• 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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Refinancing Your Mortgage

Refinancing Your Mortgage

Home loan refinancing has recently risen in popularity for several reasons. There are many benefits to refinancing, such as the possibility of lowering monthly payments by locking in a more affordable fixed rate; switching to a fixed-rate loan from an adjustable rate mortgage; taking advantage of lower rates on high-cost mortgages; getting cash out of your investment; or refinancing a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan through an easy, streamlined process. Lower Your Monthly Payments by Getting a Fixed-Rate Loan at a Lower Interest Rate In 2009, mortgage rates dropped close to record lows. It may be a good idea to lock-in your rate sooner rather than later if you are thinking about refinancing. Bear in mind that the chances of mortgage refinance rates increasing is much greater than their chances of decreasing. So be sure to use caution and weigh your risks before delaying a rate lock if you’ve pre-qualified for a refinance home loan that will save you money in the long run. Switch From an Adjustable Rate Mortgage to a Fixed Rate Mortgage Now may be a good time to consider refinancing to a fixed-rate mortgage, especially if you have an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) that is set to adjust. Your ARM may increase to a rate that’s higher than current fixed rate mortgages. Before refinancing though, you should think about the amount of time you plan on being in your home. If you are going to be in your home longer than seven years, it might be a…

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Fixing Errors on Your Credit Report

Fixing Errors on Your Credit Report

It can be time-consuming to dispute mistakes on your credit reports and eliminate inaccuracies, but it’s worth doing. Start by getting a copy of your free credit report from Quizzle. Although most national lending institutions report consumer credit information to all three credit bureaus, smaller banks and other credit grantors may report only to one or even none. Therefore, your credit report may vary from one credit bureau to another. If you’ve occasionally applied for credit from smaller creditors, check your report from all three credit reporting agencies-TransUnion, Experian and Equifax. Look very carefully. Circle anything that seems wrong, but keep in mind that balances may be off by a few payments because recent payments may not have been recorded at the time you ordered the report. Make copies for your files and for anyone who may need proof of the errors. Credit Report Disputes Credit report disputes must be made in writing and sent through regular postal mail. Use the sample credit dispute letter in the downloadable Smart Credit Guide as an example. In your letter, give a detailed explanation to the best of your ability as to why the information in your report is wrong and should be changed. You must also include documentation that supports your assertion that you have an inaccurate credit report. For instance, if your report says that a credit card is active, but you know it’s closed, you must show proof that it’s been closed, which you may have to obtain in writing from the credit…

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Refinancing Investment Property

Refinancing Investment Property

Long-term interest rates have been at near historic low levels for quite some time and thus, more people are looking for places to rent, making it easy to benefit from these investments. Your investment property loan may have terms that were very attractive when you first made the purchase, but due to changing market conditions may no longer be as favorable as they could be today. When interest rates fall, refinancing the mortgage on your investment property becomes very attractive because refinancing offers ways to leverage the equity in your property, lower your monthly payment and increase your cash flow. Increase Your Cash Flow You can drastically increase your cash flow by refinancing the mortgage on your investment property. If you’ve built up considerable equity in the property, you could turn that equity into cash by doing a cash-out refinance. If you refinance to a lower rate and/or increase the term of your loan, that could also lower your monthly mortgage payment and increase your cash flow even more. Using the Quicken Loans Rate and Payment Calculator can help you find out how much equity you have to borrow against and give you suggestions on what loan may work best for you. Upgrade Your Property and Raise the Rent The home equity in your investment property can be used to fund improvements to your property and boost your cash flow. The great benefit of refinancing and making home improvements to your investment property is that it increases its market value,…

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40 Year Mortgages with Lower Payments

40 Year Mortgages with Lower Payments

In the last few years, the 40-year mortgage has been increasing in popularity for home buyers in high-cost housing markets as an alternative to adjustable-rate mortgages. Although Quicken Loans doesn’t offer a 40-year mortage currently, we do have options to keep your payment low. Call us at (800) 654-0068 to find out how to qualify for your absolute lowest mortgage payment. How a 40-Year Mortgage Loan Works A 40-year mortgage gives a lower payment than a 30-year fixed term by stretching out the amortization schedule over a longer period of time. With the 40-year mortgage, your mortgage term is actually only 30 years, but the loan is amortized over 40 years. This means that after 30 years, you must either pay, in full, the remaining balance on the loan or refinance the loan. Similar to an interest-only loan or an ARM, a 40-year mortgage potentially increases the amount of home you can afford and the amount of extra cash you have on a monthly basis. The more cash you have in hand, the more you can put toward your savings or invest in your 401k or retirement fund. For example, if you had a $200,000 30-year mortgage and spread it out over an additional 10 years, your payment might drop by $100 per month. Imagine what that extra $100 could do for your retirement fund! Who Is a Good Candidate for a 40-Year Mortgage? A 40-year mortgage is popular for people in high-cost housing markets such as the Northeast or…

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How Much Can You Afford?

How Much Can You Afford?

The type of home you buy depends on many factors. But being able to afford your first home may be easier than you imagined. Here are some things that you can do to make the home of your dreams a reality. Calculate an Affordable Price Range If you’ve ever asked your parents about buying a home or getting a mortgage, they probably told you that you should always put down 20 percent of the home’s value as a down payment. While that’s good advice, it’s no longer a requirement, but it’s a great way to avoid paying costly private mortgage insurance . Lenders are no longer requiring 20 percent for down payments. Some loans require as little as three and a half percent down which means you can finance a larger amount of the purchase price. For instance, FHA loans are a great option for home buyers since they offer the flexibility of a low down payment and less strict credit score guidelines. The Quicken Loans Home Affordability Mortgage Calculator can help you figure out how much you can afford for monthly payments toward a mortgage. Don’t Forget About Other Costs While you’re figuring out how much you can afford monthly on your mortgage, it’s critical not to forget about how much you’ll need for other costs. You’ll need to put aside some money for closing costs – the costs and fees for settling (or closing) your loan. Closing costs can include title fees, recording fees, attorney’s fees, and appraisal…

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Adjustable Rate Mortgages

Adjustable Rate Mortgages

An adjustable rate mortgage (ARM), is a loan with an interest rate linked to a specific economic index. As this index changes, the interest rate on your loan will change as well, and your monthly payments will be periodically adjusted up or down accordingly. Because ARMs are usually less expensive than fixed-rate mortgages, many borrowers choose ARMs when purchasing or refinancing. Borrowers might also choose an ARM if their property interest rates show signs of remaining low, if they don’t plan to keep their property for a long time and they need to save money in the short term, or if they intend to refinance to a fixed-rate mortgage before their interest rate adjusts. What Is the Index, Margin, and Adjustment Period on an ARM? Lenders use a specific index to measure interest rate changes on each ARM. While 1-year, 3-year and 5-year Treasury Notes are the most commonly used indexes, there are many others. The margin is the interest rate that represents the lender’s cost of doing business plus the profit they will make on the loan. The margin is added to the index rate to determine your total interest rate; it usually stays the same during the life of your home loan. The period between rate changes is called the adjustment period. For example, a loan with an adjustment period of 3 years is called a 3-year ARM, and the interest rate and payment cannot change until three years after the loan was originated. Are There Caps on…

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Mortgage Pre-Approval is Better than Pre-Qualified

Mortgage Pre-Approval is Better than Pre-Qualified

Get the mortgage advice you need. Your biggest investment is your home, and our exclusive Quicken Loans Pre-Approval give you the edge you need to make the most of it. You could have a lower mortgage payment, lower interest rates, flexible payment options, low 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 Pre-Approval home loan, you’re approved for your mortgage* before you shop for a home, giving you extra muscle at the bargaining table. It’s the closest thing you can be to a cash buyer. You have a clear advantage over other home buyers because the seller knows that your offer is serious. 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 Home Advantage newsletter 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 The Quicken Loans Pre-Approval give you options and flexibility. For instance, we’ve got home loans that allow you to…

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