Preparing Financially for the Mortgage Process

Purchasing a home is exciting and adventurous. Home buyers, particularly first-time home buyers, typically don’t know a lot about the process of financing a home. To avoid making mistakes, you need to know what you should expect. It is important to consider the state of your credit, the additional costs besides just the down payment, and the important questions dealing with the future.

 

The Credit Aspect

Your credit score is one of the first things a lender will look at when you apply for a mortgage. To cut through all that confusion, here are five tips you can act on right now:

  • Check your credit reports for free once a year through the three credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Why all three? Because the information in each of the three bureaus’ reports can differ. If one or all of the reports include mistakes, your credit score may be negatively affected, and you may need to address the errors before going house shopping.
  • Be strategic with credit card use. The percentage of your credit limit that you use every month can affect your score. Make sure your balance doesn’t come too close to your limit.
  • The simplest and most important tip? Pay off your balance each month. To maintain a healthy score, pay off the balance before the due date. Anything after 30 days past the due date can spell very bad news for your score.
  • Be consistent. Good credit behavior over the long term will keep your score high.
  • Don’t take on more credit. If you apply for several different credit cards, you’re sending a message that you may have maxed out your other accounts

 

Save enough for the down payment and other additional fees

You should plan to make a down payment of 3.5% – 5% at the very least when you are determining affordability. It is important to consider that down payments are not the only costs associated with the purchase of a home. Your lender should be able to provide you with a breakdown of your costs that you will be paying upfront and on a monthly basis. Here are some basic tips to help you save for the costs associated with buying a home:

  • Start a budget: Making a budget allows you to see your expenses, how much money is coming in, and what is left over to save or pay off debts. When you have a savings goal it, helps prioritize your money by eliminating or cutting down on unnecessary expenses.
  • Automate: Once you have created a budget and figured out how much you can comfortably save each month or paycheck, set up a specific amount or percentage of your paycheck to go to savings automatically. For some, it helps to open up an entirely separate savings account for their home’s down payment and expenses. This method allows you to see how much you are saving specifically for the home buying process and keeps you from accidentally spending this money on something other than your new home.
  • Increase your income: If you are worried about cutting back expenses, or just want to save for your down payment faster, consider finding ways to increase your income. Some ideas include working overtime, getting a second job, or finding alternative ways to making money such as selling items online.
  • Save any unexpected money: When you get a large sum of money, such as a bonus or your tax refund, itis all too easy to take on the extra cash and purchase that one expensive thing you’ve had your eye on for months. Instead of going on a shopping spree, take that money and put it into your savings right away to help you achieve your dream of homeownership sooner.

 

Affordability now and in the future

Regardless of the level of income you have today, you need to figure out what the future may hold before you sign on the dotted line. For example, if you’re planning to have kids sometime down the road, how will these happy additions impact your family income? What effect will job changes have on your current income level? And have you planned for monthly payments into your rainy day savings account?

Everyone who looks to buy a home will have a payment amount that is affordable today, but in the face of your answers to the questions above, will that number still work for you down the road? These are some questions to consider as you think about homeownership.

 

Feel free to talk with a loan officer in your area to determine if homeownership is the right path for you!

Automating Your Home

Automating Your Home with Smart Technology

With the advancements that have been made in technology in just the past decade, there are many new ways to incorporate faster, more efficient, and cost-effective solutions to everyday tasks and problems. One big trend that we are seeing right now is home automation, or “smart homes.” With the help of technology, today you can make the functions in your home almost entirely automated or controllable from a smartphone or tablet.

What exactly are the benefits of home automation?

  • Those with home automation save an average of 20% on home insurance
  • You can save around 15% on your energy bill
  • Based on national averages, you could save around $1,352 each year by automating your home
  • Better security and peace of mind
  • Control over almost all functions in your home from one tablet or smartphone

What are the capabilities of a smart home?

Thermostat: You can have the ability to control your thermostat even when you are not home. By adjusting the temperature when you are not home, you save on heating and cooling costs.

Security: With a smart home, you won’t need to be paranoid about whether you remembered to lock the doors to your home. Your smart home system can tell you if your doors are locked or unlocked. Also, with some advanced systems, you can trigger lights and television sets to turn on while you are out of town to give the appearance that someone is home.

Lighting: Some smart home systems have an “all off” button to help easily turn off every light in your home at once. Sensors can also trigger lights to turn on when motion is detected outside of your home.

Television: You can combine all of your remotes into one by using your smart home app on your tablet or phone. You can even set a sequence to dim the lights, adjust the room temperature, and start a movie with one click of a button.

Communication: You can send messages room-to-room through the television or to visitors through a touch screen outside of your home. You can also get notified if there is a leak in your basement or even when the kids make it home from school.

There are many options and benefits to making your home smarter and even the smallest steps could save you a considerable amount of money in the long run. Here are some of the best smart home devices you can implement in your home.

http://www.businessinsider.com/best-smart-home-devices-2015-12

 

 

Sources

https://www.control4.com/blog

https://cleantechnica.com/2013/11/06/home-automation-benefits-infographic/

7 Tips to Growing Your Own Produce

7 Tips to Growing Your Own Produce

April is National Gardening Month and what better way to get into the gardening spirit than planting your own veggie and herb garden? Growing your own fruits, vegetables, and herbs has many benefits:
Cost. Growing your own fruits, veggies, and herbs will help you save money at the grocery store.
Nutrition. Produce from a store can lack in nutrients because of the journey it had to take to get there. Growing your own produce means you will be eating it when it’s the freshest and at its full nutritional value.
Organic. Having your own garden means you have full control over the amount and type of pesticides used. If you’d like, you can make it completely organic (natural pesticides or completely pesticide-free), which makes your produce healthier.
Healthy children. When children are involved in the gardening process, it can make them feel excited to eat their fruits and veggies knowing they had a hand in growing them. This helps them build healthy eating habits while they’re young and ensures they are getting the nutrition they need for healthy growth.

These are just some of the benefits of growing your own produce. Here are some tips for starting/maintaining your garden.

1.) When laying down soil, give your plants a significant amount of space to grow in and absorb nutrients from. Create raised garden beds out of wood to ensure there is enough fertile soil to give your plants nutrients. A raised bed should be rich in organic matter like aged manure, compost, or vermicomposting. If the soil does not drain well, add perlite or sand.

Via: Balcony Garden Web

 

2.) Consider spiral or U-Shape gardening. These types of beds are great if you have limited space to plant your fruits, veggies, or herbs!

Via: recycledawblog.blogspot.com

Via: brittanystager.com

 

3.) If you are planting peas, build trellises (like these teepee-shaped structures) to make harvesting and maintaining your peas easier.

Via: lillbutton2.blogspot.com

 

4.) Lay sheets of newspaper around plants before putting down mulch. The newspaper will help ensure that weeds and grass can’t come up.

Via: The Common Milkweed

 

5.) When picking a spot to start your garden, choose a spot that gets at least 6 hours of sunlight per day.

Photo Via: Country living

 

6.) The sooner you start planting your garden the sooner you will have a garden full of vegetables and fruit. Spring is an optimal time for starting, but the weather isn’t always the best. Start by planting indoors and then transplant them to your garden when the weather improves. Use this growth calendar to help create your planting timeline.

Produce Growth Calendar

Photo Via: Grow a Good Life 

 

7.) The most efficient way of watering plants in the garden is by using soaker hoses and drip lines. These watering systems deliver water directly to where it is needed and allows time for roots to absorb water. Generally, one inch of water per week, including rainfall, is sufficient for most vegetables, depending on the type of soil, weather, and plant.

Via: ericarascon.com 

partial content via: Balcony Garden Web 

 

 

Announcing New Doctor Loans Program!

photo of male doctor with Doctor Loans text

New Doctor Loans Program!

We are excited to announce our new Doctor Loans program! It is no secret that doctors take on a lot of student loan debt to pay for medical school. If you are one of these everyday superheroes, you may be experiencing difficulty achieving your dream of homeownership as a result. Have no fear – Inlanta is here to help! We now have two loan options for qualified borrowers through our Doctor Loans program, designed with your unique needs in mind.

What kinds of doctors are eligible?

You must have one of the following designations in order to be eligible for this program:

  • Medical Resident
  • Medical Doctor (MD)
  • Doctor of Dental Science (DDS)
  • Doctor of Dental Medicine or Surgeon (DMD)
  • Doctor of Ophthalmology (MD)
  • Doctor of Optometry (OD)
  • Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM)
  • Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO)

What do these options have in common?

Highlights of both Doctor Loan options:

  • Income-based repayment or other limited payment options may be used in qualification ratios
  • Student loan payments deferred greater than 12 months may be excluded from qualification ratios
  • If employment start date is within 60 days of closing, we may be able to use your new employment contract to qualify

Additional eligibility requirements:

  • Available for primary residences only (condos, PUD’s, or single-family residences)
  • Purchase or no cash-out (rate/term) refinances only
  • Minimum credit score varies by loan option, but typically the minimum credit score range is 680 to 720
  •  Mortgage insurance (MI) is required (consult your loan officer for MI options)

What are the differences between the two options?

Doctor Loan Option 1 Highlights

  • Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARM’s) only
  • As low as 3% down payment on loans up to $650,0001
  • As low as 10% down payment on loans up to $850,0002
  • Must have 3 months in cash reserves
  • At least 3% of down payment must come from your own funds, but the rest may come from a gift

Option 1 Conditions: Maximum debt-to-income ratio is 43%. 14.649% APR calculated based on $200,000 loan with 3% down adjustable rate mortgage after 5 years, closing fees $1,185 plus 1/2 point. 24.558% APR calculated based on $200,000 loan with 5% down fixed for 30 years, closing fees $1,185.

Doctor Loan Option 2 Highlights

  • Fixed rate or ARM options
  • As low as 5% down payment on loans up to $636,1503
  • Minimum credit score of 680 is required (if excluding student loan deferments from qualification ratios, minimum credit score is 720)
  • Does not require specific amount of cash reserves
  • May allow gift funds to fully fund down payment

Option 2 Conditions: No maximum debt-to-income ratio. 3$636,150 loan amounts only available in certain High-Cost Areas of the country. All other areas have a maximum loan amount of $424,100. 4.666% APR calculated based on $200,000 loan with 5% down fixed for 30 years, closing fees $1,185.

Which option is right for you?

Your Inlanta Mortgage loan officer will be able to answer all of your questions. Every person’s financial situation is different and program terms & conditions are always subject to change. Your loan officer will take a look at your unique situation and best advise you on which program is right for you. Locate an Inlanta Mortgage loan officer nearest you.

Welcome New Branch Employees!

Welcome New Branch Employees!

Here at Inlanta we have been expanding on the branch level and are pleased to welcome new branches and employees to our growing family.

 

In the last quarter, we have welcomed three new branches in Ames, Iowa; Marshfield, Wisconsin; and Indianapolis, Indiana. At our new Ames, Iowa branch, we welcome Jayme & Jason Kupka, Branch Managers; Brianna Schwind, Processor; and Marianne Molina, Loan Officer Assistant. We also welcome Angela Faber as the Branch Manager at the new Marshfield, Wisconsin branch. Further, Inlanta welcomes back Chad Arnold, Branch Manager, and Kathie McElroy, Administrative Assistant, to our Indianapolis, Indiana branch.

 

Our current branches have also welcomed new employees. Lisa Durand joins the Lakewood Ranch, Florida team as a Loan Officer. Processor Kristen Ferris, Loan Officer Assistant Katie Bond, and Marketing Assistant Leah Kneisler join our Overland Park, Kansas branch. Karen Spriggs joins the Grand Rapids office, and Heather Darling joins our Kentwood Michigan office, both as a Loan Officer Assistants. Amanda Steuer, Processor, joins our Madison, Wisconsin office located on Marketplace Drive.

 

Inlanta continues to expand, now operating 17 offices in the state of Wisconsin alone. For more information on Inlanta branch partnerships, contact our Branch Development Team at 262-439-4260 or email partners@inlanta.com.

 

 

5 Ways to Love Your Home

5 Ways to Love Your Home

So, you’ve found your dream home – or at least the one with the potential to be your dream home. However, you may be feeling like something is “missing” or that your house just doesn’t feel like a home yet. Like any good relationship, the feelings you have about your home will ebb and flow, but you don’t have to abandon ship if you’re not feeling the love right now! We’ve put together a list of 5 ways you can put some love back into your home and fall in love with it all over again.

 

Make it personal.

Display photos of your favorite memories with family, friends, and/or your significant other. Paint an accent wall in your favorite color, or use that color in your accessories. Create an art gallery to display your kids’ artwork in a creative fashion. Showcase your Star Wars lightsaber collection (or any of your other favorite collectibles). Whatever makes you, you, give it its own special place in your home where you will see it regularly. Adding a personal touch goes a long way in making your home feel like your own.

 

Add natural beauty.

Buy a plant or flowers to add a touch of nature to your home.  Many living plants are air purifiers, bringing an actual breath of fresh air into your home. Don’t have a green thumb? These plants are low maintenance and air purifying (win-win)! Plants and flowers also boost your mood when you see them, which can be especially helpful during the cold and dreary winter months and you’re dreaming about spring & summer (Wisconsin, we’re looking at you!) Simply indulging in the occasional flower bouquet from your local grocery store can make you, and your home, feel special.

 

Create a Zen area.

Create an area in your home that is dedicated to peace and relaxation. Whether it’s a special reading nook for you to cozy up with your favorite book in or a space dedicated to meditation, prayer, or yoga, find a place in your home (or your garden) where you can retreat when you need time to re-connect with yourself and re-focus your mind.

 

Clean, de-clutter, and organize.

Seeing a mess can stress you out, so keeping your home clean, organized, and de-cluttered can help you enjoy your home more. Take some time to de-clutter and organize your house. Before you purchase any new items, find 10 items and either donate (if they’re in good condition) or throw them away (if they’re broken). Purchase some inexpensive storage containers at the Dollar Store or your local thrift shop. You can even turn cleaning and de-cluttering into a game: set a timer for 10 minutes and see how much you can de-clutter and organize before the timer runs out. If you live with someone, challenge each other to get the most cleaned and organized before the timer runs out – winner gets to decide what the reward is!

 

Have an attitude of gratitude.

It can be easy to focus on all of the areas that your home lacks – maybe it’s a fixer-upper and you haven’t been able to make those improvements yet (if you need financing, we can help). Or, perhaps it’s a little on the small side, needs more bathrooms, or the décor doesn’t reflect your style yet. While making sure your home fits your needs and tastes is important, you likely chose the home for a specific reason. Take time to remember the reasons you said “yes” to this home in the first place. If you look closely, you will find that there is plenty to be grateful for (like the fact that you own a house! Many people haven’t achieved that dream yet). Practice gratitude and give thanks for all that your house has been able to provide you. When you count your blessings instead of your shortcomings, you instantly feel happier and more satisfied.

 

 

Inlanta Mortgage- A Strong Culture and Top Mortgage Employer

January’s issue of National Mortgage Professional Magazine (NMP) was a big issue for Inlanta Mortgage. Not only was an article from our SVP of Business Development, Chad Gomoll, featured in NMP’s special focus on Mortgage Industry Employment, but Inlanta was also recognized as a Top Mortgage Employer for the third consecutive year!

We cannot thank our employees enough for contributing to the nomination. Inlanta’s culture is certainly unique and special in its own way. Here at Inlanta, we believe investing in our employees and providing them with a work environment they can thrive in is top priority. Inlanta Mortgage is a family-owned business – and we run it that way! Our culture is open, team-oriented, and guided by our code of ethics.

At Inlanta, we understand that we have the ability to positively impact everyone we touch and strive to improve the lives of those we serve and work with in our communities. Culture is important to us and, as Chad Gomoll discusses in his article in National Mortgage Professional Magazine, crucial to a company’s success.

“Since we spend an average of one-third of our lives at work, most people want to know that they are spending their time well and doing something meaningful. Most importantly, they want to have fun and enjoy coming to work every day. You want to make sure that the people who are in your company feel the same amount of passion as everyone else so you don’t lose that sense of comradery and that feeling that everyone is pulling for each other.”

Chad goes on to discuss the benefits of a positive culture and the upwards momentum it creates in the work place.

“When your employees feel supported and like they are all working towards a common goal, nothing will get dropped along the way. Whether they are an intern, mid-level operations staff, loan originator, or senior leadership, having a strong company culture means there is always someone your employees can relate to and depend on to help them out when the work seems overwhelming. When employees thrive in their environment, they feed off each other’s energy, are more motivated to succeed, and feel a bigger sense of pride in the accomplishments of the company as a whole.”

Read the rest of Chad’s article from National Mortgage Professional Magazine here.

What a Year! Inlanta’s Highlights of 2016

What a Year! Inlanta’s Highlights of 2016

2016 was an eventful year at Inlanta Mortgage. We accomplished a lot thanks to the amazing employees we have on our team, as well as our valued customers and business partners. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your support over the last year. While we look forward to all of the exciting things 2017 has in store for us, we’d like to take a moment to count our many blessings and reflect on our accomplishments from this last year:

 

Awards

In February 2016, Inlanta was named a Top Mortgage Employer by National Mortgage Professional Magazine. Then in June, we were named a Top Workplace by Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Thank you to our employees who voted for us to receive these designations – we could not have done it without you!

Several individuals were recognized for their achievements as well. Nicholas DelTorto (President/CEO), Cindy Laffey (branch partner in Overland Park, KS), and Jim Snyder (branch manager in Pewaukee, WI) were recognized as Mortgage Professional America’s (MPA) Hot 100. Cindy was also recognized as one of MPA’s Elite Women in Mortgage. Jeremy Page, branch manager at our Greenfield, WI branch, was named one of MPA’s Young Guns for a second consecutive year. We also had 4 members of our team recognized at the Wisconsin Mortgage Bankers Association’s (WMBA) Best in Business Awards. Corporate underwriters Andrea Puricelli and Trisha Mulder-Conwell were nominated as Best Underwriter for the Milwaukee Chapter and Northeast Chapter, respectively. Jim Snyder won Best Loan Originator for the Milwaukee Chapter, and Eric Johnson won Best Loan Originator for the Northeast Chapter. Congratulations again to all of our superstars!

 

New LOS

In February, we started the rollout of our new loan origination system, LendingQB. It took several months of preparation leading up to the transition, followed by weeks of training and long hours put in by our LOS Transition team. On top of that, we made this transition during Spring’s high buying season without losing the great service levels and experience our customers are accustomed to. We thank all of our employees for their efforts in making the transition as seamless as possible while keeping our customers our top priority.

 

New Corporate Headquarters

We moved! Our company is growing, and we were starting to outgrow our old space. In August, we moved from Brookfield, Wisconsin to our beautiful new building in Pewaukee, Wisconsin! While we didn’t move far, we now have a much nicer work environment with plenty of room to grow.

 

Philanthropy

We are always looking for ways to give back to our community. In honor of the many friends and colleagues who have cancer, have lost their battle to cancer, or know someone with cancer, we have made it our philanthropic mission to help find a cure. In July, a group of Inlanta employees participated in the Lombardi Walk/Run to Tackle Cancer in Milwaukee. The group asked fellow Inlanta employees, family, and friends to donate to the cause and raised a total of $8,080. They then spent the day at the Henry Maier Festival Park to participate in the Walk/Run. In September, we held a raffle as part of our 12th Annual Sales Conference. We raised $10,440 for the Cancer Research Institute (CRI), an organization that provides funding for lifesaving immunotherapy research. This was the second year we raised money for CRI and we look forward to continuing our work with them.

Further, we wanted to help local families in need during the holidays. Our corporate office and Pewaukee branch participated in Inlanta’s first annual food drive competition. Each team competed to bring in the most food items to become the competition victors. The winning team, our Compliance & Quality Control departments, donated 438 items! In total, we collected 1,671 food items for the Pewaukee Food Pantry.

 

Thanks a Billion – $1 Billion in loan volume

We reached our goal of $1 billion in loan volume! We are so grateful to our employees who have worked hard this year to achieve this goal. We also want to thank all of our customers and business partners for being a part of this milestone. Thanks a Billion!

 

 

FHA and VA Increase Loan Limits for 2017

fha_va

FHA and VA increase loan limits for 2017

 

Last week, we announced the news that the FHFA increased conforming loan limits. As a result, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) have also increased the limits for FHA loans and VA loans, respectively.

FHA loan limits have increased from $271,050 to $275,665. These new loan limits apply to FHA-insured loans that have an application date of January 1, 2017 or later.
VA loan limits will follow the new limits set for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac conforming loans. The VA will use these limits to determine how much of the loan they will guaranty and how much an eligible veteran can borrow without requiring a down payment. Veterans should consult their loan officer for further details. You can also visit the Department of Veteran Affairs website for additional information about VA home loans.

A loan limits will follow the new limits set for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac conforming loans. The VA will use these limits to determine how much of the loan they will guaranty and how much an eligible veteran can borrow without requiring a down payment. Veterans should consult their loan officer for further details. You can also visit the Department of Veteran Affairs website for additional information about VA home loans.

If you are looking to buy a home in 2017, this is excellent news for you! With rising home prices and the market’s return to pre-recession growth, the loan limit increase signifies a growing market. Many homebuyers will now be able to afford larger homes or homes in more expensive areas with better loan terms. If you need help getting started on your home loan journey, check out our blog for more details on the home buying process, FHA loans, and VA loans.

 

 

Increase in Maximum Conforming Loan Limits

HomeInspection

Increase in Maximum Conforming Loan Limits

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) recently raised the conforming loan limit from $417,000 to $424,100, marking the first increase since the year 2006. In certain high-cost counties, the loan limit will increase from $625,500 to $636,150.

“The Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA) established the baseline loan limit of $417,000 and requires this limit to be adjusted each year to reflect the changes in the national average home price,” read a statement from FHFA. These changes and rising home prices indicate that the housing market has returned to pre-recession growth.

Best of all, these changes could help borrowers afford homes in more expensive areas or get more home for their money. Increasing the loan limit means that more homebuyers have the option of choosing a conventional loan over a jumbo loan which could result in more favorable loan terms.

These changes will only affect loans that close on or after January 1, 2017. However, since Inlanta Mortgage is a direct lender with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, we can start taking your loan applications or lock in your rate today! Contact your local Inlanta Mortgage representative for more details.

Edited: Original post was modified with updated and expanded information on 12/5/2016.