What Are Your Home Financing Options When You Have a Lower Credit Score?

Posted by Laine Smith on 3/15/17 9:05 AM

Credit scores are a huge part of the loan approval process. They not only determine your eligibility for home financing but can also determine what mortgage rate you will qualify for. But what if your credit score falls on the lower side of the spectrum?

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Homeowners Have Missed Out on Billions in Refinance Savings – Is It Too Late for You?

Posted by Laine Smith on 3/8/17 9:45 AM

American homeowners could have saved a combined $5.5 billion by refinancing their mortgages in 2010 and 2012, according to a new study published in the Journal of Financial Economics. Despite historically low mortgage rates, homeowners didn’t make refinancing a top priority, which prompts the question: with mortgage rates rising in 2017, is it too late for you?

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Mortgage 101: How to Get $7,500 in Down Payment Assistance as a First-Time Homebuyer

Posted by Laine Smith on 2/20/17 10:06 AM

With mortgage rates and rent prices climbing on top of the availability of several down payment assistance programs, there’s no better reason to purchase your first home sooner rather than later. Here’s how the Illinois Housing Development Authority's loan program 1stHomeIllinois makes homeownership even more enticing for first-time buyers.

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Buying vs. Renting: Doing the Math on What's Best for You

Posted by Laine Smith on 1/30/17 12:11 PM

In 2014, 11 million renters were spending at least half of their income on housing, according to Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. Another 21.3 million (over 50 percent of renters) were spending 30 percent or more of their income on rent payments. So in an era where rent costs are going up, up, up, how do you decide whether buying a home or continuing to pay the landlord’s mortgage is the right financial choice for you? Here are several things you should factor in when considering the buying vs. renting scenario.

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Buying a Vacation Home: How to Find the Best Place to Purchase

Posted by Laine Smith on 1/29/17 10:34 AM

It’s that time of year again. Dreary skies and cool temps coupled with spring break planning has you thinking of what it’s actually like to own a home in your favorite vacation spot. In 2015, vacation homebuyers accounted for 16 percent of all homebuyers, which is historically high, according to the National Association of REALTORS® 2016 Investment & Vacation Home Buyers Survey. If a vacation home has been on your mind, here’s what you need to know about financing and choosing a good second home investment.

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7 Ways You Benefit as a Homeowner During Tax Season

Posted by Laine Smith on 1/25/17 9:55 AM

From personalizing your living space to creating a stable family living environment, there are several personal benefits of owning your own home. On the financial side, tax benefits are one of the biggest perks of homeownership. See how homeowners come out ahead during tax season.

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Pre-Approval vs. Loan Commitment: What You Need to Understand About the Difference

Posted by Laine Smith on 1/23/17 9:32 AM

We’re only months away from the busiest homebuying season. Whether you’re planning to make a home purchase yet this winter or are waiting until spring, you’re likely making strides to get your credit score and finances in the best shape possible. Another step you should pay a good amount of attention to: your path to home financing. Here’s what you need to know about pre-approvals versus loan commitments to determine which is the right step for you.


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Buying Your First Home: What to Expect on Your Loan Application (Infographic)

Posted by Laine Smith on 1/22/17 9:54 AM

After pre-approval, compiling your loan application is one of the first official steps toward achieving home financing. You mortgage banker will have some paperwork for you and you will have to compile some paperwork for them to verify your employment, income, available funds and home you wish to purchase.

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How to Sidestep 9 of the Biggest First-Time Homebuyer Mistakes

Posted by Laine Smith on 1/21/17 11:04 AM

Buying a home is a big financial and lifestyle decision, and if it’s your first home, it can be nerve-racking. Though your mortgage banker and real estate agent will be there to guide you, there are certain things you should be aware of before jumping into your homebuying journey. Here’s our list of the biggest first-time homebuyer blunders and how to avoid them.

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Should You Pay Additional Principal on Your Mortgage? 5 Things to Consider First

Posted by Laine Smith on 1/18/17 10:15 AM

You’ve likely dreamed of the day that you would own your home free and clear. If you want to see that day sooner rather than later, you know that making additional principal payments is your route to mortgage freedom. While there are several benefits of paying additional principal on your mortgage, there are several variables that determine whether it's the right choice for your financial situation right now.

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