10 Ways to Protect Your Home while on Vacation

homesecurity

10 Ways to Protect Your Home while on Vacation

From booking travel arrangements to packing, a lot of preparation goes into planning a vacation. One thing many people overlook, though, is preparing their home for what may happen after they leave. When you go out of town, especially for an extended period of time, ensuring your home is safe from possible intruders or other incidents should be a priority. Aside from checking that all of your doors and windows are locked, there are many other precautions you can take to protect your home. Here are some tips to help keep your home safe while you’re away.

 

1. Give friends spare keys

Give a set of keys to a trusted friend or relative in case of an emergency. If you have any spare keys outside under a flower pot, door mat, or any other hiding spot, move them inside while you’re away.

 

2. Don’t advertise your vacation on social media

When you advertise your vacation on social media, your home becomes a target. You may think there is no need to worry since you are just sharing the information with friends. However, your friends are not the only ones that can see your posts on social media. Posts can reach friends of friends or even complete strangers if you do not have the proper privacy settings. These people may not be so trustworthy. Save the sharing until you are back from vacation.

 

3. Set lamps and radios on timers to avoid looking vacant

A home that is noticeably dark for multiple days is a clue that you and/or your family are on vacation. Give the illusion that someone is home by putting lamps and radios on programmable timers.

 

4. Have a friend check on your house frequently

Since you have already given someone spare keys in case of emergency, have the same friend come over to check on your home frequently while you are away. Ask them to check for signs of home or property damage or signs of a break-in. Have them care for any pets that are still in the home. Request that they bring in the mail if you do not suspend your mail service. By having someone maintain a presence at your home, it will help give the appearance that you are home.

 

5. Turn down the heat or turn up the air

Setting your thermostat at a lower temperature during the winter, or a higher temperature during the summer can significantly reduce your heating and cooling costs while you are away. You can even use this trick while you are at work every day to save money on your monthly energy bill!

 

6. Advertise home security with signs

If you have a security system, post signs outside to signify your home is protected. Burglars are less likely to approach a home if they know there is a risk of setting off an alarm.

 

7. Stow valuables in a safe place

Hide valuable items in a safe place. Be cautious about using a small safe; it could be a target if it is small enough for the thief to walk off with. Consider getting a safe deposit box at your bank to store your valuables.

 

8. Unplug and switch off electronics

Reduce the chances of an electrical fire by turning off and unplugging non-essential electronics. Many electronics will still use energy even if they are turned off. Therefore, you will also save money on energy costs by unplugging your electronics.

 

9. Cover garage windows

If you have windows in your garage, invest in some curtains to cover them. If someone can clearly see there is a missing car or two from the garage, it could increase the chances of a break-in.

 

10. Park an extra car in your driveway

Parking an extra car in your driveway lets people know that someone is home. Whether they think it is just a visitor or the resident’s car, if there is one parked out in the driveway, it can be a red flag for a burglar.

 

You should spend your vacation relaxing and enjoying time with your family, not stressing out about your home security. Give yourself peace of mind while you’re away by taking these precautions before you leave.

 

OUR MISSION STATEMENT

Our mission is to be the home financing partner that you trust to serve your family, friends, and community. Through our family of dedicated mortgage professionals, our commitment is to deliver an exceptional experience. Our unwavering dedication to integrity, honesty, and ethics is the foundation of all of our relationships.

ABOUT INLANTA MORTGAGE

Headquartered in Brookfield, Wis., Inlanta Mortgage was established in 1993. The company has grown to 35 branches in 16 states and over 240 employees. Inlanta Mortgage offers Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac agency products, as well as jumbo and portfolio programs. The company is an agency approved lender for Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, FHA/VA, FHA 203K and USDA. Inlanta Mortgage also offers numerous state bond agency programs.

Inlanta Mortgage was recently named a Top Workplace for a third time in 2016. Inlanta has also received the Platinum Million Dollar USDA Lender Award and has been recognized as a Top Mortgage Employer by National Mortgage Professional and a Top 100 Mortgage Banking Company and 100 Best Mortgage Companies to Work For by Mortgage Executive Magazine.

PARTNERSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

Inlanta Mortgage continues to expand its branch network and encourages ethical lending professionals to learn more about our support platform and discover how an Inlanta branch partnership with Inlanta Mortgage is essential to long-term success.

Locate an Inlanta Mortgage loan officer at www.inlanta.com/locations. For current employment opportunities, visit www.inlanta.com/join-our-team/employment-opportunities. Learn more about Inlanta Mortgage branch partnership opportunities at www.inlantapartners.com, call 262-439-4260, or email partners@inlanta.com.

Inlanta Mortgage, Inc. NMLS #1016.

Have a Safe & Happy 4th of July

4th-of-July

Independence Day

The Fourth of July, or Independence Day, is a federal holiday that celebrates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. In America, we celebrate this glorious day with picnics, barbecues, fireworks and the good ole red, white and blue. Whatever way you celebrate, we wish you safety and happiness.

Safety Tips 4th of July

With more than 35 million people traveling over the 4th of July weekend, it pays to plan extra time for travel and consider the following safety tips:

  • Check vehicle tires (including spare) and fluid levels before any road trip.
  • Pack an emergency kit with flashlight, jumper cables, water, sunscreen, and commonly used tools
  • Stay focused – No texting and take breaks if you feel drowsy. Do not drink and drive.
  • Barbecue in your plans? Remember to keep food items properly chilled or heated, covered, and avoid cross contamination with raw meats.
  • Swimming? Always swim with a buddy and never leave children in water unattended.

Other great safety resources include the American Red Cross, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Fun Facts 4th of July

  • “Americans began observing the Fourth of July as early as 1777, when the first-ever major celebration in Philadelphia included a parade, a thirteen-shot cannon salute and fireworks, but Congress didn’t make it official until 1870, when it was part of a bill passed to recognize major state holidays at a federal level — like Independence Day, Christmas and New Year’s Day,” according to TIME magazine.
  • Also according to TIME magazine, July Fourth is the “biggest hot dog holiday of the year.” Americans reportedly consuming about 155 million of them on Independence Day alone.
  • According to the American Pyrotechnics Association, more than 14,000 fireworks displays light up skies across the country on July 4. Most fireworks stores spend 11 months of the year planning for the holiday, which accounts for roughly 75 percent of the industry’s yearly revenue. Congress first authorized the use of fireworks for Independence Day celebrations on July 4, 1777, but the tradition truly stems from the mid-19th century when explosives leftover from war were set off to celebrate the day.(Source: Heavy.com)

Our Mission Statement

Our mission is to be the home financing partner that you trust to serve your family, friends and community. Through our family of dedicated mortgage professionals, our commitment is to deliver an exceptional experience. Our unwavering dedication to integrity, honesty and ethics is the foundation of all of our relationships.

About Inlanta Mortgage

Last year, Inlanta Mortgage celebrated twenty years in business. Learn more about Inlanta’s twenty year history here.

Headquartered in Brookfield, Wis., Inlanta Mortgage was established in 1993. Inlanta Mortgage offers Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac agency products, as well as a full suite of jumbo and portfolio programs. The company is an agency approved lender for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, FHA/VA, FHA 203K and USDA. Inlanta Mortgage also offers numerous state bond agency programs.

Inlanta Mortgage is a multi-state mortgage banker based out of Brookfield, Wisconsin NMLS #1016. Inlanta Mortgage was recently named a Top Mortgage Lender in 2013 as well as 2012 by Scotsman Guide. Inlanta was also recently named a Top Workplace in 2014 as well as in 2012. Inlanta has also been listed on Mortgage Technology’s Top 25 Tech Savvy Lenders list in 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013, named one of the “Top 100 Mortgage Companies in America” in 2011, 2012 and 2013 and one of the 50 Best Companies to Work For by Mortgage Executive Magazine.

Avoid These 3 Mortgage Scams!

Avoid-Mortgage-ScamsWhile the housing market slowly recovers, scam artists continue to prey on desperate homeowners. Don’t become a victim! Thousands of homeowners are duped each year through mortgage scams, according to senior counsel for the Fair Housing & Fair Lending Project. Here are a few of the most common mortgage scams to be on the look out for!

Avoid These Mortgage Scams!

  1. Upfront Loan Modification Fees – Never pay upfront loan modification fees. Homeowners who pony up fees prior to a loan modification receive nothing in exchange. Legitimate lenders will not ask for money upfront. Scammers typically use abbreviations and program names like HARP or HAMP – hoping that the homeowner will be duped into assuming they are dealing with what sounds like a government sponsored program.
  2. Fake Mortgage Companies – It’s a fact that banks frequently buy and sell mortgages. Savvy scammers contact homeowners and represent themselves as the new owner of your mortgage loan, happily accepting your payments while you are none the wiser. If your mortgage lender sells your loan to another bank, you will receive a letter indicating who the new owner is. You will also receive a letter from the new owner explaining how payments can be made. Scammers are aware of this process, you will want to verify all information before mailing any payments.
  3. Lease/Buy-Back Agreements – Public records make it possible for con artists to know when a home is in foreclosure. In lease/buy-back mortgage scams, the perpetrator promises the deed transfer is temporary and you’ll be able to rent the home from the new owners and eventually repurchase the home after you get back on your feet. Brian Sullivan, a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development spokesman says. “If people are coming to you asking you sign away your home so they can make payments for you, run for the hills!”

Homeowner Help

Homeowners are more likely to become victims of fraud when they are not aware of the options available to them. Visit the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Homeowner Help section for information on avoiding foreclosure.

About Inlanta Mortgage – Celebrating 20 Years

Celebrating its 20th Anniversary, Inlanta Mortgage is a growing mortgage banking firm committed to quality mortgage lending, ethical operations and strong customer service.

Inlanta Mortgage offers Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac agency products, as well as a full suite of jumbo and portfolio programs. The company is an agency approved lender for Fannie Mae, FHA/VA, FHA 203K and USDA. Inlanta Mortgage also offers numerous state bond agency programs. Review Inlanta’s mortgage loan programs here.

Inlanta Mortgage is a multi-state mortgage banker based out of Brookfield, Wisconsin. NMLS #1016. Inlanta Mortgage is proud to be named to the Scotsman Guide Top Mortgage Lenders 2012 list and to be among the Top 100 Mortgage Banking Companies in America in 2012 and Fastest Growing Milwaukee-Area Firms.

 

Celebrate Memorial Day Safely

Memorial DayCelebrate Memorial Day Safely

Memorial Day is a day for remembering the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. While we honor their sacrifice and celebrate over the long weekend, make sure safety comes first. Here are some helpful safety tips for those of you who plan to enjoy the water, 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.

DOWNLOAD FIRST AID APP

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

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 especially 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.

We wish you a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend!

About Inlanta Mortgage

Inlanta Mortgage is proudly celebrating twenty years in business. Learn more about Inlanta’s twenty year history here.

Inlanta Mortgage offers Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac agency products, as well as a full suite of jumbo and portfolio programs. The company is fully delegated HUD-FHA including FHA 203K, VA, and USDA approved. Inlanta Mortgage also offers numerous state bond agency programs. Review Inlanta’s mortgage loan programs here.

Inlanta Mortgage is a multi-state mortgage banker based out of Brookfield, Wisconsin. NMLS# 1016. Inlanta Mortgage is proud to be a recent recipient of a 2012 Top Workplace Award.

Winter Car Kit

Be Prepared for Winter Driving

Have you prepped your car for winter traveling? We’re not referring to snow tires – we’re referring to the items you should carry in your car in case of an emergency.

With a few frigid months ahead of us (at least for a good portion of the country), it’s a good idea to make sure you are properly prepared for a possible break down or accident during freezing weather. Here are a few items we recommend you keep inside your vehicle – just in case.

Winter Emergency Car Kit

  • Blanket – Sometimes the unexpected happens. If you breakdown when it’s freezing outside,  you will appreciate this extra layer of warmth as you wait for help.
  • Extra Hats, Socks, and Mittens – Did you poke you head around your engine to see what the problem was? Or maybe you took a quick peek under the car. In either case,  you may have gotten wet and will appreciate dry mitts or socks when you finally decide to climb into your car and wait out the rescue party.
  • Water & Snacks – Ideally, you will only be stuck on the side of the road for a brief time. However, winter storms often delay tow trucks and other rescue personnel. Make sure you have some water and snacks in case the wait becomes excessive.
  • Flashlight with Extra Batteries – A flashlight is a must-have – especially if your break down happens at night!
  • Car Cell Phone Charger – There isn’t anything much worse than being stranded on the road, in a storm, with a dead cell phone.
  • First Aid Kit – Let’s assume you won’t ever have to use this…but you will feel better knowing you have one should the time come.

Car accidents and break-downs are inevitable during the winter. In addition to packing a winter car kit with all the items mentioned above – make sure your automobile is in good working order. Check all coolant and fluid levels and make sure the pressure is right on all of your tires.

Stay Safe This Winter

Now this probably goes without saying – but let’s just say it: Slow down, don’t tailgate, and brake slowly. Let’s all stay safe throughout this holiday season!

Inlanta Mortgage offers Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac agency products, as well as a full suite of jumbo and portfolio programs. The company is fully delegated HUD-FHA including FHA 203K, VA, and USDA approved. Inlanta Mortgage also offers numerous state bond agency programs. Review Inlanta’s mortgage loan programs here.

Inlanta Mortgage is a multi-state mortgage banker headquartered in Brookfield, Wisconsin. NMLS# 1016. Inlanta Mortgage is proud to be a recent recipient of a 2012 Top Workplace Award.

Be Prepared – Emergency Supply Kits

Be Prepared

While many of our friends and loved ones take cover from Hurricane Sandy – we thought it couldn’t hurt to remind everyone about the importance of having an emergency supply kit when disaster looms.

Whether you are in a coastal area and must prepare for a hurricane or in one of our northern states that is often overwhelmed with snow – being prepared is key. Here are the recommended components of an emergency supply kit suggested by the CDC and American Red Cross.

Emergency Supply Kit:

  • Several clean containers of water, large enough for a three-to-five day supply. This is about five gallons per person
  • A supply of non-perishable foods that can last three days
  • A first aid kit and manual
  • A battery-powered radio, flashlights, and extra batteries
  • Sleeping bags, extra blankets
  • Prescription medicines and special medical needs
  • Copies of personal documents (birth certificate, passport, insurance poilicies)
  • Family and emergency contact information
  • Cash
  • Local map(s)
  • Disposable cleaning cloths, such as “baby wipes” for the whole family to use in case bathing facilities are not available
  • Personal hygiene supplies, such as soap, toothpaste, sanitary napkins, etc.

Other items you may need – depending on your family’s needs:

  • Baby food and/or prepared formula, diapers, and other baby supplies.
  • Medical supplies (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, cane)
  • Games and activities for children
  • Pet supplies (collar, leash, ID, food, carrier, bowl)
  • Two­way radios
  • Extra set of car keys and house keys
  • Manual can opener

Other items to consider – depending on the disasters common to your area:

  • Whistle
  • N95 or surgical masks
  • Matches
  • Rain gear
  • Towels
  • Work gloves
  • Tools/supplies for securing your home
  • Extra clothing, hat and sturdy shoes
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Duct tape
  • Scissors
  • Household liquid bleach
  • Entertainment items

The Center for Disease Control and the American Red Cross have also teamed up to provide answers to common questions and a step by step guide you can take to protect your loved ones.

Inlanta Mortgage offers Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac agency products, as well as a full suite of jumbo and portfolio programs. The company is fully delegated HUD-FHA including FHA 203K, VA, and USDA approved. Inlanta Mortgage also offers numerous state bond agency programs. Review Inlanta’s mortgage loan programs here.

Inlanta Mortgage is a multi-state mortgage banker based out of Brookfield, Wisconsin. NMLS# 1016. Inlanta Mortgage is proud to be a recent recipient of a 2012 Top Workplace Award.