How to Make Your Home More Environmentally Friendly

This month, we celebrate World Environment Day – dedicated by the United Nations to encourage worldwide awareness and action to protect our environment. 

If you’re inspired to do your part to help Mother Earth, one of the best places to start is with your own home. With a few simple updates, you can help the environment and even see some cost and energy savings.

Here’s some tips to help make your home more environmentally friendly:

Consider an Energy Efficient Mortgage (EEM) Loan

If you’re looking to finance energy efficient home upgrades and improvements, learn more about Inlanta’s EEM program. Find a loan officer in your area or contact us for more info. 

Make Small Swaps

Sometimes little changes make a big impact both for the environment and your wallet. Swap out your current light bulbs for LEDs, set your heating/AC systems on a timer to use less energy when you’re not home, or swap out your showerhead to a low-flow one to help conserve water.

Use Reusable

Save the landfills by using rags over paper towels, cloth napkins over paper, and a reusable water bottle over plastic.

Water at Night

Watering lawns or plants during the day wastes water through evaporation. By watering at night, you’ll use less water and have healthier foliage.

Add Window Treatments

Don’t let all of the heat or cold air escape through bare windows! Add window treatments to help insulate your home and keep costs low.

Maximize Appliance Use

Don’t run your dishwasher or laundry half full. It’s better to run your appliances when full, and let dishes ai­rdry rather than use the heated dry, or even go old school and dry clothes on a clothesline. Not only will you save energy, you’ll prolong the life of your dishes and clothing too!

Unplug

Your cell phone charger could be costing you more than you think. Make sure to unplug all of your cords when they are not in use.

Reduce/Reuse/Recycle (RRR)

It’s a great time to make simple changes around your home to help the environment while saving money and energy. There are many more ways to RRR such as installing solar panels, using rain barrels, shopping with reusable bags, donating unwanted items and even learning how to recycle properly or compost.

Help keep the world – our home – a beautiful place!

For more tips on ways to help preserve the environment and our natural resources, visit the United States of Environmental Protection Agency website today.

This June, Celebrate National Homeownership Month

June is National Homeownership month. Americans often think of their homes as more than just a place to “hang their hats.” Homeownership has long been considered part of the greater “American Dream” that includes “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” as mentioned in our country’s Declaration of Independence.

Here’s a rundown of key events related to homeownership dating back to our nation’s infancy:

The man who was the second vice president and third president of the United States believed that property ownership was a citizen’s right. Thomas Jefferson pushed for legislation that helped define property lines and a system for purchasing land that was the basis for how real estate and ownership are described and transferred today, called the Land Ordinance of 1785.
President Abraham Lincoln signed the Homestead Act into law, which helped establish the western part of the country through migration. Settlers who paid a filing fee and completed five years of continuous residence received ownership of 160 acres of public land. Homesteaders also had the option of purchasing the land from the government for $1.25 per acre. The Homestead Act led to the distribution of 80 million acres of public land by 1900.
Bank collapses, millions of jobs and life savings lost during the Great Depression resulted in up to a quarter of the nation’s mortgages going into default. The number of mortgages dropped dramatically from nearly 6,000 in 1928 to under 1,000 in 1933. U.S. homeownership dropped to its lowest levels of the century in 1940.
The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) was formed and provided access to flexible mortgage financing. Prior to establishment of the FHA, mortgages required 50% down payments and terms were generally five or ten years long and usually had large balloon payments due at the end.
Congress passed the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act – more commonly known as the GI Bill of Rights. The GI Bill helped veterans pay for college and buy homes. The Veterans Administration (VA) still insures low- to zero-down payment loans for veterans, active-duty service members and their spouses.
A storm was brewing as lending thresholds and interest rates dropped, making mortgages easy to get and driving home prices up.
The nationwide real estate bubble that formed due to frenzied demand amidst loose lending practices burst, and home prices began a multi-year decline that led to approximately eight million foreclosures.
First-time home buyer tax credits and other housing stimulus programs were established to help homeowners avoid foreclosure.
U.S. housing prices bottomed out in March, having dropped by 33%.
U.S. housing values recovered all $9-trillion dollars lost in the housing crisis of the prior decade.
After a long-anticipated span of rising mortgage interest rates that began in 2018, rates for 30-year fixed rate mortgages experienced the sharpest one-week drop in over a decade in late March, setting the stage for higher affordability heading into the traditionally busy home buying and selling season.
Questions about home values, mortgage interest rates or the path to homeownership?
We can help! Contact us today!
Sources: Library of Congress, CoreLogic, Freddie Mac, Zillow

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!

Four Ways to Help you get Out of Debt in 2019

Four Ways to Help you get Out of Debt in 2019

Dealing with debt can be overwhelming and straining on your finances. If it is your goal to be debt free in 2019, 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!

Inlanta Mortgage Named Top Mortgage Company By National Mortgage News

Inlanta Mortgage Named Top Mortgage Company By National Mortgage News

Inlanta Mortgage is kicking off 2019 in a big way!

Just announced at the start of the New Year, Inlanta has been recognized as a top 20 mortgage companies to work for 2019 by National Mortgage News.

The company was pleased to receive news of the award following a survey program sent via National Mortgage News to all Inlanta employees encouraging feedback regarding the company’s culture, benefits, policies, and more.

“This is a testament to our incredible employees and how they do business every day,” said Paul Buege, Inlanta President/COO. “We are so honored for this recognition and grateful to our employees for making this happen through their hard work, dedication, and commitment to delivering an exceptional customer experience every day.  We are one of the best mortgage lenders in our industry, wonderful seeing our company-wide success being recognized on a national level”

As a top mortgage lender, we consistently strive to invest time and resources into our Managers and Loan Officers to help increase sales, grow business, and build relationships year after year.

If you’re looking for a company with solid tenure, strong support, and outstanding culture, we’d love to talk to you about your 2019 goals today!

Please click here to visit our website to fill out a form for us to contact you or, you may contact our branch recruitment division at 262-439-4260 or email partners@inlanta.com.

We are looking to grow with you!

Check out our latest company reviews on SocialSurveyGlassdoor, and Indeed.

PMI vs. MIP – What’s the Difference?

It’s no secret that purchasing a home, especially for the very 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.

Fraud Awareness and Prevention

Fraud Awareness and Prevention

Fraud, or the broad term describing wrongful or criminal deception intended to result in financial or personal gain is, unfortunately, something that happens everywhere, every day, negatively affecting the lives of many.

Fortunately, there are ways one can prevent falling victim to fraudulent acts, starting with educating oneself on the types of dangerous fraud schemes out there as well as what to watch out for.

Mortgage Fraud:

Mortgage fraud happens which is why it is crucial to work with a lender you can trust. According to stopfraud.gov, traditional mortgage fraud involves homebuyers and/or lenders falsifying information in order to obtain a home loan. Struggling homeowners are also often affected by “foreclosure rescue firms” claiming they can help these struggling individuals obtain home loans ultimately leaving them in more debt and distress. The first thing to watch out for in these situations is requests for all cash payments and to work only with credible lenders, real estate agents, and appraisers.

Other Types of Fraud:

According to FindLaw, there are many types of fraud offenses individuals can be duped by (often unknowingly) that include:

Click here to learn more and educate yourself on popular scams occurring today.

Preventing Fraud – What to Watch out for:

Some warning signs of fraud are more obvious, such as the telemarketing or internet schemes that ask you to “send money immediately” to receive an offer, or, those asking directly for your social security number.

Others can be more tricky and deceptive, even imitating people you know personally or professionally asking for help or money via email, false charity organizations asking for donations, or, pyramid schemes that offer big rewards for a “work from home” position.

Here are some things you can do to protect yourself and your family from falling victim to fraud:

  • New forms of fraud pop up every day. Educate yourself on the common scams happening presently
  • Keep your personal information confidential. Never give out personal information, such as your social security number or credit card details, over the phone, through email, or over the internet unless the contact is verified.
  • Update your passwords and PIN numbers monthly to ensure your information is secure. Make sure to use a password that is strong in security and includes letter, numbers, and symbols.
  • Check your statements and online banking records regularly to ensure there are no unusual transactions.

If you think you or someone you know has been affected by fraud, begin by reporting the issue immediately to your local police department. Otherwise, take these steps from USA.gov:

 

Inlanta Mortgage Promotes Paul Buege to President

 Original press release from PR Web

Inlanta Mortgage Chairman, John Knowlton, announced the promotion of Mr. Paul Buege to the role of President.

Mr. Buege is currently the Chief Operating Officer and will continue those responsibilities. Nicholas DelTorto will remain as CEO. “I am proud to announce Paul’s promotion to President. It has been a privilege to work with and get to know him over the past five years. Paul and his team have developed a premier service platform for our loan originators and consumers. He is dedicated to Inlanta and the continued growth and success of our company,” Knowlton said in a company statement announcing the move.

“Our senior management team has positioned us for a solid future. We have worked together for many years and that continuity in leadership translates into a consistent focus on improving our platform, performance for the branches, and highest level of progressive services and technology for our referral partners and consumers,” said DelTorto.

“Paul has done outstanding work in developing a sales and service accountability culture at Inlanta. Our ‘mortgage banking for grown-ups’ approach allows the true mortgage professional to operate using their personally developed skills to build on their success,” Knowlton adds.

Inlanta announces this move as they celebrate 25 years in the mortgage business. “We are very proud to celebrate our 25th anniversary this year. In a business where so many have come and gone, Inlanta is looking forward to serving our customers and referral partners for many years to come,” Knowlton said.

About Inlanta Mortgage 
Headquartered in Pewaukee, WI, Inlanta Mortgage was established in 1993 and is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2018. The company has grown to over 40 branches in 20 states and over 250 employees. Inlanta Mortgage’s mission is to be the home financing partner that you trust to serve your family, friends, and community. Their team of dedicated mortgage professionals is committed to delivering an exceptional experience using honest and ethical lending practices.

Inlanta Mortgage was named a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Top Workplace in 2014, 2015, and 2016. Inlanta has also been recognized as one of the “50 Best Mortgage Companies to Work For” by Mortgage Executive Magazine and one of the country’s “Top Mortgage Employers” by National Mortgage Professional.

Inlanta Mortgage continually seeks branch managers and loan officers who want to grow their business. To learn about growth opportunities, please contact Brian Jensen (Midwest) at brianjensen@inlanta.com or 630-927-0380; or Kevin Laffey (Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska) at kevinlaffey@inlanta.com or 913-645-4647. To learn about opportunities in other locations, visit http://www.inlantapartners.com, call 262-439-4260, or email partners@inlanta.com.

Inlanta Mortgage, Inc. NMLS #1016.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Reducing Debt

5 Steps to Reducing Debt

Do you feel like your debt is holding you back in life? If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your finances, we’ve got a step by step process for you to start taking control of your debt today!

Step 1: Evaluate your Debt – All of It

The first thing you must do to move forward with a plan to reduce your debt is sit down and take a hard look at your finances and just how much debt you owe. Once you’ve got the details down, evaluate where your debts lie and understand that not all debt is alike. Some of your debt may be causing more of a financial strain than others, like credit cards with high-interest rates, so taking time to dig into your debt and prioritize what needs to be paid off first will help you to gain some control of your financial strains and begin your journey to debt-free living.

Step 2: Understand your Bills and your Budget

Have you done the math? If not, step #2 of your debt reduction plan involves evaluating your income each month along with how much you are spending. This is a great time as well to truly gauge your expenses and figure out where you are being frivolous. If your income does not outweigh 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 in order to focus on paying off your debt.

Step 3: Set Timely and Attainable Goals

While we’d all love to have our debts paid off immediately, setting unattainable goals to have everything paid off as quickly as possible can leave you feeling drained and like living debt-free is next to impossible. After you’ve taken time to evaluate your debts, your income, and your spending, design a plan that works for you to help get you out of debt.

Step 4: Make a Plan to Achieve Them

Now that you have a plan, how will you put it into place? Whether it be that you begin setting up auto payments or you choose to completely alter your lifestyle to cut out unnecessary spending, putting daily practices in place to help you achieve your financial goals is crucial. If this step feels like the hardest of all, remember that this is only temporary and is necessary to help bring you to financial freedom.

Step 5: Seek Advice from a Mentor or Financial Professional

If you’re still struggling with debt and financial woes and it seems like any plan you put in place isn’t working out, don’t be afraid to speak to a personal mentor or financial professional. Seeking advice from an expert and having a peer or mentor periodically check in with you on where you’re at with your goals can be an effective route to help you become debt-free.

If you’d like to speak to one of our financial professionals regarding your situation, click here to contact your local Inlanta officer today!

What a Year! Inlanta’s Highlights of 2017

What a Year! Inlanta’s Highlights of 2017

2017 was an eventful year at Inlanta Mortgage. We accomplished a lot thanks to the amazing employees we have on our team, as well as our valued customers and business partners. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your support over the last year. While we look forward to all of the exciting things 2018 has in store for us, we’d like to take a moment to count our many blessings and reflect on our accomplishments from this last year:

 

Awards

In May 2017, Inlanta Mortgage was proud to be named a Top Mortgage Employer by National Mortgage Professional Magazine. In the same month, Inlanta was also recognized as a 2016 Platinum U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Million Dollar Lender. Inlanta closed out the year being named the #1 WHEDA Lender for the second year in a row and was named the #1 Wisconsin Based Independent Mortgage Banker closing the highest number of (loans) units in the state of Wisconsin.

Several individuals were recognized for their achievements as well. Nicholas DelTorto (President/CEO) was awarded for his service as the Chair of Residential Loan Production Committee by the Mortgage Bankers Association and Cindy Laffey (branch partner in Overland Park, KS), Jim Snyder (branch manager in Pewaukee, WI), Rob Stettler (branch partner in Sarasota, FL), and Yvette Clermont (branch partner in Lakewood Ranch, FL, and Green Bay, WI) were recognized as Mortgage Executive Magazine’s Top 1% Mortgage Originators in America.

Cindy and Yvette were also recognized as MPA’s Elite Women in Mortgage alongside Jean Badciong (Chief Compliance Officer) and Katrina Cole (Business Development and Marketing in Grand Rapids, MI). Last, we had 3 members of our team recognized at the Wisconsin Mortgage Bankers Association’s (WMBA) Best in Business Awards. Inlanta’s Production Services Manager, Rod Weis, was nominated as Best in Leadership for the Milwaukee Chapter, Branch Manager/Senior Mortgage Consultant for Inlanta Mortgage – Greenfield, Kip Warzon, was nominated as Best Loan Originator for the Milwaukee Chapter, and Inlanta Mortgage – Green Bay Processor, Samantha Gates, was nominated for Best in Processing for the Northeast Chapter. Congratulations again to all of our superstars!

 

Growth

2017 was certainly a year of growth for Team Inlanta. The company welcomed three new Regional Vice Presidents; Brain Jensen, David Williams, and Kevin Laffey, along with a National Training Manager, Jennifer Jensen aboard. Inlanta expanded into 5 new states and added 12 new branches as well.

Inlanta also invested in evolving technology strategies by embracing the #1 ranked LOS System by the STRATMOR Group, rolling out a brand new mobile app called IM home, implementing a new video series, and starting a preliminary apprenticeship program.

 

Community & Events

This past year, we enjoyed showcasing our new Home Office in Pewaukee, WI, to business partners, friends, and fellow members of the Inlanta family with an Inlanta Open House and ribbon cutting ceremony this past July. Several members of our Inlanta family were present at events in local communities including an Hablamos Espanol expo in Illinois and the National Association of Minority Mortgage Bankers of America (NAMMBA) conference in Atlanta. Inlanta celebrated another great year of success at our Annual Sales Conference in Sheboygan, WI featuring an awards ceremony, top producers panel, motivational speakers, and more! Another highlight of the event included the presentation of the Customer Service Superstar Awards presented by Craig Pollack from Social Survey. Congratulations to Craig March, Dee Cayo, Yvette Clermont, Herb Lessmiller, and Jason Kupka for having the top customer satisfaction ratings in the company.

 

Philanthropy

Here at Inlanta Mortgage, we are always looking for ways to give back to our community. In honor of the many friends and colleagues who have cancer, have lost their battle to cancer, or know someone with cancer, we have made it our philanthropic mission to help find a cure. In July, a group of Inlanta employees participated in the Lombardi Walk/Run to Tackle Cancer in Milwaukee. The group asked fellow Inlanta employees, family, and friends to donate to the cause and raised a total of $1,500. They then spent the day at the Henry Maier Festival Park to participate in the Walk/Run. At our Inlanta Annual Sales Conference, our team also raised a whopping $24,541 for the Cancer Research Institute through raffle & silent auction! To learn more about the Cancer Research Institute, please visit www.cancerresearch.org.

In May, we had the privilege of meeting Bryon Reisch and hearing his incredible story at our Annual Managers Summit.  Inspired by his story, our employees donated $1,700 to the Bryon Riesch Paralysis Foundation, which matched & exceeded our company’s original donation of $1,500! In total, we’ve raised $3,200 to help find a cure for paralysis!

Inlanta held two blood drive for the American Red Cross in 2017, giving the employees a chance to come together at our Inlanta Home Office to save a total of 179 lives. Thank you to our donors!

In September, we held a raffle as part of our 13th Annual Sales Conference. We raised a whopping $24,541 for the Cancer Research Institute (CRI), an organization that provides funding for lifesaving immunotherapy research. This was the third year we raised money for CRI and we look forward to continuing our work with them.

Further, we wanted to help local families in need during the holidays. Our corporate office and Pewaukee branch participated in Inlanta’s second annual food drive competition. Each team competed to bring in the most food items to become the competition victors. The winning team, our Underwriting department, donated 606 items! In total, we collected 2,984 food items for the Pewaukee Food Pantry.

As the holiday season approached, we were grateful for the chance to give back to our Pewaukee community by participating in a “Tree of Giving” for local senior citizens from the United Community Center. Our Pewaukee branch also participated in a holiday gift drive supporting 21 children in need this year.

 

We are grateful beyond measure for another successful year in 2017 and look forward to a bright future in 2018, which marks 25 years of excellence for Inlanta Mortgage, Inc.!