The Power of Pre-approval

The Power of a Pre-approval

Whether you’re currently looking for a new home or not, you’ve probably heard the phrase, “Get pre-approved.” Perhaps it was through a radio or TV ad, on social media, or from your friends or family. What you should know is what being pre-approved means in the homebuying process, and how it can make you stand out in a crowded buyer’s market.

What is a Pre-Approval?

To get a mortgage loan, you need to be pre-approved by a lender. This means that your lender will need to collect certain documentation, such as bank statements and W2s, to verify your income and determine that you are able to repay the loan.

Why is it Important?  

Getting a pre-approval from a trusted lender is a powerful tool for homebuyers for many reasons, and is recommended before you even begin home shopping so that you may: 

  1. Know your Budget
  2. Gain Peace of Mind
  3. Get Ahead of your Competition
  4. Increase Buying Power
  5. Expedite your Closing

With a pre-approval, your Realtor will know you’re a serious buyer and understand your budget, helping narrow your home search to homes that are a right match for you. It can save you from the heartache of falling in love with a home you can’t afford, while letting your realtor know that you’re ready and able to make an offer on a home anytime, anywhere.

For the sellers, a pre-approval makes you an attractive buyer as it shows sellers that you are financially capable of purchasing their home, giving them the peach-of-mind that your offer will stand.

Lastly, it expedites the closing process which means smoother stress-free closings and getting you into your new home that much sooner.

Ultimately, getting pre-approved is a smart move if you’re looking to buy a home anytime soon. To get your free pre-approval, reach out to one of our loan experts in your area or apply for your pre-approval today using our fast and easy online application process!

Benefits of VA Mortgage Loans

Benefits of VA Mortgage Loans

At Inlanta, we believe in honoring our Vets who have proudly served and sacrificed for our country to protect our freedom. And it’s personal for us, with our Vet loan officers representing every branch of the military.

If you are a veteran or active military member, it is our privilege to serve you to help make homeownership possible. We are all committed to serving Veterans with our VA loan program, and have also partnered with Pets for Vets, an organization that helps pair rescue dogs with at-risk returning veteran, and donated $25,000 to their cause earlier this year.

Why Choose a VA Loan?

A VA (Veterans Affairs) mortgage loan is designed specifically for service members, veterans, and eligible surviving spouses to help them purchase a home.

VA Loans offer excellent benefits that allow eligible VA borrowers to purchase a home with:

  • No money down
  • No Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) required
  • More flexible credit guidelines

PMI is usually required if a down payment of 20% is not provided when purchasing a home. With the VA mortgage loan, both the down payment and PMI requirements are waived for veterans.

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?

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

Did you Know?

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the GI Bill! Passed in 1944 as the “Servicemen’s Readjustment Act,” the law that positively impacted millions of veterans and their families by providing a wide range of benefits to Veterans including low-cost home loans, education and vocational training, unemployment payments, and an expansion of Veterans’ health care.

Mortgage Madness – Get in the Game

Mortgage Madness – Get in the Game

It’s officially March Madness – the height of any college basketball fan’s year!

It’s also time for “mortgage madness” as we enter into the height of the homebuying season – the spring market.

You may have your team picked, your bracket filled in, and your wings pre-ordered for the big game, but do you also have your game face on for the competitive spring homebuying season?

Here’s some pre-game strategies to help you score big on the home of your dreams.

  • Find your Team

Did you know that you + your mortgage pro + your real estate pro = the dream team?

That’s right! Don’t go through this process alone when you can have a dynamic duo of industry professionals coaching you through it all. Buying a home is not a game-time decision and having that coach by your side will ensure that you’re taking all the right shots to score the home of your dreams. To find a mortgage expert in your area today, click here.

  • 3 Pointers
  1. Apply
  2. Get Pre-Approved
  3. Start Shopping

Before you even lace up your high-tops and hit the court, make sure to take advantage of Inlanta’s easy online application process and get your pre-approval before you even begin home shopping. This is crucial because it allows you to know exactly what you can afford, and also give you an edge over your homebuying competitors who don’t have the security of a fully underwritten pre-approval.

  • Buzzer Beater

You may have heard that today’s mortgage rates are still at historic lows. In fact, MarketWatch recently reported that rates have now fallen to a one-year low, making now the perfect time to lock in your mortgage interest rate before the clock runs out with Inlanta’s Lock & Shop program. For more info, check out our Benefits of Rate Locking before Home Shopping blog.

  • Slam Dunk

If you’re ready to take the winning shot and become a homeowner today, we’d love to chat with you! We have a deep bench of loan programs, as well as down payment assistant programs to help you score the home of your dreams. Inlanta Mortgage has been helping homeowners win the home of their dreams throughout the nation for more than 25 years, and we put our customers first in every transaction. See why our customers say trusting us with their mortgage transaction is a “slam dunk” here!

Whether you’re getting in the game or sitting on the sidelines this year, we hope you enjoy a successful spring!

How Much Is My Home Worth?

How Much Is My Home Worth?

Recent news of a positive spring market for home buyers probably has you wondering – what is my home worth and is it time put it on the market?

If you’re like most, you don’t know where to begin to determine your home’s value, so here’s some tips to help you get started:

1.      1. Use Online Evaluation Tools

Today when we have questions, we turn first to Google. A Google search of “what is my home worth?” pulls up a multitude of online home evaluation tools that combine things like public records, property transfers, tax assessments, local listing prices, etc. to offer an estimated price for your home. You can find these tools on popular real estate hubs like Zillow or Redfin, however, the predicted price is just that – a prediction – so make sure to check into steps 2 & 3 below before taking the answer as final.

2.      2. Chat with your Real Estate Agent

Working with a licensed real estate professional is important when determining your home’s worth. They will have the inside scoop on past home sale prices and comparable listings in your nearby neighborhoods. They’ll also be the ones who will put in the time, effort and research necessary to find out exactly how much your home will go for. They also know what’s selling currently, and can help you identify simple things to make your house more appealing.

3.      3. Chat with your Mortgage Pro

Don’t count your mortgage pro out of the process just yet! They can provide you with the latest scoop on current market trends and mortgage rates, and can also connect you with trusted real estate professionals as well as skilled appraisers.

 

Why Is Knowing My Home Value Important?

Knowing exactly what your home’s worth can benefit you even if you’re not planning to sell your home anytime soon. You may find that your home value has increased giving you the chance to refinance your mortgage and utilize the cash to upgrade your home, help pay off debts or meet other financial goals. Contact your local Inlanta Mortgage loan officer today to find out how best to determine the value of your home, then get prequalified for your next home, or learn about your refinancing options!

 

 

Four Ways to Help you get Out of Debt in 2019

Four Ways to Help you get Out of Debt in 2019

Dealing with debt can be overwhelming and straining on your finances. If it is your goal to be debt free in 2019, take a look at our top tips.

  1. Set a Firm Budget – First and foremost, evaluate your income, debt and expenses, then set a firm budget using those numbers. This is a great way to figure out exactly how you’re currently spending your money, and where you are being frivolous, to help know where to make adjustments. If your income doesn’t cover your expenses, it may be time to consider asking for a raise at work, taking on a second job, or adjusting your lifestyle to live below your means and focus on paying off debt.
  2. Use the “Debt Snowball” Method – If you haven’t heard of this debt reduction strategy, the debt snowball method presented by money management expert Dave Ramsey provides a plan to pay off debts in order of smallest to largest, then as debts are paid, rolling that money into the next smallest balance. Here’s Ramsey’s process:
  • Step 1: List your debts from smallest to largest.
  • Step 2: Make minimum payments on all your debts except the smallest.
  • Step 3: Pay as much as possible on your smallest debt.
  • Step 4: Repeat until each debt is paid in full.
  1. Streamline & Simplify – Create an “automated budget” by setting up auto-payments for each paycheck to cover your bills and add to your savings account. This helps avoid spending income on non-essentials because you’ve spent the money before it even gets into your “spending” account. You can also simplify your lifestyle by cutting out unnecessary spending and putting daily practices into place, like making your coffee at home or packing your lunch for work. While this step can be one the hardest of all – we all love our Starbucks — remember that this is only temporary but is necessary to help give you financial freedom to do even more in the future.
  2. Consider a Refi – if you’re a homeowner, there’s a chance you’re paying a higher interest rate than today’s rates. By refinancing to lower your interest rate, you can save money on your monthly mortgage payments that frees up cash to help pay down debt. Or, depending on how much equity you have, you could even do a cash-out refinance to pay off credit card debt, car loans, personal loans, school loans, etc.

To learn how the right mortgage can help you reduce debt, click here to contact your local Inlanta officer today!

Reasons to Refinance in 2019

Reasons to Refinance in 2019

This year brings good news for homeowners with the current mortgage market presenting a window of opportunity for refinancing due to continued favorable mortgage interest rates, increased home values, and tax law changes effective 2018* due to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA).

For many homeowners, refinancing today offers the opportunity to reduce the rate on your mortgage in order to reduce monthly mortgage payments, save money, meet certain financial goals, and more

Here are a few reasons to consider refinancing in 2019:

  1. Lower your interest rate: If it’s been a while since your last mortgage check-up, there’s a chance you could be paying a higher interest rate than today’s rates. By lowering your interest rate, you’ll save money on your monthly mortgage payments that frees up cash to help meet other financial goals or live more comfortably financially month to month.
  2. Shorten the life of your loan and save money: Refinancing to shorten a 30-year vs 15-year term can save you money. With this extra cash, you may be able to retire earlier if the loan is paid off earlier, travel, or even build up investment portfolio.
  3. Drop the PMI: With the current increase in many home values, a refinance could help you drop PMI (premium mortgage insurance) to help lower your monthly payment amounts.
  4. Pay down debt: Use the extra monthly cash saved by lowering your mortgage payment to help pay down debt, or even do a cash-out refinance to pay off credit card debt, car loans, personal loans, school loans, etc.
  5. Make necessary home renovations: If you love your home and plan to be there for a while, you may want to consider a cash-out refinance loan to get the money you need to make the home renovations you’ve always dreamed of.

Inlanta Mortgage offers different types of refinance loans to meet our customers’ needs for each unique financial situation. If you’re wondering if refinancing is right for you, contact your local Inlanta Mortgage loan expert to get started.

 

2018 New interest rate deductibility limits! *

Mortgage interest deduction. You generally can deduct interest on mortgage debt incurred to purchase, build or improve your principal residence and a second residence. Points paid related to your principal residence also may be deductible.

For 2018–2025, the TCJA reduces the mortgage debt limit from $1 million to $750,000 for debt incurred after Dec. 15, 2017, with some limited exceptions.

Home equity debt interest deduction. Before the TCJA, interest was deductible on up to $100,000 of home equity debt used for any purpose, such as to pay off credit cards (for which interest isn’t deductible). The TCJA effectively limits the home equity interest deduction for 2018–2025 to debt that would qualify for the home mortgage interest deduction.

*2018-19 Tax Planning Guide by Sikich LLP, CPA

 

 

 

Inlanta Mortgage Marks 25 Years with $25,000 Gift to Pets for Vets

Inlanta Mortgage Marks 25 Years with $25,000 Gift to Pets for Vets

It’s no secret that taking care of animals and supporting our veterans is something near and dear to the hearts of us at Inlanta Mortgage, Inc. In fact, one of our own team members, Milena Grcic, recently helped end a case of animal cruelty with a cat’s rescue in South Milwaukee.

That’s why it was no surprise when Inlanta announced its 2018 charity partnership with Pets for Vets, an organization that helps pair rescue dogs with at-risk returning veterans, as part of its 25th anniversary celebration that kicked off in September.

“Going into our 25th anniversary, we knew we wanted to celebrate by giving back in a big way,” said Paul Buege, Inlanta’s President and COO. “Because our founder and chairman of the board John Knowlton is a devoted supporter of rescue dogs, and as an organization that is committed to supporting our veterans, we knew this organization that blends these two would have deep meaning for our clients, referral partners and our awesome team of employees.”

Between June  – December 2018, Inlanta made a donation for every loan it closed , along with holding various employee fundraisers both in the home office and branch offices, including its annual charity raffle held during its National Conference in September. In January, the final campaign proceeds of $25,000 were presented to Dan Zealley, executive director for the Milwaukee, Wis., area chapter of Pets for Vets.

“The donation from Inlanta Mortgage and its customers will go a long way to helping both veterans and shelter dogs to get a second chance,” said Zealley. “These companion animals assist in the healing our service members. Thank you to all of our veterans!!!”

Pets for Vets is a 501(c)3 organization that unites military veterans with shelter pets. This program supports veterans who may be experiencing anxiety, depression or stress, while providing a second chance for animals who will be rescued, trained and paired with veterans who could benefit from the companionship. Learn more at https://www.petsforvets.com/milwaukee-wi.

 

Home Resolutions to Make in 2019

Home Resolutions to Make in 2019

Resolutions are a great way to set yourself up for success in the New Year. While you may already 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 2019:

  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 of 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 countertops. Whatever is giving you a headache, choose one to check off your list in 2019.

 

  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 2019.

 

  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 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!

Inlanta Mortgage Named Top Mortgage Company By National Mortgage News

Inlanta Mortgage Named Top Mortgage Company By National Mortgage News

Inlanta Mortgage is kicking off 2019 in a big way!

Just announced at the start of the New Year, Inlanta has been recognized as a top 20 mortgage companies to work for 2019 by National Mortgage News.

The company was pleased to receive news of the award following a survey program sent via National Mortgage News to all Inlanta employees encouraging feedback regarding the company’s culture, benefits, policies, and more.

“This is a testament to our incredible employees and how they do business every day,” said Paul Buege, Inlanta President/COO. “We are so honored for this recognition and grateful to our employees for making this happen through their hard work, dedication, and commitment to delivering an exceptional customer experience every day.  We are one of the best mortgage lenders in our industry, wonderful seeing our company-wide success being recognized on a national level”

As a top mortgage lender, we consistently strive to invest time and resources into our Managers and Loan Officers to help increase sales, grow business, and build relationships year after year.

If you’re looking for a company with solid tenure, strong support, and outstanding culture, we’d love to talk to you about your 2019 goals today!

Please click here to visit our website to fill out a form for us to contact you or, you may contact our branch recruitment division at 262-439-4260 or email partners@inlanta.com.

We are looking to grow with you!

Check out our latest company reviews on SocialSurveyGlassdoor, and Indeed.

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, and the sometimes-overwhelming processes and procedures, it’s no wonder buyers often find themselves confused and with lots of questions. One of the most common ones we hear is, “What is mortgage insurance, and why do I need it?”

What is Mortgage Insurance

Mortgage insurance is typically required of home buyers when their down payments are less than 20 percent for their home loans. Note that mortgage insurance is designed to help protect lenders and guarantee agencies when borrowers don’t have enough equity in their homes, and is not intended to protect the borrowers. 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 best suits your financial needs.

PMI, provided by private companies, is typically available in a variety of premium plans 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 borrowers defaulting on their loans.

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
  • Cancellation
    • PMI can be canceled after a stated LTV (loan-to-value) is achieved and favorable payment history has been established
    • MIP is paid for the life of the loan regardless of LTV. In order to remove MIP, borrowers must refinance their FHA mortgage loans, 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.