Mortgage Professional Spotlight with Dennis DeGrave

Obtaining a mortgage loan can often sound like a foreign concept to those who have not undergone the process before. The work of a mortgage professional, or a Loan Officer, can sound even more foreign to the unfamiliar. That is why we are diving in to the life of a mortgage pro with an up close and personal interview with one of our top experienced Loan Officers, Dennis DeGrave!

Check out our interview below to read what Dennis had to say about his career in the mortgage industry.

Inlanta Mortgage: Tell me about yourself… how many years have you been in the industry and what made you become an LO?

Dennis DeGrave: I have been with Inlanta for 20 years as you know, prior to this I had been doing lending for the previous 8 years with a finance company and a credit union.  One of the things I loved the best was being able to help people out financially when they needed it, so working for the finance company allowed me to help out those people with challenging credit or financial situations, however, we were typically working with pretty high-interest rates.  When the finance company was going out of business, I then was offered a job at a credit union.  The credit union gave me the opportunity to do the same thing, however now I was able to do that with great low rates to the members of the credit union.  The biggest draw for me when I then had the opportunity to work at Inlanta Mortgage, is that I now could help people of all financial statuses buy homes and experience the pride of homeownership or better their financial situations by refinancing their existing mortgages.

IM: You have been in the industry a long time – what makes you successful?

DD: Always doing what is right for my clients’ financial future.  I love to educate my clients on what options they have available and solving problems. If there is a way to help them out, I believe I can find the best solution for them to accomplish their goal.

IM: What does a typical day look like for you?

DD: A great day is when I have numerous conversations or meetings with clients and referral partners to discuss financing options.  Typical days involve reviewing applications, putting together financing options, discussing or meeting with clients to review those options, and getting loans approved and/or going to closings.

IM: What is your favorite thing about your job?

DD: Definitely attending my closings with first-time homebuyers, getting to share in their excitement of finally getting the keys to their first home and knowing that I had something to do with that historic day for them is the best.

IM: What piece of advice would you give to first-time homebuyers?

DD: Make sure they are working with a lender that explains the whole home buying process and is attentive to their questions and needs.  Buying your first home is a big deal and can be pretty stressful.  The better understanding the buyer has of how the process works and what the payments and money needed at closing are, before they start looking at homes and writing an offer, the better they will feel about the whole experience.

Special thanks to Dennis DeGrave from our Pewaukee, WI branch for giving us an inside look at the life of a mortgage industry professional!

Tips for Choosing the Right Mortgage Lender

For most, choosing to purchase a home is a big decision. Choosing the right mortgage lender to help you smoothly along the process, one you can entrust with all of your sensitive financial information who can educate you on the proper loan options based on your specific financial situation 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. While we want to assist you with all of your mortgage lending needs, we also want to provide you with the tools necessary to choose the right lender for your particular needs and circumstances. Here are some tips on how to choose the right mortgage lender.

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 in your area to learn more about the types of loan programs offered and current market rates. This will also give you the chance to explain any unique financial needs you may have to see if they have dealt with borrowers like you in the past. 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.

Referrals and Testimonials 

You can learn a lot about a lender 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 trusted lender. Visit your lender’s website, Google+, Yelp, or Facebook page to get an inside look at former client experiences.

Communication

Communication is key during the mortgage process, so having a lender that will stay in touch with you and keep you up to date on the status of your loan while providing you with honest feedback is important. When researching lenders, 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 will help ease any worries you have throughout the process.

Knowledge and Experience

Strong knowledge of the loan process, loan programs, and mortgage products available along with knowledge of the market is important when choosing the right lender. With knowledge comes experience. Working with an experienced lender who 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 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.

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 today for more information.

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