! I may have physically pushed Jason to the side when I saw James’ ailment. “Sorry Jason. You just got upstaged, buddy.”

Thankfully, James isn’t above trying to score a few sympathy mortgages either.

Help this man. Send mortgages.

Help this man. Send mortgages.

Turns out, James has been experiencing mystery foot pain that resembles, as he says, “someone shoving a knitting needle into my ankle.” (I’ve not had that experience so I’m not sure what’s going on with the ole feet.) He’ll be in the boot for three weeks, and after that, well, we really don’t know. I’ll keep you posted.


What the heck is going on? Y’all, I know I stretch stuff here, but I am not making this up. Just So John just showed up. Half his face is swollen – he just had a tooth pulled! He said the dentist offered him laughing gas for $130 but he said he’d rather buy a new mermaid shirt with that money because it’d make him happier in the long run.

Here’s John demonstrating how he can slap his face and not even feel it.

Help a guy out, y'all.

Vicodin rocks


Jason is back from the optometrist. Poor guy has an ulcer. On his eyeball. Caused from contacts or something.

It’s official. Jason wins. Jason has the worst ailments. Send him the loans.

Okay readers,  please remember to tune in to 700AM in Houston tomorrow evening at 6:00 and listen for my breathing in the background of the finance show (because that’s cool, right? Listening to AM radio on Friday nights?).

Now, I’m out of here before one of my co-workers drops dead. Have a great weekend!

Loans for the Loaded

I have a nun reader. A real live nun – reading my blog! I’ve never met a nun before, so I feel like the blog is really special now, like it’s holy.

Now if you would all bow your heads with me…

The nun is the aunt of one of our new team members. Sandra (the nun’s niece) said her aunt, Sister P, is an avid reader. I’m thankful Sandra passed it along because now when everybody in the office asks why I have such a big head, I can blame her and her aunt and the Catholic Church.

Hey – are any of you rich? Not the nun – I don’t think nuns are allowed to be rich, but is anybody else rich out there? Because if so, Envoy’s jumbo loan rates are stinking low right now.

V-Shaped Mortgage Banker Will just stood up from his cube and said, “Jason, have you seen our jumbo rates?”

Will and the Jumbo

Jason Jumbo

See, our mortgage bankers don’t just choose what rates are. Envoy Mortgage tells these guys what the rates are, and today Envoy  Mortgage tells them the rates on jumbo loans are stinking low, especially when compared to the janky Big Box Banks’. Compared to them I think we have, like, the lowest rates in the universe.

And just so you’ll sound savvy and with it at a dinner party this weekend, a jumbo loan is a home loan for more than $417,000. No clue how that number is chosen. They don’t tell me these things, so unfortunately this is where you’ll stop sounding savvy at the dinner party.

Speaking of sounding savvy, I just overheard one of our new guys, Richard, on the phone, and did y’all know this guy speaks Spanish?

Richard Speaks Spanish

Finally, if you will remember (and if you don’t, it means you are a normal person not addicted to a mortgage blog), I am renting out my former house and am now a landlady. Turns out, being a landlady is a wee more tricky than I’d hoped. Our renters (lovely renters) moved in last Tuesday, the same day as the fridge went out. And over the weekend Houston performed this dazzling little hail storm which resulted in rain streaming through the ceiling of the rental house. Charming, really.

One final note – remember Hayley watched her neighbor’s car being robbed? Well the next night the robber came back and stole the whole car!

Alright folks, while you all lock your car doors and check your bank accounts to see if you can swing a jumbo loan, I’m off to find my nun and confess that I am now a slumlord.

It’s Just Time…What the Heck is APR?

First of all, the caption contest is still going strong! Enter your caption for last week’s post for your chance to win a fancy Just the Assistant t-shirt. Winner will be chosen by the funny police on Friday.


Did you know it’s possible to sleep standing up?  It just happened to me in the middle of a MANDATORY meeting James called in which he and Chad went over Good Faith Estimates (remember that’s the document I never learned ?). They also discussed MI (I know that one – mortgage insurance) and APR (no clue).

Now that our branch has grown so much, there’s not enough room for all of us to sit in the conference room; that’s why I was standing.

I realize it’s tacky to up and leave meetings, and I normally wouldn’t recommend it. But y’all, it was so boring. I’m sure it was important information to know, but I just couldn’t hang. I up and left the meeting. Just walked right out.

Now that I’m out, I thought it’s time we all figured out what the heck APR really is. James started to tell me one time, but them rubbed his forehead and was like, “Can we do this some other time?”

But n0w that I get to write about the whole office, I’ve lassoed Jason and Will in to give me the scoop.

What the heck is APR

An Interview with Mortgage Banker and Online Dater Jason Bates and Mortgage Banker and V-shaped gambler Will Zugheri

APR Buddies


Just the Assistant: Jason, I’ve been working in the mortgage industry for 6 ½ years now. Tell me, what the heck is APR?

Nikki (popping head over cube): None of us really know!

Jason: Here’s what happened. Investors needed a way to compare certain loans, so they took the base rate of a loan and took certain costs of that loan (origination, prepaid interest, notary fees, etc.) and calculated what those fees would represent as an annual percentage. It’s basically a finance whiz’s way of comparing loans to each other.

JTA stares blankly.

Jason: But here’s the thing – not all companies include the same fees within that APR. So borrowers shouldn’t just compare one APR to another APR. What borrowers should do is compare everything within a quote – the interest rate, processing fees, closings costs, discount points – the entire picture.

Coming from a large bank, I know this from experience. Large banks often charge anywhere from $1000 – $1400 in extra fees on top of every loan. So you can’t just compare rates.

Will (rolling chair over): This all came about during the savings and loan days.

JTA: What’s that? What are the savings and loan days? Like the good ole days?

Will: Yeah they were! It was back when mortgage bankers could do anything. What happened was back in the eighties some folks were saying, “We only charge 3% interest!” while every other bank was charging 18%. It was a way for credit unions to compete with big banks. But, they were charging all sorts of fees that made that 3% not be what it seemed. So investors created APR to try to compare what the rates really were.

JTA: You guys weren’t doing that though, right?

Jason and Will (talking over each other): No! We were riding skateboards in the eighties!

Just the Assistant: Okay thanks guys. I still don’t really know what APR is, but I appreciate your time.

Jason: Just make sure clients know that it’s one part of a big picture. And if they have any specific questions, call me! And check me out on Match.com.

[He didn’t say the match.com thing but I think it’s funny.]

If you’d like to know more about APR, get gambling tips from Will or dating advice from Jason (or a loan from either one of them because they’re both awesome), give us a call today!

And enter my caption contest so my mom will think people read my blog.