An Epiphany from the Mom Guilt Ledge

An Epiphany from the Mom Guilt Ledge

I’ve often stated that social media posts are the highlight reel of everyone’s lives. It’s actually not a bad thing, as we should share as much positive light as we can with one another; however, there are days like last Thursday where I feel it is vitally important to also share the blooper reel. We all go through struggles and it’s OK to not be OK from time to time….just try not to unpack and live there.

Thursday morning, on my personal social media I shared this photo:

feeling cute

Total highlight reel. Look at that #BossBabe Yaassss, girl.

But, PRIOR to this photo, I, a grown 41 year old woman, had a meltdown. Why? Because my husband was taking the kids to the zoo and I couldn’t go because my work schedule wouldn’t allow it. The real reason: I’ve been in a perpetual teeter totter on the MOM GUILT ledge for too long.

Thankfully, my husband has been with me 20+ years and is very well versed at talking me off ledges. He reminded me that when he was working these 18 hour days how I manned the fort at home in his absence. He reminded me that he has been on ZERO field trips and I have managed to go on the vast majority for all of the children to date thus far. He reminded me that now more than ever as my “Mortgage Mamas” team grows, I need to stay the course to bring these dreams to fruition. He reminded me that life is good.

So I pulled it together and pulled out my Morphe Make-Up James Charles Palette (OBSESSED, btw) and put on some dramatic eyes. Isn’t it amazing how different we act when we feel we look cute? I got dolled up as I normally do for work and still on the Mom Guilt Ledge kept repeating in my head the words my darling husband said, “you’ve got this, life is good.” Hence the cute pic above.

But, what happened the rest of the day is what really solidified my eternal “girl power” optimism that is part of what fuels my business, my relationships, and my soul….

On my way to my first appointment, one of my Realtor partners called & we got to talking about work/life balance. We joked on how much we want those hot bodies but also are in a committed relationship with carbs. We giggled through euphemisms on lack of sleep. Those tiny digs at our own expense actually showcase the sacrifices we make as working mamas. It was the reminder I so desperately needed at that very moment: the constant struggle is real & so very common. Working mama or just female human trying to do all the things….it’s tough, and we’re ridiculously hard on ourselves.

Why do we women do that? Sure, we’re hard-wired for empathy, so that’s part of it, but how do we stop? I’ve been a mama for 20 years & a female human for 41 years and I have yet to find that answer. I have found a bit of relief in the realization that we can indeed “have it all,” just not at the same time. Well, that’s what I used to believe until the remainder of events last Thursday ignited a spark in me that I hadn’t seen in a while….

The spark started to gain momentum next when I received a reminder from my amazing Office & Marketing Coordinator & dear friend Jenny about an event later that evening. I declined the invitation with a “not going, haven’t seen my kids all week, cried my eyes out all morning as Manny was headed to the zoo with them without me.”  I’m a bit of an over-sharer, what can I say, lol. Jenny relishes in my “flair for the dramatic,” & never judges me but always knows how to turn my frown upside down. In pure amazing Jenny fashion she responds with a pep talk that gave me just the boost I needed to hop completely off the MOM GUILT ledge and pull my shine out for a “Mortgage 101” presentation I was doing for one of our Realtor offices.

So, shiny as all heck I walked into the presentation. One of the Realtors had her little boy there at the meeting. He must have been about 2 years old if that, and I was so impressed by how engaged she was in the conversation while also wrangling a wiggly worm of a toddler with a smile on her face. As a mother of 4, I’ve done my fair share of toddler wiggly worm wrangling, and she NAILED it. In that moment it hit me that this was yet another sign I needed.  How powerful to be both a boss babe and a wiggly worm wrangler all at the same time, right? What’s that lyric, “How we’re smart enough to make these millions. Strong enough to bare the children. Then get back to business.”

So, yeah, at that point in the day I’m pumped…I’ve gotten reassurance I had been craving as a working mom, confirmation that I’m not alone in my plight as a woman in general, and affirmation in pep talk form. As an added bonus…I had a surprise visit from my 3 year old, Daisy (pictured below).  The day was unfolding beautifully as if God was looking down & saying, “hey, chin up, mama.” 

daisy at work

The Mortgage Mamas headquarters was abuzz, and I have never felt so proud as I did at that moment….this team of amazing women being their kind, authentic, attentive selves sharing the work load while also showing my baby girl how we “run this motha.” While I was fielding phone calls from the pop up desk we added to our office, Jenny sent me the photo above she snapped without my knowledge. And then I saw my tiny lady’s face in the photo.

That’s when that spark earlier became a burning fire in me! Rather than continuing to live on the mom guilt ledge and accept “I can have it all just not at the same time,” I am declaring it official…I do have it all even if it is messy with an occasional meltdown & too many carbs. I have never been more proud in my life of what I do and who I get to spend my days with when I’m not winning (and sometimes losing) the mom game. The Mortgage Mamas isn’t a gimmick, it isn’t trite, it is my dream realized bigger and better every day with a tribe of incredible people who make me a better woman, loan officer, mother, and human. I’m genuinely grateful to have a supportive partner at home and friends and colleagues I can be myself with.

So, my call to action is this, friends: what we can do for one another as women, mamas or not, is to remember the struggle is real and more than likely constant for the vast majority of us so by all means, let’s not be a “Judge Judy” with one another.



That face, though. THAT FACE. That face after a day teetering ledges was just the boost I needed to get off that Mom Guilt ledge maybe not for good, but definitely for a while.  


Be Cool. Get Pre-Approved.

Be Cool. Get Pre-Approved.

alot cooler if you did

1. Getting Pre-Approved tells you & your Realtor the maximum we, the Lender, are likely to loan you; and that helps you narrow down your home search to affordable properties.

2. Getting Pre-Approved gives you an idea of what your monthly payments would be. When we send you your Pre-Approval Letter, we also give you a break down of your Principal, Interest, Taxes, & Insurance payments are as well as show you your estimated cash to close. This way you are fully confident during your house hunting. 

3. Getting Pre-Approved gives you more credibility with real estate agents and sellers. Some agents and many home sellers won’t take you seriously or even let you inside to see a listing until you have a  Pre-Approval letter in hand. They don’t want to waste their time, or yours.

4. Getting Pre-Approved ensures that you don’t miss out on the “perfect home” if you wait until you find “the perfect home” to apply…because the buyer who is Pre-Approved will get the first shot at “the perfect home.” (PS, there are no perfect homes). 

5. Getting Pre-Approved means you get to take advantage of these incredibly, historically, insanely LOW rates!  And, hey, if your circumstances don’t qualify you for the lowest interest rates, your Pre-Approval can show you how to best use your financial circumstances in the most effective way-not only for contract negotiations but also your financial goals. 

If you’re ready to go House Hunting, then you better call your Mama! Your Mortgage Mama, that is.  Give us a ring or CLICK HERE to start your Pre-Approval process.r

Alright, alright alright,


Looking for a Stress Free Relocation Mortgage Process?

Looking for a Stress Free Relocation Mortgage Process?

We have helped hundreds of buyers move into new homes and take pride in creating a seamless, stress free Mortgage process for clients from day one.  Whether it is a first home purchase or a fourth; whether you’re relocating across town or cross-country, The Mortgage Mamas will show you the Utmost Care from There to Here.

Notable Points:

  • Exceptional Service
  • Competitive Rates
  • We Service Our Own Loans
  • We are Local
  • Wide Variety of Mortgage Options
  • Fast Pre-Approvals

“We work hand in hand with our Real Estate Partners and Industry Professionals to ensure your move is executed flawlessly.  In addition to being available for you Monday through Sunday from 9am to 9pm, we also provide Weekly Updates in writing so you know exactly where you are in the Mortgage process.  We find that makes everyone’s Weekends go significantly better!  We make sure your time spent with your Real Estate Professional is time very well spent by keeping the lines of communication fluid but most importantly by putting your financial goals as top priority. This allows you to be competitive in your negotiations, but also efficient and effective with your showings and offers.”

-Amanda Sarnes, Mortgage Mama

Closing Costs Explained

Closing Costs Explained

One of the questions we get on nearly a daily basis is, “What are your closing costs?” Because “closing costs” are, for the most part, 3rd party fees, we like to educate our borrowers through the home buying process by answering this question instead:

How much does it cost to buy a house in Florida?

In addition to your down payment, which for many 1st time home buyers is around 3.5% of the purchase price depending on the loan program, there are other costs involved with purchasing a home.  From the time you go under contract until closing day, in order to keep your home buying process fun and stress free-it’s best to be fully aware of what to expect.

You’ve got your PROPERTY RELATED EXPENSES-like your appraisal and survey, which are included in “closing costs,” but you have some other property related expenses that you need to be prepared to have set aside for when you are ready to make an offer on a home.  The most common upfront costs:

  1. Earnest Money Deposit – also known as an escrow deposit – that will accompany your offer or seller’s acceptance of your offer.  This is how you show the seller that you are serious about this home and you are willing to put your money up in good faith.  There is not a set amount for an earnest money deposit, but your trusted Real Estate Agent will be able to recommend an amount based on the negotiations at hand in combination with our guidance on the most suitable escrow deposit for your financial situation. Generally speaking, though, anticipate around 1% of the purchase price for your escrow deposit.
  2. Inspection Fees – According to the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development, a typical home inspection costs $300 to $500.  While we as your Lender get our property condition from the appraisal, you may want to get a home inspection for your own protection.  If you have a pool, well, or septic tank, you might also get a more detailed inspection within the time frame allotted within your contract.  Each of those inspections may cost additional money, and so it’s best to consult a licensed Home Inspector on those expenses.  Your Real Estate Agent will also be able to recommend some Home Inspectors they’ve worked with and trust.  In addition to saving you expenses for repairs you may not be able to see, there are also some parts of a home inspection report that could save you money on homeowner’s insurance.

And now we can dive back into how much to expect for Closing Costs. 

Closing Costs are paid at the Closing of your real estate transaction.  Closing occurs when the title of the property is transferred from seller to buyer and the keys are given to you.  You will also have Closing Costs when you refinance as your home.  To better help you understand the most common fees associated with closing your mortgage, I made this handy dandy infographic for your perusal:

Be prepared for your total cash-to-close, not just for Closing Costs.

Another large expense that is not considered “closing costs” but is a significant part of your cash-to-close are your Pre-paid items.  Pre-paid items are just that-payments made in advance.  They fund your escrow account for your property taxes and homeowner’s insurance.  Once you put a home under contract, we update our initial Pre-Approval estimate to the specifics of your contract as well as the property itself, basing your Pre-paid items on the taxes and insurance of that property as well as the dates listed on your contract. Typically, one full year of homeowner’s insurance is collected and prepaid to your insurance company at closing plus an additional cushion for homeowner’s insurance and property taxes so that your escrow account has a healthy amount of reserves for your taxes and insurance to be paid monthly with your mortgage payment.

We, as the Lender, do not set Closing Costs, we just provide an estimate of the overall costs for your initial Pre-Approval.  Once you are under contract, we work hand in hand with the Title company to collaborate on fees and expenses.  The approximate percentage of “closing costs” range from 2.5% to 6% of the sales price, on average, depending on the sales price.  I put that in quotations because when The Mortgage Mamas provide our Loan Estimates, we also include the estimate of Pre-paid items, which not all Lenders do.  We believe in full disclosure from the get-go, which is why we’ve earned the trust of so many happy clients. After all, a happy client is a client for life!  So, “closing costs” in our way of doing business, are actually more an overall cash-to-close estimate.  While that might seem like a huge spread in percentages, understand that because of fixed costs from 3rd parties (appraisal, survey, title, etc), a $100,000 home may be closer to 6% “closing costs” whereas a million dollar home may be closer to 2-2.5%.

Work with Professionals.

There are a number of factors that determine what your actual cash-to-close may be, including but not limited to the type of loan, type of property/occupancy, and even credit score-these all play into your loan costs.  So, while we would love our work family here at Home Team Lending to earn everyone’s business, we just urge you to make sure you work with a Lender you trust. We also believe that it is in your best interest to work with a Real Estate Agent when purchasing a home.  Having a knowledgeable professional who understands the local market to negotiate on your behalf is key to success.  Depending on the type of loan you have, a large chunk of those Closing Costs and Pre-paid items can be paid for by the seller.  And, in Central Florida, where we do the majority of our business, it’s actually pretty common.  So, working with a Realtor® you trust is also important.

We do not have an application fee, so if you are interested in learning more about getting Pre-Approved for a Mortgage we would love to hear from you. 

already preapproved


You can call or text 855.4YO.MAMA or email us at for more information.  We pride ourselves on being available for our clients and our Realtor partners 7 days a week.  Buying a home is such an exciting process, we’d love to assist you with your next move.

Your Favorite Lender,



Mass Mortgage Relief-What’s True, What’s False?

Mass Mortgage Relief-What’s True, What’s False?

There’s been a buzz about a mass mortgage forgiveness program that I wanted to nip in the bud before we start spinning out of control.  I lived and worked in this business through the 2008 housing crisis and, believe me, I’d rather not go through that again.  We need to be PROactive, not reactive.  We need to think smart.  We need to communicate.  Since we have some extra time on our hands due to the “safer at home” orders, now is the perfect time to ask what you need and see how we can help.  In an effort to do so, I wanted to clarify what is True and what is False in terms of the mortgage relief available during this time.

TRUE OR FALSE: You can stop paying your mortgage for a year-FALSE.

Last week Congress enacted the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Securities (CARES) Act that provides homeowners faced with a hardship due to the COVID-19 emergency with a right to forbearance. It has also blocked lenders from any foreclosure proceedings for at least 60 days. That started March 18th.

TRUE OR FALSE: The CARES Act is automatically applied to all homeowners-FALSE.

The provision allows homeowners with federally backed mortgages to request a forbearance for up to 180 days.  You can then also request an extension for an additional 180 days.  But the 2 key points are that your mortgage must be federally backed-so you must have an FHA/VA/USDA/Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac mortgage AND you must REQUEST a forbearance agreement from your loan servicer by attesting to being financially impacted by COVID-19.  Be sure you get it in writing.  Until that time, pay your mortgage.

TRUE OR FALSE: Your credit isn’t affected if you don’t pay your mortgage-FALSE, but also TRUE.

If you don’t pay your mortgage AND you don’t have a forbearance agreement in place (remember, get that in writing before you stop paying), then if you are late on your mortgage it will impact your credit.  If you do have a forbearance agreement in place, part of the CARES Act is that those who receive mortgage forbearance will also receive credit protection as long as you’re up to date on your payments before you go into forbearance.

TRUE OR FALSE: Forbearance is loan forgiveness-FALSE.

Forbearance is just putting a pause on your mortgage payments for a few months.  You may also hear it referred to as deferral.  The details of your mortgage deferral or forbearance depend on your particular loan servicer. And, with some forbearance programs you may owe all your missed mortgage payments at the end of the forbearance period in one lump sum or as additional monthly payments to your normal monthly payment. So, at the end of your 180 days you’ll owe the entire balance?  EEEEK!  That doesn’t even get into the taxes and insurance that will still be due.  So, there’s potential for your updated mortgage payments after the forbearance period to be much, MUCH more than what you’ve been paying.


To me, that sounds like the cure is worse than the disease (no pun intended). So being the mama that I am-a Mortgage Mama, that is-I have another solution for homeowners to consider: A refinance at this time would allow you to miss your next 2 mortgage payments, which may be able to provide some immediate financial relief during these uncertain times.  And, due to unprecedented movement in the market, rates are back to historically low levels.  So, even if you’re not immediately financially impacted by the COVID-19 emergency, you may be able to benefit in both the short and long term by reducing your interest rate, or the term of your mortgage, or maybe even take some cash out of the equity in your home.

The point is, before you make a decision to stop paying your mortgage payment, we’d love to hear from you to discuss your situation or even just to chat about what is going on in the market.  You can contact us via call or text at 855.4YO.MAMA or via email  Or, if you’d rather, feel free to click this ONLINE APPLICATION and your information will be sent immediately to us.  As I mentioned before, now is the time to be proactive, not reactive.  So, call your mama-your Mortgage Mama, that is.

Stay safe & wash your hands,


Hunkering Down Like a Pro

Hunkering Down Like a Pro

Each summer, I try desperately to get my kids into camps as often as possible, but alas, this social distancing shtick has totally thrown a wrench into the plans, and as you have all experienced, put us on immediate “hunker down” status.  Now, in Florida, we’re totally used to hunkering down.  We do this every Hurricane season, and it usually results in copious amounts of alcohol, board games, and complaining about not having power.

I don’t know if it’s because this particular force majeure is extending long past our typical hurricane hunkering down time frame, or if we’re just that damn excited to be “stuck” at home WITH POWER, but for whatever reason, it has caused my family, aka Team Sarnes, to implement our summer schedule early.  While I do hope that some of those camps will be available soon, the good news is, if they’re not, or if we’re forced to “corn teen” for months on end, we can maintain this summer schedule through social distancing and beyond without really spending any money.  As a commission only household, that’s the kind of perk that makes this Mortgage Mama VERY excited.

Note: this is a living, breathing schedule.  Some days we have pj parties and watch 5 movies in a row, but ultimately, the more of a routine you can keep for kids, the better, more adjusted they will be.  Scratch that, the more of a routine you can keep for yourself, the happier you will be.  It’s been proven, although I will not bore you with statistics (today at least).

Another Note: the below schedule is for the kids.  Manny and I get up at 5:30, have coffee, watch the news, and work out before the kids get up.

Here’s our current “summer” or “social distancing” schedule: 


Screen time is necessary, in my opinion (I love you Tiger King), but because balance is key, I also jotted down some screen free activities you can do inside and outside, yes, with little to no expense: 

screen free summer

I don’t have all the answers and I learn and fail every day just like the rest of the world, but I do know that in uncharted territory, the best thing I can do for me is be a productive person, a good human, and a loving mama.  I hope that the schedule we made for our children can contribute something positive in your home.  I will end this little share by some thoughts I’ve had during this unprecedented time:

  1. Practice gratitude now more than ever. Share one thing with each other daily that you’re genuinely grateful for.  If you start the day positive, you can usually keep that vibe going.
  2. Don’t be hard on yourself. It’s ok to have a bad day, or a bad mood, but just don’t unpack and live there.
  3. Don’t let the media bias make an asshole out of you. Hopefully this little “time out” will open our minds since we now all have time to see how RIDICULOUS the us vs them mentality truly is. I refuse to participate. We’re all in this together.
  4. If you are feeling off, reach out! Everyone feels blue sometimes. And, remember that children show anxiety differently as well.  This is weird for them too.  As Dr Phil as it sounds, talk with them about their feelings.  Listen.

My thoughts are that we’re going to come out of this as a nation the same way Florida comes out of our hunkering down hurricane seasons: better together and ready to get back to business.  So, don’t panic. We got this.

Your Favorite Lender,