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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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

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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:

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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