Why You Should Refinance ASAP

If you bought or refinanced your home prior to April of this year, there’s a good chance you’ll save money by refinancing to a lower rate or shorter term. In fact, Inlanta has already helped many of our customers save money with a lower rate this year!

What are some of the benefits of refinancing now?

Lower your Interest Rate

By lowering your interest rate, you’ll save money on your monthly mortgage payments. That frees up cash to help meet other financial goals or live more comfortably financially month to month.

Skip a Payment

Did you know that when you refinance, you actually end up skipping a monthly mortgage payment once the process is complete? That means, you’ll have a month with some extra cash to put towards other financial goals like paying down high interest credit card debt, and what better time of year to do so than after the busy holiday season?

Drop the PMI

With the current increase in many home values, a refinance could help you drop PMI (premium mortgage insurance) to help lower your monthly payment amounts and start the New Year with a lower payment.

Make Necessary Home Renovations

Is a new kitchen on your holiday wish list? A cash-out refinance loan offers you the chance to get the money you need to make the home renovations you’ve always dreamed of.

There are so many great reasons to refinance now and take advantage of today’s low rates. They won’t last long, so don’t miss out on this opportunity to save money, or shorten your term to build equity faster. Contact your local Inlanta Mortgage loan advisor today to see how you’d benefit from a refinance.

4 Mortgage Myths Debunked

Ghost stories, big foot, the loch ness monster. The mysteries of the unknown can leave us perplexed and questioning what’s truly real, and what’s not.

While certain myths are best left unknown, when it comes to the mortgage process, 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 FICO scores as low as 581, 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, staying below your limit and more. Click here for more tips to build and maintain healthy credit.

Mortgage Myth #2 – You Need 20% Down

It’s common to think that you need 20% down to purchase a home. In reality, the down payment 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. Plus, 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. One of the many benefits of homeownership is being able to better control your budget by having a fixed mortgage payment each month, giving you the security of knowing 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. 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.

When it comes to the myths of the mortgage world, it’s wise to discuss what you’ve heard from what’s actually true with an expert lender 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.

There’s Still Time to Refi

Time’s running out for a refinance!

If you haven’t started your refinance yet, now’s the time! Don’t miss out on these historically low rates by calling your local Inlanta Mortgage advisor today for a mortgage check-up to see if you could benefit from a refinance.

Here are a few reasons to consider refinancing today:

  1. Lower your interest rate: There’s a chance you could be paying a higher interest rate than today’s rates. By lowering your rate, you’ll save money on your monthly mortgage payments that frees up cash to help meet other financial goals or live more comfortably month to month.
  2. Shorten the life of your loan and save money: Refinancing to shorten a 30-year to a 20-year or even a 15-year term can save you money over the lifetime of the loan. With this extra cash if the loan is paid off earlier, you may be able to retire earlier, travel or even build up investment portfolio.
  3. Drop the PMI: With the current increase in many home values, a refinance could help you drop PMI (premium mortgage insurance) to help lower your monthly payment amounts.
  4. Pay down debt: Use the extra monthly cash saved by lowering your mortgage payment to help pay down debt, or even do a cash-out refinance to pay off credit card debt, car loans, personal loans, school loans, etc.
  5. Make necessary home renovations: If you love your home and plan to be there for a while, you may want to consider a cash-out refinance loan to get the money you need to make the home renovations you’ve always dreamed of, and have time to enjoy those updates!

These rates will not last, so don’t miss out on this window of opportunity! Refinance today.

Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

Fall is finally HERE!

While pumpkin spiced treats, hayrides and cozy sweaters make it a favorite time of year for many, the long awaited cooler temps also make it a great time to take care of some fall home maintenance tasks around the home.

Check these tasks off your list now so you can enjoy the cozy season ahead knowing your home is prepped and ready to take on winter.

Here is your Fall Home Maintenance Checklist:

INDOOR

  • Clean and store summer gear
  • Have furnace properly inspected
  • Remove any window air conditioners
  • Insulate exposed pipes as needed
  • Check accuracy of thermostat, clean and replace as needed
  • Seal/reseal doors and windows as needed
  • Deep clean your kitchen and appliances
  • Assess your home’s energy efficiency
  • Inspect and clean your chimney
  • Check your detectors and replace batteries as needed

OUTDOOR

  • Rake and remove leaves
  • Prune trees and shrubs
  • Clean gutters and rainspouts
  • Inspect roof and exterior of home
  • Clear and inspect your driveway, walkways, deck and railings to ensure winter safety  
  • Close or install storm windows
  • Store outdoor furniture and cushions inside
  • Remove hoses from spigots; drain and store indoors
  • Have chimneys and flues inspected and cleaned
  • Fertilize, reseed and water your lawn

We hope your fall is filled with joy, abundance and warmth. Enjoy!

Tackling Debt and the Mortgage Process

Football season, fall and “back to school” days are here!

With this being a busy time of year for many, you may be wondering how you’re going to “do it all”. Especially when it comes to paying down debt and saving for a home and other financial goals simultaneously.

When it comes to home buying, people often wonder if they should pay down their debt first or save up for a down payment.  The following information should give you a better idea of how to answer the complicated question of tackling debt and the mortgage process.

Average Down Payment

First, it is wise to understand how much money is needed for a down payment. Most mortgages will ask the borrower to pay between 3.25% and 10% up front as a down payment. For a home priced at $250,000 this would translate to a down payment between $8,125 and $25,000.  The differences in the down payment requirement will depend on the type of mortgage loan as well as the borrower’s credit history.

For most people, it will take at least a year, if not more, to save up for this much of a down payment.  But that is not the full answer. With options available like low or no down payment programs, gift funds, and more, you may need less than you think to purchase your dream home. Contact your local Inlanta loan expert today to find out how close you are to obtaining homeownership.

Paying Down Debt Will Improve Ability to Borrow

When people apply for a mortgage loan, the lender will examine the borrower’s credit history as well as their debt ratios. The debt ratio compares the borrower’s current income and current obligations, such as credit cards, car payments, student loan fees, and any other debt.  The lender will also compare the borrower’s income to their current debt as well as adding in the amount for the proposed home payment.  If the ratio is too high, the lender will likely decline the borrower for the mortgage.

Therefore, many lenders recommend paying down some of the debt for borrowers that are contemplating a home purchase.  The less debt they have, the easier it will be to get approved for a home loan.

In fact, the best advice regarding debt reduction is to focus first on credit card debt.  By making the payments on time and getting the balances as low as possible, the borrower should see a noticeable improvement in their credit score.

Save While Paying Down Debt

Many mortgage experts recommend that potential homebuyers use a double strategy; pay down debt while saving for a down payment.  Instead of using all of their extra income to do one or the other, it would be easier and psychologically beneficial to chip away at the debt while also building up a down payment.

For example, if a young married couple had a total of $11,000 in credit card debt and no savings, along with an extra $400 per month coming from an extra job, it would be real enticing to spend all the $400 towards the credit card bills.  That would take approximately 27 months to pay off the balance.  However, at the end of those 2+ years, the young couple would have nothing saved for a down payment.

Conversely, if that $400 was split between the credit card balances and savings, the couple would have $5,400 plus interest in savings at the end of 27 months as well as having almost half of the credit card paid off.

There is no perfect answer to the question about paying off debt or saving for a down payment, but attacking both at the same time will likely help people reach their goal of home buying much faster.

Mortgage 101 – A Beginner’s Guide to Mortgages

So, you want to buy a house but don’t know where to begin? Maybe you’ve heard of a mortgage loan before, but have no idea what it entails or how to get one. If this sounds like you, you’re not alone. Almost everyone who buys a home for the first time has many questions and is clueless about the process.

To assist in your search, here’s a crash course in the basics of mortgage that answers the most common questions to help you feel more confident 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: First, 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. 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.

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!

Top Tips to Remember When Moving to a New Home

Moving to a new home (at least, new to you) is usually an exciting time. Learning the layout of the home, enjoying the neighborhood and getting accustomed to a major change brings about a lot of emotions. Here are some handy tips and mistakes to avoid when you are ready for your next move.

Don’t Hang on to Stuff

Most of us acquire stuff throughout our lives and feel that we need to hold on to all of it. However, most people have items stashed in cupboards and closets that we don’t really need. Instead of packing it away and finding a hiding place for it at the next home, sell it online through sites like Craigslist or eBay, or donate it to a local non-profit.

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. That is why it is a good idea to contact all the local utilities well in advance of the move and get on their schedule.  Each local agency, such as the internet provider, electrical utility and the water & trash agencies will have their own individual rules and schedules, so you will need to contact them all.

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. Also, let all your creditors know of your new address.

Pack for Emergency

Regardless of how much planning you do, mistakes happen.  The water may be set to get turned on the day AFTER you move in, or the electricity may get turned on only to discover there is an issue with the fuse box.  Pack a small bag with an extra change of clothes and snacks.  If you are forced to spend the night with relatives, or at a hotel, you will have a bag packed and ready to go without the need for opening multiple boxes to search for a suitable outfit.

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, you really have no clue how many extra keys are floating around to your particular place.  Setting up new locks will give you a little peace of mind and control over who has access to the place.

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.

Looking for an Investment Property? Consider Shopping in your College Town

With the days of summer soon ending, it means “back to school” for millions across the country.

For college students, this means packing up to move into campus housing, which is often expensive and not necessarily homey. It also means investing dollars into housing that’s not tax-deductible, nor does it generate any equity.

For parents with college-bound students, or even investors looking for their next property, this presents a big opportunity to purchase rental property off-campus.

Buying a property near their school could a great investment when you consider:

  • If you have a student of your own, the cost of owning a rental could be cheaper than paying for a dorm or an apartment – especially if they share it with roommates who will pay you rent that you can put towards the mortgage
  • If you co-sign on a loan for your student on a rental property, you can help them build solid credit at an early age
  • By choosing a property located near a college or university, you’ll have a strong pool of renters who are looking for housing in that area even after your own student moves out
  • You could benefit financially with future value appreciation and accrued equity


For parents and investors alike, this opportunity presents the chance to diversify their portfolio as well as offers a large potential tenant pool in an area that is consistently in high demand.

If you’re interested in learning more about this opportunity, contact your local Inlanta Mortgage loan advisor today.

On behalf of Inlanta Mortgage, we want to wish all students a bright and successful school year ahead!

Mortgage Rates Remain Extremely Low

As of this August, all major mortgage rates have remained extremely low, thanks to recent economic indicators. The major trends in stock market indexes, oil prices, gold prices and Treasury’s indicate that rates will remain low for at least the near future.

General Rates

The 30 year fixed rate offered by conventional lenders is still at all time lows.  Recent economic news has indicated that rates will not be increasing in the short term.  This is great news for potential homebuyers and homeowners that wish to refinance their loans!

What is keeping Rates so Low?

Four major economic indicators are battling one another to keep the mortgage rates at historical lows.

First and foremost, the average price of oil per barrel has recently increased from $56 to $57 based on the watchful eyes of OilPrice.com. This slight increase reflects overall higher cost for energy, which tends to move prices up in general. Anytime that prices move up, mortgage rates could slightly increase with them.

On the flip side, the price of gold jumped up to $1,429 per ounce from the previous $1,420. Anytime there is a serious upward change in the price of gold, this shows that major investors have developed doubt in the overall economy. Doubt about the economy tends to push mortgage rates down. The latest prices in gold per ounce can be found at https://goldprice.org/

The 10-year Treasury yield, which is the single most indicative indicator of mortgage rates, has moved very slightly from 2.05% to 2.06%. When this yield starts to increase, it usually means that mortgage rates will also soon rise with it.

Global Trade Continues to Have Negative Outlooks

Along with the previous economic indicators, the overall global trade market has continued to keep pressure on lower mortgage rates. While the US and China work out their spat and come to an agreement about tariffs and other issues, many markets are holding their breath to see how the trade talks will affect prices of goods coming from China. This keeps mortgage rates low as some experts fear major price increases for imported goods may soon appear.

There are also talks that trade with Europe may be troublesome in the near future. Tariffs on goods produced in Europe have been threatened in a counter measure to a new rule from France that is imposing taxes on American based organizations within France. More tariffs mean higher prices which is applying pressure to keep mortgage rates at current levels.

Recommendations for Mortgage Rate Locks

Major markets shift up and down throughout the months and years. While it is impossible to predict exact details, broad generalizations can be made which allow people to make educated decisions on mortgage rates.

If you are buying or refinancing a home, and the expected close date is within the next 30 calendar days, then you should definitely talk to your mortgage lender and lock the rate now.  Rates are extremely low and while most of the market indicators show that rates should remain at this level for the next few weeks, you don’t want to gamble on some unforeseen event pushing rates up unexpectedly. Contact your local Inlanta Mortgage loan advisor today about rate locking, refinancing, or purchasing your home!

When is the Right Time to Refinance? Hint: Now!

Interest rates have reached a point that many people never believed would happen. With 30-year fixed rates dipping below 4%, millions of homeowners are in a position to refinance and save significant money. Here are some of the top reasons why you should consider refinancing any existing mortgage.

Better Rate Means Lower Payments

The most obvious reason that attracts most people to refinance is the appeal of a lower interest rate, resulting in a lower payment. For a mortgage of $250,000 a change in 0.75% in rate can lower the monthly payments by $110. A wider gap in rates, such as 1.25% or even 2% can mean a savings of over $200 per month. For most homeowners this is reason enough to consider the costs of refinancing.

Better Term with Similar Payment

There is a lot of math involved in this example, but the bottom line is that a homeowner can save thousands of dollars in the long run.

Suppose you or someone you know took out a home loan approximately 3 years ago at a rate of 5.25% with a beginning balance of $250,000. The balance would likely be around $239,000 as of this writing. By refinancing that $239,000 at 3.95% on a 20-year loan, you could save over $100,000 in interest payments over the next 20 years. The home payment would increase by approximately $50 a month, but it could be a great financial move in the long term.

Improve Your Annual Tax Deduction

In recent years, Congress has changed the rules concerning using mortgage interest for a tax deduction. The interest paid on a 2nd mortgage is no longer deductible if that mortgage was not used to purchase the home. This means that people with a HELOC or a fixed rate 2nd mortgage that was used to consolidate debts or any other reason no longer get the tax deduction for that 2nd mortgage. By combining the existing 2nd mortgage with the 1st and refinancing everything to one loan, you will regain that tax deduction.

Move to a Different type of Mortgage

Some people may have purchased their home using FHA. Others may have used a less than ideal type of mortgage with a high interest rate. If you have made your mortgage and other debt payments on time for the past 12 months, your credit may now be strong enough to refinance to a conventional loan. A conventional loan will have better interest rate and, even if you pay private mortgage insurance, the mortgage insurance will eventually drop off once the balance is low enough. With FHA loans, the new rules state that the private mortgage insurance must remain in place for the life of the loan.

Regardless of your situation, if you have purchased a home within the past 3 to 5 years, now is a great time consider refinancing and taking advantage of these historically low rates. Contact your local Inlanta Mortgage loan expert today to get started.