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.

Benefits of Rate Locking Before Home Shopping

Benefits of Rate Locking Before Home Shopping

Is a new home on your Christmas list this year? Then consider locking your interest rate before you start shopping and take the time you need to find just the right home for you and your family!

Here’s why:

Eliminates Rates Change Anxiety – With mortgage rates changing almost daily, locking your interest rate at the right time can make all the difference in where your final monthly mortgage payment ends up. If you’re on a tight budget, then even the smallest rate increase could mean a potential problem in keeping your mortgage payment within budget. With the Inlanta’s Lock and Shop program, you can better plan your budget and help keep your finances in check by knowing what your interest rate will be before you find your home.

Have the Upper Hand – Once you’ve found your dream home, there’s a good chance in today’s competitive market that you’ll be competing with other buyers.  To win the deal, you can set yourself apart from other buyers with a rate lock and a fully underwritten pre-approval that shows you’re not only ready to buy, but you’re more likely to close and the home buying process will be expedited.

Gain Peace of Mind – The home buying process can feel overwhelming at times. Give yourself some peace of mind by locking in your rate and getting pre-approved before you even begin your home search. A rate lock eliminates potential delays in closing caused by waiting for lenders to prepare, document, and evaluate your loan application. During that time, the cost of your mortgage could increase and create unexpected complications.­­­

NO Fees! – If you’re worried about how much it will cost you to take advantage of Inlanta’s Lock and Shop program, you’re in luck! Our program offers no fees to lock and hold your rate so you can save your money for more important things – like your down payment or furniture for your new home.

Wondering if you qualify for Inlanta’s Lock and Shop Program?  Features and eligibility requirements include:

  • No property address at time of lock
  • Fixed purchase mortgage only
  • Minimum FICO score of 680
  • 72-day lock period, *extension limits apply
  • One-time only rate renegotiation when property is selected

To learn how the Lock and Shop program could make your holiday dreams of new home ownership come true, speak to one of our expert loan officers in your area or apply today.

*Lock extensions are limited to no more than 30 days past the original 72-day expiration. . Restrictions apply on locked loan amount changing and product locked cannot be changed without voiding price protection. The loan must be conventional, FHA, USDA, or VA and carry a fixed rate. The final loan amount cannot vary by more than 20% of the original lock protected loan amount. The loan program may not be changed without voiding the rate lock protection. If a property is not found within lock period, the lock is cancelled.

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 lifetimes – a new home.

For first time homebuyers, coming up with a down payment is often one of their greatest barriers to homeownership. But did you now 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, with no expectation of repayment by the borrower.

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’e 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.

Simple Ways to Get Involved in Your Community

Simple Ways to Get Involved in Your Community

With the holiday’s right around the corner, it’s a good time to take a moment and reflect on the good we have in our lives. Most likely, we all can think of something that we’re grateful for, such as our family, our friends, or even our pets. During the holiday season, there’s no better way to express your gratitude than to get involved with your local communities in one of these 5 simple ways:

  1. Shop Local

Planning a shopping trip? Take a break from the big box stores and take your shopping lists to your favorite local shops which are likely owned by someone in your own community. Reminder – the Saturday after Thanksgiving, otherwise known as “Small Business Saturday,” marks the annual shopping tradition that supports these small, locally owned businesses and celebrate communities everywhere. So, grab a friend or family member and enjoy discovering your own local treasures!

  1. Become A Sponsor

Whether you have a student-athlete in your home or not, chances are you know someone who does. One great way to give back to your community that involves very little time and investment is to become a sponsor for a local sports team. Are the Arts more your scene? Sponsor your high school or community theatre’s upcoming production. Whatever your passion, there are local organizations and events that need your financial support.

  1. Volunteer

Volunteerism is a great way to put your passion into action, and feel great doing it. While time and a little internet research can uncover a variety of volunteer opportunities, you can narrow down your list by selecting an organization that needs volunteers with your skillset, or by choosing an organization that supports a cause you care about.

  1. Get to Work

Help build a better community by rolling up your sleeves and putting yourself to work! If you are physically able, why not use your time and energy to get involved in construction projects in your community? Try getting your hands dirty in a community garden, grabbing a hard hat to help build a home, or channeling your inner artist to help paint a mural.

  1. Talk to Your Employer

Employee volunteerism is important to many companies and organizations, so consider contacting your own HR department to find out ways your employer is involved with your local community. Some employers even offer incentives for volunteering on your own time, or even allow you to volunteer on their clock.

Our Favorite Ways to Give Back

Here at Inlanta Mortgage, giving back to our local community is an integral part of our culture and is ingrained in our mission and vision. In fact, Inlanta contributes to our communities year-round! Some of our favorite non-profit organizations include the Cancer Research Institute, the Lombardi Walk/Run to Tackle Cancer, the American Red Crossthe Bryon Riesch Paralysis Foundation, the United Performing Arts Fund, the local Pewaukee Food Pantry, and more. This year, we’ve partnered with Pets for Vets, an organization that pairs returning vets with shelter dogs, and are making a donation to their organization with every loan closing through the end of the year.

Inlanta’s Partnership with Vets

Inlanta’s Partnership with Vets

Our veterans have made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedom. And Inlanta Mortgage believes in paying tribute to these heroes every day by partnering with them in many ways, every day, including:

VA Loans

Inanta is proud to offer our veterans and active military personnel VA mortgage loan options to help our heroes purchase or refinance a home. Designed specifically for service members, veterans and eligible surviving spouses, these mortgage loans offer excellent benefits including:

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

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

Pets for Vets

It’s our mission to help everyone achieve the dream of homeownership, including our returning service members who may find their transition to civilian life difficult. It’s important to have someone special waiting for them at home to provide friendship and comfort to make that transition easier. That’s why we’ve partnered with Pets for Vets, an organization that adopts shelter dogs, trains them and pairs them with a veteran in need, to donate a portion of every loan closed through the end of 2018. For more information on Pets for Vets, click here: https://www.petsforvets.com/

Homes for Heroes

Homes for Heroes is the largest nationwide network of affiliate real estate, mortgage and local business specialists committed to providing easy ways for heroes to save on a home. The organization was established shortly after 9/11 to give back to firefighters, EMS, law enforcement, military (active, reserves & veterans), healthcare professionals and teachers. Team Inlanta has a network of Homes for Heroes mortgage professionals that are supporting its mission to help our heroes achieve the dream of homeownership. To find an Inlanta Homes for Heroes lender in your area, contact us today.

Inlanta Veterans

We’re honored to have military veterans on our Inlanta team who personally understand the sacrifice and selflessness of our vets and active military personnel. They are thrilled to have the opportunity to help their fellow veterans achieve the dream of homeownership and are prepared to help those who have served and their families obtain a mortgage loan. Contact us today if you’d like to find a veteran lender in your area.

Happy Veterans Day to all those who have served for our country and for our freedom!