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Finally, the millennial generation has started to enter the housing market. At least, they should be. Unfortunately, between a volatile job market, high student loan debt, and the delaying of life events like marriage, millennials have been hesitant to take that step into buying their first home. However, despite what they may believe, the home market is currently great for millennial homebuyers. Here are the top five reasons why millennials should take that leap of faith and enter the world of homeownership.

  • Mortgages Are More Affordable. Between today’s historically low interest rates and the abundance of mortgage products currently on the market that allow down payments as low as 3.5%, it is much easier for first time homebuyers to find affordable housing options.
  • Less Strain On Your Application. Not only are mortgages currently easier on the millennial budget, but they’re also easier on their credit. Credit requirements have eased significantly, allowing lower credit scores than have been accepted in years to be eligible for a mortgage. Plus, the variety of products on the market allow for more people to find a mortgage that will fit with their particular financial situation.
  • Freedom in Owning A Home. Owning a home means being free to decorate and change it in whatever way. There are now options to paint, change the flooring, hang photos, or even take down whole walls without having to worry about putting everything back when it’s time to move out. The house belongs to the homeowner, not a landlord who gets to call the shots.
  • Enjoyable Tax Breaks. Thankfully, a homeowner’s mortgage interest, and many other home-related expenses, is deductible from income tax. Thus, owning a home can actually help decrease tax burdens. Unfortunately, this does make tax filing a little more complicated for homeowners, but it will be well worth it in terms of savings.
  • It Helps Young Families Build Wealth. Owning a home means no longer having to worrying about paying rent and that money is now actually going toward a mortgage and not just a landlord. There won’t be any stress over rising rent prices and the money that goes into each mortgage payment will begin to build equity and contribute to a primary source of a homebuyer’s net worth. Owning a home means millennials can start padding their own retirement fund and not that of a landlord.

General

Unfortunately, the air in today’s homes, schools, and businesses are often found to be more polluted than the air we breathe when we’re outside. This pollution is caused not only by biological sources like mold and fungi, but also by synthetic building materials, finishes, and furnishings being used in homes. Even the use of personal-care products, cleaning supplies, and pesticides help add to this problem, and with Americans spending 90% of their time indoors, these facts sound pretty daunting.

Fortunately, there are ways that homeowners can improve the quality of their indoor air without spending tons of money. NASA and the Associated Landscape Contractors of America (ALCA) conducted research on house plants in order to determine which, if any, could help aid in the removal of major indoor air pollutants. Their study found several plants that were actually quite effective in the removal of various indoor pollutants such as formaldehyde, benzene, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen oxides. Here are ten of the best plants to help filter your indoor air.

  • Peace Lily
  • Spider Plant
  • Bamboo Palm
  • Moth Orchid
  • Chinese Evergreen
  • Rubber Plant
  • Ficus Alii
  • Boston Fern
  • Snake Plant
  • Lady Palm

Though these plants will be greatly beneficial to the improvement of your air, their ability to control indoor air pollution is not nearly as well established. Thus, it is important to remember that source control and adequate ventilation are the most effective solutions for problems with indoor air quality.

Also, always remeber before you bring any new plants or flowers into your home to check with your Veterinarian to make sure your new additions will not be harmful to your furry friends!


General

Things Pet Owners Look for in a Home

Sep 6
12:26
PM
Category | General

These days, more Americans than ever have a furry, feathery, or scaly friend as a member of their family, and their needs are just as important as everyone else’s. In fact, around 79 million U.S. households currently own a pet, so as they start looking to buy a house they’ll need to make sure it can accommodate their animal companion. Here are the main three things pet owners should look at when searching for a home.

Rules, Regulations, and Requirements. HOA, condo, and townhouse rules all probably have something to say about pets, so it’s important to go over the fine print before deciding to move in. County code restrictions should also be looked into as they may limit the amount of pets or sometimes even the types of pets a household can have. Also, look into neighborhood leash laws and clean-up requirements as these could affect a pet owner and their normal routine.

Location. Consider the area surrounding the house such as sidewalks and traffic. Is it safe to take dogs for walks in the area? Would a cat be able to go outside without being in immediate danger? Also look into the house’s distance from any parks, pet stores, vets, or other pet-friendly places, and try to find out if the neighborhood itself is pet friendly. Look for other dog walkers, community placed doggie clean-up stations, cats sun bathing on porches, or talk to the neighbors if they or their friends have pets. A neighborhood that’s hesitant about them may not be the best option.

Features and Layout. This is probably the most important aspect of house hunting for pet owners. Will this home be comfortable for them? Consider a pet’s age and mobility and how the floorplan may affect their happiness. An old cat may not be comfortable in a home with a lot of stairs, and a closed floorplan may be too tight for an active puppy. The little details are important, too, such as if there are wood and tile floors or if the whole house is carpeted, or if there’s a faucet outside to use to clean a big hairy dog. Also consider the yard. Is there one? How big is it? Is it fenced in? A happy pet makes for a happy life, so it’s important to look at how a new home will impact the little guys.


General

Things Not to do When Buying a House

Sep 3
10:43
AM
Category | General

Congratulations! You’ve been pre-approved and now the home of your dreams is under contract. Everything’s going swimmingly and you are probably just dying to move in and get going on your future in a brand new house. However, you have to remember that the house isn’t quite yours yet and you don’t want to accidentally do something that will delay your move in. Here are ten things you should avoid doing in order to actually get into your home in a timely fashion.

  • Don’t apply for a new credit card. When you apply for a new card, it affects your debt-to-income ratio and your credit scores which will mess with all the numbers your Loan Originator calculated for you.
  • Don’t buy a new car. This will also mess with your debt-to-income ratio and you’ll be stuck at a home buying red light for longer than you’d like.
  • Don’t buy furniture before you own the house. It’s best to wait until you own the house and have a better idea of your budget before going on a furniture shopping spree.
  • Don’t change jobs. It may present better pay and a better opportunity, but it could also delay the home buying process.
  • Don’t close any credit accounts. It sounds like a good idea to clean up your finances by canceling unused credit cards and transferring balances to other ones to get a lower rate, but don’t do it, not yet anyway, as it’ll drop your credit score.
  • Don’t get behind on payments. It’s so important that you stay on top of all of your payments to continue to prove that you’re creditworthy.
  • Don’t move any money without a paper trail. Your lender is going to need documentation of all of your transactions in order to make sure you really have enough money for this house.
  • Don’t spend your savings. You will need cash for your down payment, closing costs, and other various fees, so it’s a good idea to hold on to your savings until after you own the house, even if you don’t think you need it all.
  • Don’t switch banks. Once your funds have been verified, leave them where they are.
  • Don’t change your marital status. It affects your title. Avoid it if you can but if not, make sure you make your lender and title company aware of any changes so the documents can be correctly prepared.

I know, it’s all so much to keep track of, and your brain’s too excited to keep it all straight. If you have any questions or you’re ever unsure, talk to your Loan Originator. They are here to help make your dream of homeownership a reality.


General

Student Loans, Mortgages And You

Aug 29
10:30
AM
Category | General

One of the biggest things that deters many first time homebuyers from going out and buying a house is student loan debt. The pressure on millennials and the younger generation to go to college and obtain a degree has left many young people tied to a large amount of student debt. Many of these buyers choose to wait until they’ve paid most of their loans before buying a house, but all hope is not lost if you’re still under the thumb of your student loans. Sure, buying a home can still be a challenge, but it’s not impossible.

The main issue that student loans present to the home buying process is that they are included in a buyer’s debt-to-income ratio (DTI). DTI is the percentage of monthly income that is spent on debt payments including mortgages, car loans, credit card payments, and student loans. This ratio helps lenders to determine what size mortgage you can take on or if you can even afford one at all.

Of course, not all loans count your student debt the same. For example, VA and FHA loans will not include a student loan in your DTI if the payments have been deferred for at least 12 months, but any student loans will be included in a conventional loan whether it’s been deferred or not. Even then, there are different ways that this debt will be looked at depending on the type of home loan you apply for, so it’s important that you talk to a lender before giving up on the idea entirely.

There are many things that lenders look at when you apply for pre-approval. On top of your DTI they also look into your credit score and your potential down payment. These things, when paired with your student debt, could still approve you for a reasonably sized home loan. The real issue is finding out if you can afford a mortgage payment, and while you might say, “yes,” your lender might say, “no.” Save as much and as often as you can, pay all your bills on time, keep your credit score up, and work your debt down as much as you can and you will still be able to obtain a home loan even as you sit on student debt.

It’s important to understand the impact your loans have so that you can adjust your needs and work with what you have. Student loans are an obstacle, but if you have a plan for buying a home you can overcome them.


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