New Year, New “Employee”, Same Blog…but better (hopefully)

Remember that time I started a blog and said I was going to post weekly? Sorry about that…. It wasn’t by design that I up started a blog, made a few posts and then went ghost on everyone. I had full intentions of being a staple in each and every one of your weekly readings…but, I got busy. I know that’s an excuse that we hear all too often however, 2017 was a great year for the real estate market in the Shoals area. As a result, I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to help serve many clients with their mortgages. Also as a result, I neglected the blog….and had a terrible year in fantasy football.

Now that 2018 is here I have made some changes! I plan to be more active physically, continue my growth as a mortgage broker, and also find the time to work on personal growth. How am I going to manage all that? It does appear to be a tall order but I’ve hired some much-needed help.  I use the term “hired” loosely because I was more or less TOLD I was getting a new employee in 2018… the new “employee”. Bold strategy, huh?  Continue reading “New Year, New “Employee”, Same Blog…but better (hopefully)”

My very own terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day

Caution: Reading this post may induce uncontrollable laughter, snorting, emission of fluids from the nostrils and mouth, and other embarrassing reactions. Read at your own risk.

Continue reading “My very own terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day”

The saga of how I joined Assurance Financial

So when I hired my new employee, Mrs. Bearded Broker, in January… I never anticipated what would happen next. About two months ago I was working on updating some of my online profiles, specifically the blog here. I noticed that I always got an error when posting because it said my LinkedIn account was not connected. Reluctantly, I decided to update and connect my LinkedIn account that I haven’t touched since college. When I did this I started receiving calls from recruiting services and other mortgage companies wanting me to talk with them about potential employment….exactly what I was afraid of.

I was humbled by the opportunities that were being offered but I wasn’t interested, or so I thought. That’s when I received a call from a wonderful lady named Gloria who is a recruiting coordinator for Assurance Financial. I explained to her my situation and that I wasn’t really exploring any options. She kindly carried on conversation and asked if she could send me some reading material and I told her I’d take a look. This is when I realized there might be something special about this company.

I’m a researcher. After my conversation with Gloria I just had a gut feeling that something was different about this company. I also already knew the branch manager, Willie, whom at this point I had not spoken to about this opportunity. After a week or so and many hours of research I told my wife, Chelsea, that this may actually be a great opportunity. Still not convinced, I sat with my thoughts for a couple of days and that’s when Willie reached out to me. I’ve known of Willie for the entire time I’ve been a mortgage broker and always had a respect for him as a competitor. We had talked a couple of times over the years and I knew enough about him to know that I could trust him to tell me the whole truth about this opportunity, not just sell me on it for his or them company’s gain.

We instantly hit it off and I realized quickly that he and I shared the same vision for our market as it pertains to real estate. As I conversed more with Willie and Gloria, I knew that this was going to be the right move. I’ve always been one to buy into the “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is” statement. Assurance Financial has changed my perspective on that thought. I could go on and on about what all this company has done to accommodate me in this transition to join their company and the tools they’re providing me to succeed but I’ll sum it up with this…..

Assurance Financial has given me an incredible opportunity to grow as a loan officer and to better serve my clients. They have also equipped me with the tools and resources to make it all happen….so much so that I no longer need the assistance of Mrs. Bearded Broker in the office! Chelsea was rather thrilled with that aspect, not because we didn’t enjoy working together but it has now given her the opportunity to pursue her own passions. (More on that later). I am so excited to see what is in store for myself as I continue on this journey with Assurance Financial but I am even more excited to see what this will do for our market, our clients, and our real estate agents. It’s going to be incredible.

I’ll have more updates and content soon. Thank you all for your continued support.


Listing your home this spring? Read this first

Spring is slowly springing here in my small corner in Alabama and as we enter this season I thought I’d share a couple helpful tips for people who are getting ready to make a move.

Real estate agents are a very valuable tool when it comes to selling a home. Not only do they know the market but they also know fine details about what could make your home more appealing to sell faster. Always consult with an agent whom you can trust  and feel like you can build a relationship with. It’s much harder to work with someone who you yourself is not comfortable with. 

Let’s start on the outside and work our way in:

  1. Yard/Gardening – A freshly cut lawn and fresh landscaping goes a long way in the eyes of potential buyers. The outside of your home is the first thing buyers see when they pull up to your house for a showing. Proper landscaping and yard maintenance shows a buyer that “this house has been taken care of “. I know personally when I look at a home it always gives me a sense of comfort to see that the previous owner has taken the time to make sure their yard was clean.
  2. Exterior of home – Along the same lines as the yard, making sure the outside of your home is clean is very important. Removing cobwebs and pressure washing areas that have “greened” over the winner goes a long way. ****LENDER NOTE**** If your home has wooden windows, make sure any chipped paint has been properly scraped and repainted. This is a big one, it may not sound like a big deal but this is often flagged as a lender required repair on appraisal reports. Also, monitor for any cracked glass, even if you have double pane windows, my recommendation would be to go ahead and replace affected areas.
  3. Interior– This is going to step on toes but it’s the honest truth…Make sure your house is CLEAN. Not “our best friends are coming over” clean. I mean, “Jesus is coming back” clean. As cute as your dogs are, potential buyers don’t want to see their messes or their cute little balls of hair wadded up in a corner. And I know, your children have some really awesome toys, and lots of them….but they don’t want to see that either. They’re coming into your home to see the house. They will have to make it their “home” on their own. Also, make sure all your light bulbs are working. Nothing strikes fear in a potential buyer like things that don’t work. It may just be a $1 light bulb to you but to them it’s “does this house have a wiring issue?”. 
  4. Smells – Every house that’s lived in has its own smell. I’ll just leave it at that….When prepping your home for market this spring, let it air out a little. We’ve been closed up all winter long trying to stay warm, it’ll be nice to let some fresh air flow through the home. If you like diffusing essential oils or burning candles I’d recommend light, fresh, clean scents. Nothing overwhelming, just a subtle hint of freshness.

You’ve done all this…now what? Call your agent, ask their input on any further recommendations and book that listing appointment. Also, be sure to ask your agent their thoughts on having professional photos done for the listing. I personally think it’s a great tool for marketing your home. Does it cost money? Yes. Is it worth it? Absolutely. If you want to put your home in the best position to sell, I think utilizing all cost-effective tools is a must. I am not a real estate agent myself but what I’ve learned from my wife and other agents I’ve worked alongside, these are all ways to help improve the likelihood of selling your home.

Happy Listing, Happy Selling!


Working with spouse, a progress report

A few short months ago Chelsea and I started letting people know that she would be coming to work for me and going inactive as a Real Estate agent. Immediately we were bludgeoned by questions such as “are you sure about that?”, “is that a good idea?”, “do you think you’ll be able to work without killing each other?” We didn’t really have an answer so we just kind of shrugged it all off and said “we’ll see”. We’re approaching the 2 month mark and so far we’re both still alive and neither of us have hired an attorney (that I know of….). In all seriousness though, everything is great.

Neither of us had any concerns about being with each other 24/7 because quite frankly, we love being together….which is why we got married. I’ve always felt bad for married couples who can only tolerate each other in small doses…what was the point of marrying each other? Anyways, our concerns were more along the lines of figuring what works best for us in terms of who handles what tasks,  how to manage the household with both of us working outside of the house 5 days a week, etc. There has been some adjustments for both of us as I like things in the office done particular ways, just as she has a particular way of doing things at home. I’m not the best teacher in the world so learning how to delegate tasks and walk someone through the loan process has come with some….let’s call them, “informative discussions”.

I’ve always felt like Chelsea and I have done a good job of communicating with each other prior to working together. Now that we are working together I am learning even more about her and how to communicate with each other. Specifically, I’ve learned not to say things like “you just need to let me worry about the customer” in a condescending tone…or “hey, we need to go it’s 7:53 am“. Also, and this is just us talking here……don’t ask her if she’s just my “Personal Assistant”, you will quickly learn she is not….despite my every effort to make that her job title and inflate my ego ( LOL).

All in all we really do love all the time we are getting to spend together. It is truly enriching our marriage, even with the unexpected learning experiences and “informative discussions” along the way. She jokes a lot saying “you’re lucky you have me because no other employee would but up with you” and to be quite honest….she’s probably right. So yeah, I am lucky to have her.

Everyone have a great weekend

The Dorroh’s Disney Adventure


Hey guys, Mrs. *Not* Bearded Broker here taking over the blog today to tell you about our most recent Disney trip. I know you guys are probably sick of hearing Mr. Bearded Broker ramble on about mortgages and finances, blah, blah, blah. Today’s post is all about having fun!
Justin and I both visited Disney World as kids, but we both wanted to experience it as adults before having kids of our own. (No that doesn’t mean a baby is coming anytime soon). We’re also huge Harry Potter fans and wanted to visit Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley at Universal Studios. My mom planned the whole trip along with a travel agent, which I highly recommend using for Disney. There are SO MANY details and tips that it can be very overwhelming.
Our very first day in Orlando, we went to Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and had dinner at Whispering Canyon Cafe. They brought out huge portions of smoked meats and sides and put on quite the show.Wilderness.jpg
On day one in the parks, we visited Disney’s Epcot and toured each of the countries. We ate lunch at the Pattisserie in France, which consisted of Jambon-Buerre (ham and cheese croissant), pumpkin soup, and a raspberry lemon macaron. We met Princess Jasmine in Morocco and witnessed a pearl harvesting in Japan. The ride Frozen Ever After, located in Norway, which was the longest wait of the day, but the new life-like technology Disney uses is pretty amazing. We ended the day with the best meal of the entire week at Le Cellier in Canada. We both had filet mignon with mushroom risotto and maple creme brulee. It was the best steak I have ever had. They even brought me gluten-free rolls with butter to enjoy before my meal. One thing Disney is very good at is catering to food allergies. The service is top-notch and they go above and beyond to make sure you are satisfied.


Day two, we ventured on to Universal’s Islands of Adventure where the Incredible Hulk and Harry Potter’s Hogsmeade are found. The very first ride of the day was the Incredible Hulk roller coaster. I am not a big fan of roller coasters and this one is a monster of a ride. Inside the ride waiting area, you go through a second security screening to make sure you have ZERO loose objects. No phones, sunglasses, wallets, chapsticks, NOTHING is allowed because of the dangers of flying objects. The line leads up several ramps and stairs and they really try to make you feel as if you were in Hulk’s laboratory. Of course at this point I wanted to puke or pass out from being nervous. Once you get on the coaster and you’re properly strapped in, they launch you at a top speed of 67 mph through thick fog and you immediately drop and then go upside down on a loop. It literally goes 0-40 in two seconds. Of course, once it was over I realized it was a fun ride, but it is definitely intimidating. After the Hulk, we rode The Amazing Adventures of Spider Man, Popeye and Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges, and Jurassic Park River Aventure. I do recommend taking cheap flip-flops to wear on the water rides because you WILL get wet. They have “People Dryers” outside each water ride, but they do not dry your shoes. We then visited Hodsmeade and rode Harry Potter’s Forbidden Journey. Walking to this ride gives you a tour of Hogwarts. If you are prone to motion sickness, I do not recommend this ride. The ride itself is awesome, but it’s essentially a roller coaster/virtual simulator and it’s like you’re riding on a broomstick during a quidditch match. Again, awesome, but take motion sickness medicine before-hand. We had lunch at the Three Broomticks and tried the delicious frozen butterbeer. I had rotissere chicken, roasted potatoes, and a huge corn on the cob. Justin had fish and chips. We then sat through a wand demonstration at Olivander’s Wand Shop and purchased our own “Elder Wand” which belonged to Professor Dumbledore in the books/movies. *nerd alert* There are several places throughout Hodsmeade and Diagon Alley to perform “spells” and its pretty magical (pun intended). We finished the day riding the Flight of the Hippogriff roller coaster, which is a small very tame coaster.

Day three, we visited Disney’s Animal Kingdom. This was probably our favorite being the animal lovers we are. Pandora-The World of Avatar at AK runs a tight race with Harry Potter at Universal. If you’re an Avatar fan then Pandora will blow your mind with how realistic everything appears. We got in right at rope drop and went straight to the Na’vi River Journey. The animatronics for this ride were insane. The Avatars throughout the ride make you question whether they’re actually fake or not. Thankfully, we had fast passes for Flight of Passage because the wait was 180 minutes. Once inside, they “scan” your DNA and match you up with an Avatar. Once you are strapped in on your mountain banshee they take you on a journey through Pandora. The special effects were stellar and included water and air to make you think you were really flying through the air in a far away world. Warning: this ride also causes intense motion sickness due to the motion and virtual simulation, but it is worth it! Best ride in Disney World hands down. For lunch we went to Satu’li Canteen in Pandora. I had chicken over a bed of red and sweet potatoes with a chimichurri sauce. Justin had sliced beef over rice with the same sauce. For dinner we didn’t have a reservation, but we lucked up and got a table at Yak and Yeti. I had gluten-free sweet and sour chicken with rice and a super yummy strawberry cake for dessert. Justin had regular sweet and sour chicken with rice and had chocolate cake for dessert.

Day four, we went to Universal Studios Orlando. This time we went straight to Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley and rode the Escape from Gringott’s ride. In my opinion, this ride is better than Forbidden Journey for the sheer fact that it doesn’t turn you upside down, which means it doesn’t cause as much motion sickness. This ride allows you to tour Gringott’s Bank and takes you on a thrilling ride trying to escape the wrath of Voldemort and his Deatheaters. We ate lunch at the Leaky Cauldron where we had frozen butterbeer again (because it’s just that good). I had a gluten-free chicken sandwich and Justin had fish and chips. We also toured Diagon Alley for quite a while casting spells and touring all the shops. There’s even a dragon on top of Gringott’s that breathes real fire every so often. We took the Hogwart’s Express to Hogsmeade and back as well. After adventuring with Harry Potter and the gang, Justin rode Rip Ride Rockit. This was one ride I said absolutely no to. It starts you off climbing a 167 feet and then drops you straight down. After the drop its a pretty normal coaster, but the height was enough for me. We continued our day with Revenge of the Mummy (a pretty awesome roller coaster), Shrek 3-D, and Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon.



Day five, we explored Disney’s Magic Kingdom. We had fast passes for Big Thunder Mountain, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, and Space Mountain. We also rode the Haunted Mansion and The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Undersea Adventure. For dinner, we joined the Beast in his castle at Be Our Guest. We both had steak with potatoes and veggies. I had a gluten-free lemon cream puff for dessert and Justin had “The Gray Stuff”. We ended the night with the Once Upon a Time Castle Projection Show complete with fireworks- it was pure magic.

Cinderellas Castle
On our last day in the parks, we visited Disney’s Hollywood Studios. We got there early enough to ride Rock’n’Roller Coaster without much of a wait. Justin rode Tower or Terror then we spent the rest of the day enjoying shows and smaller rides. We ate lunch at Mama Melrose and I had gluten-free pasta and vanilla gelato. Justin had chicken parmesan and a chocolate dessert. Overall the food was mediocre here and not somewhere I’d want to go again. The best part of the day was watching the Fantasmic Show and Fireworks. It’s an incredible animated show projected on water where many of the characters can be seen along with fireworks and pyrotechnics.

Our very last day in Orlando, we visited Port Orleans Riverside Resort so I could get gluten-free beignets and then took a boat ride to Disney Spring’s. We had lunch at D-Luxe Burger which included a gluten free Diablo burger with fries and a regular Diablo burger for Justin.
Overall, we had a blast despite being exhausted from walking over 60 miles in a week. I could write pages and pages about our experience, but I’ll stop here. I understand the Disney obsession now and can’t wait to go back!

Don’t Keep Score

Let me preface this post by reiterating the fact that I HATE losing. I also cringe at the thought of youth sports not keeping score and providing participation trophies. You want a trophy? Earn it. You want a championship? Win it. Life’s not fair and not everyone wins. The “everybody wins” mentality cheapens the hard work and effort of those who do their best to excel in competition while at the same time encouraging the laziness and entitlement of those who choose to just show up.

Deep breaths, Justin…..Deep breaths…

Ok, almost lost it there for a second but I’m back. What kind of game or contest are we talking about not keeping score in? We’re not. We’re talking about marriage. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard phrases like “marriage is a two-way street” or “marriage is all about give and take” and “marriage has to be 50/50 or 100/100”. I disagree. Sayyyy whatttttt?????

I don’t think marriage is any of those things. I think marriage is loving your wife, or loving your husband with ZERO expectations. Loving them unconditionally. I think marriage is blindly trusting your spouse to the point that if they told you they saw Sasquatch you’d go to the woods make some calls and knock on a few trees. Maybe I’m crazy, but too often I hear people talking about their marriage and the conversation is “well I did all the laundry, so you need to take out the garbage” or “I pay all the bills so you need to cut the grass”. We’ve all heard it or something similar…and if we’re being honest, we’ve all said it.

Well guess what? Many of marriages have been spoiled by keeping score on who has more responsibilities. It’s not a competition. If you wholeheartedly love your spouse you WANT to help, you WANT to wake up on a Saturday at 5:00 a.m. so strangers can come look through all the junk in your garage. You just want to be with them, even if its doing something that neither of you want to do….at least you’re together. When you quit keeping score….It totally removes your expectations for them because you start to live in the love you have for each other, then your marriage becomes totally selfless. I’m as guilty as any when it comes to being selfish. I love to golf, watch football, and hang out with my friends. I have to remind myself that those things aren’t my priorities and sometimes it’s hard to find balance. (Especially when the Tide’s rollin’) But, when I sit back and really think about it….I move myself out of the picture and think about her, it’s no brainer. I pick her 100 times out of 100 and the fact that she does the same for me blows my mind.

Moral of the blog for today: When it comes to your marriage…. don’t keep score. You’ll lose every time.

No money, No problems

Back in the day Notorious BIG coined the phrase “Mo Money, Mo problems”. I think there’s a valid argument there…however, I think the more relative struggle for the vast majority of people is quite the opposite. It seems that “No money, much problems” is a much more real issue that people face…..especially when it comes time to wanting to buy a home. So are we all just out of luck and stuck paying rent forever? Perhaps not.

Maybe you’re one of the many Americans that holds a stead job, has dependable income but can’t necessarily wait to save up 20% or more to use as a down payment on a house. Or, maybe you’re just starting your first job, fresh out of school with student loans and other obligations. Or maybe you have a little money saved up but the house you want needs a little updating so you want to hang on to the cash you’ve put away. Whatever category you fall into or whatever your situation may be….I’m here to tell you, you’ve got options!

There’s a ton of loan programs out there nowadays and if you don’t spend a lot of time reading about them, they all run together and get kind of overwhelming. I want to let you in a couple programs that are out there that will fit your needs and get you in your own home! (Keep in mind I am only speaking of programs that our company offers and we only do mortgages in the state of Alabama.)

The first program is called USDA Rural Development. The USDA offers 100% financing to buy a home, which is incredible! What’s the catch, Justin? I wouldn’t call it a “catch”, but the USDA Rural Development loan does have some specific requirements to determine eligibility. One requirement is that the home must be in an “eligible area”. These areas vary so to check and see if the homes you are interested in may qualify, check out the map here: USDA Property Eligibility Map . Or, you’re always welcome to call my office and I’d be happy to look it up for you. For more information about the USDA RD loan you can check out the USDA website here: USDA RD Info

What if the house I want isn’t in a qualifying area? Or, I don’t qualify for USDA? You’ve still got options. Specifically, the FHA 96.5% loan. The Federal Housing Administration offers 96.5% financing which means the borrower is only required a minimum contribution of 3.5%! The FHA 96.5% does not have any restricted areas like the USDA RD loan does. As long as the property meets the FHA’s minimum standards, the house will qualify. The FHA loan is really popular with first time home-buyers, especially those who may have a little bit higher debt ratios that don’t necessarily conform to conventional standards. You can check out some of the FHA FAQ’s here:

I’m merely, scratching the surface on what all the options out there are for home buyers but I felt Like it was important to let you all know that there are some very affordable options out there to finance your home. Mortgage rates as  a whole are low and many borrower’s have found out that they were able to buy a home cheaper than what they’re paying in rent! I heard a quote one time regarding home ownership and renting that I found really important…” In order to have place to live, you’re always going to pay a mortgage…whether it’s yours or not. Why not pay for something that one day you will own?” To me, that made a lot of sense. If you’re renting…aren’t you just paying that money every month to cover your landlord’s mortgage, or their condo, or their lake house? Don’t get me wrong, I understand that there are times when renting is the only option and I’m not knocking that by any means. The message I wanted to get across is that their are a lot of options out there for you, don’t let the age old myth of “you need 20% down” keep you from pursuing home-ownership.

If you ever have any questions about these programs or others, please don’t hesitate to give me a call, or simply leave your info below. I’m here to help.


Justin Dorroh

Assurance Financial

Office: 256-325-8944

Cell: 256-443-3208


NMLS Company: 70876

NMLS Originator: 1313401




Why Men get it Wrong…

As husbands, we don’t always get it right. Why? We’re men. Is that an excuse? No. Fact of the matter is men are wired differently than women. It’s not a bad thing, it’s how we were created. Now, the ways that we have been shaped, molded, and changed over time are a result of how we were raised, the environments we put ourselves in, and the choices we’ve made along the way. But, like anything that can be wired, built, shaped, and molded one way…we can change for better or for worse. Where’s all this coming from?

Before marriage, before dating, before girls….we were little boys, wild and free. We played ball, we went outside, we hung out with our dads, and girls were NOT cool. We were taught to be tough, that losing sucks, and that men are to be leaders. Is any of that wrong? No. But as we grow older, start to make our own decisions, harvest our own opinions, and we start to come up with an idea of the type man we want to be. And that’s where we went wrong….

We’re imperfect people, we’re flawed, we sin…that’s not just men, that’s all of us. So when WE start to shape these ideas of the type person that WE want to be, we’re destined for imperfection. What are you saying Justin? We’re asking the wrong person what type of man we should be. Am I saying it’s wrong to have aspirations and goals? Absolutely not. I’ve never been one to believe that God micro manages to the point of whether I should work at the gas station or be a doctor.. I’ve always believed that whatever platform you have, or whatever position you’re in, that you should be a light that shines for the kingdom. What I am saying is this, We have to ask God to shape us into the man that he would have us to be, we need His direction in order to become a better man, a better husband. Because when Justin says, “this is what it is to be a man” or “this is what a husband should do”….Justin messes it up, big time…every time. E-V-E-R-Y    T-I-M-E .

I say all that to say this. To our wives, fiances, and girlfriends…. We love you, we truly do but we’re not perfect. We need help. Please understand, it’s ingrained in our being to provide, love, and care for you….but sometimes, a lot of times….we have no idea what we’re doing, and we’re too proud to admit it. So, please be patient, keep loving us and know that we’re trying…but sometimes we’re looking for help in the mirror instead of help from above.

I’d like to end this blog post with reminding everyone, I’m not perfect, I’m not Dr. Phil, I don’t have all the answers and I’m not any better than anyone else. I have my own set of daily struggles just like the next. I’m just speaking on things I’m learning along the way and hope that maybe it helps someone here and there. I genuinely do believe that we all be better men and better husbands, but I don’t think we can do that on our own. However, if we’re looking for the answers in the right places, we will grow. And hopefully, our wives don’t kill us in the meantime.


Justin Dorroh