New Year, New Home?

New Year, New Home?

A new year always has a way of stopping us in our tracks to evaluate where we’re at and where we want to be. Often, it’s our health and work situation we strive to change. But for some, a new year could mean looking at moving to a new home.

Here are 5 reasons to consider a new home this year.

You’ve Outgrown your Current Home

Maybe your family is growing and expanding. Or maybe, there’s simply no longer enough space for your family in your current place. If you’re feeling crowded, it may be time to consider a new home that meets your current needs.

You’re Downsizing

The kids have left or your roommate has moved out. Your current home may be feeling a bit too spacious for your current situation. If so, you may want to consider downsizing to find a home better suited for you. Also, consider the perks of downsizing – perhaps, a lower mortgage payment!

You’re Renting

If you’re currently renting and have been waiting for the right time to purchase a home – it’s now! Rates have been historically low and often renters may find that rent prices are actually higher than a monthly mortgage payment. Another reason to purchase a home and stop renting is that when you buy, you become your own landlord! This means no more raising the rent, the freedom to make cosmetic changes without asking permission, and the ability to invest in yourself and your own financial future, instead of paying your landlord’s mortgage.

The Timing Makes “Cents”

Perhaps you’ve been saving for some time now and have been waiting for just the right time to buy a home. If you’re feeling comfortable with mortgage rates and your finances are where you want them to be, you may just be a few clicks away from getting preapproved. Your mortgage lender can walk you through your options and help you make the best financial decision.

You’re Ready for a Change of Scenery

Maybe your neighborhood is on the decline, you dislike your neighbors, you’re wanting to move somewhere with more walkability, or you just want to be closer to family/friends. Whatever your reason may be, if you’re anxious in your space and feel like it’s time for a change of scenery, it may be the right time to move.

5 Home Resolutions to Make in 2021

5 Home Resolutions to Make in 2021

Resolutions are a great way to set yourself up for success in the New Year. While you may have committed to some for yourself, your family or your business, setting resolutions for your home will help keep your space well-kept and cared for.

Here are some homeowner resolutions you can make in 2021:

  1. Create a Home Maintenance Schedule

Caring for a home is a big responsibility that requires time and attention all year long. That’s why it’s best to get ahead of your home’s needs by creating an annual home maintenance schedule. If you’re wondering where to start, check out our Home Maintenance Checklist to help keep your home in great shape.

  1. Update One Outdated Feature

We all have features in our homes that we’d like to hit the refresh button on. Maybe it’s your outdated bathroom, popcorn ceilings or outdated kitchen cabinets and laminate counter-tops. Whatever is giving you a headache, choose one thing to check off your list in 2020.

  1. Take Some Time to De-Clutter

Clutter can bring chaos. Start the New Year off by clearing your space to help get you cleaned and organized. Here are some top tips from decluttering experts via The Huffington Post to help get you started.

  1. Accomplish a DIY Project

You don’t have to be an expert or hire one to make improvements around your home. DIY, or “do it yourself,” projects are great for saving you money and upgrading your home for less. Check out our Pinterest page for some DIY home improvement ideas you can tackle in 2020.

  1. Make Extra Mortgage Payments

Resolving to put a little extra money toward your mortgage in the New Year can make a big impact on paying off your mortgage that much sooner, saving you money on interest. Talk to your local Inlanta Loan Officer today to see if making extra mortgage payments could benefit you!

We hope your new year is filled with joy, success and a happy home!

3 Reasons to Do a Mortgage Review

3 Reasons to Do a Mortgage Review

It’s officially the end of 2020 and like most, we are truly looking forward to a new year.

In spite of the many ups and downs we’ve experienced this past year, one thing that stayed down for the better was mortgage rates.

Given the positive changes in the housing market and a new year on the horizon, now is a great time to do a review of your current mortgage loan with a trusted lender.

Here are top 3 reasons we believe you should do a mortgage review today:

  1. Rates are Low

If you’re a homeowner, you have likely heard or been contacted about today’s historically low interest rates. Lower rates offer the opportunity to refinance at a better rate than you originally secured when you first purchased your home which can benefit you by lowering your monthly payment, for example.

  • Your Situation has Changed

Another great reason to conduct a mortgage checkup would be a change in your current financial/familial situation. For instance, if you purchased your home and needed PMI (premium mortgage insurance) at the time, you may be able to refinance now and eliminate PMI to lower your payment.  

  • It’s Been a While

Perhaps it’s been quite a while since you purchased your home or even had a mortgage review. If you’ve been in your home for several years, there’s a good chance you have built up enough equity to take out to live more comfortably, pay off some debt or even buy the car or take the vacation you’ve always wanted.

A brief meeting with your mortgage lender can make all the difference. If you’re ready to have a mortgage review, contact your local Inlanta Mortgage loan expert today.

Here’s What You Need to Know About Gift Funds

What You Need to Know About Gift Funds

It’s the holiday season and we’ve all got presents on the brain. Some gifts, however, don’t come from a store and can help us with one of the biggest purchases we’ll make in our lifetime – a new home.

For first time homebuyers, coming up with a down payment is often one of the greatest barriers to homeownership. But did you know that you can leverage “gift funds” to help with your down payment?

What Are Gift Funds

Gift funds are simply contributions from other parties, such as family members, to be used for a down payment or to help cover closing costs. These funds have no expectation of repayment by the borrower hence why they’re called “gifts”.

For most loans, generally acceptable gift donors include your family members by blood or marriage (closely related in most cases – mother, father, aunt, uncle, grandparent, spouse, etc.), fiancés, employers, charitable organizations, or government entities.

But the FHA (Federal Housing Administration) also allows gifts to come from a close friend with a clearly defined and documented interest in you, the borrower. This means that someone with a long-standing or close relationship with you, such as an ex-step-parent that truly continues to think of themselves as a parent of a child.

How Do Gift Funds Work?

When you’re using gift funds, there’s mandatory documentation required to ensure the funds meet the approved criteria. In these cases, you can count on your mortgage company’s underwriting team to ensure there is proper documentation for the gift funds to document that adhere to the requirements.

Here’s how it works – It’s acceptable for the gift donor to borrow funds to gift to the borrower, as long as they’re not borrowed from an interested party to the transaction (seller, builder, realtor, lender, etc.). Cash is not an acceptable method of giving gift funds as underwriters cannot document the source of the funds as coming from the gift donor.

Additional gift options can include gifts of equity, which occurs when a borrower is related to the seller of a property that they’re purchasing. In this case the seller, may choose to give a gift of equity to the borrower to reduce the amount of funds the borrower needs to have available for down payment/closing costs.

Gifts cannot be used to meet reserve requirements that may apply to the loan. For conventional loans, gifts are allowed for either owner occupied properties or second homes.  They are not eligible for investment properties.

For some loan types, the borrower might be required to bring a certain amount of their own funds to the loan in order to qualify (minimum borrower contribution).

Contact Us

If a new home is on your holiday wish list and you’re seeking down payment assistance, receiving a gift may help give you just what you need to achieve the home of your dreams.

Contact us today if you’d like to learn more about down payment assistance programs or to discuss which type of loan is right for you and your financial situation.

14 Ways to Make Your Home Cozy and Inviting

14 Ways to Make Your Home Cozy and Inviting

Do you ever stumble upon a picture of a home that looks cozy and beautifully decorated and think, “I wish my home looked like that”? Good news! Creating an inviting home is simple when you break down each element that ties the look and feel together.

Here are 14 ways you can create the warm and inviting home you’ve always wanted.

1. Spruce up your Bedding

Make sure to choose bedding that matches nicely with the room. Spring for more expensive sheets to make the bed cozier!

2. Add Throw Blankets

Find some nice, quality throw blankets that coordinate with your living area and bedroom. A nice throw blanket on the living room couch encourages guests to make themselves right at home. Keeping a throw on your bed can give it a nice decorative touch.

3. Try a Blanket Ladder or Basket

Pick out your most stylish throws and find a nice woven basket or blanket ladder to put them on display. This will help to invite your guests to grab a blanket and stay a while!

4. Get yourself a Comfy Couch

Nothing says, “Welcome!” quite like a nice, comfortable couch. The couch is the staple of a living space, so choosing the right one will elevate the room.

5. Accentuate the Fireplace

If your house has a fireplace, highlight it by decorating the mantle area with things like vases, candles or other decorative pieces. However, don’t try too hard to follow a set decorative plan for your mantle. Finding pieces that work with your style and coordinate with the room will help give your space some personality. Also, putting one big focal piece, such as a mirror or painting, in the area above the fireplace will help draw the eye and pull the room together

6. Make Room for Fresh Flowers

Fresh flowers make a great addition to the kitchen and/or bathroom! Visit your local grocery store or farmers market and pick out flowers that coordinate with the room you want them in along with a nice vase to put them in.

7. Use the Right Lighting

The right lighting can work wonders. If you’re having a cocktail party, you’ll want to give your room plenty of light. This invites your guests in from the outside and highlights your home’s features on the inside. When you are having a small get-together with close friends, dimmed lighting can create a cozy atmosphere.

8. Use Light Paint Colors

Light, vibrant paint colors can make any room look bright, warm and inviting. Dark colors tend to make rooms look smaller and don’t have a very homey appeal.

9. Create an Outdoor Hangout Spot

Take your living space outdoors! Comfortable chairs and a fire pit are a great addition to your outdoor space for fair weather seasons.

10. Let There be Candlelight

Having plenty of candles around your home gives it a sense of warmth. Put a couple candles in each room and people will feel a sense of comfort no matter where they are in your home. Plus, your home will smell great, too!

11. Hang Unique Mirrors

Placing a cool mirror above a dresser or table can give a room personality and reflect your style. Mirrors also give the illusion that a room is much larger than it really might be due to reflecting light.

12. Get Plenty of Comfortable Pillows

Pillows can be a great accent to a living area. Investing in ones that are comfortable and stylish takes it to a whole new level.

13. Incorporate a Large Area Rug

If your living area has hardwood floors, a large area rug will instantly warm up the space. People sometimes like to make the area rug a focal point and choose their accessories, pillows, and paint color based on the color and/or pattern of the rug.

14. Create Themed Photo Collages

Displaying pictures is a great way to let people know who or what is most important to you and also adds a personal touch to your home. Make a framed collage to add to an empty wall by choosing a bunch of pictures that have a common theme, like a family vacation or special event. You can buy collage frames pre-made or group individual frames together for added style.

These tips are sure to make your home as cozy and inviting as can be! If you’re currently sitting in a rental property dreaming of ways you will make your future home cozy and inviting, contact one of our loan experts today to see just how close you are to achieving that dream of homeownership!

How to Style a Thanksgiving Table

Thanksgiving is right around the corner! Are you hosting this year? If so, you may be wondering exactly how to set your table right. Look no further – we’ve got all the steps you need to style a Thanksgiving table right here.

Step #1 – Choose a Color Pallet

Thanksgiving colors are all about burnt orange, red, yellow and brown tones. Try incorporating some of these seasonal colors into your table’s color pallet. Otherwise, keep it simple and go with a white and green color scheme for a more minimalist approach. You can never go wrong with a plain white dinner plate!

Step #2 – Embrace the Season/Holiday

Why not lean into the holiday and add in some turkey/fall/Thanksgiving specific décor? This could be themed napkins, table accents, plate design and more! Check out this Pinterest page for some ideas.

Step #3 – Choose your Centerpiece

Thanksgiving is typically spent sitting around the table enjoying a delicious meal and good company, so it’s important to make a statement with your centerpiece! Here are a few ideas to inspire you to choose the right one for yours. Also, be sure whatever you choose matches your color pallet!

Step #4 – Add Accents

It’s the little things that make a big difference! Tiny accents such as leaves on the table, gold napkin holders, fresh flowers, etc. can truly bring the warmth of the holiday right into your table and brighten up your décor.  

Step #5 – Add Greenery

Adding greenery is always a good idea. Whether it be in your centerpiece, in your napkins holders or even a top your plates, greenery can really “spruce” up your table. Here are a few ideas to help incorporate this into your theme.

Step #6 – Set the Mood

A good table has good ambiance. Keep the lighting low, put on some dinner music and add some candles to your table to help set the tone for the perfect holiday meal.

From the Inlanta Mortgage family to yours, we hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday!

Helpful Hacks to Stretch Your Holiday Budget

While the holiday season is a joyous time of year, it can also be a stressful time both emotionally and financially. According to a study completed by the American Research Group, Inc., the average American is expected to spend over $900 on gifts this holiday season alone. If you don’t have $900 already set aside for gifts this season, you’re not alone. That’s why we’re bringing you our top tips to stretch your holiday budget below!

  1. Make a Plan

    First things first – sit down and take a hard look at your finances, how many people you’d like to purchase gifts for, and what your budget will allow. Making and pricing out a list will also help you to stay on track and on budget.

  2. Do your Research

    Have your eye on a specific gift for someone? Don’t jump on the first deal that comes your way. Try comparison shopping online or download a digital coupon app like RetailMeNot for deals and discount codes.

  3. Sign up for Email Alerts

    If you’ve got several favorite stores, make sure you sign up for email alerts to receive news and information on sales and discount offers.

  4. Pay with Cash

    While it’s tempting to charge up your credit card for gifts you think your family and friends will really love, setting a strict budget and taking out the exact amount of cash you plan to spend will help you to avoid that post-holiday debt.

  5. Take Advantage of Credit Promotions

    While we do encourage you to use cash to stay on budget, it may be smart to check into your credit card company incentives and promotions to see if they offer cash rewards or points that will help you earn more. If you do decide to go this route, please remember to use credit responsibly

  6. DIY

    It’s truly the thought that counts, so why not channel your creativity to make your own, personalized gifts for your loved ones? With the robust internet today, you should have no problem finding a number of ideas. Try checking out Pinterest to get you started.

  7. Set a Limit

    There’s no harm in proposing a monetary limit with family and friends to help you stretch your budget on gifts this year. It is likely that they are in the same boat as you are and will welcome the gift limit idea.

So, leave the stress behind this season and use these handy tips to help you stretch your holiday budget. As always, if there’s anything we can do to help, contact us today!

All About VA Loans

To our veterans and active military personnel, we tip our hats to you, and to your sacrifices that make our freedom possible this Veterans Day and every day. As your trusted mortgage advisors, we are committed to making your dream of homeownership possible with our VA loan options.

What is a VA loan?

A VA (Veterans Affairs) mortgage loan is designed specifically for service members, veterans, and eligible surviving spouses, offering excellent benefits that allow eligible VA borrowers to purchase a home with:

  • No money down
  • No PMI* (primary mortgage insurance) required
  • More flexible credit guidelines

What Can You Do with a VA Loan?

A VA loan is similar to any other conventional loan, allowing you to:

  • Purchase a home or condo
  • Build a new home
  • Refinance your current home
  • Make improvements on your current home, such as adding energy efficient features

Who is Eligible^?

In order to be eligible for a VA mortgage loan, veterans and surviving spouses must meet requirements based on available entitlement and years of service. To learn more about our VA mortgage loans, contact your local Inlanta loan officer today.

Finally, to all of those who proudly serve or have served in our US military, we thank you for your service!

*PMI is typically required when purchasing a home with a down payment under 20%, and the payment is added to your monthly mortgage payment.

Inlanta Recognized Best Military Originators

Congratulations to Yvette Clermont, Dave Hartman, Balenda Hetzel, Jim Snyder and Kip Warzon on being recognized as National Mortgage Professional Magazine‘s Best Military Originators!

These outstanding individuals continue to go above and beyond for our veterans and we couldn’t be prouder to have them on our team.

Serving Veterans Daily

At Inlanta, we do VA loans right! We are committed to providing our Veterans with exceptional service. Our team of VA experts are adept at handling situations unique to the military community so our VA clients get the hard-earned benefits they deserve.

What is a VA Mortgage Loan?

A VA mortgage loan is a federally guaranteed mortgage loan for veterans that does not require a down payment or private mortgage insurance. This is an excellent benefit for eligible veterans. Private mortgage insurance is usually required if a down payment of 20% is not provided – with the VA mortgage loan both the down payment and private mortgage insurance requirements are waived for veterans.

If you’re a veteran, active military member or surviving spouse and are interested in learning more about Inlanta’s VA loan program, click here or contact us today to begin your mortgage journey with one of our expert loan officers.

Favorite Fall Recipes

Favorite Fall Recipes

Eat, drink and be merry! Regardless of what’s going on in the world, there’s always one thing we can count on to come through for us this time of year – our favorite fall recipes.

Here are a few of ours along with many others from our Pinterest page.

Follow along with us and feel free to share some of yours as well. Enjoy!

APPETIZERS

Fall Harvest Charcuterie Board

Cranberry Brie Bites

cranberry + cheese + pastry – need we say more?
*get the recipe here*

Fall Harvest Charcuterie Board

We’re originally from Wisconsin, so we know the importance of a good cheese + meat board better than anyone. *get the recipe here*

ENTREES

Pumpkin & Sage Stuffed Shells

Apple Cider Glazed Chicken

The perfect chicken dish for fall. *get the recipe here*

Autumn Minestrone Soup

A hearty soup is good for the soul. *get the recipe here*

Pumpkin & Sage Stuffed Shells

Wholesome, healthy and delicious. *get the recipe here*

Roasted Butternut Squash & Bacon Soup

Essentially, a season in a bowl. *get the recipe here*

Old-Fashioned Pumpkin Pie

DESSERTS

Old-Fashioned Pumpkin Pie

A must-have on your fall dessert menu. *get the recipe here*

Easy Apple Crisp

Easy to make, easy to gobble up served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. *get the recipe here*

Slow Cooker Hot Apple Cider

DRINKS

Harvest Punch

The ultimate autumn punch recipe for any fall gathering. *get the recipe here*

Slow Cooker Hot Apple Cider

Who needs pumpkin spiced lattes when you can have classic, delicious apple cider? *get the recipe here*

What are some of your favorite fall recipes? Share with us! Visit our Facebook page today and comment on our blog. We hope you have a happy fall season with many fall-flavored treats!