Memorial Day Safety Tips to Follow

Memorial Day Safety Tips to Follow

Memorial Day is a day for remembering the men and women who gave their lives while serving in the United States Armed Forces. While we honor their sacrifice and celebrate over the long weekend, it is important to make sure safety comes first. Here are some helpful safety tips for those of you who plan to enjoy the water, fireworks, grill, or take a road trip:

Water Safety

The American Red Cross offers these tips regarding water safety:

  • Swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards.
  • Always swim with a buddy; do not allow anyone to swim alone.
  • Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets around water, but do not rely on life jackets alone.
  • Have appropriate equipment, such as reaching or throwing equipment, a cell phone, life jackets and a first aid kit.
  • Know how and when to call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.

Firework Safety

If you’re planning to avoid the crowds at a public firework show by putting on your own, follow these tips from the ARC (American Red Cross) to keep you and your family safe:

  • Never give fireworks to small children.
  • Always follow the instructions given on the packaging.
  • For safety reasons, always keep a supply of water close by.
  • Make sure the person lighting fireworks always wears eye protection.
  • Light only one firework at a time and never attempt to relight a “dud”.
  • Never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures, or flammable materials.

Drive Safely

With more people on the roads, it’s important to drive safely. Be well rested and alert, use seat belts, observe speed limits and follow the rules of the road. If plans include drinking alcohol, designate a driver who won’t drink. Other tips for a safe trip include:

  • Give one’s full attention to the road. Avoid distractions such as cell phones.
  • Don’t follow another vehicle too closely.
  • Use caution in work zones.
  • Make frequent stops.
  • Clean the vehicle’s lights and windows to help the driver see, especially at night.
  • Turn the headlights on as dusk approaches, or during inclement weather. Don’t overdrive the headlights.

Grill Safety

The American Red Cross offers these tips to stay safe while cooking those tasty cookout treats:

  • Never grill indoors – not in the house, camper, tent, or any enclosed area.
  • Always supervise a barbecue grill when in use, and make sure everyone, including the pets, stays away from the grill.
  • Keep the grill out in the open, away from the house, deck, tree branches or anything that could catch fire.
  • Keep the chef safe by using the long-handled tools specially made for cooking on the grill.
  • Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited.
  • Be ready to close the lid and turn off the grill to cut off the fuel if necessary.
  • Keep a fireproof pan under the grill to catch any falling ash or grease.
  • Trim excess fat from meat to avoid flare-ups.
  • Wash one’s hands in hot soapy water before preparing food, after touching raw meat and after any interruptions such as using the bathroom, handling pets, stopping to do something with children.

Another thing people can do is download the free Red Cross first aid app which puts expert advice for handling everyday emergencies right at your fingertips. The free app is available for direct download from the Apple or Google Play for Android app stores.

We wish you a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend!

 

 

Vacation Home Financing

Vacation Home Financing – You Should Know

Whether you see yourself at the beach, in the mountains, or on the golf course, our Inlanta Mortgage loan officers are here to help provide you with the financing you need to make your dream a reality!

When it comes to financing second homes, it’s important to note that lenders are most concerned that the transaction makes sense. In other words, the lender wants to ensure that the buyers are not using the second home as an investment property rather than a true second home.

This is because investment properties have much more rigid financing guidelines, so don’t be surprised if you find your lender asking what you are really trying to accomplish with this home purchase.

Fannie Mae does have some additional requirements regarding the ownership of a second home. The first is that the property must be a single-family dwelling that is occupied by the buyer at least part of the year. Additionally, the property must be habitable year-round, and there can be no time-share or other similar agreement on the property.

Beyond these factors, the financing of a second home is similar to that of a primary residence. Keep in mind that the financing on these properties will be mainly through a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac type of program, as FHA will rarely finance second homes.

Down payment amounts typically range from 10% up to 25%, based on factors such as credit.

Contact your local area Inlanta Mortgage lender partner for more details on financing the vacation home of your dreams.

Fraud Awareness and Prevention

Fraud Awareness and Prevention

Fraud, or the broad term describing wrongful or criminal deception intended to result in financial or personal gain is, unfortunately, something that happens everywhere, every day, negatively affecting the lives of many.

Fortunately, there are ways one can prevent falling victim to fraudulent acts, starting with educating oneself on the types of dangerous fraud schemes out there as well as what to watch out for.

Mortgage Fraud:

Mortgage fraud happens which is why it is crucial to work with a lender you can trust. According to stopfraud.gov, traditional mortgage fraud involves homebuyers and/or lenders falsifying information in order to obtain a home loan. Struggling homeowners are also often affected by “foreclosure rescue firms” claiming they can help these struggling individuals obtain home loans ultimately leaving them in more debt and distress. The first thing to watch out for in these situations is requests for all cash payments and to work only with credible lenders, real estate agents, and appraisers.

Other Types of Fraud:

According to FindLaw, there are many types of fraud offenses individuals can be duped by (often unknowingly) that include:

Click here to learn more and educate yourself on popular scams occurring today.

Preventing Fraud – What to Watch out for:

Some warning signs of fraud are more obvious, such as the telemarketing or internet schemes that ask you to “send money immediately” to receive an offer, or, those asking directly for your social security number.

Others can be more tricky and deceptive, even imitating people you know personally or professionally asking for help or money via email, false charity organizations asking for donations, or, pyramid schemes that offer big rewards for a “work from home” position.

Here are some things you can do to protect yourself and your family from falling victim to fraud:

  • New forms of fraud pop up every day. Educate yourself on the common scams happening presently
  • Keep your personal information confidential. Never give out personal information, such as your social security number or credit card details, over the phone, through email, or over the internet unless the contact is verified.
  • Update your passwords and PIN numbers monthly to ensure your information is secure. Make sure to use a password that is strong in security and includes letter, numbers, and symbols.
  • Check your statements and online banking records regularly to ensure there are no unusual transactions.

If you think you or someone you know has been affected by fraud, begin by reporting the issue immediately to your local police department. Otherwise, take these steps from USA.gov:

 

PMI vs. MIP – What’s the Difference?

It’s no secret that purchasing a home, especially for the very first time, can feel overwhelming and intimidating. With all of the mortgage and real estate lingo, processes, and procedures involved, it’s no wonder buyers often find themselves confused and asking questions. Some of which regard mortgage insurance.

What is Mortgage Insurance

Mortgage insurance is a payment required of home buyers who have limited down payments of less than 20 percent for home loans. Mortgage insurance is designed to offset the borrower default risk for lenders and guarantee agencies that loan large amounts of money to borrowers with very little “skin in the game”. There are two types of mortgage insurance – PMI & MIP.

PMI & MIP

Although the concept of insurance protection is similar, there are distinct differences between private mortgage insurance (PMI) and FHA mortgage insurance premiums (MIP) that should be considered when deciding which loan program suits your financial needs.

PMI is private mortgage insurance that typically is available in a variety of premium plan structures and offers payment options that can usually be tailored to the borrower’s needs. There are a number of private mortgage insurance providers and each structure their offerings a bit differently.

MIP is the government-administered mortgage insurance program for the FHA. Since FHA loans offer reduced down payment options, MIP is required to offset the risk of a borrower defaulting.

Major Differences Between MIP & PMI

Major differences between these insurance programs include:

  • No upfront mortgage premium required with PMI while an upfront MIP is required.
  • PMI can be canceled after a stated LTV (loan-to-value) is achieved and favorable payment history has been established, while MIP is paid for the life of the loan regardless of LTV. In order to remove MIP, a borrower must refinance their FHA mortgage loan and meet minimum down payment and credit requirements.

Contact an Inlanta Mortgage loan professional to discuss your options and ensure that you select the program that is right for you! Click here to find a licensed mortgage loan professional near you or apply online today.

Tips for Choosing the Right Realtor and Lender

Tips for Choosing the Right Realtor and Lender

For most, choosing to purchase a home is a big decision. Choosing the right real estate agent and mortgage lender to help you smoothly along the process, a team you can entrust with all of your sensitive financial information who can educate you on the proper loan options and the ins and outs of homebuying is key to a successful transaction.

Here at Inlanta Mortgage, our mission is to be the home financing partner that you trust to serve your family, friends, and community. Whether you are purchasing or refinancing, we want you to know we have your back every step of the way. Our team of mortgage professionals works with top real estate agents every day. While we want to assist you with all of your mortgage lending needs and can refer you to a great agent, we also want to provide you with the tools necessary to choose the right lender/realtor partner for your particular needs and circumstances. Here are some tips on how to choose the right homebuying team.

  1. Do Your Research

The market is changing every day. That’s why it is wise to shop around and talk to a few local lenders and agents in your area to learn more about the types of loan programs offered, current market rates, and current listings available. This will also give you the chance to explain any unique financial needs you may have to your potential lender as well as your timeline and exactly what you are looking for to your agent. Note – while it may be tempting to want to choose a loan officer that advertises the “best rate,” it is important to take into account customer satisfaction, knowledge, experience, and more.

  1. Referrals and Testimonials 

You can learn a lot about a lender or agent based on real online reviews and testimonials from real clients they have had in the past. Successful transactions produce successful reviews and can provide social proof of happy peers in your area that are now homeowners with the help of their homebuying team. Visit lender and agent websites, Google+, Yelp, or Facebook pages and speak to recent clients to get an inside look at past client experiences.

  1. Communication

Communication is key during the homebuying process, so having a team that will stay in touch with you and keep you up to date on the market outlook, status of your loan, and any current listing information while providing you with honest feedback is important. When researching lenders and agents, inquire with them about their communication styles and if applicable, ask to meet their team prior to conducting business with them to learn how it all works. It is important for you to not feel afraid to ask questions. Open communication with your loan officer and real estate agent will help ease any worries you have throughout the process.

  1. Knowledge and Experience

Strong knowledge of the real estate and loan process along with information on loan programs and the current market is important when choosing the right team to help you purchase a home. With knowledge comes experience. Working with an experienced team that has successfully helped many homeowners achieve the American dream may help give you peace of mind during the process. Whether you are new to the process or are a seasoned homeowner, your agent and loan officer should be able to speak with you on the process and provide you with the education and guidance needed based on your level of experience. Ask about professional awards, years of experience, licenses, and credentials to ensure you are selecting the right team for your needs.

If you’d like to get in touch with one of our mortgage professionals today, click here to find a local lender within your area or contact us for more information. We’d love to have one of our lenders set you up with a top real estate professional – ask us about our referral partners today.