Is Now the Time to Start Your Home Renovations?

As the number of homes for sale on the market continues to fall, many homeowners are considering renovating their existing homes or potentially purchasing a 'fixer-upper' using a renovation loan program.




Why market real estate changes are good news for homebuyers

Pushed forward by record-low interest rates, the past few years in real estate have been the very definition of a seller's market. Buyers needed to be on their “A” games, getting pre-qualified before making offers to be taken seriously, and often competing for homes with above-asking-price offers.

Sellers often had their pick of offers to choose from, and the numbers show sellers enjoyed record home prices.




Homeownership Among Hispanic Americans Hits a Major Milestone

A major milestone is being celebrated in the real estate world as new data confirms that over half of all Hispanic Americans are now homeowners!

According to the National Association of Realtors®, the ownership rate among Hispanic Americans rose by 4%, meaning almost 3 million more Latinos owned a house in 2021 than in 2011.




Understanding Louisiana Citizens Fair Plan Rate Increases

Finding affordable homeowners insurance is an important part of the home buying process here along the Gulf Coast.

And while the recent news about insurance rate increases may seem a bit concerning, it’s helpful to understand the important role the Louisiana Citizens Fair Plan plays in providing stable, reliable insurance options for Louisiana homeowners.



2023 Home Buying Guide from Gulf Coast Bank & Trust Home Loans

2023 Home Buying Guide from Gulf Coast Bank & Trust Home Loans

Let’s face it, New Year’s Resolutions are tough to keep when you live on the Gulf Coast!

King Cakes are everywhere by January 6th. Then parades. Then crawfish season and festivals, the list goes on and on.




What is a 2/1 Buydown & does it make sense for you?

Have you heard of a 2/1 buydown? Do you know what it does and how it works?

You may not have heard much about buydowns over the last few years. When interest rates are low, many people are content with the rate they negotiate without having to look for ways to lower it further.



The importance of home loan rate locks in a changing real estate market

The Importance of Rate Locks

Rate locks were not a significant concern for borrowers due to falling rates over the past few years. Rates were at or near historic lows, and many borrowers waited to see just how low rates might go while they were in the market.

But when rates are not near historic lows, it’s good to take a closer look at important tools like rate locks to make sure you understand your options when it comes to securing a particular rate on a home loan.



 Two ways to stay on track when buying a home

Two ways to stay on track when buying a home

Starting to think about buying a new home can feel a little intimidating, especially if you’ve never done it before.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

We believe that getting ready to buy a home is part of a well-defined process.



Does back to school mean back to normal for home buyers?

Does back to school mean back to normal for home buyers?

There's no doubt about it, we’ve experienced massive changes in our local real estate market, having a big impact on home buyers.

We watched as mortgage interest rates dipped to lows never seen before. While at the same time, housing prices increased while housing inventory decreased quickly.




Navigating Uncertain Times in Real Estate

There are many reasons you might be in the market to buy or sell a home right now. But it seems like you are reading about a new change in the real estate market every day.

The last few years have been quite unusual with low-interest rates, low inventory of homes, and rapid home appreciation. It is not surprising to have questions about the real estate market with these constant changes.



The Best Way for the Self-Employed to Get a Mortgage: The Bank Statement Program

According to the Pew Research Center, the number of self-employed individuals in the United States increased 17.6% from the second quarter of 2020 to the second quarter of 2021.

While the number of self-employed individuals is increasing, there still lies a difficulty for them: getting a traditional home loan.



Borrowers, The Time to Get Ready to Buy a Home is NOW

Here we are in the New Year. Now is usually when we start proposing and working on our New Year’s resolutions. For some of us, one of those resolutions is beginning the home buying process.

We’re here to tell you why now is the perfect time to get that home!



Multi-Unit Property Financing New Orleans, Baton Rouge & the Northshore

After seeing the benefits of owning a home, people often start to think about expanding  into multi-unit, income-producing properties.

The good news is that the Gulf Coast, and New Orleans metro area in particular, offers a number of opportunities for rental properties, especially if you’re willing to renovate a bit.



New 2022 Loan Limit Increases Make It Easier to Buy Larger Homes

New federal guidelines are making it easier than ever to get larger home loans in 2022.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced increases to the loan limitations on conventional / conforming loans in response to rapidly increasing home values.


Ida Recovery

Louisiana Homeowners Eligible for 95% LTV Loans for Ida Recovery

Many people in Louisiana are still recovering from hurricane Ida. If your or a loved one’s home was damaged or destroyed, there is a good chance you're still waiting for financial relief from government programs.

If your home has sustained damages or is unlivable you can’t wait. You don’t have to wait. The time to rebuild is now. There is hope after the storm has passed.


Marcia Leone

Meet Marcia Leone, VP Of Mortgage Lending, In Our Metairie Office

Although Marcia has been with Gulf Coast Bank Home Loans for 13 years, it wasn't her childhood dream to become a mortgage loan officer.

Deep in her heart she always knew she wanted to help people, but how exactly was not clear to her as a child.


Home Destroyed by Ida?

Home Destroyed By Ida? An FHA 203(h) May Help

If your home, or the home of someone you know, was damaged by Hurricane Ida to the point of being unlivable, there is a home loan solution which may offer you a bit of hope.

Rather than living with friends or family or waiting for government-provided temporary housing while you rebuild, it’s time to find out more about a program specifically designed for disaster relief - the Hud 203(h) program.


Paul Dours

Spotlight on Paul Dours: Construction, Ida & Northshore Living

Paul Dours may have grown up on the Southshore, but after 20 years of living in Mandeville, he feels like a true Northshore resident!

“Born & raised on the Southshore, I attended and graduated from UNO. I started my career working in Metairie in the financial services industry, but the Northshore is definitely home now,” says Paul.


Working with a Gulf Coast Bank Loan Officer

What To Expect When You Work with a Gulf Coast Bank Loan Officer

The thought of purchasing your first home unleashes a wave of exciting questions!

You’ll likely start by considering the kind of home you want to live in, making a wish list of home features you’d love to have, and narrowing down your favorite neighborhoods in your community.


Meet Daina Short

Finding Balance: Meet Daina Short, VP Of Mortgage Lending, in Our Mandeville Office

Senior Mortgage Loan Officer & VP of Mortgage Lending, Daina Short, is a regular face in our ‘Multi-Million Dollar Club’ of top-volume loan officers each month.

This is testament to her success as one of our top-performing lenders within the Gulf Coast Bank Home Loans ranks.

But for Daina and her mortgage business, success isn’t just about closed loan volume.


Warrantable vs Non-Warrantable Condos

Warrantable Vs. Non-Warrantable Condos: What You Need To Know

Do you dream of owning and living in a NOLA French Quarter condo right in the middle of the excitement of the Crescent City?

Or maybe you’re daydreaming of buying a beach condo you can rent out (when you’re not sneaking away to it) in one of the Gulf Coast’s charming beach towns?


Joe Uzee

Meet Joe Uzee, Gulf Coast Bank Mortgage Division President

After almost 3 decades excelling in mortgage as a top-volume loan officer and the gifted team leader of our top-producing Uzee Team, Joe Uzee is forging a new legacy as Gulf Coast Bank’s Mortgage Division President.

We’re so proud to welcome him to our leadership team!

Read on to learn more about Joe, his life in mortgage, his rewarding experience as a team leader, and his vision for our Mortgage Division.


Basics of Rural Development

The Basics of Rural Development Loans

You might be surprised to learn that VA loans aren’t the only loan programs out there that don’t require a down payment.

While 100%-financed VA loans are only available to Veterans and their eligible spouses – there’s another popular zero-money-down loan that’s open to all qualified borrowers.


Meet our two newest loan officers

Meet Our 2 Newest Loan Officers!

Summer at Gulf Coast Bank Home Loans has brought with it a wave of new talent in our loan officer ranks.

Our three newest loan officers are an eclectic mix of experience and passion. And they all share the goal of helping future homeowners achieve their dreams with the right financing.


FHA Loans

FHA Loans – A Popular Choice for First-Time Homebuyers

Over the last year or so, historically low mortgage rates and a trend of steadily rising home prices are leading many aspiring homeowners to put their home-buying plans on the fast track.

As a first-time homebuyer, when the real estate stars align and you think you’ve found ‘the one,’ there’s a good chance you can finance your new home with one of the most advantageous loan programs available.


Senior VP of Mortgage Lending

[Meet Hoang Nguyen, Senior VP of Mortgage Lending

There are systems & processes, technologies, and data platforms – all running seamlessly under the radar every single day. These systems support our mortgage division and, most importantly, help our dedicated loan officers serve our clients each day.


VA Loan

You Served Us, We’d Love to Serve You with Your VA Loan

In 2020, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) loan program had a record year, guaranteeing more than 1.2 million home loans for active duty military, veterans, and eligible surviving spouses.

Since the program’s inception in 1944, the VA has backed more than 25 million home loans, helping our nation’s protectors achieve their dreams of homeownership.


Trang Nguyen

A Heart for Client Service: Meet Loan Officer Trang Nguyen

Trang Nguyen’s career as a mortgage loan officer and how it unfolded is a case study in the art of pivoting.

Eight years ago, Trang was on the hunt for a more flexible position that afforded her the work-life balance so many working parents need.

She found it with us. But her path didn’t begin in loan origination. That came later. And we’re so glad it did.


Renovation Loan

From ‘Almost Perfect’ to Dream Home with a Renovation Loan!

All around New Orleans – and in many other real estate markets around the U.S. – there’s a shortage of housing inventory.

Whether it’s due entirely to the pandemic or a combination of factors, would-be sellers are sitting and waiting patiently while eager buyers flock to new listings to answer the all-important question – “Is this my dream home?”


Meet Tommy Manzella

From Shortstop to Mortgage All-Star: Meet Tommy Manzella with the The Uzee Team

In professional baseball, shortstops are known for their agility. They’re masters of the baseball, pivoting to field balls and throwing out runners.

They specialize in doing what needs to be done for the team.

What does this have to do with mortgage?


4 Advantages of Our Construction Loan Program

4 Advantages of Our Construction Loan Program

All across Metro New Orleans, realtors are observing a shortage of housing inventory.

According to the Gulf South Real Estate Information Network’s January 2021 stats for the Greater New Orleans region, there was roughly a 1.8-month supply of active listings compared to a 3.8-month supply in January 2020.


Fernandez Mortgage Team

Meet The Fernandez Mortgage Team: Sara Fernandez and Dixie Hoerner

For Mortgage Loan Officer and Vice President of Mortgage Lending Sara Fernandez, helping clients secure financing for their dream homes has been a long-held passion spanning 3 decades.


8 Steps to Homeownership

8 Steps on the Path to Homeownership

If you’re a first-timer, jumping into homeownership can be a little scary –, having a clear understanding of what’s ahead will make the process of buying your new home less stressful.

We’re here to help you better understand the process and take the first steps toward reaching your goals of homeownership..


Gabrielle Smith

Meet Gabrielle Smith, Mortgage Loan Officer in Our Slidell Office

Dinner time at Slidell Loan Originator Gabrielle Smith’s house is the stuff of dreams.

This isn’t exactly because she’s a born and raised Creole, who grew up in a large New Orleans family that relished in the comforts of Cajun cooking and good times together.

That’s a huge part of it.


Checklist for smoother home purchase in 2021

Your Checklist for a Smoother Home Purchase in 2021

If you’re planning to buy a home in 2021, this could be your year.

It could also be a roller coaster, at least according to the latest housing market outlooks released for 2021.


Pat Callaghan

Meet Pat Callaghan, Mortgage Loan Originator with Gulf Coast Bank’s Metairie Branch

Imagine the joy and satisfaction you feel as a Saints fan after a game-winning touchdown in the Superdome.

That’s how Pat Callaghan, who has worked in the mortgage industry for more than 30 years, feels every time he hears the phrase “clear to close” for his clients.


Shopping for homeowners insurance in Louisiana?

Shopping for Homeowners Insurance in Louisiana? Here are 5 important factors to consider.

For many in Louisiana, your home is one of the biggest financial investments you’ll ever make. Protecting it is nearly as important as the investment itself.

With so many things to think about, shopping for homeowners insurance, getting enough coverage, and purchasing the right kind of coverage is a big dilemma for Pelican state homeowners.


Jojo Quiroz

Meet Jojo Quiroz, Mortgage Loan Originator in Our Destin Branch

For Jojo Quiroz, a Mortgage Loan Originator, in our Destin, FL branch, entering the mortgage industry was one-part happenstance and one-part career change – which ultimately grew out of his family’s difficult experience with homeownership. Today, he’s a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) turned Loan Officer with a deep understanding of his clients’ desire to realize their dream of homeownership.


Meet Tony Turner, Senior VP of Mortgage, a Division of Gulf Coast Bank

There are a few mantras Tony Turner has carried with him since serving as a Military Police officer in the U.S. Army and Louisiana National Guard.

The first – “Win the Morning” – helps him maintain the deep organizational discipline he learned over the course of his 6 years in service with the 239th Military Police Company.


Meet Bernard Guste, Mortgage Loan Originator in our New Orleans Office

Like a great New Orleans gumbo, Bernard Guste has all the right ingredients that help make him a successful mortgage lender.

He grew up waiting tables in New Orleans. It was in fact waiting tables that taught him an important customer service lesson and one that guides how he serves clients today.


3 Golden Rules for Choosing the Ideal Mortgage Lender

Choosing a mortgage lender to service your home loan is not unlike choosing your realtor, your insurance agent, your financial advisor, your doctor, your lawyer, or even your spouse!

Largely in lending, it’s about building a relationship centered on trust – and determining if that person IS the person you want wading through the complex story of your finances.


Meet Mark West, Mortgage Loan Originator in Our Baton Rouge Office

For Mark West, a loan originator in our Baton Rouge branch, retirement was great – for a few months. In 2015, after owning and running his own independent mortgage brokerage along with a friend and colleague for 19 years, Mark decided it was time to retire. A lover of world travel since living abroad in England and Venezuela as a child, he embarked on a dream trip to France, Italy, and back to England with his best friend in the world, his Mom.


Meet Allison Byrd, Mortgage Loan Originator, in our Baton Rouge Office

For Allison Byrd, a mortgage loan originator with us since 2017, work days begin early with her 10-month-old son Conner by her side, enjoying his breakfast at the kitchen table while she checks up on loan files and emails clients.

er days also often end late – after she and her husband, Matthew, have put their three sons (Warren is 5, Robert, almost 4) to bed, she has (amazingly!) fit in an evening workout, and sent her last email for the day.


3 Reasons to Get Pre-Qualified When Shopping for a Home in Today’s Market

Have you been monitoring the historically low mortgage rates we’ve been seeing since July? Are you ready to take the mortgage plunge?

Are you scanning and other home sites daily and bookmarking your favorite homes? Or better yet, you might already be working with a trusted realtor to tour houses on your wishlist.

Great! You have a fantastic start in the home-buying process.


Should you buy your first home during a pandemic?

If you were headed into spring or summer thinking maybe this would be the year you bought your first home, is 2020 still a good time to buy? Or should you wait?

It is hard to make big decisions these days. There is so much uncertainty.

In a recent interview on NPR, best-selling author Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project & Happier at Home) shared excellent insights on how to deal with anxiety and indecision. Her advice may help you get clarity on big decisions such as whether or not now is a good time to buy your first home.


Celebrating the Future Superstars of Mortgage Lending on National Intern Day 2020!

On National Intern Day 2020, we’re pausing to recognize and celebrate the future leaders of our world: Our interns who help keep things running seamlessly for our clients at Gulf Coast Bank & Trust Home Loans.

It’s National Intern Day 2020! On this special day, we’d like to recognize and celebrate the future leaders of our world: our interns! At Gulf Coast Bank & Trust Home Loans, that means expressing appreciation for our future superstars of mortgage lending.


The smartest money you will ever spend when buying a home

Buying a home is an exciting time, filled with dreams for the future. Homebuyers often envision what their new home will look like once they have moved in and put their personal touch into it - or perhaps even making a few improvements.

One of the best ways to ensure you have a great home buying experience is to get a premium home inspection before closing on your home. A general home inspection covers the basics. If you are willing to spend a little extra money, your inspector may be able to dig deeper to look for potential issues with mold, termites, asbestos & radon.


Meet Don McPherson, Mortgage Loan Officer & Coach

At Gulf Coast Bank & Trust Home Loans, we are incredibly proud of our people. We recognize and celebrate the passion our team members have for the important work they do, their dedication to exceptional client service, and their inspiring involvement in the communities we serve. We want you to know our people too. Read on for our first installment of a new blog series that spotlights our hardworking employees.


Building your dream house is easier with a one (1) time construction loan

Searching existing homes for sale on the MLS doesn’t always result in finding the home you’ve been dreaming about.

Sure, you might find a kitchen you like in one home or a patio you like on another home. You’ll find great ideas and inspiration.

Listings of homes on the MLS may result in a home in the perfect location, but it may not be your dream home, Gulf Coast Bank Home Loans One (1) time construction loan enables you to purchase that home in the perfect location and renovate it to make it your dream home. 


The smart way to research customer reviews before choosing a lender

A lot  of businesses make promises that are hard to measure. After all, how do you quantify things like “great service” or “personal attention”?

The mortgage business is oftentimes driven by referrals. When you do a good job for someone, they may refer you to their lender so you can have that same great experience.


The “new norm” - nearly virtual home loan closings

Everybody is adjusting to the “new” norm these days.

We’re going to “drive-through” birthdays, wearing masks when we go to the store, and learning how to work remotely better than we ever did before!

As a local community bank or local lender Critical Financial Services Firm, we’ve worked hard at adapting our processes to the “new norm” so that you continue to get the services you need with the personal touch you’ve come to expect from our team.


Facts vs. Myths About First Time Home Buyers

Owning a home is the ultimate American dream. But sadly, more than half of people who don’t already own a home think it will be difficult for them to buy based on their current financial situation.  We want to change these numbers by addressing common myths which often prevent people from starting the process.


10 Rules When Applying for a Mortgage  Loan

You nailed the loan pre-approval process and now you’re under contract to buy a home. 

What could possibly go wrong? 

A lot—that’s what!


How Do You Know You’re Ready To Buy a Home?

With the busy holiday season finally over, our attention along the Gulf Coast turns to Mardi Gras, warmer weather and all things outside! The housing market also starts to heat up, so if you are planning to buy a new home, it’s a great time to get started. Regardless of where you are looking to buy, here are some reasons to get started NOW rather than waiting...


Getting Ready To Buy a Home in 5 Easy Steps

With the busy holiday season finally over, our attention along the Gulf Coast turns to Mardi Gras, warmer weather and all things outside! The housing market also starts to heat up, so if you are planning to buy a new home, it’s a great time to get started. Regardless of where you are looking to buy, here are some reasons to get started NOW rather than waiting until the last minute...


Buying a home this spring? The time to start is now.

With the busy holiday season finally over, our attention along the Gulf Coast turns to Mardi Gras, warmer weather and all things outside! The housing market also starts to heat up, so if you are planning to buy a new home, it’s a great time to get started. Regardless of where you are looking to buy, here are some reasons to get started NOW rather than waiting...