By Crystal McGough, sponsored content
TRUSSVILLE — Since 2015, First Community Mortgage in Trussville has been helping first-time homebuyers from all walks of life make their dreams of purchasing a home come true, and according to loan originator Donna Lowery, every homebuyer is a first-time homebuyer.
“Every time someone purchases a home, it’s like their first time,” Donna said. “I treat every person as if they are truly a first-time homebuyer.”
First Community Mortgage is licensed to provide financing throughout the entire United States, with its home office operating out of Murfreesboro, Tenn., but Donna opened the first Alabama branch in the heart of Trussville in 2015. As a 30-year Trussville resident and president of the Trussville Chamber of Commerce, the Trussville community is dear to Donna’s heart.
“We are dedicated to helping our local communities by helping others achieve the American dream of homeownership or by helping through hardships with our non-profit – FCM Cares,” she said. “That’s our brand: a company helping others achieve their dreams. We sponsor a lot of events for the high school and the chamber here in Trussville. We are also partnering with Be a Blessing Birmingham to help the homeless.”
Donna said that her favorite way to help the local community, however, is by helping people who don’t think they can qualify to purchase a house.
“I don’t do this as a job; I do it as a service,” she said. “I just love what I do because I love helping people and I think that’s definitely what sets First Community Mortgage apart from any other lender.”
With 25 years of experience in the mortgage business, Donna said that she often has clients come to her who have been denied by other lenders.
“Those are the people I want to work with; the ones who say they can’t buy a house,” she said. “You can! It may take a year down the road to reestablish your credit, but you can buy a house. The hardest thing for me to ever do is just to turn somebody down. That’s why, if they can’t qualify now, I try to get them on a mortgage plan so that they can buy their home in the future.”
A mortgage plan, Donna said, is the list of steps a client needs to take to get their credit scores up and to pay off debt.
“The two things that drive your mortgage financing are your credit scores and your debt-to-income ratio; those are the two things that either keep you from buying your home or make you able to buy your home,” she said. “Different programs have different guidelines for debt-to-income ratio and even credit scores.”
Another important step for first-time homebuyers is to determine where they want to live and how much they want their monthly payment to be.
“I think that every person who wants to purchase a home should call the lender and get pre-approved before they even start looking,” Donna said. “You can get approved for a $200,000 house, but you may only want your payments to be $600/month. So, then we talk about where that financing would fit in based on where they want their payments to be; not exactly what they get qualified for.”
Donna said that she believes one of her biggest assets is communication, and she is always available to her clients, even in the evenings, on weekends and on holidays.
“I try to communicate everything along the way,” she said. “I have my phone with me seven days a week. I’m not an 8-5 person and I’m not a Monday through Friday person.”
Nearly all of Donna’s business comes from referrals, which is a testament to the relationships she has built with former clients and people in the Trussville community.
“The only advertising I do is in The Trussville Tribune, but I closed 160 loans in 2020, for $33 million – which is crazy – right here in Trussville,” she said. “I don’t want to brag that I closed that many loans, but I also want people to know that’s how many people trust me, that referred people to me to finance their dream home in one year.
“I’m always here, I’m always happy to take a call, I always want to help people. What I really want people to know about First Community Mortgage is that we are active in the community, ready to support the American dream of homeownership and stop at nothing to lend a helping hand. Dreams vary and First Community Mortgage wants to help make everyone’s unique dream come true. Again, I don’t think of this as my job, I think of it as a way to help people.”
Whether you are looking to purchase your first home, 50th home, or even if you have lost hope that you can qualify for a home loan, call Donna Lowery at (205) 515-3645 or stop by First Community Mortgage at 183 Main Street in downtown Trussville.
“It’s important to come in and talk to your lender or call your lender and know what you can buy, because when you think that you can’t, most likely you can,” Donna said. “There’s a way to make it work. Sometimes it takes time, but time goes by really quick.”