• This post is for all the gardeners out there! This time of year, we’re excited about combining our love of gardens with our love of prize giveaways. Whether you’re new to the gardening game or have years of experience in the backyard, this contest is for you.

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  • Summer has arrived! Keeping your kids occupied and off the couch can be a difficult task. Here are five lifesaving backyard activities that are easy and fun for everyone!

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  • In recent months, my wife and I have been on the hunt for a house. Fortunately the search is over, but in the course of looking for our dream home, we were treated to a few – shall we say – interesting approaches to decorating. These screaming, shrieking examples of what NOT to do,...

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Finding Your First Home

Finding Your First Home

Although buying your first home and going through the mortgage process can be a somewhat intimidating process, it’s only because you’ve never been through it before. Looking for your first home can be quite exciting. So where do you start? From the get-go, make sure you’re working with a trusted real estate agent who can walk you through the ins-and-outs of home buying. They will help you narrow down your search, take you on private home tours, handle all necessary paperwork, and negotiate the best price just for you. You should also do your own homework on the side, such as driving through prospective neighborhoods, gathering information sheets from “for sale” properties, and taking pictures of houses you may like so you don’t forget which one is which. Read up on some financing options like FHA loans, secure 30-year fixed or 15-year fixed, and depending on how much you have in savings, check out home loan programs that require low down payments. You might also find it helpful to get some good buyer know-how by familiarizing yourself with terms that are commonly used in the housing and mortgage industries. Also, for more information check out our first-time home buyer tax credit video for tips and facts on how to get an $8,000 tax credit. Another way to look for a home is to check newspaper classified ads, popular real estate listings websites, or through real estate company websites. Why use a real estate agent? A real estate agent can be…

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First Time Home Buying Mistakes

First Time Home Buying Mistakes

Buying a home can be a confusing and complicated process, especially for a first-time home buyer. But if you follow these tips, you can make sure things go as smoothly as possible. Also be sure to check out our first-time home buyer tax credit video for more information and tips on the $8,000 tax credit. Mistake #1: Not finding the right person to guide you through the home buying process Mistake #2: Not checking your credit report and score Mistake #3: Not making your offer look good enough to sellers Mistake #1: Not finding the right person to guide you through the home buying process Many people forget that it’s just as important to shop around for the right real estate agent and lender as it is to shop for the right home. A wrong person leading you through this extensive process can lead to hassles and headaches. Having someone help you through the home buying process can match your needs and goals with the right mortgage possibilities. Solution: To find both the right real estate agent and lender, get referrals from family and friends. Do research online. Ask your potential real estate agents and lenders lots of questions! They should seem willing and able to answer any and all questions you may have. The more you ask, the more educated you can be to make the right decisions. A good real estate agent should show you many houses that fall within your price range so that you know what’s…

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Homeowner Tax Benefits

Homeowner Tax Benefits

Everyone’s situation is different — owning a home may or may not be right for you. Many people have different needs in different parts of the country. It’s up to you to gauge what your needs and financial abilities are. When you’re looking for a home, there are several things you should consider, especially if you’re a first-time home buyer. With renting, you have no responsibility in terms of maintaining the home-it’s the landlord’s duty to take care of lawn care, snow removal, and repairs. Renting may also be good if you plan on moving within a year or if you are in an area, such as New York or California, where housing space is at a premium and can be very expensive. Financial and Tax Benefits However, owning has great financial and tax benefits – when you pay interest on a mortgage, that interest is usually tax-deductible*. If you pay points on your loan to reduce your interest rate on your home purchase, that amount is also tax-deductible* for that year. Anyone buying a home in 2009 and early 2010 (until April 30) can qualify for the first-time home buyer credit – a non-refundable tax credit of up to $8,000! This is a great incentive to become a first-time home buyer. Don’t miss out. Check out our first-time home buyer tax credit video for more information. Plus, the more principal you pay, the more equity , or ownership, you have in the home, whereas no matter how much you…

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12 Signs Your Debt is Out of Control

12 Signs Your Debt is Out of Control

Carrying some debt is very normal. Virtually everyone has debt. But the key is controlling and managing your debt, not letting debt control you. How can you tell if your debt has become out of control? Here’s a list of common debt danger signs: 1. You spend more than you earn 2. Creditors call you often 3. You live paycheck to paycheck 4. You don’t know how much you owe on your bills 5. You’ve paid late fees more than twice in the last year 6. You occasionally make late payments 7. You pay only the minimum on your credit cards 8. You put off paying one bill so you can pay another 9. You argue with family members about money 10. You take cash advances from credit cards to pay bills 11. You make purchases impulsively 12. You’ve taken money from your retirement fund to pay bills How to Manage Your Debt If you think your debt is out of control, don’t panic. With a little bit of self-discipline and smart financial planning, you can learn how to

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Prequalified? Get Pre-Approved Instead

Prequalified? Get Pre-Approved Instead

Confused about what getting pre-qualified or pre-approved means? You’re not the only one. There’s a big difference between a mortgage pre-qualification, a pre-approval and an actual mortgage approval. Getting Pre-Qualified for a Mortgage Getting pre-qualified for a mortgage helps give you an idea of how much you might qualify to borrow. But since you have not actually applied for a loan, and the lender only has your word on your credit, income, assets and liabilities, a home loan or mortgage amount is not guaranteed. With a pre-qualification, no information has been verified. If you receive a letter from the lender, it may only state that you are likely to be approved for a mortgage. A Better Solution While it’s helpful to be pre-qualified for a home loan, it doesn’t always guarantee you’ll be approved for a loan. Our pre-approved mortgage is based on your real credit score, and really puts real estate agents and home sellers at ease. At the same time, you’re in control when making an offer to a seller. They’ll know you’re a serious buyer who’s ready and able to make a deal. If you would like to learn more about the getting approved for a home loan, call us at (800) 251-9080 and talk to a Quicken Loans Home Loan Expert today.

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J.D. Power and Associates Ranks Quicken Loans “Highest in Customer Satisfaction for Primary Mortgage Origination.”

J.D. Power and Associates Ranks Quicken Loans “Highest in Customer Satisfaction for Primary Mortgage Origination.”

Every Client. Every Time. Maybe that’s why J.D. Power and Associates ranks us “Highest in Customer Satisfaction for Primary Mortgage Origination.” J.D. Power and Associates surveys millions of consumers annually about their experience in order to measure a company’s quality and satisfaction. “I am proud of the entire organization and our 4,000-plus incredible, curious, aware and motivated brainforce for achieving the accomplishment of being ranked highest for client satisfaction in America. Our technology and process driven home lending platform continues to separate itself from the entire industry with its unparalleled capacity, speed, geographic reach and client experience,” said Dan Gilbert, founder and chairman of Quicken Loans Inc. We’re honored to be recognized for this prestigious award and will continue to keep living up to our reputation! Read the full press release, here. Quicken Loans received the highest numerical score in the proprietary J.D. Power and Associates 2010 Primary Mortgage Origination StudySM.  Study based on 3,401 total responses measuring 14 lenders and measures opinions of consumers who originated a new mortgage.  Proprietary study results are based on experiences and perceptions of consumers surveyed in July-August 2010. Your experiences may vary.  Visit jdpower.com.  

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Mortgage Refinancing Checklist

Mortgage Refinancing Checklist

Completing a loan application is the first thing you’ll do when refinancing your mortgage. You may also need to provide a variety of documentation to help your mortgage lender approve you for a home loan. The documentation will vary depending on the lender you choose, your loan program, and your personal financial situation. The following is a list of documents generally required during the refinance application process. You may or may not need everything on our refinance checklist, but for a fast and easy loan process, have these items available when you’re ready to complete your mortgage application. Proof of income: Typically, you’ll need to show original pay stubs for the last 30 days. Copy of homeowners insurance: Verifies that you have current and sufficient coverage on your home. Copies of your W-2 forms: Required for each loan applicant and helps your lender verify past employment and income history. Copies of asset information: Including accounts holding money for closing costs, statements for savings, checking and 401K accounts and investment records for mutual funds or stocks. Copy of title insurance : Helps your mortgage lender verify the taxes, names on the title and legal description of the property. Once you’ve begun the refinance process, your Quicken Loans refinance expert will tell you which documents you’ll need to get approved. They may vary depending on where you live and which loan program you’ve selected. But keep in mind – the more information you have ready before you apply, the less time it will…

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Mortgage Pre-Approval Alternatives

Mortgage Pre-Approval Alternatives

A regular mortgage pre-approval may not be enough. Find out how getting a Quicken Loans Pre-Approval helps you stand out from other offers. Home Loans with More Power Get the mortgage advice you need. Your biggest investment is your home, and our exclusive Quicken Loans Pre-Approval gives you the edge you need to make the most of it. You could have a lower mortgage payment, lower interest rates, flexible payment options, no down payment, no closing costs ultimately giving you a lot more home buying power. We offer a number of different types of mortgage options to fit your individual financial situation. Strong Negotiating Muscle With any Quicken Loans home loan, you’re pre-approved for your mortgage* before you shop for a home, giving you extra muscle at the bargaining table. You have a clear advantage over other home buyers because the seller knows that your offer is good. Expert Online Mortgage Advice Your home purchase is the biggest investment you’ll ever make, and you should maximize your investment. The home loan experts at Quicken Loans help you do that. You’ll not only get expert mortgage advice on which home loan makes sense for your situation and gives you more buying power, but you’ll get the Homeworks email published exclusively for our clients. You’ll learn how to manage your mortgage as you would manage your stocks and bonds, IRAs and 401k. Knowing how to maximize your home investment can benefit you greatly. Get More Home Buying Power Our home loans give…

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