• Characterized by bright colors, woven fabrics and handcrafted pieces, southwestern-style decorating takes influences from Native American, Spanish and Mexican art. Whether you live out west and want your home to reflect your surroundings, or you simply want to incorporate colorful or handmade items into your existing decor, here are some tips to help you...

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  • A new phenomenon is affecting the mortgage and real estate industries. People who bought a home or refinanced in the last few years have such a ridiculously low mortgage rate that they don’t want to move and have to accept a new mortgage with a higher rate. But the reality is that these people...

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  • 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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Bernanke Hints at Possible Expansion of Treasury Purchases – Market Update

Bernanke Hints at Possible Expansion of Treasury Purchases – Market Update

Bonds are up this morning following comments from Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke last night on the television show “60 Minutes,” where he indicated that the economy is “not self-sustaining,” and that the central bank may expand the $600 billion in Treasury purchases in an attempt to spur growth (essentially, a QE3). This week’s economic releases will do little to move the market so the focus will be on Treasury auctions and Europe’s debt problems.

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Fixed-Rate Mortgages

Fixed-Rate Mortgages

Fixed-rate mortgages – also called conventional mortgages – have been the most popular home loans for decades. The interest rate on a fixed-rate mortgage stays the same throughout the life of the loan, as opposed to adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs), in which the interest rate may adjust or “float.” Fixed-rate mortgages allow for repayment of a debt in equal monthly mortgage payments over a specified period of time, called an amortization period. At the end of the amortization period, which can last anywhere from 10 to 50 years, the loan will be paid in full. Because a 30-year amortization period is the most common, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has become the industry standard in the United States. For the first few years of a 30-year mortgage, most of your monthly payment goes toward interest, but toward the end of the loan period, much of your monthly payment goes toward principal. What Determines 30-Year Fixed Mortgage Rates? Interest rates on 30-year fixed mortgages are driven by 1-year, 5-year, and 10-year Treasury Note yields, which are auctioned to the highest bidder. At the end of the note’s term, the U.S. Government pays back full face value to the bidder, so in effect, bidders are loaning the bid amount to the U.S. Government. In return, they get the interest rate and the full face value on the note. As a result, the interest rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage is usually just slightly higher than that of the 30-year Treasury Bond at the time…

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Making the Perfect Offer to Buy the Perfect Home

Making the Perfect Offer to Buy the Perfect Home

Once you’ve found a home that meets your needs, it’s time to make an offer. In deciding the amount of your offer you and your agent have to weigh several factors – asking price vs. comparable home sales, market conditions, other potential offers, how badly you want the home, the home’s condition, if you’re approved for a loan, etc. A good agent is invaluable in this step and can do wonders for keeping your inevitable making-an-offer jitters at bay. The Purchase Agreement You’ll sign a purchase agreement that your agent will supply and that indicates the amount of your offer and may also include details that stipulates, for instance, which appliances stay and when you’d like to take possession, etc. You’ll put down “earnest money,” a deposit to show that you’re willing and able to buy the home – earnest money is usually a small percentage of the asking price and later applied as part of your down payment. An earnest money deposit is a check you write to the seller and that your agent holds until the offer has been accepted. This is different from the deposit your mortgage banker will accept from you when you are ready to begin the mortgage process from us. The Counter Offer Your agent presents your offer to the seller’s agent who in turn presents it to the seller. Then, you wait. It may seem like a long time because the waiting can be excruciating, but most offers stipulate a response within 24…

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Mortgage Closing Costs and Fees

Mortgage Closing Costs and Fees

In addition to understanding all the mortgage options you have to choose from (your Mortgage Banker will help you with this), it’s good to know the costs associated with your mortgage ahead of time so you’re fully prepared for closing. Any costs will be paid upon closing your mortgage. Purchase Points Purchase points, also known as a “buy-down” or “discount points,” are an up-front fee paid to the lender at closing to buy-down or lower your interest rate over the life of the loan. Each point is equal to one percent of your total loan amount. If you have a $100,000 loan, one point would equal $1,000. The more points you buy, the lower your interest rate, but the more money you’ll need at closing. How do you decide whether you should buy points and if so, how many? Well, the decision should be based on how long you plan on living in your home and what you can afford to pay each month toward your mortgage. If you plan on living in your home for more than five years, it’s probably a good idea to purchase points. The longer you live in your home, the more you can save on interest over the life of the loan. The more you read about the purpose of mortgage points, the better off you’ll be in your home loan process. Interest Rate When you get a mortgage, you are charged an interest rate – this is the rate which the lender charges…

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FHA Streamline – Refinance Your FHA Loan with No Appraisal

FHA Streamline – Refinance Your FHA Loan with No Appraisal

Quicken Loans now offers FHA Streamline refinance, the easiest way to refinance your FHA loan. With FHA Streamline, you could refinance an FHA loan with no appraisal and no income/assets verification. Not sure if an FHA Streamline is right for you? Find out if you qualify for an FHA Streamline refinance in just a few easy steps! Or, watch our FHA Streamline video on YouTube for more information about this great opportunity to lower your mortgage payment with an FHA refinance. Refinancing an FHA Loan with FHA Streamline FHA Streamline offers a great opportunity to anyone currently in an FHA loan. All FHA loans qualify for the program, including 30- and 15-year fixed rate FHA loans and all ARM FHA loans. FHA Streamline allows you to take advantage of lower mortgage rates by refinancing your current FHA loan into a lower fixed rate on a new FHA loan. Lower Your Mortgage Rate on Your FHA Loan with FHA Streamline Quicken Loans makes it simple. If today’s mortgage rates are lower than your current rate, or you have an FHA ARM that may adjust upward, you can refinance your FHA loan up to the original amount of your current loan at today’s lower rates. And with FHA Streamline, you could qualify for an FHA refinance with no appraisal and no income verification. It’s easy, fast and designed to get you a lower payment on your FHA loan. What the FHA is Saying about FHA Streamline Here is some information from HUD’s website about FHA…

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No Documentation Home Loans

No Documentation Home Loans

Due to current financial markets, most mortgage companies, including Quicken Loans, do not offer no-doc or low-doc loans. If you have questions and would like to find the best way to qualify for a full-doc loan, talk to a Home Loan Expert today at (800) 251-9080. Who Benefits from No Doc & Low Doc Loans? The more documentation you provide your mortgage lender (employment, income and credit history) the lower your interest rate may be. Many home buyers in the past have chosen not to offer documentation for personal privacy reasons, and willingly opt for a higher interest rate. Yet, many of these home buyers had a healthy income, or savings, and a credit history . A no doc (documentation) or low doc loan provides increased ease and privacy when getting a mortgage in exchange for a slightly higher rate. With the current market, no doc and low doc loans are increasingly harder to qualify for, or even find, from most mortgage lenders. Some programs, such as FHA loans, offer easier qualifying than conventional loans, but finding a true no doc or low doc loan is nearly impossible today. Buyers that opt for a low doc home loan are typically those who don’t prefer to have their entire life and financial history presented to the lender. For instance, they might be using an inheritance to secure a loan or have fluctuating income from owning their own business. Ease is a big factor as well. With a no doc or low…

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How to Sell Your Home Fast

How to Sell Your Home Fast

Selling your home? Check out 10 tips to sell your house quick! Don’t let a buyer’s market worry you. Avoid common home selling mistakes, get matched with a trusted real estate agent from In-House Realty and move your house off the market – fast! Then, let Quicken Loans make moving and buy a new home easier than anywhere else. Top 10 Tips for Selling Your Home If you’re looking for an experienced real estate agent, but don’t know where to turn to, head to In House Realty at Inhouserealtyonline.com. They pre-screen agents nationwide then match you with a trusted, reputable agent in your area for free. Also, if you’re moving and buying a new home, you can find everything you need right here at our information center, created for experienced homeowners in your situation. In the meantime, here are 10 things to consider when selling your home: Besides spring, the best time to put your house on the market if you plan on buying another home is when interest rates are low. Low rates benefit both buyers and sellers, and you’ll be both. Consider selling your home yourself. You could reduce the cost of selling your home up to 6% of the selling price. You’ll need good marketing skills and the time it takes to market your own house. There are over 200 private organizations across the country that offer assistance for self-sellers, including magazines, radio and TV advertising, private computerized listings and other selling tools such as for sale…

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How to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft

How to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft

Identity theft is, disturbingly, all too common. When someone steals your identity they are taking your personal information, like your Social Security number, credit card numbers or driver’s license number, and using it to commit fraud, make purchases and access bank accounts. There are ways to protect yourself and minimize your losses, such as signing up for an identity theft protection service that monitors the Web for information that puts you at risk, alerts you to important changes to your credit report and insures you in the event your identity is stolen. Steps to Correct Identity Theft What do you do if you think your identity has been stolen? Here are some basics. For a more in depth look at preventing identity theft and repairing identity that has been tampered with, go to www.consumer.gov/idtheft/. You can also check out our easy-to-understand Guide to Protecting Your Privacy. Start by contacting the fraud departments of any one of the three major credit bureaus. Ask them to place a fraud alert on your credit file. The fraud alert asks creditors to contact you before opening any new accounts or making any changes to your existing accounts. As soon as the credit bureau confirms your fraud alert, the other two credit bureaus will be automatically notified to place fraud alerts, and all three credit reports will be sent to you free of charge. If possible, close the accounts that you know or believe have been tampered with or opened fraudulently. Use the ID Theft Affidavit when disputing…

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Investing in Real Estate the Right Way

Investing in Real Estate the Right Way

Purchasing real estate is a good way to invest your money and provide yourself some increased financial security. It’s a good way to increase cash flow and offers many profitable investment options. But, if you’re new to real estate investing, you may ask, “What is real estate investing all about? What are the benefits to me and how can I get started?” We’ll answer all those questions and help you get on your way to investing in real estate now. What is Real Estate Investing? Real estate is a tangible, cash-generating asset, much like gold or silver, and appreciates in values just like these precious metals. Being a tangible asset, however, it does not function like a bond or stock that can quickly lose value; it remains an excellent, long-term way to invest. Real estate investors benefit from financial leverage, using a mortgage to build wealth in a way that other forms of investments do not. Real estate investment has proven to be a powerful method of creating wealth over time and there are three main forms of return-on-investment (ROI): cash flow, return on taxes and appreciation. Cash Flow Cash flow represents the most direct type of return, since it is money you can “put in your pocket” right away. Investing in real estate is a way to increase your cash flow. That, in turn, can provide the working capital you need to further expand your investment opportunities and obtain greater financial security. Return on Taxes Many investors in higher…

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Finding the Perfect Real Estate Agent

Finding the Perfect Real Estate Agent

Quicken Loans preferred real estate partner, In-House Realty , makes finding a trusted real estate agent quick and easy with the help of their nationwide network of preferred agents. They’ll match you with a real estate agent in your area at no cost, regardless of whether you are buying a home or selling a home. Every real estate agent in their network has been interviewed and pre-screened in order to guarantee the highest level of service and professionalism. While you are working with one of their real estate agents, your In-House Realty Consultant will continue to act as a liaison between you, your Quicken Loans Home Loan Expert, and your real estate agent throughout the home buying or selling process. Home Buyers: Why Use a Real Estate Agent? At first, you may be able to convince yourself that you don’t need a real estate agent to buy a home. When you find yourself sifting through papers you don’t understand, you may begin to reconsider. There are many reasons to hire a real estate agent when house hunting – here are a few provided by the experts at In-House Realty. No Direct Cost to You! – One misconception in real estate is that a home buyer pays commission. Not so! The seller pays the commission, and if two agents are involved in the transaction, that same commission will be split between them. If it ever becomes an issue, keep in mind you have the upper hand in all negotiations in today’s…

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