Shake off the winter blues with a colorful, sweet treat! Lemon bars are the perfect snack to liven up your day and kick off a bright & cheerful spring. They’re sure to be a hit with mom (or any other important women in your life) this Mother’s Day, May 8th!
2 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup powdered sugar
1 cup salted butter, cubed
Lemon Filling Ingredients:
6 eggs, room temperature
3 cups sugar
1 cup fresh squeezed lemon
2 tbsp grated lemon zest
Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line a 9x13 inch pan with foil or parchment paper & spray with non-stick baking spray.
To make the crust: Whisk together the flour and powdered sugar. Mix in butter with a fork until crumbly. You can also use a food processor to combine crust ingredients. Press dough in pan & bake for 20 minutes. Let crust cool completely after baking.
To make the lemon filling: Whisk together all filling ingredients & poor over cooled crust. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until filling is set. Cut & dust finished lemon bars with powdered sugar after they have cooled.
FHA 203k Renovation Loan Step-By-Step
You just signed a contract to buy a home, but it needs a few alterations. Or did you decide to renovate your existing home? No problem. Here’s everything you need to know about renovation financing.
STEP ONE ~ Contractor Selection
- Do your research and select a reputable residential contractor(s)
- Ensure your contractor is licensed (per local/state regulations), insured and has references
- Obtain written contractor estimates to complete your project
- Contact your local municipality and determine what permits are required for your project
- If applicable, a plan review must be obtained by an approved HUD Consultant
STEP TWO ~ Loan Application
- Loan Originator discusses financing options and documentation needed with you
- Loan Originator provides you with your Good Faith Estimate
- Loan Originator sends application to processing
- Appraisal is ordered on your behalf
STEP THREE ~ Loan Processing
- Loan Processor prepares file for underwriting
- Loan Processor contacts you when file goes to credit review with expected decision time
- You receive the Federal Truth-in-Lending (TIL) disclosure
STEP FOUR ~ Loan Credit Review
- Loan Underwriter reviews the project and the contractor(s) for acceptance
- Loan Underwriter reviews the complete loan file and makes a credit decision
- Loan Underwriter returns loan to Loan Processor who will contact you regarding a credit decision
STEP FIVE ~ Loan Processing
- Upon approval, Loan Processor will contact you to review the commitment letter and final conditions for closing
- All conditions must be provided and cleared prior to scheduling loan closing
Now, you are ready to close your loan and begin the actual project.
STEP SIX ~ Loan Closing
- Attorney/Settlement Agent reviews the loan file
- Attorney/Settlement Agent schedules closing date with you and reviews funds needed to close as well as any items needed at closing
- On closing date, you will sign your paperwork to complete the loan closing
STEP SEVEN ~ Renovation Begins
- You will receive a welcome kit and a call from your Draw Administrator within 5 days of closing
- Within 30 days of closing, the project must start according to the approved plan
- As per the rehabilitation loan agreement, the project must be completed within 6 months
STEP EIGHT ~ Making Payments
- Your 1st monthly payment will be due on the 1st day of the 2nd full month after closing, and then every month thereafter
- The fully-amortizing payments are based on the total loan amount including rehab monies
STEP NINE ~ Obtaining a Draw
- Any required building permits must be in place prior to the first draw
- When a stage of the plan is complete, call to request a draw
- Your Draw Administrator will require an inspection to be performed
- Upon satisfactory receipt of the above, a check will be written jointly to you and your contractor and sent to you.
STEP TEN ~ Project Completion
- The draw process is repeated for each stage until the loan is fully disbursed and the project is complete
- A final inspection and title update is obtained by the Draw Administrator
- If applicable, a Certificate of Occupancy/final municipal inspection is required for any permits previously issued
For more information on FHA 203k renovation loans click here.
Prospective homeowners (and anyone looking to refinance) have been pleasantly surprised with U.S. mortgage rates for 30-year loans. Rates have fallen to their lowest levels since April 2015, when the average was 3.68 percent. “Another week, another drop in mortgage rates,” has been the mortgage industry’s mantra since the Federal Reserve and its Chair Janet Yellen announced the decision in December to raise the short-term rate. Low interest rates, which translate to reduced costs for borrowers, could not have arrived at a more opportune time; the U.S. housing market is entering its most active selling season.
In a statement last Thursday, Freddie Mac announced that the average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage was 3.72 percent, down from 3.79 percent the previous week. This marked the fifth consecutive week of falling mortgage rates. The unexpectedly low rates are largely being attributed to volatility in the global market. The yield on the 10-year Treasury bonds dropped 15 basis points and 30-year mortgage rates fell 7 basis points. Mortgage rates and Treasury bonds are closely tied, so a good way to forecast which way mortgage rates are headed is to look at the 10-year bond yield. Characteristically, when bond rates (bond yields) rise, interest rates rise as well, and vice versa. Fed policymakers will meet again in March; however, economists strongly believe another rate hike will not be likely until June.
Our Loan Originators are available to help you understand your mortgage options based upon your individual qualifications. If you have any questions pertaining to mortgage interest rates, the loan process, or anything mortgage related, give us a call or stop by one of our local branches!
For more information, click here.
These decadent desserts are perfect for Valentine’s Day or any special occasion! This recipe is super simple and takes the guesswork of how to make mouth-watering and beautiful treats.
16 ounces milk, semi-sweet, or dark chocolate chips
2 pounds strawberries
2 tablespoons shortening
Non-perils, sprinkles or other decorations
Rinse and pat dry the strawberries - drying the strawberries will help the chocolate stick better. After washing, insert a toothpick into the top of each of the strawberries.
In a double boiler, melt together the chocolate and shortening. You can also microwave the chocolate. Use a microwave safe container to melt the chocolate and shortening. Microwave the mixture in 15 second increments to avoid burning the chocolate. Continue heating the chocolate and shortening until they are blended and smooth.
Next, dip the strawberries in the chocolate mixture by holding the toothpick. Then turn the dipped strawberry upside down and push the toothpick into the foam block. You can also place the strawberries on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper to cool. Before the chocolate has completely hardened, sprinkle your decorations on the strawberries to add texture.
Now that winter is in full swing, the gloomy weather can be a little disheartening. But don’t worry! Here are our top five tips on how to stay energized this winter.
Get Moving. Adding exercise to your routine (inside or outside) can help improve your mood and help boost your energy. If you want to spend time outdoors, there are plenty of winter activities to participate in. Snowshoeing, ice skating, skiing, snowboarding…the list goes on! Even walking is a great way to get moving.
Socialize. Spending time with your friends and family after the hustle and bustle of the holidays is important. Withdrawing and staying home can actually make you feel worse! So try visiting with friends or making some new ones. Get out there!
Shed Some Light on the Situation. We are exposed to less sunlight during the winter, which can affect how our body produces Vitamin D (an important part of bone health and overall wellness). Less sunlight can also mean a dip in your mood. Getting outside or sitting by a light box for as little as 30 minutes a day can put some pep back in your step. And make sure your blinds are open to let as much light into your home as possible.
Keep up with Your Resolutions. Having a focus can help you look past the snow drifts and chilly weather. And checking items off your list gives you a sense of accomplishment. Continue to persevere and keep up the good work!
Have Fun! Listen to your favorite music. Plan a vacation. Volunteer. Take a class. Trying something new and exciting is a great way to stay active and beat the winter blues.