Ready to Buy a Home? Consider its Utility Costs and Energy Efficiency
Posted By Brandon Simmons on August 21, 2017
When searching for homes, it’s typical to tour many homes (and spend months looking online) before discovering the home you want in your price range.
When you finally experience this home in person, you’ll likely feel joy and excitement. After all, this home could be the setting for your next life stage!
Video: Is a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage Right for You?
Posted By Brandon Simmons on August 16, 2017
Home equity conversion mortgages (HECM), also known as reverse mortgages, let eligible Americans 62 and older borrow money from their home equity.
While HECMs can be a powerful tool for certain individuals and families, they’re not meant for everyone. Watch this video to learn if a HECM could be right for you.
Types of Eco-friendly Renovations Available for Your Home
Posted By Brandon Simmons on August 14, 2017
Over the past few years, more and more homeowners are investing in environmentally friendly home renovations. Not only are these upgrades good for the environment – they also have the potential to improve the value of your property and increase your home’s equity, while possibly decreasing energy consumption costs as well.
Video: Items Needed When Buying a Home
Posted By Brandon Simmons on August 7, 2017
When you begin the homebuying process, your mind can have a million thoughts all over the place.
Let this video sort out everything you need to focus on for buying a house.
Five Benefits that Reverse Mortgages can Offer Seniors
Posted By Brandon Simmons on August 3, 2017
Baby boomers: the ideal reverse mortgage candidate?
According to newly-released government data, 32% of Americans aged 65 to 69 are employed—the highest percentage in 55 years.
In addition, 19% of Americans aged 70 to 74 are still working,
Five Questions to Ask a Prospective Realtor
Posted By Brandon Simmons on July 31, 2017
Five Questions to Ask a Prospective Realtor
When it comes to buying and selling your home, having the right Realtor can help you buy your dream house or sell your existing home quickly.
Realtors perform literally hundreds of functions for individual homebuyers and sellers,
Don’t Forget School Districts When Home Shopping
Posted By Justin Tuttle on July 25, 2017
Everyone knows the most enjoyable part of buying a home is house hunting (we even enjoy watching other people search for their homes!). It’s fun to explore different neighborhoods and settings while planning your future.
When looking at different homes, there are many things to consider,
Five Mistakes that Can Cause You to Lose a Home Purchase
Posted By Justin Tuttle on July 24, 2017
It’s getting hot out there, particularly in the housing market.
With bidding wars increasingly common in many locations, buying a home requires discipline and strategy—and knowledge of mistakes that cause homebuyers to miss out on homes.
Video: Five Ways to Keep Your Mortgage Rate Low
Posted By Justin Tuttle on July 20, 2017
Many people don’t realize how much money they can save over time by securing a lower mortgage rate.
This video provides some practical tips on securing a low interest rate when applying for a mortgage.
Mortgage Industry Highlights – June 2017
Posted By Justin Tuttle on July 18, 2017
June was another busy month in the red-hot mortgage industry. Here are some recent articles, highlights and tips for homeowners:
The Federal Reserve raised short-term interest rates by a quarter point on Wednesday,
Home Inspections: a Critical Part of Your Homebuying Experience
Posted By Justin Tuttle on July 13, 2017
Buying a home is one of the largest purchases you can make.
It takes most people 30 years to completely pay off their home, as around 90% of homes are purchased using 30-year mortgages.
Because of the high value of your home,
Ready to Remodel Your Home? Consider Using a 203K Loan!
Posted By Justin Tuttle on July 11, 2017
Remodeling can dramatically improve your home’s livability, make it more attractive, and can boost your property value.
Even if you’ve never thought of remodeling, consider the following locations in your home, and imagine whether you could improve them:
- Master bathroom
- Living room
- Outdoor landscaping
- Patio / deck
If you can think of obvious improvements to any of these locations,
Video: Owning vs Renting
Posted By Justin Tuttle on July 10, 2017
The choice between buying a home and renting is one of the biggest financial decisions that many adults make. Each have their advantages, but what’s best for you depends on your circumstances.
If you’re thinking about buying a home, watch this video to learn some empowering benefits that could be in your future.
Six Ways to Lower Your Home’s Fire Risk
Posted By Justin Tuttle on July 6, 2017
For many homeowners and homebuyers, fires are a distant concern.
But recent data gathered by the National Fire Protection Association paints a different picture. In 2015 alone, fire departments across the United States responded to a staggering 365,000 home structure fires,
VA Loans Help Military Veterans Become Homeowners
Posted By Justin Tuttle on June 29, 2017
The VA loan allows veterans, active members of the military, and surviving spouses to purchase a home with zero down payment unless required by a lender, or unless a purchase price is more than a property’s reasonable value.
In addition, VA loans don’t require private mortgage insurance (PMI).
Video: Self Employment and Mortgages
Posted By Justin Tuttle on June 27, 2017
When you’re self employed, it’s still very possible to get a mortgage, though it can be more challenging.
This video details how you can get a mortgage if you’re part of the fastest growing segment of America’s workforce (freelancers and the self-employed).
Why Refinance? Mortgage Rates are Historically Low
Posted By Justin Tuttle on June 26, 2017
On June 8, the 30-year fixed mortgage rate dropped to a seven month low, and averaged 3.89% for the week.
This compares to a March 2017 mortgage rate of 4.3%, and counters early year predictions of rising mortgage rates throughout 2017.
Prevent Identity Theft and Help Preserve Your Credit Score
Posted By Justin Tuttle on June 22, 2017
For homebuyers, having a good credit score is an important part of the mortgage process, and it can save you you thousands of dollars over the life of your loan.
While you can build a good credit score with a range of strategies,
Choose Wisely When You Insulate Your Home
Posted By Justin Tuttle on June 20, 2017
For homebuyers, your mortgage payment is one of several monthly costs you’ll have to pay. Other monthly costs include your property taxes, homeowners insurance, and homeowners association (HOA) fees.
On top of these, homeowners can expect a substantial monthly power power bill. In the summer of 2017 alone,
Mortgage Industry Highlights – May 2017
Posted By Justin Tuttle on June 15, 2017
May was another busy month for the mortgage industry. Here are some recent articles, highlights, and homeowner tips:
U.S. pending home sales fall; housing market recovery intact
Contracts to buy previously owned U.S.
Five Ways to Build Home Equity Faster
Posted By Justin Tuttle on June 13, 2017
One of the biggest advantages of owning a home is building home equity.
Home equity is the current market value of a home minus its outstanding mortgage balance. In simple terms, it’s home ownership that you build by making monthly mortgage payments.
To Pool, or Not to Pool: the Pros and Cons of Buying a Home with a Pool
Posted By Justin Tuttle on June 8, 2017
Summer officially begins on June 20, and thermometers are on the rise. Some parts of the country have already experienced triple-digit temperatures.
This makes cooling down in a pool an appealing thought for many people. But what about buying a home that comes with a pool?
How a Secured Credit Card Can Help Get Your First Mortgage
Posted By Justin Tuttle on June 6, 2017
Good credit is important if you’re planning on buying your first home; your credit rating impacts your ability to get a mortgage as well as the mortgage rate you receive.
Considering that a lower mortgage rate can save you thousands of dollars over the life of your loan,
Five Reasons to Refinance Your Mortgage
Posted By Justin Tuttle on June 1, 2017
When you commit to buying a home with a mortgage, it’s usually with the plan of paying it off with monthly payments over 15 or 30 years.
During this long timeframe, your life circumstances could change, or the economy could change. When either of these occur,
Why You Shouldn’t Shop for a Car Before Buying a Home
Posted By Justin Tuttle on May 24, 2017
If you’re planning on buying a home, you have an empowering journey ahead that can provide long-lasting benefits.
Whether it’s six months or a year before you buy a home, it’s important to have your finances in order. We recommend improving your credit (most importantly,
Six Compelling Reasons to Buy Your First Home
Posted By Justin Tuttle on May 18, 2017
For individuals and families considering buying their first home, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed and question whether you should keep renting.
After all, buying a home commits you to years of monthly home payments (and risk) in an uncertain global economy. Owning a home also provides a long list of benefits,
Video: Six Questions to Ask Your Realtor When You Find a Home You Love
Posted By Justin Tuttle on May 17, 2017
Your Realtor is an important part of the homebuying process, your Realtor is an important part of the process, and a valuable resource for you.
One of the most exciting homebuying moments is discovering a home you love. When you find that house, here are six essential questions to ask your Realtor:
Loan Comparison: How USDA Loans Measure Up to FHA Loans
Posted By Justin Tuttle on May 15, 2017
Those looking for a low to no down payment mortgage have options. From VA loans to HomeReady Loans to loans only available via the state, there are many different mortgages available for those who do not have the traditional 20% down payment.
The most common of these home loans is the FHA loan,
Five Tips for Obtaining a Mortgage for a Rental Property
Posted By Justin Tuttle on May 11, 2017
The housing market has recovered considerably since the crash. Homes are now back in high demand, and – thanks to stricter lending practices – the likelihood of another crash in the future has been drastically reduced.
For investors, this means that now is a great time to consider purchasing a rental property.
Mortgage Industry Highlights – April 2017
Posted By Justin Tuttle on May 8, 2017
April was another busy month in the mortgage industry. Here are some recent articles, highlights and homeowner tips:
Two Blockbuster Months In A Row Signal Steaming Home Market
Pending sales, which are home purchase transactions in which a buyer has signed a contract,
Study: the Five Best States to Retire
Posted By Justin Tuttle on May 2, 2017
If you’re planning your retirement or are already retired, the state you live in matters.
Because individual states have different tax laws, varying affordability levels, and a range of benefits (and drawbacks) for retirees — where you retire will have a dramatic impact on your life.
Five Essential Online Resources for Homebuyers
Posted By Justin Tuttle on May 1, 2017
If you’re planning on buying a home, there’s a vast range of online resources available at your fingertips.
Contrast today’s virtually endless resources with 25 years ago — homebuying research was mainly limited to home listings in newspapers, books / magazines (which needed to be purchased or checked out from libraries),
Low Income Mortgage Loans: You Can Afford More Than You Think
Posted By Justin Tuttle on April 27, 2017
It’s easy to feel like home buying may not be possible based on your income. Homes are expensive, and it’s not uncommon to hear horror stories about how difficult it is to qualify for a loan, how often borrowers took out loans that were more than they can handle,
Five Fast Strategies to Qualify for a Higher Loan Amount
Posted By Justin Tuttle on April 26, 2017
In most cases, mortgage loan originators look into your past, present, and likely future to determine if you qualify for a home mortgage. They look at your payment history, your credit score (which takes years to develop), your income for the year, and more.
Many of these factors are difficult to change by the time you apply for a home loan.
Tips to Fix Your Credit Before Refinancing
Posted By Justin Tuttle on April 25, 2017
Mortgage rates are on the rise, and that means if you have been putting off a refinance, it may be time to hurry. The longer you wait, the more likely the interest rates will increase – at least in today’s economy – and that reduces the value of refinancing in the future.
Mortgage Tips for Single Parents
Posted By Justin Tuttle on April 24, 2017
If you’re a single parent looking for a home loan, it can seem challenging to find one that suits your needs. Although mortgage lenders generally don’t look at marital status when reviewing home loan applications, they do look at the following:
- Debt and payment obligations
- Total household income
- Net income after taxes,
Video: Learn About the Different Home Loans
Posted By Justin Tuttle on April 20, 2017
If you’re starting the homebuying process, it’s normal to feel confused by the different loan types.
One of the best ways to address your concerns is learning as much as possible. After watching our new five minute video, you’ll know about the major home loans,
What the Fed Rate Hike Means for Your Mortgage Rates
Posted By Justin Tuttle on April 19, 2017
Over the past several years the economy has improved. The stock market recently reached an all time high, investments have risen, and the unemployment rate has dropped.
Now that the economy has improved, interest rates are starting a slow climb to pre-2008 levels. Recently, the Federal Reserve increased the interest rates by a quarter of a percent,
Six Home Security Tips for First-time Homebuyers
Posted By Justin Tuttle on April 18, 2017
If you recently bought your first home (or are planning on it), you have much to look forward to.
It’s also important to protect your property. New homeowners are especially vulnerable to security risks as you’re likely new to your neighborhood and just beginning to understand your home.
Should You Build or Buy Your Home?
Posted By Justin Tuttle on April 17, 2017
The longer you explore the housing market, the more you see finding your “dream” home can be difficult. Every home has flaws, and nearly every home requires that you “settle” a little on your vision. But not all families want to settle, and that is why you may consider exploring the idea of building a home yourself – one created from scratch according to your specific needs.
What Types of Home Loans Cover Renovations?
Posted By Justin Tuttle on April 12, 2017
Is your property the perfect home and the perfect investment? If you’re like most homeowners, there are upgrades, renovations, and restorations you can make on your property that will either increase its value, or help improve how comfortable you are with the look and feel of your home.
Five Things to Know About Mortgages for Second Homes and Investment Properties
Posted By Justin Tuttle on April 11, 2017
Residential properties are great investments. That’s why homeowners often want to purchase more than one. These properties usually fall into one of two categories:
- Investment properties
- Second homes
Regardless of your purchase,
Best Ways to Use Your Home Equity Line of Credit
Posted By Justin Tuttle on April 10, 2017
Your home is an investment you can use for financial purposes in the future. For example, some seniors 62 and older take out reverse mortgages, while others take out home loans.
But you may find that you need access to extra financing during specific scenarios.
Mortgage Industry Highlights – March 2017
Posted By Justin Tuttle on April 4, 2017
March was another busy month in the mortgage industry. Here are some recent news articles and highlights:
The Federal Reserve raised its benchmark interest rate for the second time in three months and signaled that any further hikes this year will be gradual.
Five Ways to Soundproof Your Home
Posted By Justin Tuttle on April 3, 2017
If you’re a homeowner (or planning on becoming one), you probably desire a quiet home. And compared to apartment buildings, standalone homes are usually quieter.
However, a quiet home is is not always the case. Whether it’s noise from nearby traffic, railroads, airplanes,
How Do Lenders Determine Mortgage Rates?
Posted By Justin Tuttle on March 29, 2017
When it comes to home loans, there are usually three numbers that borrowers pay attention to. The first is the total amount of the mortgage, in order to make sure that the amount covers the cost of the home. The second is the amount they are going to pay each month,
Tiny Home Loans
Posted By Justin Tuttle on March 27, 2017
Interested in tiny homes? You’re far from alone!
Fueled by growing demand from millennials under the age of 35, there are an estimated 10,000 tiny homes in the United States.
Tiny homes range from 100 to 400 square feet (the typical American home is around 2,600 square feet),
FHA Loans: Your Complete Introductory Guide
Posted By Justin Tuttle on March 23, 2017
FHA loans are one of the most common types of mortgages, especially for first time home buyers, and those without enough money available for a down payment. Backed and insured by the Federal Housing Administration, these loans allow borrowers to buy a home with a lower down payment and generous terms.
How to Buy a New Home Before Your Home is Sold
Posted By Justin Tuttle on March 22, 2017
Your home is your greatest asset. The longer you live in your home, the more you will develop equity that you can then use to make other important financial decisions.
But you may not want to live in your home forever. Your family status may change,
The Top Five Most Affordable States for First-time Homebuyers
Posted By Justin Tuttle on March 20, 2017
If you’re thinking about buying your first home, you have much to look forward to. In addition to being an excellent investment, owning a home provides you with stability, comfort, and privacy.
While many US housing markets are increasingly unaffordable for first-time homebuyers, there are exceptions,
Six Reasons to Consider Adding Home Insulation
Posted By Justin Tuttle on March 16, 2017
When it comes to homes, insulation matters! And according to recent research, 90% of US homes are under-insulated.
If you’re one of the many Americans living in an under-insulated home, here are six reasons to consider adding insulation:
It helps keep your home comfortable
If your home feels uncomfortably cold during winter or hot during the summer,
Want to Apply for a Mortgage? Here are Six Important Documents You’ll Need.
Posted By Justin Tuttle on March 15, 2017
If you’re planning on buying a home with a mortgage, you can expect substantial paperwork during the mortgage application process.
This paperwork helps lenders verify important information about you, such as your income history and overall financial stability. If you begin gathering important documents several months before applying for a mortgage,
Spring Pest Control Tips
Posted By Justin Tuttle on March 14, 2017
As we move into March, spring is on our doorstep, and temperatures are warming in much of the country.
For homeowners (and soon-to-be homeowners), this means spring cleaning! While there are many good articles offering spring cleaning tips,
Mortgage Industry Highlights and Articles from February 2017
Posted By Justin Tuttle on March 13, 2017
February was another busy month in the mortgage industry. Here are some recent highlights and helpful articles:
Goldman Sachs’ analysts are predicting the 30-year mortgage rate to rise to 5.5% in 2019,
Seven Signs Your Home Has Foundation Problems
Posted By Justin Tuttle on March 9, 2017
Your home’s foundation is an critical part of its wellbeing. If something goes wrong in your foundation, your home can can develop structural problems that cost significantly more to repair than foundation problems alone.
There are three major reasons home foundation problems occur:
- Stem walls can deteriorate.
Four Things Believed to Increase Home Value — But Actually Don’t
Posted By Justin Tuttle on March 8, 2017
If you’re a homeowner (or planning to become one), upgrading your home is an empowering activity. Whether you want to knock down a wall (to create a larger room), upgrade your energy efficiency, or improve your lighting, there are a variety of exciting possibilities.
Regardless of your home upgrade project,
Mortgage Refinancing: Cash-Out vs. Rate-and-Term
Posted By Justin Tuttle on March 6, 2017
If you’re a homeowner, you’ll be aware of your monthly mortgage payment and interest rate. And you might have wondered about refinancing your mortgage to change these figures.
Refinancing lets you replace your current mortgage with a new one. Two of the most common mortgage refinance methods are rate-and-term,
Three Easy Ways to Incorporate Solar Power into Your Home
Posted By Justin Tuttle on March 2, 2017
Whether you’re a long-term homeowner or ready to buy your first home, you’re likely aware rising energy costs. America’s lowest-income families currently spend around 22% of their total income on energy while electricity prices have risen by 30% over the last decade.
Second Home Loans: How to Qualify and What You Need to Know
Posted By Justin Tuttle on February 28, 2017
There is no greater investment than owning a home. That’s why many people decide that one home isn’t enough. They find that, given their financial situation, they are interested in purchasing a second home, and using that home for any number of purposes, including:
- Vacation Home
- Investment Property/Rental
- Home for Family Members
For those who are interested in purchasing a second home,
Five Powerful Home Energy Improvements and their Costs
Posted By Justin Tuttle on February 27, 2017
If you’re a homeowner or planning on becoming one, it’s normal to want to upgrade your home. While there are many exciting home upgrade methods, such as improving your kitchen or adding a swimming pool, one of the best is improving your home’s energy efficiency.
How Much Are Closing Costs When Purchasing a Home?
Posted By Justin Tuttle on February 23, 2017
If you are buying a home, you’ll often hear the phrase “closing costs” thrown around by your lender or real estate agent. The term itself refers to all fees that are paid to third parties during the process of buying or selling a home.
Some closing costs are paid by the seller,
Five Ways that Rising Interest Rates Can Be Positive
Posted By Justin Tuttle on February 22, 2017
If you’re thinking about buying a home, you may have heard that interest rates are rising. Rising interest rates have powerful effects on the mortgage industry and individual homebuyers.
While many of these effects are seen as negative (such as buyers having higher mortgage payments),
LTV – What it Is, Why It’s Important
Posted By Justin Tuttle on February 21, 2017
Your credit score. Your down payment. Your closing costs. You may already know about the many different considerations and factors that go into owning a home. But you may not know about one of the most important terms of all: Loan-to-Value ratio, or LTV.
What is LTV?
Birthplace Homes of Past Presidents
Posted By Justin Tuttle on February 20, 2017
Today (February 20, 2017) is Presidents’ Day.
Presidents’ Day is celebrated on the third Monday of February, and was originally established in 1885 to recognize President George Washington, the first United States president.
Within the federal government,
America’s Most Affordable States in 2017
Posted By Justin Tuttle on February 16, 2017
Your state’s cost of living matters, whether you want to build a home, are a first time homebuyer, or plan to raise a family.
If a low cost of living is what you’re after, here are America’s five most affordable states in 2017.
What is Mortgage Insurance and Do I Need It?
Posted By Justin Tuttle on February 15, 2017
There is more to homebuying than the mortgage. There are property taxes that the government requires on homes. There is also the interest on the loan. Some homebuyers need to pay HOA (homeowners’ association) fees to their neighborhood. All of these add a small amount to the total monthly payment that the homeowner makes on their property.
You Can Create a Smart Home for Under $1000. Here’s How.
Posted By Justin Tuttle on February 14, 2017
If you’re a homeowner (or planning on becoming one), you can incorporate fantastic technology into your home at budget prices to create a “smart home.” Whether you want to adjust your lighting using your voice or control your home thermostat using your phone (while not at home),
USDA Loans – What They Are, How to Get One, and Why They Are Beneficial
Posted By Justin Tuttle on February 13, 2017
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is for more than choice meats. The USDA also offers a unique type of home loan that allows specific borrowers to purchase a home with no money down.
It is one of the only loans, other than the VA loan,
Six Affordable Ideas to Make Valentine’s Day Special
Posted By Justin Tuttle on February 9, 2017
Valentine’s Day is big. In fact, Americans spent around $20 billion on Valentine’s Day in 2016 alone (or $146 for each person who celebrated).
But you can have a fantastic and romantic Valentine’s without spending lots, which is important if you’re saving to become a homeowner (or saving for other goals such as retirement).
Buying a home in 2017? Here are four things to consider
Posted By Justin Tuttle on February 8, 2017
If you’re planning on buying a home in early 2017, you can expect a substantially different housing market from the beginning of 2016.
How could this impact you as a potential homebuyer? While there is still uncertainty in the economy and housing market (and predictions are often wrong),
Don’t Have a 20% Down Payment? No Problem
Posted By Justin Tuttle on February 7, 2017
There is nothing quite like homeownership. You have a chance to buy a place you love, decorate it as you please, and also make an investment into your financial future. But if you’ve ever looked into buying a home, you have probably heard experts saying that you need at least 20% of the value of the home in cash for a down payment.
Securing a Low Mortgage Interest Rate In an Era of Higher Rates
Posted By Justin Tuttle on February 6, 2017
Since the November presidential election, mortgage interest rates have moved higher. And while mortgage interest rates have decreased from post-election highs, many housing analysts expect higher rates throughout 2017.
Though there’s no guarantee mortgage rates will continue to rise,
The Benefit of Escrow Accounts
Posted By Justin Tuttle on February 2, 2017
There is more to purchasing a home than the cost of the home itself. There is the interest rate, which you and your lender have likely already factored into your monthly payment. There are also the fees of the real estate agent, if any. These types of costs are frequently discussed throughout the lending process.
Mortgage Industry Highlights and Key Takeaways from January 2017
Posted By Justin Tuttle on February 1, 2017
As we move into February, it’s been a busy period for mortgage-related news. Here are some recent highlights:
Mortgage rates fell for the third straight week,
Inspection vs. Appraisal – What’s the Difference?
Posted By Justin Tuttle on January 31, 2017
Throughout the real estate process, you’ll find yourself coming across critically important terms you may not yet be familiar with. Two terms that can be especially confusing are “inspection” and “appraisal.”
Both of these are similar, in that an expert walks through a property in order to spot trouble areas,
Six Easy Tips to Save Money Around The House
Posted By Justin Tuttle on January 30, 2017
As we move into February, many of us are still following our new year’s resolutions and goals. One of best resolutions (or goal for any time period) is improving our finances. Open Mortgage provided some financial resolution tips and strategies in a recent blog post.
How to Get a Mortgage Approval if You’re an Identity Theft Victim
Posted By Justin Tuttle on January 26, 2017
As discussed in part one and part two in our identity theft blog series, everyone is at risk of identity theft. But by learning how identity theft occurs, and staying alert for signs that it happened,
How to Get a Mortgage if you’re Self-employed
Posted By Justin Tuttle on January 25, 2017
Are you self-employed? If so, you’re part of a rapidly growing segment of the US economy. In fact, an October 2016 study found that America’s freelancing economy has grown to 55 million people, or 35% of the entire workforce.
Getting a mortgage can be harder and more expensive if you’re self employed,
Is it a Good Idea to Pay Off Your Mortgage Early?
Posted By Justin Tuttle on January 23, 2017
If you’re considering applying for a mortgage to purchase a home, you can expect a long-term commitment. A 2015 survey found that despite 15-year mortgages being available, 86% of mortgage applicants opted for 30-year loans.
With a 30-year loan,
Is Your Identity Safe? Eight Tips to Help You Prevent Identity Theft
Posted By Justin Tuttle on January 19, 2017
If you’re a prospective homebuyer, having a good credit rating is an important part of the mortgage process. And while there are a range of strategies for building and maintaining good credit, identity theft can damage your efforts and rapidly lower your credit score.
Six Questions You Should Ask Your Realtor When Buying a Home
Posted By Justin Tuttle on January 17, 2017
Buying a property is both an investment, and your chance to have a home for you and your family. It is a financial decision that is not to be taken lightly, and throughout the process it is important to ask questions, stay informed, and make sure that you are making the best choice for your financial future.
Homeowners Insurance: Why it’s a Good Thing
Posted By Justin Tuttle on January 16, 2017
If you’re considering buying a home, you’ve probably heard about homeowners insurance—and you might have groaned about being required to pay for it.
Concern over the cost of homeowners insurance is understandable, as it costs the average US homeowner $952 annually (in addition to mortgage payments and property taxes).
Is Your Identity Safe? Learn the Identity Theft Warning Signs!
Posted By Justin Tuttle on January 12, 2017
If you’re planning on using a mortgage to buy a home, mortgage lenders will review your credit score as part of your application. Unfortunately, all Americans are at risk of something that can severely damage your credit score: identity theft.
Want to customize your home? The 203k Loan could be for you
Posted By Justin Tuttle on January 10, 2017
As many long-term homeowners know (and recent homebuyers often learn), remodeling a home can dramatically improve its livability and value.
Whether it’s upgrading your kitchen, improving your bathroom, or removing a wall, remodeling can transform a home into your dream home.
Four Ways to Protect Your Home During Extreme Cold Weather
Posted By Justin Tuttle on January 9, 2017
Winter is here, and so are arctic weather blasts!
With a massive cold front stretching across the United States during the first week of 2017 (and several months of cold weather remaining), it’s critical to protect your home during extreme cold temperatures.
New Year’s Financial Resolutions for You and Your Future
Posted By Justin Tuttle on December 27, 2016
As we head into 2017, it’s common to reflect on your past year and make resolutions for the new year. While typical resolutions often include eating healthier or becoming more organized, what about taking stock of your finances and making financial resolutions?
While everyone’s financial situation is unique,
Refinancing with Rates on the Rise – Is It Still a Good Idea?
Posted By Justin Tuttle on December 20, 2016
Over the past five years, the average mortgage interest rate hovered between 3.5% and 4.5% – the lowest rates of the past 30 years. This relatively low rate meant that homeowners across the country could refinance their home mortgage, and potentially save thousands of dollars over the course of their loan.
Ideas for Saving Money on Holiday Gifts
Posted By Justin Tuttle on December 13, 2016
It’s the holiday season, and many of us are busy buying gifts for family and friends. But how much you spend on those gifts may have a negative impact on your credit score.
If you’re planning on buying a home in 2017, it’s good financial strategy to hold off on buying expensive gifts.
Mortgage and Housing Industry Updates
Posted By Justin Tuttle on December 12, 2016
With less than a month until 2017, the mortgage and housing industries are as active as ever. Here are some interesting new articles on industry trends and news:
Are you a veteran who wants to buy a home?
Posted By Justin Tuttle on December 8, 2016
If you’re a veteran, we want to tell you about a loan that helps you take the empowering journey into home ownership—and doesn’t require a down payment.
The VA loan helps military members, veterans, and surviving spouses buy homes
Established in 1944 to provide home financing to World War II veterans,
How to Save Water at Home
Posted By Justin Tuttle on December 7, 2016
Water is the foundation of life on earth, and the average household uses a lot!
In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that the average home of four uses 400 gallons of water per day (and spends $1,100 per year in water costs).
Buying your first home in 2017? Start preparing now!
Posted By Justin Tuttle on December 6, 2016
Buying your first home is one of your biggest life decisions, and it’s important to be prepared.
Here are some things you can do to get ready:
Make sure you have good credit
To secure a low interest rate on your first mortgage,
The Five Most Affordable Cities for Retirement
Posted By Justin Tuttle on December 5, 2016
Are you thinking about retirement? Or do you have retired family members? If either answer is yes, then affordable housing and a low cost-of-living are important issues.
GoBankingRates.com recently analyzed cost-of-living indexes and consumer expenditure data to rank America’s cheapest cities to retire.
How to Increase Your Home Value on a Budget
Posted By Justin Tuttle on November 30, 2016
Whether you’re selling your home or refinancing your mortgage, your home’s value plays a big part. And in most cases, home values are determined through appraisals from state-licensed appraisers.
While some home characteristics assessed by appraisers are out of your control (such as your view,
Want to lower your winter utility bill? Here’s how!
Posted By Justin Tuttle on November 29, 2016
Thanksgiving has come and gone, and December is nearly here. As temperatures drop and snow begins falling in many US regions, home utility bills are about to rise.
In fact, the U.S. Energy Information Administration is predicting a 22% increase in energy bills this winter.
How to Get the Lowest Mortgage Refinance Rates
Posted By Justin Tuttle on November 28, 2016
There are a variety of reasons to consider refinancing your mortgage. Some of the most common include reducing your payment, paying off your loan faster, converting between a fixed-rate and adjustable rate mortgage, and tapping into your home equity (also known as cash-out refinancing).
Regardless of the reason,
Recent Mortgage News Summaries
Posted By Justin Tuttle on November 23, 2016
It’s been a busy few weeks when it comes to mortgage-related news. Here are some highlights:
President-elect Trump vs Mortgage Rates
You might have heard, we just had an election! President-elect Trump’s economic policies will have a powerful impact on the mortgage industry.
Securing Your Home During Holiday Travel
Posted By Justin Tuttle on November 22, 2016
Thanksgiving is upon us (and Christmas is a month away), bringing us into America’s busiest travel season.
With AAA predicting 43.5 million Americans will travel over 50 miles to celebrate Thanksgiving (the highest amount since 2007), many Americans will be leaving their homes unoccupied.
How to Have a Happy Thanksgiving On a Budget
Posted By Justin Tuttle on November 21, 2016
Thanksgiving is about giving thanks for what we have. And it’s wonderful showing loved ones how much we appreciate them. But if you’re like most Americans, you’re trying to to get through the end of the year with your pocketbook intact!
For Americans wanting to buy a house in 2017,
How the Mortgage Industry Has Changed Since the 2008 Financial Crisis
Posted By Justin Tuttle on November 17, 2016
Before the mortgage bubble burst in 2008, there was a saying in the industry: “All you need to get a mortgage is a pulse.” Sounds suspect, no?
The mortgage industry pre-2008 was the wild west of the lending frontier.