Moving to a New Home Checklist

Moving to a new home is often as exciting as it is stressful.

From packing and unpacking your belongings to figuring out the lay of the land, the process can feel overwhelming. However, we believe the stress of the move shouldn’t steal the joy of your new home. That’s why we’ve compiled a list to help you seamlessly transition into your new space.

 Here is your Moving to a New Home Checklist:

  • First, ensure the utilities are up and running. This should be done before moving in, but is sometimes forgotten in the shuffle.
  • Second, locate the fuse box and water valve right away rather than when/if you need it in a dire situation.
  • Next, ensure all smoke alarms/carbon monoxide detectors are working properly and have fresh batteries.
  • Then, do a deep clean of the home before you bring in boxes and begin to unpack.
  • Following a deep clean, do a walk-through on each level of the home and child/pet proof as needed.
  • Then, it’s always a good idea to change the locks on the doors. You never know who might have a key.
  • Speaking of change, don’t forget to change your address on any necessary forms/with the U.S. postal service.
  • Also, now is a great time to meet the neighbors! A friendly introduction goes a long way. Knowing your neighbors can help you to learn more about your new community. Plus, it’s always nice to a have someone nearby to rely on to keep an eye on your home.
  • Last, it’s time to get organized and have some fun. Enjoy getting settled, figuring out what will go where and finally, pop the champagne and celebrate the creation of your new home!

We hope this checklist helps ease the stress of moving to a new home. As always, we are here to help with all things “home” and wish you the happiest of memories to come in your new space.

4 Mortgage Myths Debunked

Ghost stories, big foot, the loch ness monster. The mysteries of the unknown can leave us questioning what’s truly real, and what’s not. Certain myths may be best left unknown, however, when it comes to mortgage myths, it’s important to know the truth between fact and fiction.

Here are 4 common mortgage myths to be aware of.

Mortgage Myth #1 – You Need a Perfect Credit Score

Do you have less than perfect credit? No problem! Certain loan programs accept lower FICO scores, allowing you to buy a home without a perfect credit score.

If you’re credit score’s not quite there yet, don’t stress. There are plenty of ways to help improve your credit including making payments on time, swiping responsibly and staying below your limit, for instance. Click here for more tips to build and maintain healthy credit.

Mortgage Myth #2 – You Need 20% Down

It’s a common misconception that you need 20% down to purchase a home. However, the true down payment amount will depend on multiple factors, such as loan program type, credit score and home price/loan amount, for instance.

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 addition, depending where you live, there may be local down payment assistance programs available to you based on your situation.

Mortgage Myth #3 – Renting is Cheaper than Buying

It’s not always true that renting is cheaper than buying a home. In fact, in many situations, you may be surprised to find a mortgage payment is actually cheaper than monthly rent.

It’s no secret that rents often change and are likely to increase over time. Therefore, one of the many benefits of homeownership is being able to better control your budget by having a fixed mortgage payment each month. This gives you the security of knowing, above all, exactly how much you’ll spend while avoiding surprise rent hikes from your landlord.

Mortgage Myth #4 – You Can’t Buy a Home with Debt

Got debt? You’re not alone. Many Americans struggle financially and while debt can be a burden to many, it doesn’t have to prevent you from buying a home.

DTI (Debt to Income) ratio is an important factor in determining your readiness to buy a home. In other words, when you apply for a mortgage, your lender will review your finances to determine your DTI by evaluating how much debt you have vs. how much pretax income you’re bringing in. This will help to decide whether you’re able to afford a home.

Talk to a Professional

In conclusion, when it comes to the myths of the mortgage world, it’s wise to discuss what you’ve heard with an expert before deciding your homebuying options.

To learn more about the mortgage process or to find a mortgage advisor in your areacontact us today. Discover how we partner with borrowers like you every day to evaluate their unique financial situations to make their dreams of homeownership come true.

Top Moving Tips to Remember

Moving Tips to Know

Moving to a new home (at least, new to you) is usually an exciting but chaotic time. Here are our top moving tips and mistakes to avoid to help things go smoothly during the moving process.

Moving Tip #1 Don’t Hang on to Stuff

We acquire a lot of “stuff” throughout our lives that we often feel the need to hold on to. For example, most people have items stashed in cupboards and closets that are rarely used or no longer needed.

Instead of packing everything and finding a hiding place for it all at the next home, let go. You may even be able to sell discarded items online through sites like Facebook marketplace, or donate to a local non-profit.

Moving Tip #2 Make Sure to Notify the Right People in Advance

Moving to a new place can seem like a nightmare if there is no electricity or running water. Before you even pack, be sure to contact all the local utilities well in advance of the move and get on their schedule. In addition to regular utilities, don’t forget to contact your future internet provider & trash agencies as well.

Also, get in touch with the post office and fill out a change of address card. This will help get mail diverted to your new location.

Moving Tip #3 Pack for Emergency

Regardless of how much planning you do, mistakes happen. Prepare for the unexpected by packing a small bag with an extra change of clothes and snacks. Also, this is great to have in case you need to spend the night with relatives, or at a hotel, you will already have a bag packed and ready to go.

Moving Tip #4 Change the Locks

If you are handy with tools, changing the locks on the exterior doors is always a good idea.  Since you don’t know who has had access to the home in the past, you really have no clue how many extra keys are floating around to your place. In addition, setting up new locks will give you a little peace of mind and control over who has access to your home.

By following this advice and getting the movers lined up in advance of the big day, you should reduce the stress that comes from moving to a different home.

Still Looking?

No worries! Keep these tips in your back pocket for when you find your dream home. In the meantime, if there’s anything we can do to help such as getting you preapproved, please contact us today. We’d love to assist you on your homebuying journey!

Renting vs. Owning a Home

Rent vs. Own

Dogs vs cats, Netflix vs Hulu, pancakes vs waffles… rent vs own? These are some of the great debates of our time and while we understand that renting makes sense for certain situations – we want to make clear that we are totally Team Own on this one. Here’s why:

Owning a Home is More Attainable than you Think

We’re sure you’ve heard this before: you need 20% down to buy a home. We’re here to tell you that statement is not a fact. While putting 20% down on a home allows you to skip the extra PMI payments, today you can put as little as 3.5% down on a home or even no down payment at all if you are a veteran or active military personnel. To put things in perspective – 3.5% down on a $200,000 home is $7,000. 20% down on a $200,000 is $40,000. While some of you may have $7,000 already in your savings, chances are, that $40,000 is way more out of reach.

Owning a Home is an Investment

Some say that when they are renting, they feel like they are throwing money out the window. It may feel this way for renters because their payments are going directly into the pocket of their landlord instead of into something that has ROI. Owning a home allows you to build equity and invest in your future as home values and prices tend to generate upwards.

Owning a Home Offers Fixed Payments vs Rising Rent

It’s no secret – rents can change and are likely to increase over time. One of the many benefits of homeownership is being able to get a hold of your budget by having a fixed mortgage payment each month giving you the security of knowing exactly how much you will spend while avoiding surprise rent hikes from your landlord.

Owning a Home Allows you to Plant Roots

Renters – here are some freeing words for you: when you own a home, you are your own landlord! Want to re-do your kitchen, paint your ceiling, or even remodel your home to take after your favorite childhood cartoon? You can! Owning a home allows you to put roots down in a place that’s yours offering stability, comfort, and community.

Owning a Home is like a Forced Savings Account

Do you set aside money for a 401(k) or a “rainy day” fund? You may be interested to find out that owning a home is similar! Instead of spending your money on rent or other things without return, having a mortgage is like putting aside money into a savings account each month as home values/the equity in your home tends to increase over time.

Bottom line: rates are still at historic lows making now the perfect time to take advantage of the market and invest in homeownership today. Get started now by getting pre-approved with one of our local Inlanta Mortgage loan experts or click this link to apply today with our short/easy online app!

Tips for Choosing the Right Realtor and Lender

Tips for Choosing the Right Realtor and Lender

For most, choosing to purchase a home is a big decision. Choosing the right real estate agent and mortgage lender to help you smoothly along the process, a team you can entrust with all of your sensitive financial information who can educate you on the proper loan options and the ins and outs of homebuying is key to a successful transaction.

Here at Inlanta Mortgage, our mission is to be the home financing partner that you trust to serve your family, friends, and community. Whether you are purchasing or refinancing, we want you to know we have your back every step of the way. Our team of mortgage professionals works with top real estate agents every day. While we want to assist you with all of your mortgage lending needs and can refer you to a great agent, we also want to provide you with the tools necessary to choose the right lender/realtor partner for your particular needs and circumstances. Here are some tips on how to choose the right homebuying team.

  1. Do Your Research

The market is changing every day. That’s why it is wise to shop around and talk to a few local lenders and agents in your area to learn more about the types of loan programs offered, current market rates, and current listings available. This will also give you the chance to explain any unique financial needs you may have to your potential lender as well as your timeline and exactly what you are looking for to your agent. Note – while it may be tempting to want to choose a loan officer that advertises the “best rate,” it is important to take into account customer satisfaction, knowledge, experience, and more.

  1. Referrals and Testimonials 

You can learn a lot about a lender or agent based on real online reviews and testimonials from real clients they have had in the past. Successful transactions produce successful reviews and can provide social proof of happy peers in your area that are now homeowners with the help of their homebuying team. Visit lender and agent websites, Google+, Yelp, or Facebook pages and speak to recent clients to get an inside look at past client experiences.

  1. Communication

Communication is key during the homebuying process, so having a team that will stay in touch with you and keep you up to date on the market outlook, status of your loan, and any current listing information while providing you with honest feedback is important. When researching lenders and agents, inquire with them about their communication styles and if applicable, ask to meet their team prior to conducting business with them to learn how it all works. It is important for you to not feel afraid to ask questions. Open communication with your loan officer and real estate agent will help ease any worries you have throughout the process.

  1. Knowledge and Experience

Strong knowledge of the real estate and loan process along with information on loan programs and the current market is important when choosing the right team to help you purchase a home. With knowledge comes experience. Working with an experienced team that has successfully helped many homeowners achieve the American dream may help give you peace of mind during the process. Whether you are new to the process or are a seasoned homeowner, your agent and loan officer should be able to speak with you on the process and provide you with the education and guidance needed based on your level of experience. Ask about professional awards, years of experience, licenses, and credentials to ensure you are selecting the right team for your needs.

If you’d like to get in touch with one of our mortgage professionals today, click here to find a local lender within your area or contact us for more information. We’d love to have one of our lenders set you up with a top real estate professional – ask us about our referral partners today.

 

Tips for Choosing the Right Mortgage Lender

For most, choosing to purchase a home is a big decision. Choosing the right mortgage lender to help you smoothly along the process, one you can entrust with all of your sensitive financial information who can educate you on the proper loan options based on your specific financial situation is key to a successful transaction.

Here at Inlanta Mortgage, our mission is to be the home financing partner that you trust to serve your family, friends, and community. Whether you are purchasing or refinancing, we want you to know we have your back every step of the way. While we want to assist you with all of your mortgage lending needs, we also want to provide you with the tools necessary to choose the right lender for your particular needs and circumstances. Here are some tips on how to choose the right mortgage lender.

Do Your Research

The market is changing every day. That’s why it is wise to shop around and talk to a few local lenders in your area to learn more about the types of loan programs offered and current market rates. This will also give you the chance to explain any unique financial needs you may have to see if they have dealt with borrowers like you in the past. While it may be tempting to want to choose a loan officer that advertises the “best rate,” it is important to take into account customer satisfaction, knowledge, experience, and more.

Referrals and Testimonials 

You can learn a lot about a lender based on real online reviews and testimonials from real clients they have had in the past. Successful transactions produce successful reviews and can provide social proof of happy peers in your area that are now homeowners with the help of their trusted lender. Visit your lender’s website, Google+, Yelp, or Facebook page to get an inside look at former client experiences.

Communication

Communication is key during the mortgage process, so having a lender that will stay in touch with you and keep you up to date on the status of your loan while providing you with honest feedback is important. When researching lenders, inquire with them about their communication styles and if applicable, ask to meet their team prior to conducting business with them to learn how it all works. It is important for you to not feel afraid to ask questions. Open communication with your loan officer will help ease any worries you have throughout the process.

Knowledge and Experience

Strong knowledge of the loan process, loan programs, and mortgage products available along with knowledge of the market is important when choosing the right lender. With knowledge comes experience. Working with an experienced lender who has successfully helped many homeowners achieve the American dream may help give you peace of mind during the process. Whether you are new to the process or are a seasoned homeowner, your loan officer should be able to speak with you on the process and provide you with the education and guidance needed based on your level of experience.

If you’d like to get in touch with one of our mortgage professionals today, click here to find a local lender within your area or contact us today for more information.

Preparing Financially for the Mortgage Process

Purchasing a home is exciting and adventurous. Home buyers, particularly first-time home buyers, typically don’t know a lot about the process of financing a home. To avoid making mistakes, you need to know what you should expect. It is important to consider the state of your credit, the additional costs besides just the down payment, and the important questions dealing with the future.

 

The Credit Aspect

Your credit score is one of the first things a lender will look at when you apply for a mortgage. To cut through all that confusion, here are five tips you can act on right now:

  • Check your credit reports for free once a year through the three credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Why all three? Because the information in each of the three bureaus’ reports can differ. If one or all of the reports include mistakes, your credit score may be negatively affected, and you may need to address the errors before going house shopping.
  • Be strategic with credit card use. The percentage of your credit limit that you use every month can affect your score. Make sure your balance doesn’t come too close to your limit.
  • The simplest and most important tip? Pay off your balance each month. To maintain a healthy score, pay off the balance before the due date. Anything after 30 days past the due date can spell very bad news for your score.
  • Be consistent. Good credit behavior over the long term will keep your score high.
  • Don’t take on more credit. If you apply for several different credit cards, you’re sending a message that you may have maxed out your other accounts

 

Save enough for the down payment and other additional fees

You should plan to make a down payment of 3.5% – 5% at the very least when you are determining affordability. It is important to consider that down payments are not the only costs associated with the purchase of a home. Your lender should be able to provide you with a breakdown of your costs that you will be paying upfront and on a monthly basis. Here are some basic tips to help you save for the costs associated with buying a home:

  • Start a budget: Making a budget allows you to see your expenses, how much money is coming in, and what is left over to save or pay off debts. When you have a savings goal it, helps prioritize your money by eliminating or cutting down on unnecessary expenses.
  • Automate: Once you have created a budget and figured out how much you can comfortably save each month or paycheck, set up a specific amount or percentage of your paycheck to go to savings automatically. For some, it helps to open up an entirely separate savings account for their home’s down payment and expenses. This method allows you to see how much you are saving specifically for the home buying process and keeps you from accidentally spending this money on something other than your new home.
  • Increase your income: If you are worried about cutting back expenses, or just want to save for your down payment faster, consider finding ways to increase your income. Some ideas include working overtime, getting a second job, or finding alternative ways to making money such as selling items online.
  • Save any unexpected money: When you get a large sum of money, such as a bonus or your tax refund, itis all too easy to take on the extra cash and purchase that one expensive thing you’ve had your eye on for months. Instead of going on a shopping spree, take that money and put it into your savings right away to help you achieve your dream of homeownership sooner.

 

Affordability now and in the future

Regardless of the level of income you have today, you need to figure out what the future may hold before you sign on the dotted line. For example, if you’re planning to have kids sometime down the road, how will these happy additions impact your family income? What effect will job changes have on your current income level? And have you planned for monthly payments into your rainy day savings account?

Everyone who looks to buy a home will have a payment amount that is affordable today, but in the face of your answers to the questions above, will that number still work for you down the road? These are some questions to consider as you think about homeownership.

 

Feel free to talk with a loan officer in your area to determine if homeownership is the right path for you!

FHA and VA Increase Loan Limits for 2017

fha_va

FHA and VA increase loan limits for 2017

 

Last week, we announced the news that the FHFA increased conforming loan limits. As a result, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) have also increased the limits for FHA loans and VA loans, respectively.

FHA loan limits have increased from $271,050 to $275,665. These new loan limits apply to FHA-insured loans that have an application date of January 1, 2017 or later.
VA loan limits will follow the new limits set for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac conforming loans. The VA will use these limits to determine how much of the loan they will guaranty and how much an eligible veteran can borrow without requiring a down payment. Veterans should consult their loan officer for further details. You can also visit the Department of Veteran Affairs website for additional information about VA home loans.

A loan limits will follow the new limits set for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac conforming loans. The VA will use these limits to determine how much of the loan they will guaranty and how much an eligible veteran can borrow without requiring a down payment. Veterans should consult their loan officer for further details. You can also visit the Department of Veteran Affairs website for additional information about VA home loans.

If you are looking to buy a home in 2017, this is excellent news for you! With rising home prices and the market’s return to pre-recession growth, the loan limit increase signifies a growing market. Many homebuyers will now be able to afford larger homes or homes in more expensive areas with better loan terms. If you need help getting started on your home loan journey, check out our blog for more details on the home buying process, FHA loans, and VA loans.

 

 

USDA Rural Development

usda

USDA Rural Development

 

Achieving the dream of home-ownership could be more attainable than you have anticipated. If you are concerned about the affordability of purchasing a home, it is important to know you have options when it comes to loan programs. One popular government loan is USDA Rural Development.

The program was originally created to boost the development of land in more rural areas of
the country. Back when it was created, the USDA program’s sole purpose was to make rural living more achievable so that people who live in major cities could live within their means in the country, and ultimately help boost the economy in these areas as well. The program has grown significantly and is now able to help lower income families or individuals purchase homes in rural areas. We asked our very own Laura Leonhard, who is the #3 USDA lender in the nation, some common questions about this program. Here is what she had to say about USDA financing:

 

Q: What makes USDA different from other loan programs?

LL: USDA offers 100% financing. They also add in closing costs and any prepaid items. Another great bonus is that home repairs can be added to the loan as long as the appraised value comes in high enough.

 

Q: What are the benefits of going with USDA Loans?

LL: Many of the features that make USDA different are benefits of this loan program. Also, no money down, which is huge for some people. There is also reduced mortgage insurance premiums.

 

Q: What are the downfalls?

LL: The guarantee fee is a downfall to the USDA loan program, but that will be reduced this coming September!

 

Q: Is this program a good choice for first-time home buyers?

LL: Absolutely. With the no money down and many other great benefits, this would be perfect for first-time home buyers who may not have a lot of combined household income.

 

Q: What documentation is required when applying for USDA loans?

LL: The documentation requirements are the same as any other loan, unless there is a tougher credit situation. Then, there might be additional documentation required that will be disclosed by your loan officer.

 

Q: How do I know if I am eligible for USDA?

LL: A pre-approval will tell you if you are eligible for a USDA loan. You, as well as the location of the home you plan to buy, must be USDA eligible to qualify for this loan.  This loan program does have income limits for the county the home is located in as well as the number of people in the household.

 

Q: Do USDA loans exclusively go towards the purchase of a home?

LL: No, it can also go towards refinancing. However, you can only refinance with a USDA loan if your original home loan was also USDA.

 

Now that you know a little more about the USDA program, contact a loan officer near you to see if you, your family, and the house you want to purchase qualify. Let us help you make your dream of homeownership a reality!

 

 

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, Wis., Inlanta Mortgage was established in 1993. The company has grown to 35 branches in 16 states and over 240 employees. Inlanta Mortgage offers Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac agency products, as well as jumbo and portfolio programs. The company is an agency approved lender for Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, FHA/VA, FHA 203K and USDA. Inlanta Mortgage also offers numerous state bond agency programs.

Inlanta Mortgage was recently named a Top Workplace for a third time in 2016. 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.

PARTNERSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

Inlanta Mortgage continues to expand its branch network and encourages ethical lending professionals to learn more about our support platform and discover how an Inlanta branch partnership with Inlanta Mortgage is essential to long-term success.

Locate an Inlanta Mortgage loan officer at www.inlanta.com/locations. For current employment opportunities, visit www.inlanta.com/join-our-team/employment-opportunities. Learn more about Inlanta Mortgage branch partnership opportunities at www.inlantapartners.com, call 262-439-4260, or email partners@inlanta.com.

Inlanta Mortgage, Inc. NMLS #1016.

Renting vs. Owning

rentvsownRenting Vs. Owning

 

Renting vs. Owning is one of the greatest debates consumers face. What are the pros and cons of each? Which option is cheaper? What is better for my current lifestyle? These are some of the questions renters face when trying to decide whether home-ownership is the right choice for them.

Contrary to popular belief, renting may not actually be cheaper than owning your own home. Rent prices are on the rise and starting to exceed the cost of a mortgage payment, and there are many other benefits to home-ownership that you may not have thought of, such as investment opportunity, tax deduction, stability, and freedom.

 

Investment Opportunity

Some people say investing in a home is risky; but with no risk, there is no reward. Studies conducted by the Federal Reserve have shown that owning can provide a net worth that is from several to hundreds of times higher than that of renters. When you own, improving your home increases its value. When you rent, improvements only increase value for your landlord. Ultimately, paying rent will only get you a roof over your head. There are virtually no benefits that paying rent offers beyond having a living space. Further, making mortgage payments on time helps build your equity and credit score.

 

Tax Deduction

Some people benefit from claiming deductions for mortgage interest and real estate taxes. Others find a standard deduction more valuable. Even if you exclude the tax benefit, the real cost of owning can still be less than renting.

 

Stability and Freedom

When you move into a home, it is something that is truly yours. You are free to decorate your environment as you please without worrying about restrictions from your landlord. By settling into a home, you will likely find yourself more involved in the community, whether that is through volunteering, participating in your home owners association, or simply establishing relationships with your neighbors. Renting is typically less stable than home-ownership and relationships with those around you tend to be avoided. Payments for a mortgage can be consistent with a fixed-rate mortgage, making the payment process easier.

 

So, with the cost of rent on the rise, finally taking that leap into home-ownership may be well within your means and could prove to be beneficial. Consult with a loan officer in your area today and we can answer any questions you may have!

If you are thinking about home-ownership, you may want to check out our blog on Inlanta’s Home Loan Roadmap.

 

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.