Mortgage 101 – A Beginner’s Guide

Mortgage 101 – A Beginner’s Guide

Are you a new homebuyer in need of a “Mortgage 101” handbook? We’re here for you.

Almost everyone who buys a home for the first time has many questions and is clueless about the process.

That’s why we’re providing you with a crash course in the basics of mortgage that answers the most common questions about the process and what it involves:

Q: What is a mortgage loan?

A: A mortgage is a loan used to finance the purchase of your home. It’s essentially a contract in which a borrower’s property is pledged as security for a loan that is repaid on an installment basis. There are many different types of mortgage loans available, so it’s important to talk to a mortgage advisor who can help you find the right loan program for your specific financial situation.

Q: How do mortgage rates work?

A: Mortgage rates are important and complex. Your rate, along with many other factors, determines your monthly payment cost. Things like inflation, government bonds and state of the economy also contribute to the rise and fall of mortgage rates.

Q: How do I qualify for a mortgage?

A: Firstly, you will need to apply with a lender who will gather all necessary information about your income & debts to determine how much you can afford for a home and what you qualify for.

Q: What is the first step in the process?

A: The first step in the purchase process involves working with a loan advisor to apply and be pre-approved. This means that your loan advisor will need to collect documentation like bank statements and W2s to verify your income and determine your ability to repay the loan. It’s important to keep in mind that there are no rules carved in stone for this process, and that each applicant is handled on a case-by-case basis. This means that even if you come up a little short in one area, your stronger point could make up for the weak one, so don’t hesitate to apply.

Q: Why do I need to get preapproved?

A: 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. This way you know your budget and gain peace of mind in the process. Plus, you can get ahead of your competition and increase your buying power to expedite your closing. Click this link to apply to get your free pre-approval with Inlanta today.

Q: What credit score do I need?

A: Minimum credit score needed depends on the type of loan you qualify for, however, certain loan programs accept FICO scores as low as 581. Contact your loan advisor directly for more on credit requirements and what goes into determining creditworthiness.

Q: How long does the mortgage process take?

A: The national average for the mortgage process falls around 40 days, however, certain factors can make the process move faster than average and help you close sooner on your home.

Q: How much do I need for a down payment?

A: You may have heard the myth that you need 20% down to purchase a home. In reality, the down payment amount needed to buy a home will depend on multiple factors such as loan program type, credit score, home price/loan amount and more. Certain loan programs, such as VA loans, offer the benefit of low or no down payment options, and others like FHA loans offer as low as a 3.5% down payment.

In Conclusion

Understanding the loan process and knowing the mortgage basics will increase your confidence, making the process less complicated overall to purchase a home. For more on home buying basics, contact your local Inlanta Mortgage loan expert today!

10 Fall Decorating Ideas

Fall is almost here and you know what that means—cooler air, warmer clothes, fun seasonal activities and fall decorating!

Fall decorations are all about warmth. Incorporating warm colors such as reds and oranges along with warm aromas such as pumpkin, apple, orange and cinnamon make for a cozy home during the autumn season. 

Here are some of our top decor ideas to help make your home feel like the perfect fall getaway!

Gourd and Pine Cone-Filled Lanterns

233ca15aba81125610e0a962f3cf7cd7

This easy porch decor idea will surely help make the outside of your home reflect the warm nature of fall. via hometalk

White Pumpkins with Fun Messages

6cfc90bf9ada04839daeea9cc6743240

Don’t feel like carving pumpkins this year? Try writing out messages onto pumpkins with paint pens to create an inviting feel anywhere in your home. via The Perfect Palette

Vases with Candles and Fall Foliage

03668ed890403cf74b09c1f50d66e143

Candles are a great way to make any space instantly feel warm and inviting. Incorporate a fall foliage mix in a big vase with a fall-scented candle to be used virtually anywhere in your home. Try placing one as a kitchen or dining centerpiece or use to spice up an empty side table! via listsy.co

Unique White Pumpkin Fall Basket

pumpkin-decor-from-whipperberry-2-1-683x1024

This beautifully unique fall piece is a great way to incorporate a different color scheme to your fall decor. It would be perfect for a coffee table, side table or fireplace mantle. via Whipper Berry

Mason Jar Candle Centerpiece with Table Runner

5c5d98908b3be411a4c13c856561649d

This simple yet warm centerpiece is an easy DIY project that won’t break your wallet. Click the link to find out how to make it! via Addicted 2 DIY

Simple Rustic Lantern Centerpiece

76bb6e81e665316a481a028f42e29971

This simple autumn centerpiece is easy to put together and perfect for any occasion! via Serendipity Refined

Fall Foliage and Candle Centerpiece

de6adaab0d96a6cf85faf2894d3c07a5This elaborate autumn centerpiece is perfect for Thanksgiving or any other special get-together you may be having this season! via Babble

Simple White Pumpkin Mantle Decor

67007a6b7dd8b8d3b5d23a0d1e956242

This arrangement is a simple way to spruce up your mantle for the fall season. It is festive but not too elaborate! via Dear Lillie the Blog

Comforting Fall Aromas

feba4bee84dad679c3875bf420e02c1b

Give your home the perfect fall aroma with these 8 scent hacks! via Chasing Foxes

Autumn Wreathscapture-2

Of course, we can’t forget about autumn wreaths! This popular decoration piece has many different variations. From elaborate creations to simple elegance, these pieces are not only easy to find in stores, but they are easy and fun to make as well! via Laura Trevey

Bonus Tip:

9e415171a841ff33697cf35cbc776069

Since pumpkins are a staple in fall decorating, here are instructions on how to preserve pumpkins and other decorative gourds. via 365ish Days of Pinterest

Click here to check out our Pinterest page for other fun fall decorating ideas and more!

Fall is a great time of year to purchase or refinance your home! If you’d like to take advantage of low rates this season, contact your local Inlanta Mortgage loan advisor today!

8 Ways to Get Outside and Enjoy the Weather

8 Ways to Get Outside and Enjoy the Weather

The sweet spot between end of summer, beginning of fall is the perfect time to get outside and end enjoy the weather.

Here are 8 ways to take advantage of the beautiful weather before the temperature drops.

1. Host an End of Summer Bash

Say “so long” to summer by hosting one last bash. Invite family and friends, set up some yard games and plan a summer themed menu to salute the end of the season.

2. Go for a Bike Ride

Before the frost comes, get out for a bike ride or two. Hit a trail or even enjoy riding around your neighborhood on a nice day. 

3. One Last Water Day

Before you put your swim stuff away for the winter, head to the pool, beach, lake – whatever is closest to you, for one last day of water fun.

4. Get Some Exercise

Enjoy the weather while doing something healthy! Take a brisk walk or move your regular workout routine outdoors. Check out these exciting ways to break a sweat in the sunshine.

5. Take a Hike

Take in the fall foliage with an outdoor hike. The benefits of hiking are not only physical, but mental too. Hiking helps reduce the risk of heart disease, relieve stress, improve sleep quality and more, for instance. What are you waiting for?

6. Enjoy a Picnic

Grab a blanket and your favorite foods and find a spot. Even if it’s in your back yard, a picnic is a great way to enjoy the day and take in the beautiful weather. 

7. Do Some Yard Work

Why not make your outdoor time productive by doing something good for you and your home? Take the opportunity to spruce up your yard. Boosting curb appeal can even add value to your home!

8. Sit Around the Campfire

There’s nothing like a summer campfire with family and friends. Before it gets too chilly, enjoy some time around the fire reflecting on your favorite summer memories.

We hope you enjoy this special time of year! As always, if there’s anything we can do for you, your friends or your family, contact us today.

3 Reasons to Consider a Refinance

Should you refinance?

If you’re a homeowner, chances are you’ve seen or heard that current mortgage rates are the lowest they’ve been in history.

Above all, this is great news for home-buyers. But have you considered what it may mean for you as a homeowner?

Whether you’ve been in your home for a while or not, refinancing may be beneficial for you. In this blog, we are going to discuss the reasons you should consider a mortgage refinance.

Here are our top 3 reasons to refi right now.

1. Lowest Mortgage Rates in History

What’s the #1 reason to refi now? Rates are the lowest in history! Refinancing may end up saving you hundreds on your monthly mortgage payments and maybe even thousands in interest over the life of your loan.

2. More Financial Freedom

With a refinance comes the potential opportunity to gain more financial freedom with the money you save on your payments. Use the extra money to pay down debt, build a savings, take a vacation, etc.

If you’ve been in your home several years, you may benefit from a cash-out refinance. This process involves accessing the equity in your home to get cash out. This can be used to meet larger financial goals or simply live more comfortably – whatever you choose to do!

3. Drop the Mortgage Insurance

If you originally purchased a home with less than 20% down, you’re likely paying PMI (premium mortgage insurance) or MIP (mortgage insurance premiums). Click here to see the difference.

This means you have an extra amount of money each month on your mortgage payment going to insurance. Refinancing could help you eliminate this which may again, lower your payments putting more cash in your pocket.

If you’re not sure whether you’re paying mortgage insurance or not, schedule a mortgage checkup with your local Inlanta loan advisor today!

In conclusion, these reasons and more make now an opportune time to refinance. Contact us today to help you get started.

Preparing for Back to School During Pandemic

This year, back to school will look incredibly different with the uncertainties of COVID creating many what-ifs and maybes for the start of 2020 school year. Will your children be going back in-person, with or without masks, virtual or even a hybrid of both?

There’s no question it’s stressful planning for so many unknowns. So, here are a few ways to help you and your family proactively prepare for “back to school” – whatever that may look like this year for your children.

Preparing for Back to School – Remote Learning

  • Create a designated work-space in your home to help your little learners focus. Check out these awesome ideas for inspiration
  • Make sure that all computers and programs are up to date and your Wi-Fi is working properly, providing the speed necessary to accommodate virtual learning
  • Keep all necessary log-in information/assignment lists/etc. somewhere easily accessible
  • Set and communicate a schedule with your children and stick to it. Try to keep school hours as normal as your own schedule allows
  • Reduce distractions, but also remember that just like you, kids need breaks! Figure out a healthy balance
  • Don’t teach – help! Remember that you don’t necessarily need to become the teacher, but the helper with learning, communicating and ensuring assignments are being completed
  • Reach out to your children’s teachers if you have questions about expectations, processes or school work to better assure your kids stay on track
  • Stay positive and flexible. This is a tough time for everyone and having a good attitude for your children is more important than ever

Preparing for Back to School – In Classroom Learning

  • Do daily COVID checks before sending your child to school. If your child has a temperature of 100.4 degrees or above, keep them home
  • Contact the school to discuss safety protocols and who you should check in with if your child has symptoms
  • Talk to the teachers about what safety measures are being taken in the classroom and what the learning will look like during this time
  • Talk to your kids about safety protocols and send them to school prepared. Pack their bag with hand sanitizer, face coverings, their own designated water bottles, etc.
  • Practice daily routines for after school such as washing hands, sanitizing and washing face coverings when they return home
  • Plan transportation ahead of time. Will your child be taking the bus? Carpooling? Or will you be driving them? Take necessary safety measures for your specific situation
  • Plan for the unexpected. Whether that be school closings, reopening, or the possibility of one of your children becoming infected, make a plan as to how you and your family will respond

Preparing for Back to School – A Hybrid Model

  • Use the tips above for both remote and in classroom learning to assist you in planning for in-person versus remote learning days

Finally, be patient and flexible.

As schools continue to create safe and effective learning environments during the pandemic, things may change in their teaching delivery models. It’s key to be ready for both because things may change quickly based on local situations. Most importantly, focus on your own children to ensure their experience is as calm, safe and effective as can be. For more on planning for in-school learning, click here for a full checklist from the CDC

Introducing – Inlanta’s New Hybrid Virtual Closings

We’ve Gone Virtual!

As your trusted mortgage advisors, our team is working hard to meet your needs and assist you through the mortgage process safely and successfully during these complicated times.

With all of us practicing social distancing, and many of us experiencing the state-mandated shut-down of many businesses, we want to assure you that Inlanta Mortgage remains fully operational and working on your loans – even virtually.

How it Works

Our hybrid eClosing allows for most documents to be signed electronically, making closings faster and more efficient, while minimizing in-person meetings. Here’s how it works:

  • All non-critical, non-notarized closing “eDocuments” are housed in our secure “eSign Room” allowing easy access for borrowers and other key parties to view prior to closing
  • eDocuments are assigned so that each signer only sees the documents they are required to sign, review or acknowledge
  • eDocuments are then automatically available in the eSign Room beginning at midnight of the closing date
  • In-person closings only include those limited number of documents that require notarization with original or “wet” signatures, making those appointments go faster and require less paper

Contact Us

If you have any questions regarding our safety protocols or our new eClosings, we are always available via phone, email, text, chat or whatever channel you prefer. Our underwriters, loan processors and closers also work remotely to make sure your deal gets done.

Thank you for your continued patience and flexibility during these uncertain times. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us directly.

5 Summer Safety Tips for You and Your Family

5 Summer Safety Tips for You and Your Family

Summer is here! With the season of sun and fun comes new hazards to be aware of.

Here are some of our top tips to keep you and your family safe these next few months

  1. Stay Safe in the Sun – The sun may be shining but it’s also strong! Be sure that you and your kiddos wear lots of sunscreen, stay hydrated and get some shade throughout the day.  
  2. Stay Cool by the Pool – When it comes to pool safety, supervision is key. Always ensure an adult is present when the pool is in use and keep chemicals out of harm’s way.
  3. Practice Good Fire Protocol – Always be cautious when it comes to fire and use the proper protocol when grilling, handling fireworks or building campfires.
  4. Play with Peace of Mind – Do a safety check of your sidewalk, decks, outdoor play-sets and play areas to ensure your children can play safely this summer.
  5. Keep your Home Secure – With the warmer weather typically comes an unfortunate uptick in crime during the summer months. Ensure your home is safe and secure to avoid a break-in/safety issue.

For more summer safety tips, please visit https://www.redcross.org/about-us/news-and-events/news/summer-safety-tips.html today.

We hope you have an amazing summer with your family and friends! If there’s anything we can do for you this season regarding your home financing situation, please feel free to contact your local Inlanta loan officer. Stay safe!

All About VA Loans

As we celebrate our nation during July, we’re reminded that we live in The Land of the Free because of The Brave Who Served and Sacrificed for us.

To our veterans and active military personnel, we tip our hats to you, and to your sacrifices that make our freedom possible. We are committed to making your dream of homeownership possible with our VA mortgage 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 Mortgage Named Top Mortgage Employer

We are excited to announce that Inlanta Mortgage has officially been named a 2020 Top Mortgage Employer by National Mortgage Professional!

We love what we do and want to thank each and every member of #TeamInlanta for their hard work in operating with one unified corporate goal – to create a great consumer experience every day. #TopMortgageEmployer

Inlanta Mortgage is always looking for qualified, motivated mortgage professionals to join our team. If you’re interested in career opportunities with Inlanta, click here to view our current employment opportunities.

10 Ways to Protect Your Home While on Vacation

 

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 overlook though in the midst of pre-vacay chaos, 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 emergency. If you have any spare keys outside under a flower pot, door mat, or 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 online. 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 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 on programmable timers.

4. Have a friend Do a Safety check on your house

Have the same friend or family member you lent your spare key to check on your home while you’re away. Ask them to be on the lookout for any signs of a break in or home/property damage. Have them care for any pets that are still in the home and request that they bring in the mail if you do not suspend your mail service. This will help give the appearance that you are home.

5. Adjust The Thermostat

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, bring them with you or consider getting a safe deposit box at your bank to store your important items while you’re gone.

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. 

If you have any additional questions regarding your home or if it’s been a while since your last mortgage checkup, contact us today.