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Cincy Chic Staff

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Cincinnati Chamber’s WE Lead program assists women in getting to the next level of their careers.

Clarissa Doggett, Senior Operational Leader under Medical Operations at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, felt like her career was at a standstill before she participated in WE Lead.

“I felt like I was experiencing a plateau in both my professional and personal life, therefore I was seeking something that would challenge me, but most importantly help me identify why I’m currently in a plateau,” says Doggett. 

WE Lead is a 10-month executive leadership development experience from the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber for high-potential, goal-oriented women actively preparing for the next level of their career. 

WE Lead brings together high-achieving, professional women from a variety of backgrounds to learn from one another and creating a strong, supportive network. Through a combination of professional development and executive coaching, participants learn leadership skills and strategies unique to their personal and professional development.

The Leadership Center’s WE Lead program is different from other leadership development programs offered by chambers throughout the region because it offers several opportunities for participants to improve and gain new ideas throughout its 10-month course, where other programs only offer small nuggets of opportunity and guidance at one-time events. 

Clarissa Doggett, Senior Operational Leader under Medical Operations at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center

“I was so focused on trying to improve professionally I did not realize that this program would allow me to dig deeper personally as well. It definitely assisted me with trying to find a healthy balance between professional and personal,” says Doggett. 

During the month of March, the Chamber kicked off the opening of WE Lead applications for Class 16 and celebrated International Women’s History Month by honoring WE Lead alumni and women in the region who have become incredible leaders and role models. WE Lead alumni shared their experiences and highlighted the women in their lives who have inspired, encouraged, or empowered them along their leadership journeys. Check out #WELeadCincy to hear how WE Lead has impacted our alumni and the meaningful relationships they built.

When asked about what she enjoyed most about the program, Doggett says it was the chance to look inward and focus on herself for a change.

“I appreciate simply being comfortable to bring my authentic self in every discussion without feeling judged. As women, I think it’s hard for us to be vulnerable because we want to always strive to be strong, and in general we tend to struggle with finding a sense of belonging, particularly when it comes to leading. I didn’t imagine that this program would also help me identify personal things in my life that were inadvertently feeding into this ‘plateau’ state I was experiencing. It has allowed me to think deeper, reflect on things I value the most and identify what actually motivates me to be great,” she says.

“If you are looking to be comfortable with being uncomfortable and growing professionally and personally while connecting with other amazing women leaders throughout our region, I would highly encourage you to apply for this amazing program,” adds Doggett. 

“We hear time and time again that women are so appreciative of WE Lead as it pushes them to enhance their leadership and provides an opportunity to develop life-long relationships with an incredible network of women who will help them advance locally,” says Vice President of the Leadership Center Amy Thompson.

There have been more than 600 graduates of the WE Lead program through the Leadership Center at the Cincinnati Chamber. You can see a list of previous graduates by clicking here

There is a competitive process to participate in WE Lead, including an application and references. Applications for the upcoming WE Lead program are open now and will close on May 21, 2021. Click here to apply.

 

You might love the idea of remodeling your house, but you might not know where to get started. The good news is that you are not alone. Many people start the process without knowing what to expect but doing so can lead to mishaps. That’s why understanding a bit more about the process can help you avoid unforeseen issues or expenses to simplify the process as much as possible. 

Planning the Process

If you plan on doing a major home renovation, you’ll want to think about how you’ll cover the cost. You’ll want to try to lower your monthly expenses while you save up for the remodeling project. One way of doing so is to refinance your student loan into a new one with the help of a private lender to get personal finances in order going forward.

One way of saving money is to talk to several contractors and then compare their prices. Different contractors have varying ways of getting things done, so you will want to understand each process before deciding. Otherwise, you might end up paying too much or not getting things done the way you want to. Make sure you do your research and get several opinions, especially for a big project. 

Using a Key Lockbox

If you do not live in the house you are remodeling, it might be a good idea to consider using a key lockbox. That is especially true if you do not live in the area. If you have several projects that are impossible to do by yourself, using a contractor is the best way to go. They often like to begin the project early in the morning, so they should be able to let themselves into your home. 

Otherwise, you might have to fight the morning rush hour to get there on time. Plus, allowing the contracts to let themselves in can save you quite a bit of fuel and time. If you don’t like the idea of a lockbox, you can also use smart hardware on the door and give the contractor a code.

Spending Time in the Area

It is best to avoid deciding on things like paint or lighting at first. Instead, spend a bit of time in that area and think about what you like. For instance, if you know you don’t like the flooring, consider what would work in that space and look nice. There are many types of flooring available, and you also have a range of colors to pick from.

The same is true of picking paint colors. You need to place samples of the paint on your walls to understand how the colors work together. And you might find that after updating the floor and paint, the light fixtures do not work as well as you had thought. Spend a bit of time thinking about everything will work together in the end. That way, you will not have to start over in your design later on. Of course, you may still find your ideas change along the way, but you can always make small tweaks to your design.

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WE Lead prepares professional women for the next step in their careers—and lives.

WE Lead is a 10-month executive leadership development experience from the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber for high-potential, goal-oriented women actively preparing for the next level of their career. 

WE Lead brings together high-achieving, professional women from a variety of backgrounds to learn from one another and creating a strong, supportive network. Through a combination of professional development and executive coaching, participants learn leadership skills and strategies unique to their personal and professional development.

Clarissa Doggett, Senior Operational Leader under Medical Operations at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, is a participant of WE Lead who says she joined the program to help her determine her next steps professionally but found that the program was also personally beneficial.

“I felt like I was experiencing a plateau in both my professional and personal life, therefore I was seeking something that would challenge me, but most importantly help me identify why I’m currently in a plateau,” says Doggett. “I was so focused on trying to improve professionally I did not realize that this program would allow me to dig deeper personally as well. It definitely assisted me with trying to find a healthy balance between professional and personal.”

During the month of March, the Chamber kicked off the opening of WE Lead applications for Class 16 and celebrated International Women’s History Month by honoring WE Lead alumni and women in the region who have become incredible leaders and role models. WE Lead alumni shared their experiences and highlighted the women in their lives who have inspired, encouraged, or empowered them along their leadership journeys. Check out #WELeadCincy to hear how WE Lead has impacted our alumni and the meaningful relationships they built.

Clarissa Doggett, Senior Operational Leader under Medical Operations at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center

The Leadership Center’s WE Lead program is different from other leadership development programs offered by chambers throughout the region because it offers several opportunities for participants to improve and gain new ideas throughout its 10-month course, where other programs only offer small nuggets of opportunity and guidance at one-time events. 

When asked about what she enjoyed most about the program, Doggett says it was the chance to look inward and focus on herself for a change.

“I appreciate simply being comfortable to bring my authentic self in every discussion without feeling judged. As women, I think it’s hard for us to be vulnerable because we want to always strive to be strong, and in general we tend to struggle with finding a sense of belonging, particularly when it comes to leading. I didn’t imagine that this program would also help me identify personal things in my life that were inadvertently feeding into this ‘plateau’ state I was experiencing. It has allowed me to think deeper, reflect on things I value the most and identify what actually motivates me to be great,” she says.

“If you are looking to be comfortable with being uncomfortable and growing professionally and personally while connecting with other amazing women leaders throughout our region, I would highly encourage you to apply for this amazing program,” adds Doggett. 

“We hear time and time again that women are so appreciative of WE Lead as it pushes them to enhance their leadership and provides an opportunity to develop life-long relationships with an incredible network of women who will help them advance locally,” says Vice President of the Leadership Center Amy Thompson.

There have been more than 600 graduates of the WE Lead program through the Leadership Center at the Cincinnati Chamber. You can see a list of previous graduates by clicking here

There is a competitive process to participate in WE Lead, including an application and references. Applications for the upcoming WE Lead program are open now and will close on May 21, 2021. Click here to apply.

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Around 300,000 jobs are outsourced by the United States annually. Whether you already have a beauty business or you’re considering jumping into the industry, outsourcing to virtual assistants can be a great way to get help with those tedious administration tasks, such as appointment scheduling or other business operations like social media maintenance. Aside from simply getting the job done on time, here are just three benefits that outsourcing can bring your business.
 
Lower costs
 
One of the main benefits that comes along with outsourcing work is that it can save your company money in several ways, including in labor costs. If you’re just starting out as a beauty business, this can be particularly beneficial in allowing you to stick to a budget. For example, if you need new product design labels or a revamped website design, outsourcing the work to independent virtual assistants who specialize in graphic design can be a cost efficient way to get the work done professionally. And, because outsourcing means you’ll be contracting out the work as needed, you won’t have to worry about hiring, training, and permanently adding a full-time employee to the payroll, thus saving you money in the grand scheme of things. 
 
An international (and remote) talent pool
 
Outsourcing work also allows your beauty business the unique opportunity to accept applicants from around the world, meaning that you’ll likely have a large pool of qualified people to choose from, as opposed to limiting yourself to local candidates. As a result, a growing beauty business can enjoy the benefits of having a diverse and talented team, who can aid in getting work done both quickly and efficiently, whether it be social media management, customer support, or content creation for your website.
 
If you’re outsourcing to multiple people, managing a remote team can be quite difficult, but it’s not impossible. One way to achieve maximum engagement and motivation within the team is through clear and consistent communication, which can be done through everyday business tasks like holding meetings. For example, always giving your team meeting goals and pre-meeting context ahead of time will aid in increasing efficiency for vital team meetings, thus ensuring that everything goes as smoothly as possible while retaining maximum productivity.
 
Improving overall business productivity
 
As a business, outsourcing work when you need to is a sure way to increase productivity levels. This is because outsourcing can provide aid in tough situations, such as when you experience an increase in workload and your employees already have their plates full. For example, a beauty business with an increase in sales around the holidays or a new product launch/restock could need to outsource work like remote customer service tasks, or help in maintaining a consistent flow of content to the website’s blog or social media. As a result, outsourcing is able to take major pressure and stress off of your regular employees, and allow them to focus on their own workload without having to worry about taking on extra hours. Not only can this prevent overworking your employees, but it can ensure they’re satisfied working for your business, which will ultimately lead to higher rates of retention in the long run.
 
As a business owner, outsourcing is a powerful tool that can be of great help. From lowering labor costs to increasing productivity, outsourcing work is a great way to take pressure and stress off of your regular employees, while ensuring that the work gets done by qualified professionals.

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Between COVID and low interest rates, more unwed couples are buying houses than ever. Our mortgage expert shares a few tips to keep in mind if buying before nuptials.

In previous generations, buying a home was a life milestone that often came after a couple married and combined households. But with interest rates at near-record lows, and COVID precautions delaying weddings, more couples are buying homes before marriage than ever. So, we tapped the expertise of Cincinnati-based Ron Erdmann at Guaranteed Rate for some advice when saying “I do” to a home first.

Erdmann says calling a mortgage professional is often the first step, but he suggests contacting a financial planner and real estate attorney too. “It just helps to take a look at your whole financial picture to plan things out,” he says, “and an attorney will help define all the details that are sometimes more inherent for married couples.”

Erdmann says these are the three main questions unmarried couples should consider when buying a house.

1. Who’s Applying for the Mortgage?

Buying a house together is a big commitment. So, even before searching for a home, Erdmann says you should contact an experienced mortgage professional to compare options and get pre-approved. “I always encourage both to apply together so we can determine if it’s best to buy in both of their names or just one of their names,” he says. “The more I know, the more I understand how to best set up the purchase.” 

2. What Type of Ownership is Best?

When you buy a house with your partner, you must decide how you will own the property, or “take title.” Erdmann says you should consult with an experienced real estate attorney to decide what’s best for you, but generally speaking, there are three basic choices:

• one person holds title as sole owner

• both of you hold title as “joint tenants,” or

• both of you hold title as “tenants in common.”

“The partner with the stronger financials and credit score may want to purchase the home to get better mortgage terms and interest rates,” Erdmann says. “But both names can be on the deed even if one didn’t sign the mortgage, provided the lender agrees. What’s on the deed doesn’t have to match what’s on the mortgage.”

3. Get a Cohabitation Property Agreement?

When couples live together, married or not, they will most likely accumulate equity. Unlike married couples, though, unmarried couples may not have the same property protections. So, they can create a cohabitation property agreement to outline who owns what, and what will happen in the event the couple chooses to separate or if a partner passes away. “It’s completely optional and not at all common,” Erdmann says, “but an attorney can look at your unique situation and tell you if they’d recommend it to be safe.”

While it’s far from romantic, Erdmann says, talking through these basics of home buying and gathering the appropriate paperwork for a mortgage application is a good starting point for examining whether or not a home purchase is right for your relationship, married or not.

To learn more about Ron Erdmann, NMLS 728342, Branch Manager and SVP of Mortgage Lending at Guaranteed Rate, visit https://www.rate.com/loan-expert/ronerdmann. You can also contact him via email at ron.erdmann@rate.com or call (513) 609-4484

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Latest figures from the Bureau of Labor reveal that Ohio’s private industry employers reported almost 92,000 workplace injuries and illnesses in 2019. More than half of these were considered serious, involving at least one day off from work. In addition to dealing with the stress and pain of recovering from injury, returning to work after an accident can be overwhelming. This is especially true if you are already juggling the needs of your family and other commitments. As well as making sure you are physically fit, knowing that you have adequate financial, legal and social support can help to ensure a smooth return to work.
 
Finalize a Compensation Claim
 
If your injuries were because of an accident that wasn’t your fault, you may have filed a claim for compensation while you were off work. Research has shown that a stressful settlement process can be detrimental to long-term recovery, and also increase the time it takes to return to work. Legal professionals at FVF Law understand that it can be intimidating to negotiate a fair settlement. However, with reliable legal support you will be in a better position to complete your claim promptly, receive an appropriate amount of financial compensation and get back to work sooner.
 
Take Adequate Sick Leave
 
A number of studies have shown that working when sick can prolong ill health and can increase the risk of having to take more time off over a year later.  While you might feel you need to get back to work as soon as possible, if you are not fully recovered your work and your health may suffer. Whether you are working from home or have returned to the office, it is important to take proper sick days when you are feeling unwell. 
 
Look for Social Support
 
Even once you have physically recovered from your injuries, there are several other factors that may influence how quickly you are able to settle back in at work once you return. If necessary start with a less pressurized role and if your injuries limit the type of work you can undertake, make sure your employers are aware.  Social support is important and sharing your feelings and concerns about returning to work with your family, colleagues and employer can be very beneficial in ensuring the process runs smoothly.
 
Recovery from an accident can be a long and overwhelming process. Even when you are feeling better, returning to work too quickly without plenty of support can be detrimental to your productivity and prolong your recovery to full health.

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A year after the pandemic hit, it’s clear COVID-19 forever changed the housing market. A local expert shares insight into the big shift and real estate’s new normal.

As we lap the one-year mark since the COVID-19 pandemic began, there’s still a lot of uncertainty, but one thing is for sure: the pandemic has re-ordered real estate markets across the board, at a record rate, on an unprecedented scale.
 
Property views on real estate sites such as Realtor and Zillow are up over 50% this year, inventory in the 100 top US metro markets has been shrinking, along with days on market and the gap between list-to-sale price. Then, the cherry on top: record-low interest rates. Now it’s clear, by every metric, Americans are moving faster now than they were before the pandemic. 
 
“More than ever, people are working remotely and realizing they have the ability to work from where ever they want to. They’re being more selective about where they choose to live because they can,” says Cincinnati-based Ron Erdmann at Guaranteed Rate. “Before, they’d select their geographic location based on where work is based, even if it’s away from family and friends. Now, they’re realizing they have the ability to live and work near family and friends, or relocate to a dream location like a beach or mountain scape.” 
 
COVID-19 raised questions – beyond markets and interest rates – that don’t have answers yet, such as: Will people feel safer living in the south and southwest where they can spend all year social distancing outside? What if companies let employees work remotely forever? Why go back to retail shopping when I’m used to ordering everything online now? What’s the point of living “downtown” if half of the restaurants, bars, and attractions never open back up?
 
How these questions get answered will ultimately re-order how Americans live in the post-pandemic new normal, Erdmann says. Also, as a result, this will determine which markets will experience growth, demand, and price appreciation over the next 3-5 years, and which ones won’t.
 
“There’s now a new wave of opportunity for areas that were once considered too small, too southern, or too desolate,” Erdmann explains. “Now, that’s what everyone wants.” Those qualities are now rising to the top of the real estate desirability lists as Americans seek warmer, healthier, less dense, better educated, and more mobile places to live that offer closer access to the outdoors, better hospitals, smaller schools, and more open space.
 
Erdmann says his team is seeing a huge surge in mortgages for people buying second homes or summer homes for the same reasons. “You can spend six months out of the year in your home town and six months out of the year on the beach without it affecting your work situation, and you can do it at super low rates, so people are taking advantage.” 
 
If you’re looking for a second home or to move to an area outside of your current market, Erdmann has some advice. “Some banks only lend in their geographic footprint, some can lend nationally,” he says. “For example, in my network, there’s someone who can lend in all 50 states. You’ll want to find an experienced mortgage professional who can help no matter where you’re looking.”
 
To learn more about Ron Erdmann, NMLS 728342, Branch Manager and SVP of Mortgage Lending at Guaranteed Rate, visit https://www.rate.com/loan-expert/ronerdmann You can also contact him via email at ron.erdmann@rate.com or call (513) 609-4484. 

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Learn about a local UC student who has turned her love of reading into a creative side business.

Just Bookish Creations was started by University of Cincinnati student Rachel Mowry.

University of Cincinnati student Rachel Mowry combined her creative side with her love for reading to create a unique business called Just Bookish Creations. 

With classes moving to an online format, it provided the perfect opportunity to start a side business, says Mowry.” 

Just Bookish Creations is a small business that creates handmade folded book art, customized just how you like!

I can create any name or date to make a one of a kind design.”  

Just Bookish Creations is a very unique talent that not many people know how to pursue. “You would be truly getting a unique, one of a kind item at my shop.”

The companies presence is completely online, and she accepts orders through her Instagram or Facebook page. 

Mowry is very excited for the future and her new products that are coming soon. 

I hope to launch my book earrings soon, these will also be completely customizable and more affordable then my folded books, says Mowery.” 

To follow along follow their Facebook, Facebook shop or Instagram

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Read about a local company that’s using the great outdoors as their classroom. 

As the weather gets warmer, it’s time to get the kiddos out of the house and learn all about nature and the arts.

Jana Marshall, owner and founder of The Roaming Naturalist has a goal is to do just that. 

“The Roaming Naturalist is a nature-based educational experience for kids and families. Our mission is to get everyone back in the great outdoors through unique nature and art programs at local parks, schoolyards and even your own backyard. The Roaming Naturalist empowers young minds to explore nature through immersive learning experiences that encourage curiosity and self-discovery,” says Marshall.

Marshall’s career in environmental and biological sciences along with her love for the natural world  is what sparked her interest in creating this company. Marshall is a Certified Naturalist and has taught outdoor education for over 13 years.  

“My career also includes teaching marine science on Georgia’s coastline, working as an outfitter guide in the Okefenokee Swamp, aquatic research locally and abroad, sea turtle conservation, migratory bird research, and entomology studies, says Marshall.”

The inspiration behind this unique experience is to open and expand children’s minds to the natural world. “Research continues to show the benefits of fresh air and spending time in nature and the global pandemic has forced us to slow down and really appreciate what nature has to offer. We are excited to be a part of the movement back outside and build that connection and gain an appreciation for the ecological world, explains Marshall.”

As if the Roaming Naturalist wasn’t already unique enough, they also explore nature with you and wherever you are in a 1970’s turquoise VW bus, Minny. “We bring nature exploration to you – whether it’s a birthday party or a casual family day at the park, says Marshall.” 

“The Roaming Naturalist is here to empower children, parents and teachers to get back outside and try something new! When we aren’t busy teaching groups of children and families, you can find us at a park near you, ready to reconnect with nature, says Marshall.” 

The Roaming Naturalist serves K-12 and even adults, so everyone can be a part of the fun! 

Marshall is excited to announce  that there is a lot new on the horizon, “We’re excited to begin Screen-free Saturdays and family hikes this Spring! And if parents are looking for socially-distanced summer programs for their kids, they can browse our programs and register online. We’re keeping some upcoming adventures top secret for now, but you’ll be among the first to know if you follow us on Instagram!”   

To keep up with The Roaming Naturalist, follow them on Instagram or visit them at www.theroamingnaturalist.org.

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To get pre-qualified or pre-approved, that is the question. Our local real estate expert shares insight and which one sellers prefer to see.

You may have heard that you need to pre-qualify or be pre-approved for a mortgage if you’re house hunting. But there’s some confusion around what makes them different and which ones sellers would prefer to see. So, we tapped the expertise of Cincinnati-based Ron Erdmann at Guaranteed Rate for some helpful insight.
 
According to Erdmann, these are two key steps in the mortgage application process. “Some people use the terms interchangeably, but there are important differences that every homebuyer should understand,” he explains. “Pre-qualifying is the first step that gives you a general idea of how large of a loan you might qualify for. Pre-approval is the second step, and it’s much more involved. It’s based on verified consumer data and a conditional commitment to actually grant you the mortgage.”
 
Pre-Qualification
Getting pre-qualified for a mortgage involves verbally supplying a bank or lender with a general overall financial picture, regarding your income and debts. The lender reviews that information and gives a ballpark estimate of how much the borrower can expect to receive, Erdmann says. “Pre-qualification can be done over the phone or online, and there’s usually no cost involved,” he adds. “It’s usually a quick process, and it can sometimes be done in as little as 10 minutes.”
 
Pre-Approved
Getting pre-approved is the next step, and it’s a lengthier, more official, process. “Pre-approval involves the lender asking significantly more detailed questions regarding your income, assets and debt,” says Erdmann, “pre-approval is carefully calculated and a significantly better indication of creditworthiness and ability to borrow.” 
 
Erdmann says pre-approval should start with the borrower meeting with a well-qualified mortgage professional to complete a pre-approval application. “They’ll need to supply the lender with all the necessary documentation to perform an extensive credit and financial background check,” he explains. “Then, if they qualify and are approved, a lender will then offer pre-approval up to a specified amount. It’s important they work with an experienced mortgage professional who will do all the research required to get them the best options.”
 
When it comes to pre-approval, Erdmann says there are five main things he wants people to know: 
1) Most realtors want you to be pre-approved so you know – for sure – what price range you’re looking for. 
2) With the current rates possibly much lower than the last time you bought a home, you may be able to buy more home than you think. “Sometimes a buyer thinks that a payment is going to be higher than it is and they’re looking for a house at a lower price point than they could afford,” Erdmann explains. “On the flip side, someone might be looking at a property that’s much higher than they can afford because they’re not calculating in property taxes or other factors they might not fully understand.”
3) The seller wants you to be pre-approved so they don’t make plans to move, only to realize you can’t go through with the purchase of the house. 
4) If an experienced Realtor suggests you to get pre-approved, they aren’t questioning your financial resources or ability to get a loan. “They’re just encouraging you to plan ahead and talk with a great lender so you have a great experience,” he explains. 
5) Regardless of if you or your realtor feel it’s important, it’s going to be important to sellers. “So the sooner the better to get it done,” Erdmann says.
 
Is there any downside to being pre-approved earlier versus later? “Pre-approval isn’t a fail or pass situation,” Erdmann says. “Some buyers want to wait until they get a job promotion or to pay off credit card debt before exploring pre-approval. But a great lender can tell you where you stand now, and what changes you can make over time to improve your application and probability of pre-approval down the road. You might be worrying about something that’s not an issue.”
 
Erdmann says clients are often concerned that getting pre-approval will negatively affect their credit score. “The biggest pushback I get from clients is that they’re very protective of their credit scores. In reality, credit inquiries have a very minimal impact on your score, so don’t let that hold you back. A reputable source will explain mortgage pre-approval affects your credit score.”
 
To learn more about Ron Erdmann, NMLS 728342, Branch Manager and SVP of Mortgage Lending at Guaranteed Rate, visit https://www.rate.com/loan-expert/ronerdmann You can also contact him via email at ron.erdmann@rate.com or call (513) 609-4484.
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