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.