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!

Buy or Rent?


With spring in full swing, many people are trying to decide whether they should buy or rent a home. In order to make this decision, potential home buyers should consider the increasing cost of rent, the value of home equity, and the intangible benefits associated with homeownership.

Increasing Cost of Rent

Home buyers typically enjoy fixed housing expenses. Renters are consistently asked to cough up more money each year. According to the Census Bureau, median rent prices in 1988 were $350. In 2000, median rent prices approached $500 per month. Currently, the median asking rent in the United States is $717 per month. The KCM Crew discusses the rising cost of rent in their blog post today.

Building Home Equity

When you pay a mortgage, a portion of that payment goes directly toward building equity in your home. When you pay rent, you will never see that money again. It’s important to note that home equity takes time to build and during the early years of a mortgage, payments go primarily to the interest on the loan. However, the sooner you purchase a home, the sooner you will begin to reap the benefits of a reduced principal balance and higher equity.

Social Benefits of Homeownership

According to the National Association of Realtors®, research has shown that homeownership brings substantial benefits for families, communities and the country as a whole. Some of the documented social benefits to consider in your decision to buy or rent include:

  • Increased charitable activity
  • Civic participation in both local community and national issues (including voting)
  • Greater awareness of the political process
  • Higher incidence of membership in voluntary organizations and church attendance
  • Greater social capital generated
  • Greater attachment to the neighborhood and neighbors
  • Lower teen pregnancy by children’s living in owned homes
  • Higher student test scores by children’s living in owned homes
  • Higher rate of high school graduation thereby higher earnings
  • Children more likely to participate in organized activities and have less television screen time
  • Homeowners take on a greater responsibility such as home maintenance and acquiring the financial skills to handle mortgage payments and those skills transfer to their children
  • Homeowners reported higher life satisfaction, higher self-esteem, happiness, and higher perceived control over their lives
  • Better health outcomes, better physical and psychological health
  • Tremendous wealth gains for homeowners under normal housing market conditions (outside of the terrible bubble/bust housing years)
  • Homeowners not only experience a significant increase in housing satisfaction, but also obtain a higher satisfaction even in the same home in which they resided as renters
  • Family financial situation and housing tenure during childhood and adulthood, impacted one’s self-rated health (in particular, the socioeconomic disadvantaged indicated by not being able to save any money or not owning or purchasing a home are less likely to self-rate their health as excellent or very good).
  • Less likely to become crime victims
  • Homeowners better maintain their homes, and high quality structures also raise mental health -renter-occupied housing appreciates less than owner-occupied housing
  • Housing prices are higher in high-ownership neighborhoods
  • Maintenance behavior of individual homeowners is influenced by those of their neighbors

Your Home Financing Options

Inlanta Mortgage offers a variety of loan programs for new home buyers. Use our branch locator to find an Inlanta Mortgage loan officer near you. Our loan officers can review your financial situation and help you determine which program is best for your unique financing needs.

Review more about our Loan Programs, read First Time Home Buyer Tips, or check out recent Testimonials for Inlanta Mortgage loan officers.

Inlanta Mortgage is proudly celebrating twenty years in business. Learn more about Inlanta’s twenty year history here.

Inlanta Mortgage is a multi-state mortgage banker based out of Brookfield, Wisconsin. NMLS# 1016. Inlanta Mortgage is proud to be a recent recipient of a 2012 Top Workplace Award

Spring Buying Season – Start Shopping Today!

Spring Buying Season

It’s spring and the beginning of the traditional homebuying season! Are you considering a new home purchase? Ready to become a home owner for the first time?

Buying a home is a big decision. Many things should factor into your decision, but if you are close to buying and just need a push in the right direction this spring buying season – check out our list of the nine most beneficial reasons to buy instead of rent:

1. Tax Deduction Benefit – Did you know there are deductions you can claim when it comes to your home mortgage? Any interest paid on your mortgage can reduce your taxable income. At the end of every year, the company that owns your mortgage will send you a statement with how much interest you have paid on your loan for the year (Form 1098 – here is a sample of what it looks like). Bring your 1098 forms to your tax preparation professional and take advantage of the mortgage interest deduction afforded to home owners.

2. Aesthetics – Owning a home gives you the opportunity to make any changes without worrying about what your landlord would say. You can paint rooms a bright new color, change old carpeting to hardwood floors or even makeover your bathroom into spa heaven! Not only do you get to enjoy new surroundings and new things but the value of your home should increase. Building equity in your house is one the largest sources of household wealth for Americans.

3. Security – When you rent, you could be forced to leave in a year if the rent goes up or if you get noisy neighbors above or below you. With your own home, your rent won’t go up (it actually could go down if you refinance) and you won’t be sharing any apartment walls or ceilings with anyone noisy!

4. Better Neighborhoods – When the people you live by own their own properties, they are willing to invest more in the community, which makes it nicer and safer for families.

5. Better Economy – If more people buy homes, more money will be inserted in market. This helps create more jobs and more economic stability. Strengthening the housing industry will create many positive effects on the overall economy.

6. Higher Academic AchievementAccording to HouseLogic, home ownership tends to bring about higher academic achievement in our children.

7. Improved Health – According to HouseLogic, homeowners and their families tend to be healthier than those families who rent.

8. Low Rates – Rates continue to hover near historic lows! Rates are hovering below 4 percent for 30-year fixed rate mortgages. According to FreddieMac, mortgage rates ten years ago were more than double what we are experiencing today! For information on the history of mortgage rates, click here.

9. Home Affordability – Home prices have fallen dramatically and will eventually begin to rise. Finance the home of your dreams now and reap the benefits of home appreciation later!

Obviously, the benefits of home ownership will vary from person to person – but this list discusses some of the major advantages of buying a home versus renting.

There are variety of loan programs designed to help you realize your dream of homeownership- including low or no down payment options. Each mortgage loan program has its own benefits as well as income and credit requirements. Our licensed loan originators can help you decide which is best for your specific financial situation and provide a pre-approval to aid your spring house hunting efforts!

  • Conventional Mortgage Loans – Traditional program that usually requires as low as 3% down and offers competitive interest rates.
  • FHA Mortgages – FHA mortgages enable the borrower to put as low as 3.5% down and are available to borrowers with less than perfect credit.
  • USDA Mortgages – USDA mortgage loans are designed to help lower income individuals or households purchase homes in rural areas
  • VA Mortgages – VA mortgage loans are federally guaranteed mortgage loans for veterans that don’t require a down payment.

Find a licensed Inlanta Mortgage loan officer near you using our branch locator or read more about our talented group of loan originators on our testimonials page!

Are you unfamiliar with the mortgage loan process? Click here to read more about the mortgage loan process

Inlanta Mortgage offers Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac agency products, as well as a full suite of jumbo and portfolio programs. The company is fully delegated HUD-FHA including FHA 203K, VA, and USDA approved. Inlanta Mortgage also offers numerous state bond agency programs.

Inlanta Mortgage is a multi-state mortgage banker based out of Brookfield, Wisconsin. NMLS# 1016. Inlanta Mortgage is proud to be a recent recipient of a 2012 Top Workplace Award.

Rent or Buy? You May Want to Decide Soon

Rent or Buy

If you are considering a home purchase and don’t have a ton of money for a down payment, now may be the best time to apply. Why now?

Changes to Mortgage Insurance

When buyers, especially first time home buyers, don’t have a lot for a down payment they often opt for an FHA loan. FHA loans are government backed loans that require borrowers to pay mortgage insurance. Mortgage insurance on FHA loans typically drops off once you have enough equity in your home and have a established a good payment history. So what’s the big change? On June 1, 2013 – mortgage insurance will no longer drop off. As of that date, mortgage insurance will be required for the life of the loan.

What does that mean to you? More money out of your pocket.

House Prices on the Rise

Home affordability continues to remain high – but home prices have begun their inevitable rise with high demand and scarce home inventory levels. Home prices rose 9.7 percent in January from a year ago, according to data released today by CoreLogic. This is the biggest annual gain since April 2006.

Why should you care? The obvious answer is that you will pay more for a home. Another reason to care is that once that home is yours – you will appreciate the increasing value of your property in the form of long term wealth accumulation.

Rent or Buy –  Which is Better?

Ultimately, the decision to rent or buy is based upon a number of factors. Maybe you’re ready to be a home owner, maybe your not. However, it never hurts to understand your options. Consult a licensed mortgage loan officer today to discuss your specific home financing needs. Consultations and mortgage loan pre-approvals are free.

Inlanta Mortgage is proudly celebrating twenty years in business. Learn more about Inlanta’s twenty year history here.

Inlanta Mortgage offers Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac agency products, as well as a full suite of jumbo and portfolio programs. The company is fully delegated HUD-FHA including FHA 203K, VA, and USDA approved. Inlanta Mortgage also offers numerous state bond agency programs. Review Inlanta’s mortgage loan programs here.

Inlanta Mortgage is a multi-state mortgage banker based out of Brookfield, Wisconsin. NMLS# 1016. Inlanta Mortgage is proud to be a recent recipient of a 2012 Top Workplace Award.