This holiday season, Homestead Funding would like to take time to say how grateful we are for the wonderful people in our lives. Thank you to all our clients and referral partners. Without you, we wouldn't be here today! And thank you to our employees. You make Homestead the amazing company we are today.
Click here for a special holiday message.
In the Community
Homestead Funding is taking part in the U.S Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program for a second year! Our corporate office is a drop-off site where you can come and donate new, unwrapped toys to be given to children in need. We are hoping to bring smiles to as many children as we can this holiday season, so we need your help. Stop by our office anytime during business hours with a toy for a less fortunate child and look for the box displaying jolly Old Saint Nick in our lobby. Let’s work together to make this a happy holiday for boys and girls all over the Capital Region!
Toys for Tots was founded by Major Bill Hendricks of the United States Marine Corps Reserves in Los Angeles, California in 1947 when his wife wanted to donate a Raggedy Ann doll to a poor child but couldn’t find an organization that would do such. Major Hendricks then gathered a group of local Marine reserves and together they collected around 5,000 toys. Due to their success, Toys for Tots was launched as a national campaign the following year. In that year, Walt Disney designed the now famous red train logo and created the first national Toys for Tots poster. It wasn’t until 1996, however, that the Commander, Marine Forces Reserve allowed for select Marine Corps League Detachments and local community groups to conduct toy collections so that areas without a Marine Reserve center could still participate, thus finally bringing the charity to all 50 states.
Every year since its founding, Toys for Tots has continued to grow and gain recognition through the federal government and various celebrity endorsements and is now promoted on many televised holiday specials and at large public events. The charity also continues to be recognized as one of the greatest charity organizations in America by the Philanthropy 400. No matter what troubles our nation has faced, there has always been kindness and love to bring joy to everyone during the holidays.
Mortgage Lending Advice : Why Winter is The Best Time to Buy a Mortgage.
For most people, winter is one of the least convenient times to shop for a home. Whether the weather’s keeping them inside, the holidays are eating up their free time, or they just don’t want to potentially mess with their child’s school year, homebuyers are simply not on the hunt. Here are five reasons why it’s ideal to look for a home during the colder months.
- Bargain Prices: There may be fewer buyers out and about, but there will still be houses on sale during the winter causing supply to exceed demand in the housing industry. Because of this home prices are usually at an annual low around January, meaning you will probably end up with more for your money.
- Motivated Sellers: Generally, if a homeowner lists their home in winter it’s because they need to move from their property for one reason or another. You can then use this to your advantage to get a better deal as they’re usually more willing to negotiate.
- Less Competition: Since most people don’t think of winter as prime house hunting season, there’s much less competition in the market. Less competition means there are fewer chances of there being multiple offers on any one property, so you won’t have to worry nearly as much about someone having a better offer.
- Availability of Professionals: Again, fewer people are looking at houses now than during the rest of the year. You won’t have nearly as much competition for a home or for the attention of real estate professionals. Both real estate agents and lenders will have fewer clients to worry about so they’ll be able to spend more time with you answering your questions.
- Seasonal Perspective: When you tour a home in the summer, it’s hard to imagine what life would be like there in the winter. Are there drafts? Does the heat seem to be working well? Are you cold as you walk around? If you live somewhere where the winter weather is particularly harsh, touring a house during that time and seeing how well the heating and insulation actually work could actually be more beneficial than touring in the warmer months.
Despite all these facts, it’s important to remember that the best time to buy a house is the time that works best for you. So, if you should find yourself buying a home this winter call Homestead Funding for all your home financing needs!
Affordable Care Act Tax Scam Alert
The Internal Revenue Service has announced the latest scam to hit the country, which features a fake notice that the recipient owes money due to the Affordable Care Act. If you or someone you know receives a suspicious message you're not sure is from the IRS, you'll want to know these details:
Fake notices designed to look like actual IRS CP2000 notices (sent when information received about your income doesn't match your tax return) will claim you owe money for the previous tax year under the Affordable Care Act.
Emailed notices are a red flag because the IRS doesn't initiate communication by email. These emails may include a link to make an online payment. Fake payment processing websites can not only defraud you but also steal your identity or infect your computer.
Mailed notices may request that a check made payable to "I.R.S." be sent. However, legitimate CP2000 notices request taxpayers only make checks payable to "United States Treasury."
The IRS has defined procedures for communicating with taxpayers and will never:
- Initiate contact by email, text or social media
- Request payments via gift card, prepaid debit card or wire transfer
- Threaten immediate arrest or deportation for failure to pay
If you or anyone you know receives a suspicious notice, a copy should be immediately sent to firstname.lastname@example.org and then deleted from your email account. The Federal Trade Commission should also be notified.
New Conforming Loan Limits in 2017
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced new maximum loan limits for conforming loans acquired by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. This is the first increase since 2006.
Effective January 1, 2017, the maximum loan limit for one-unit properties in much of the country will be $424,100, up from $417,000. Higher loan limits will be in effect in higher-cost areas.
What prompted this change?
The baseline loan limit of $417,000 was established by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA). The law requires that this loan limit be adjusted each year to reflect changes in the national average home price.
FHFA's most recent third quarter Home Price Index report showed average home prices have risen about 1.7 percent above where they were in the third quarter of 2007, prompting an equivalent increase in loan limits.
With home prices on the rise, the conforming loan limit increase opens up opportunities and helps keep home loans more affordable for more Americans.
If you'd like to learn more about these new loan limits or other loan products, please contact Homestead Funding Corp. today!