“Being a goldsmith you never know what’s going to happen.”
Ron Alexander grew up in Ohio on Lake Erie. He attended military school in Georgia and joined the Army in 1972 as second lieutenant in an artillery unit. “That’s what I always wanted to do,” he says and he served in the Army, including Active Duty, Active Reserves, and National Guard, for a total of 25 years.
Moving North and Starting Something New
After the Army, Ron and his wife Jannine lived in northern Florida for a couple of years before moving north to central Michigan, where they became co-owners of Jannine’s father’s jewelry design business. Ron and Jannine have now both been goldsmiths for several decades.
Over the years, they’ve discovered that the life of an entrepreneur can be bumpy. They weathered many storms including recessions and the financial crisis — even just general economic slowdowns can lead to lower demand for custom jewelry. The COVID-19 outbreak slowed things down even more. They needed financial help to survive and with rates at historic lows, they thought about refinancing their home.
However, this wasn’t the first time they had turned to their home equity for help. To support their business in prior rough years, the Alexanders had taken out first and second mortgages, as well as a home equity loan. Through this process, they had learned that some basic financial transactions — like getting a mortgage and refinancing — are more complicated when you’re self-employed. “I feel as though [entrepreneurs are] discriminated against,” says Ron after working with several lenders.” Then I got in touch with Dale Poe at AAFMAA Mortgage Services LLC (AMS). He warned me that it may be a lengthy process to refinance again, and it took about three months, but it was what we needed to do to keep our business going.”
Saving $710 a Month
As they tied all their debt to their home, Dale suggested they refinance to pay down the higher-interest rate loans and end up with one, consolidated payment. The current interest rate on their mortgage was 4.75%. AMS was able to lock them in at 3.0% — reducing their housing debt payments by $710 a month. As expected, the process took some time, and the couple had to submit plenty of paperwork to document the business’s income and expenses. “When you work for an employer you usually make the same amount each month. An entrepreneur’s income is often less even and we have to average it out to ensure it meets the qualifications,” says Poe.
Keeping the Lights On
In the end, the refinance saved the Alexanders enough money to finally get some financial breathing room, keep the store open and rehire employees lost during the pandemic. “We are really grateful to AMS for their perseverance and outstanding customer service,” Ron says. “They helped us get through this transition and we’re very happy with the entire team,” he adds. “Other companies should emulate the way AMS gets things done.”
We’re Here to Help
If you’re not certain on whether or not it’s the right time to refinance or get a mortgage to purchase a home, please contact us today or give us a call at (877) 387-6856 and one of our Military Mortgage Advisors will be in touch with you shortly!
You will receive an honest and fair comparison of your mortgage options, including a wide range of low-rate and low-cost mortgages designed to meet your needs. Ensuring our Members obtain the best mortgage possible is our mission. Get your free mortgage assessment today!