You’re about to close on your new home. You’ve followed the wiring instructions that were in the email your Realtor sent you. You check to make sure the funds were withdrawn, but see that your account is completely empty…
This is the result of one of the newest online scams: taking advantage of home buyers who are excited about closing on their new home. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the National Association of Realtors have issued a warning about a new phishing scheme that has left many people with no money in the bank.
Hackers have figured out a way to access clients’ and Realtors’ email accounts. The hackers are then able to get information about the upcoming closing. With the closing date in hand, the hacker will send an email to the buyer pretending to be a Realtor or Title Company employee. The fake email claims that there has been a last-minute change in the wiring instructions, and includes different bank account information that the buyer should wire funds to the new account. In reality, the new account belongs to the hacker. Before anyone realizes what has happened, the money is gone from the account.
How to Avoid It
- Contact your Real Estate Professional or Title Company to see if they actually sent you the email about the change.
- Do not send financial information via email. It is not secure and can be easily accessed by hackers.
- Make sure any websites you transmit financial information through are secure. You can tell by looking at the URL at the top of the screen. If it is https instead of http, that means it is a secure site.
- Access websites by manually typing in the page information instead of clicking on links you receive in emails.
- Consistently update your computer security and anti-virus programs.
- If something feels suspicious, trust your gut.
At Homestead Funding Corp., we take our clients’ privacy very seriously. We have several measures in place that help protect your personal information. If you believe you may be the victim of a financial scam, please report it to the FTC as soon as possible at https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov.
Homestead Funding: Why Refinance Your Mortgage ?
The general rule for refinancing a mortgage has always been if you can reduce your rate by .75-1% or more, then it is the perfect time to refi. This may be considered the best reason to refinance, but it is not the only reason why it may be in your best interest. Some other reasons why it may be a good time to refinance your mortgage are:
You'd like to lower your monthly out-of-pocket costs — Saving money each month on your mortgage, no matter the amount, can make a big difference. It's always a good idea to look into your refinance options when interest rates are low.
You need to build equity — When you are able to pay more each moth, it may be beneficial to refinance a 30-year loan into a 15- or 20- year loan. Cutting the term of your loan builds equity faster and could also save you money paid on interest over the life of the loan.
A different loan program may work better for your situation — When you first applied for your loan an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) made the most sense for you. If your situation has changed, a Fixed Rate may work better for you now. There’s never any harm in checking if a new loan product could help you save money and streamline your finances.
Your credit has improved — After making mortgage payments on time and in full, your credit score may have improved. Reviewing your current score and looking for any new options that may be available to you could increase your savings over the life of the loan.
You’d like to tap into your home’s equity — A cash-out refinance may be the best option for you to pay for the long-awaited home renovation or other expenses.
If you have been on the fence about whether or not to refinance your home, we would be happy to help assess your situation and see if refinancing makes sense for you. Contact us today to get started!
Back-to-school shopping can become an expensive, time consuming and even stressful event. Here is a checklist that will help keep your family on time, on task, and on budget:
- Stick to the teacher's list of supplies; don’t buy extraneous items that may go to waste
- See what you have at home first; you may already own most items
- Wait until sales are advertised
- Buy plain lunch-boxes and let your kids decorate them
- Clip coupons from Sunday circulars
- Shop discount stores first such as Dollar Tree or Five Below
- Follow stores' social media accounts for sale alerts
- Buy in bulk and split among multiple families
- Try thrift shops such as Salvation Army or Plato’s Closet
- Go discount, such as TJ Maxx, Marshall's or Nordstrom Rack
- If not discount, try overstock.com, zulily.com and ClothingUnder10.com
- Make alterations to old clothes: hem pants, dye shirts or sew on patches
- Old Navy, Gap Kids, The Children's Place refund the difference on new sale items within 14 days
- Use Craigslist or Facebook garage sales to sell stuff for extra cash
In the Community
From June 1st to July 31st, all mortgage applications submitted with Homestead were entered into our Back to School Contest. We pulled two winners and they each won a $250 Visa Gift Card!
Our first winners were Joe and Brittany, who are currently working with Loan Originator Jason Young! They’re about to close on their home, and couldn’t have been more thrilled to find out from Jason that they were one of the winners of our contest.
Joe and Brittany have experienced a bunch of firsts this year. They just got engaged, they’re buying their first home, and their son Joey is starting his first year at pre-school. They can’t wait to put this extra money towards preparing Joey for his first year at school!
We wish Joey luck on his first day, and Joe and Brittany all the happiness in the world experiencing many more firsts in their new home.
Our second winner was Ramona! Ramona is currently working with Loan Originator Amy O’Rourke. She came to Homestead from Pioneer Bank, and says that she couldn’t be happier working with Amy. Ramona is in the process of purchasing her first home, and having lived previously in only apartments, she is VERY excited to start shopping for her new place!
Have you ever considered purchasing a second home? Maybe you’ve been on the fence about whether a second or vacation home would fit into your lifestyle. Here are a few reasons why owning a second home could enhance your life!
- Spending quality time with family and friends – a second home offers an opportunity to share experiences and make memories in a new environment. A second or vacation home can provide a great place for the people in your life to gather and enjoy time together. From family reunions to annual vacations, there lots of reasons to have those you care about come for a visit!
- A place to escape to – many people purchase a second home to be near their favorite ski slope, to have a place to enjoy the warmth during the winter, or to be by a beautiful beach to walk along. Wherever you want to spend your free time, a second home can provide a much needed place to decompress and relax. It can even be a home to retire in.
- A chance to invest – owning a second home offers an opportunity to rent either your original home or your vacation property. It’s possible to use rental income to improve your finances. It’s also a possibility that the second property will increase in value, which could increase your assets.
If you or someone you know has been thinking of owning a home away from home, we can help!