• Are you having a baby? Here’s a handy, downloadable PDF with a list of 50 essential items you’ll need for your new baby. Whether you’re sorting through your baby shower gifts or drafting your shopping list, these tips may help you figure out what you need most.

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  • Although vacationing during the cold winter months is exciting, it’s important to take care of all the mundane details before leaving your home for a significant amount of time. Nobody wants to worry about the safety of their home while vacationing, and you won’t have to if you take these steps.

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  • 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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Mortgage Interest Rates

Mortgage Interest Rates

Interest rates can have a substantial impact on your life. Your mortgage, car, credit card payments, and investments – like stocks and bonds – are all based on interest rates. Lower interest rates allow you to purchase a larger home or refinance to take advantage of lower monthly payments. How Do Changes in Interest Rates Affect Home Mortgages? Interest rates directly affect home mortgage rates. If interest rates are high, your loan payments will be greater. If you are looking to buy a home, this means you will probably not get as much square footage per dollar. On the other hand, high interest rates can help to curb inflation. This means the price of goods like food and gasoline will stay relatively low, and your paycheck will go further. If you’re locked into a fixed-rate mortgage at a low interest rate, your income will stretch even further. And if you’re able to save that extra cash, you’ll be prepared to shop for a larger home when interest rates go down. When interest rates are relatively low — especially if they drop to record lows — it is an ideal time to consider refinancing your home, particularly if you have an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) that is set to increase soon. With a 30-year fixed mortgage, you could lock in the low rate and never have to worry about your payments increasing, no matter what happens to overall interest rates. How Does the Federal Reserve System Affect Mortgage Interest Rates? The U.S.…

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Mortgage Lenders and Home Loans

Mortgage Lenders and Home Loans

When you’re buying a home, you’ll most likely need financing and as with anything you buy, it’s wise to shop around for the right one. You probably wouldn’t buy the very first house you looked at; you’d look around at others to compare and see what’s available. In the same vein, you should shop around for the right mortgage lender. Talk to at least three or four lenders. Remember: the best lender may not always have the best interest rate or get you the lowest payment. For example, if one of your needs was to save money by paying less in interest over the long term, you might choose a 15-year mortgage with a higher rate rather than a 30-year mortgage with a lower rate. A good mortgage lender will: Ask lots of questions about your personal financial situation Be readily available to answer any and all questions you have Be committed to finding the most appropriate loan for you, not getting you into a “one size fits all” type of loan Never ask you to do anything that you feel uncomfortable with Return your calls and emails promptly Tips on Finding a Lender: Ask your friends and family which lenders they’ve used and what their experiences were like with their mortgage lenders. Find out who they would recommend. Do your research. An easy way to research many mortgage companies is to go online; there are more lenders at your fingertips than you can count. Visit each lender’s Web site…

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FHA Loan Refinancing

FHA Loan Refinancing

What is an FHA loan, you ask? Good question. In all truthfulness, there really is no such thing as an FHA loan. The FHA (Federal Housing Administration) doesn’t really fund your mortgage at all. In fact, the FHA doesn’t even buy or underwrite loans. The FHA provides mortgage insurance to help consumers become homeowners. To put it another way, the FHA insures mortgage companies from losses so on the slight chance a buyer defaults on their mortgage, the home loan lenders will get their money. This encourages lenders to give mortgages to people who might not otherwise qualify for a loan. That’s pretty much it. To keep things simple, we (and nearly all other mortgage lenders), call any loans insured by the FHA, “FHA Loans.” Should I get an FHA loan? Do you want a lower mortgage payment? If so, Quicken Loans now offers FHA Streamline, 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! Do you want to refinance out of an ARM? Is your ARM payment rising? Would you like to refinance to a lower rate or even do a cash-out refinance up to 85%? If so, the FHA loan may be the answer to your mortgage problems. Now, refinancing with an FHA loan is easier than…

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Closing Costs and Fees Explained

Closing Costs and Fees Explained

Mortgage closing costs are fees charged for services that must be performed to process and close your loan. At the time you apply for a loan, lenders are required by law to disclose to you, in writing, what the estimated mortgage closing costs will be. This is known as the Good Faith Estimate. Closing Costs and Fees Associated with Your Home Purchase Closing costs can vary by mortgage option and amount, so the costs on a 30-year fixed or a 15-year fixed may not be exactly the same as a 5-year ARM mortgage. And some loans, such as an FHA loan or a VA loan actually allow a seller to cover all or some of the closing costs. But what exactly are the closing costs, regardless of whether you or the seller pays them? The most common closing cost is the down payment. In addition to making your down payment, there are other costs and fees associated with your home purchase. Average closing costs generally range from $2,500 to $5,000 or about 6% of your loan – a sizable amount of money when you consider this is paid upfront at closing. But where exactly does it all go? A common misconception about mortgage closing costs is that they all go to the lender, when in reality, many of the costs are related to services performed by others. Mortgage closing costs cover expenses associated with getting a home loan, from inspections and appraisals to title insurance, taxes and more. It is…

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Jumbo Loans for Larger Home Loans

Jumbo Loans for Larger Home Loans

In some real estate markets, a house in the $400,000 range is little more than a starter home. So why is it that a home loan in the mid $400s is considered a Jumbo Mortgage Loan? Good question. While the rest of us may see the term “jumbo” as relative, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two government sponsored mortgage entities, have definite opinions. Each year, a new “conforming loan limit” is published by these organizations. What is the Conforming Loan Limit? The conforming loan limit is the maximum loan size eligible for purchase by either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, who purchase the underlying securities from mortgage originators. Those funds are then reinvested in new mortgages, and the flow-of-funds cycle continues. The conforming loan limit, or “Jumbo Loan amount” is set every January. This year, the limit for single-family homes and condominiums is $417,000. Quicken Loans conforming loan limit has also been raised to $417,000. When a Loan Becomes a Jumbo When a loan amount is higher than the conforming limit, it becomes a Jumbo Loan – or non-conforming loan – with slightly higher interest rates. Jumbo Loans, compared with historically low mortgage rates, can bring greater flexibility for some home buyers to purchase the house they want and make the payment they want. What Jumbo Loans are available? With Jumbo Loans, you do have options. Jumbo loans can be 30-year fixed, adjustable rate mortgages, or FHA loans with up to 97% financing and new higher loan limits. Talk with…

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FHA Loans for Home Buying

FHA Loans for Home Buying

What exactly is an FHA loan? Good question. An FHA loan isn’t really a loan, it’s a program that insures home loans. The FHA (Federal Housing Administration) doesn’t actually fund your home loan in any way. The FHA simply provides mortgage insurance to help consumers become homeowners. In other words, the FHA insures lenders from losses associated with homeowner default. This helps mortgage lenders prepare mortgages for people who might not otherwise qualify for a loan. That’s pretty much it. To keep things simple, we (and most other mortgage lenders) call any loans insured by the FHA, “FHA Loans.” Should I get an FHA loan? Do you want to buy a house with a small down payment? Are you a first-time home buyer? Do you have lower credit (credit as low as 580 may qualify)? Are you concerned that you don’t make enough money to qualify for a home loan and cover all expenses? If any of these are true, an FHA loan may be a great solution for you. Even if you have good credit and a down payment, the increased options of FHA home loans make them attractive choices for your mortgage. Buy a home with a very small down payment A great point about FHA loans is that you can buy a house with a tiny down payment – only 3.5%. That’s one of the lowest down payments for any mortgage loan offered in today’s economy. Lower credit? Don’t worry! With the FHA loan, credit may not…

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Mortgages with Low or No Down Payments

Mortgages with Low or No Down Payments

It could be due to the economy or the fact that most people stay in their home an average of only 5-7 years, but the truth is that home buyers are not putting as large down payments as our parents and grandparents did. The average down payment for a house 20 years ago was 20%. Today, it’s common for people to put as little as 3% down on their new home. No Down Payment Mortgage Simply put, a no down payment mortgage is a mortgage for which you don’t put any money down on the purchase of your house. In today’s market, finding a no down payment mortgage may be extremely difficult unless you are a veteran and eligible for the Quicken Loans VA loan – which almost never requires a down payment. VA loans are a great option for veterans who want to buy a home because not only can a Veteran put zero down, but these types of loans get also approved faster than other types of loans. Most Veterans are not aware of the benefits of VA home loans, so if you know someone who has served in the military let them know! Low Down Payment Mortgage If you haven’t served in the military, there are still other options. A popular choice for home buyers is the “low down payment mortgage.” The FHA loan is a mortgage that only requires a 3.5% down payment. “FHA loans:/home-loans/fha-loan are backed by the government and also have more flexible guidelines,…

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No Doc Home Loans

No Doc Home Loans

No doc and low doc loans are very difficult to qualify for in today’s mortgage and financial markets. Because of this, most mortgage companies (including Quicken Loans) don’t offer them at this time. For more information, talk to a Quicken Loans home loan expert. We’ll show you how to obtain the necessary documentation so you can qualify for a full doc loan. Call us today at (800) 654-0068. The more documentation you provide your mortgage lender (employment, income and credit history) the lower your interest rate may be. Many home buyers choose not to offer documentation for personal privacy reasons, and willingly opt for a higher interest rate. Yet, many of these home buyers have 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. Buyers that opt for a low doc home loan are typically those who prefer not 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 doc loan, the borrower provides their name and social security number, along with information regarding the property being purchased. The rest is up to the lender. The Three Main Types of No Doc & Low Doc Loans No Doc Loans No…

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The Best Time to Buy a House Could Be This Winter

The Best Time to Buy a House Could Be This Winter

While spring’s warmer weather plants the itch to go house-hunting, don’t ignore the urge to check out more than just a home’s outdoor holiday lights this winter. Many consumers say they are interested in buying a home but they put off their search just because it’s cold outside, it gets dark early and they think there will be more “opportunity” in the spring. The truth is, there are plenty of opportunities now and reasons why buying a home is possible and even advantageous in the winter months.

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