• 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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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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Save Money, Cut Your Spending

Save Money, Cut Your Spending

“Where did my money go?” That’s a big question that comes up more often than we’d like. We spend money on many small things that seem inconsequential, but they do add up. To know where you need to trim your budget, it’s important to first know your own spending habits. For a two to four week period, carry a small notebook with you and keep track of every expense, no matter how small. Then evaluate your spending to see where you can make cuts. A great tool that takes the stress out of budgeting is Quizzle.com where you can get a full evaluation of your monthly spending. While you’re evaluating your spending, consider your biggest asset: your home. See if refinancing could help you cut your mortgage payment with our mortgage refinance calculators, then talk with a Home Loan Expert directly. Write down everything you spend. The waste in your daily spending will soon become apparent. Do you use an online budget planner like the one atQuizzle.com? Quizzle’s free, simple to sign up, and a great way to keep track of your spending. Pay off your credit card debt as quickly as possible. It’s much more difficult to get your finances in shape if you’re paying 18% interest rates on your credit cards. If you have to carry debt for a while, switch to a less expensive credit card. Take advantage of the introductory rate and use your monthly savings to prepay your debt as fast as possible. If you can’t pay in cash,…

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Home Improvements Increase Home Value

Home Improvements Increase Home Value

In the housing market, some home improvements pay off by increasing your home’s value, while others will do little to improve it. In general, updating your kitchen and bathrooms are always smart investments and offer the best home improvement value. Remodeling Your Kitchen The kitchen is the most important room in the house since it’s where much of the family interaction occurs. The average return-on-investment for improvements to the kitchen ranges from about 80% to 93% with average costs at $15,000 and up. If you don’t know where to start, try adding new tile flooring, re-facing old cabinets, and/or updating appliances to new energy efficient models. Remodeling Your Bathroom Bathroom renovations can yield a return of between 85% to 90%, with costs starting around $10,000. Adding a new bathroom can return as much as 85%, especially if you only have one bathroom to start with. And since it’s more difficult to sell a home with only one bathroom, adding a second bath can make your home significantly easier to sell. Some good improvements include installing double sinks, tile floors and new bath fixtures and faucets. Other Good Home Improvements Making home improvements can be a big undertaking. Larger improvements could include adding a fireplace, building a deck or patio, or adding a new heating or cooling system. However, you don’t have to spend huge bucks to upgrade the look of your home. Smaller, less expensive improvements could include replacing old doors or installing a ceiling fan. Cosmetic improvements can also…

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Home Loan Solutions

Home Loan Solutions

You have a lot to choose from when it comes to Quicken Loans home loan options. Know the differences before you make any final decisions. Does a 30-year fixed work best for you? Perhaps an adjustable-rate mortgage fits your plans the best and get you the lowest mortgage rate and payment. Get the best mortgage custom fit for you from Quicken Loans. Use our mortgage recommendation calculator to find out which home loan programs fit you best. Get pre-approved and know how much home you can afford. With our exclusive selection of mortgage options, you can: Get pre-approved* before you shop Lower mortgage payments Low down payment options No pre-payment penalties Take a quick look at some of our home loans: The Fixed-Rate Mortgage is our most popular loan! Our clients love the security of a fixed-rate loan. And when rates are this low, it makes perfect sense! A fixed-rate mortgage has an interest rate that won’t change for the life of your loan. Usually that’s 30 years, but it can also be 10, 15, 20, or 25 years with Quicken Loans. FHA Express — The Fastest Way to Get an FHA Loan FHA Express is our version of the stable and popular FHA Loan, created by the Federal Housing Administration. FHA loans require the lowest down payment of any mortgage, currently only 3.5%, and even offer the most choices for refinancing an FHA loan, especially with cash out. FHA loans have lower income and credit requirements than conventional loans.…

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Market Update – Mortgage Bonds Down Early

Market Update – Mortgage Bonds Down Early

Mortgage bonds opened down this morning but rallied slightly following the initial jobless and continuing claims reports which came in lower than expected. Today, investors will be waiting to see the outcome of tomorrow’s November payroll report as well as to see if the European Central Bank will act to stop the spread of the debt crisis.

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Retirement Savings Tips For Every Age

Retirement Savings Tips For Every Age

With politicians tossing around the idea of raising the retirement age to reflect an increase in life expectancy, workers of every age are likely wondering “Will I ever be able to retire?” The answer is “yes,” if you are smart about your money starting at whatever age you are today.

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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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