10 Fun and Quirky Things To Do To While At Home

  1. Complete a puzzle.

  2. Catch up the Netflix shows you’ve been wanting to watch.

  3. Knit or crochet.

  4. Put on a soap opera. Mute the sound. Create your own dialogue.

  5. Have your own wine tasting of whatever bottles you have at home.

  6. Write a book with your family.

  7. Have a Scrabble or Monopoly tournament.

  8. Rearrange your furniture.

  9. Learn a new style of dance via YouTube.

  10.  Make a Google photo album and share with friends and family.

OUR MISSION STATEMENT

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

Inlanta Mortgage, Inc. NMLS #1016.

Tips to Keep Your Kids Busy While Confined at Home

  • Play a board game with them, or teach them a new card game
  • Ask your kids to write a letter to grandparents, aunts, uncles and others who may be confined to their homes
  • Take a trip via your computer to a park, zoo or museum that has virtual tours available
  • Have dinner with extended family virtually – it’s fun for everyone to connect visually via teleconference, Facetime, Google Hangouts, etc.
  • Look in your own yard for signs of spring – look for birds, animals and other wildlife becoming more active with the warmer weather, and use your computer to learn more about each.
  • Bake together! It’s a great way to teach kids about measurements and following direction, plus you get a great treat at the end!
  • Make a fun video of all of you singing, telling a story or dancing to send to your family and friends to help brighten their days.
  • Have them use their imagination to build a castle, a fort or a vacation destination using furniture, pillows or cardboard.
  • Create a virtual play date with their friends so they can socialize virtually even if they can’t see each other in person. They could have lunch together, play a game or connect from their new home forts.
  • Go for a walk or bike ride. Even if you can’t leave home, you can still go outside as long as you remember to stay 6-10’ away from others you may run into.

It’s important to keep your kids engaged in activity, socializing with others outside the home and their minds challenged while confined at home to help keep them healthy and happy. It means you may have to lead them in activity and help them plan out their days to keep them from watching TV or playing video games all day. And best of all, staying home can result in some great quality family time together and give your kids memories that will last a lifetime.

OUR MISSION STATEMENT

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

Inlanta Mortgage, Inc. NMLS #1016.

Tips for Working Remote

As many of us transition to working at home during this health crisis, there’s a few best practices that can help make the transition successful and be productive.

  1. Create a workspace. It’s best to have a dedicated space in your home where you can focus and get things done. If you don’t already have a home office, here’s a few ideas that could work: Use a spare bedroom, formal dining room or living room, or basement. The key is to find a space that you don’t have to share, and will provide you with the quiet space you need. If you can’t find a quiet space, consider using noise-cancelling headphones or working when everyone else is in another room or asleep.
  2. Stick to your schedule. If you had a set schedule in the office, try to stick to it at home. By waking up at the same time you always did, planning a lunch break, and making time to stay in touch with other people, will provide continuity in your routine and make your transition to working at home easier.
  3. Stay professional. As much of our interactions will become virtual using video conferencing or other remote meeting methods, it’s important to be prepared:
    1. Dress appropriately (no PJs or ripped t-shirts or sweatshirts);
    2. Do your best to minimize background noise (or mute yourself when you aren’t speaking and leave your pets and kids in another room);
    3. Be mindful of what is behind you if you’re videoconferencing. Be sure you don’t have sensitive information, potentially offensive materials or photos, or a messy room visible.
  4. Focus on your health. Since you don’t need to commute, take advantage of the extra time to stay healthy! Catch up on sleep, build exercise into your day, or cook healthy meals from scratch.
  5. Don’t forget to connect with colleagues: Working from home can leave you feeling out of the loop and missing the worktime chats with your work friends. Don’t hesitate to call or video chat with your colleagues because it’s likely they’d like to hear from you too.

OUR MISSION STATEMENT

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

Inlanta Mortgage, Inc. NMLS #1016.

Home Maintenance: Springtime

home maintenance

Home maintenance is a sore spot for many homeowners. The amount of effort and money that goes into keeping a home in good condition can leave many homeowners feeling drained and unmotivated. If this is you, remember that owning a house as an investment.  Treating your house well can lead to a higher home value when you are ready to sell, which may result in more money in your pocket to purchase a more expensive home or to use towards renovating a new home. Taking the time to maintain your home now will also help prevent larger and more costly repairs in the future, saving you time, money, and frustration. And of course, if you maintain your home now, you can rest easy at night knowing your family is safe from any potential hazards.

Spring Home Maintenance Checklist

While doing your spring cleaning, consider the following tips to get your home back into shape after the winter season.

Indoor:

Clean windows and door screens

Dust light fixtures

Replace Batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

Inspect sink, shower, and bath caulking for deterioration

Vacuum lint from dryer vent

Change filter in the air conditioner and dehumidifier

Install screens on windows and doors

Clean kitchen and bathroom cabinets and throw away outdated food, medicine, and cosmetics

Outdoor:

Inspect roofing for missing, loose, or damaged shingles and leaks

Polish wood furniture

Refinish deck

Power wash windows and siding

Remove leaves and debris from gutters and downspouts

Have a professional inspect and pump the septic tank

Touch up peeling or damaged paint

Clean outdoor furniture and air out cushions

Service your lawn mower

Fertilize your lawn

Want these in a PDF form so you can cross off tasks as you go? Download a printable Indoor & Outdoor Checklist here. If you would rather have a checklist for the full year, you may download a printable Full Maintenance Checklist here.

OUR MISSION STATEMENT

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

ABOUT INLANTA MORTGAGE

Headquartered in Brookfield, Wisconsin, Inlanta Mortgage is a growing mortgage banking firm committed to quality mortgage lending, ethical operations and strong customer service.

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

Inlanta Mortgage was recently named a Top Workplace for a third time in 2015. Inlanta has also received the Platinum Million Dollar USDA Lender Award and has been recognized as a Top Mortgage Employer by National Mortgage Professional and a Top 100 Mortgage Banking Company and 100 Best Mortgage Companies to Work For by Mortgage Executive Magazine.

Inlanta Mortgage, Inc. NMLS #1016.

Four Ways to Help you get Out of Debt in 2020

Four Ways to Help you get Out of Debt in 2020

Dealing with debt can be overwhelming and straining on your finances. If it is your goal to be debt free in 2020, 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!

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. 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. 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 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. 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 pre-qualified for your next home, or learn about your refinancing options!

5 Ways to Love Your Home

5 Ways to Love Your Home

Whether you’ve just bought a new home or you’ve been in your space for many years, loving where you live is important. That’s why we’ve put together a list of 5 ways you can put some love into your home to make it a place you’re proud of.

Make it Personal.

Display photos of your favorite memories with loved ones or try painting an accent wall in your favorite color and using that color in your accessories. Create an art gallery to display your kids’ artwork in a creative fashion. Showcase your Star Wars lightsaber collection (or any of your other favorite collectibles). Whatever makes you, you, give it its own special place in your home where you will see it regularly. Adding a personal touch goes a long way in making your home feel like your own.

Add Natural Beauty.

Buy a plant or flowers to add a touch of nature to your home.  Many living plants are air purifiers, bringing an actual breath of fresh air into your home. Don’t have a green thumb? These plants are low maintenance and air purifying (win-win)! Plants and flowers also boost your mood when you see them, which can be especially helpful during the cold and dreary winter months and you’re dreaming about spring & summer. 

Create a Zen Area.

Create an area in your home that is dedicated to peace and relaxation. Whether it’s a special reading nook for you to cozy up with your favorite book in or a space dedicated to meditation, prayer or yoga, find a place in your home (or your garden) where you can retreat when you need time to re-connect with yourself and re-focus your mind.

Clean, De-clutter and Organize.

Seeing a mess can stress you out, so keeping your home clean, organized, and de-cluttered is key to enjoying your home more. Before you purchase any new items, find 10 items and either donate (if they’re in good condition) or throw them away (if they’re broken). Purchase some inexpensive storage containers at the Dollar Store or your local thrift shop. You can even turn cleaning and de-cluttering into a game: set a timer for 10 minutes and see how much you can de-clutter and organize before the timer runs out.

Have an Attitude of Gratitude.

It can be easy to focus on all of the areas that your home lacks – maybe it’s a fixer-upper and you haven’t been able to make those improvements yet (if you need financing, we can help). Taking time to remember the reasons you said “yes” to this home in the first place can help you realize that there is plenty to be grateful for (like the fact that you own a house! Many people haven’t achieved that dream yet). Practice gratitude and give thanks for all that your house has been able to provide you. When you count your blessings instead of your shortcomings, you instantly feel happier and more satisfied.

If you’re looking for a new home to LOVE, contact your local Inlanta Mortgage loan adviser today!

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!

PMI vs. MIP – What’s the Difference?

Purchasing a home, especially for the 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.

5 Home Resolutions to Make in 2020

5 Home Resolutions to Make in 2020

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 2020:

  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!