• 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 Rates and the Market

Mortgage Rates and the Market

Generally speaking, interest rates are influenced by supply and demand. When the economy is robust and borrowing is strong, interest rates rise. When the economy softens and there is less borrowing, interest rates go down. But interest rates are also influenced by what the Federal Reserve, also known as “the Fed”, does and where the fed funds rate is set. Short-Term & Long-Term Rates The federal funds rate, also known as the fed funds rate, is the interest rate charged when banks lend funds to one another. This is a short-term rate, or a rate that is two years or less in maturity. When the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) raises or lowers the Fed funds rate, it affects mortgage rates that are tied to short-term interest rates, such as home equity rates and adjustable rates. When short-term rates fall, borrowing and spending usually increase. This can cause inflation, something the Federal Reserve wants to keep in control. Long-term Interest Rates Long-term interest rates, or rates that are 10 years or more in maturity such as for 30-year mortgages, are influenced by short-term rates in a round-about way because they can rise when concerns about inflation increase. To keep inflation under control, the Fed started raising short-term interest rates in 2004. Because of this, people who have adjustable rate mortgages have been refinancing into longer-term fixed-rate mortgages to avoid rising rates, especially since long-term rates have remained historically low for quite some time. Fed Funds Rate The Fed Funds Rate…

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HARP and Loan Modification – Making Home Affordable Program: Refinance Relief for Responsible Homeowners

HARP and Loan Modification – Making Home Affordable Program: Refinance Relief for Responsible Homeowners

Editors note: We have some great news! Quicken Loans allows refinances of up to 200% of your home’s value on mortgages owned by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac through the HARP Program.  In order to participate in HARP, either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac must own your loan.   See if you qualify for HARP or call today (800) 251-9080 to find out how much you could save. And finally, the Federal Government has extended HARP until the end of 2015. At Quicken Loans, our goal is to make sure you’re always in the best mortgage for your financial situation. As you’ve heard in recent news, our government released a multi-step plan to help American homeowners. We’re extremely excited to be a part of the plan that could help millions of responsible homeowners in America. If you’re hearing conflicting information about the Making Home Affordable plan, check out our loan modification and HARP refinancing program myths and FAQs. Or get started now and find out if you qualify for the new plan with our easy Making Home Affordable HARP qualification tool now! Depending on your situation, you will fall into one of three scenarios: You owe less on your mortgage than your home is worth.This means that you can qualify for today’s already low mortgage rates! We can help you.The message of the plan is clear – the government wants American homeowners who currently qualify for a refinance to take advantage of historically-low mortgage rates. Waiting any longer could cost you money. Call us today…

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Tomorrow's Fed Meeting Will Likely Leave Rates Unchanged – Market Update

Tomorrow's Fed Meeting Will Likely Leave Rates Unchanged – Market Update

Treasuries sold off on Friday and have opened up even lower this morning ahead of tomorrow’s Federal Reserve meeting and also on speculation that this week’s reports will add to signs that the recovery is sustainable. It’s expected that the Federal Open Market Committee will leave rates unchanged, however many will be watching closely for news of a possible QE3.

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Refinancing With VA Loans

Refinancing With VA Loans

The VA loan is one of the most popular loan programs in America – with over 14 million veterans and military members taking advantage of this benefit since the end of World War II. What makes VA loans so appealing when refinancing are the relaxed credit requirements and higher refinancing and cash-out refinancing amounts than many typical conventional loans. This allows many more homeowners – especially in difficult housing and financial markets – to refinance their mortgage. The VA (Department of Veterans Affairs) doesn’t write mortgage. It actually insures loans that are written by banks and mortgage companies. This is similar to how an FHA loan refinance works with a few exceptions. The main one being that refinancing with VA loans is only available for veterans and active members of the U.S. Military (and spouses – even widows, as long as they don’t remarry). What are the benefits of a refinancing with a VA Loan? VA loans allows up to a 90% refinance limit – higher than most conventional loan limits. No PMI when refinancing with a VA loan. No prepayment penalties on VA loans. Refinancing with a VA loan is sometimes easier than if you were applying for a conventional loan because of relaxed credit guidelines. Less than perfect credit is usually accepted with VA loans. VA assistance to veteran borrowers in default due to temporary financial difficulty. Ability to roll the VA funding fee into the refinance amount (no funding fee for disabled veterans). VA Loans Done the Right…

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What Your Credit Report Says About You

What Your Credit Report Says About You

So who compiles your credit report? A credit bureau (also called a credit reporting agency) gathers, maintains, and sells information about your credit history. It collects information about your payment habits from banks, savings and loans, credit unions, finance companies, and retailers. That information is gathered into credit reports that are used by creditors and lenders. What Information Is On My Credit Report? Your credit report contains your credit history. It includes all of your loan and credit card accounts with specific account information, such as the date opened, credit limit or loan amount, balance, and monthly payment. It also includes late payments, bankruptcies, liens, and collection agency attempts to collect past due amounts. What a Good Credit Score Means for Your Finances It’s important to maintain a good credit history. A good credit history means a good credit score. A good credit score means you’re a “good risk” to lenders which makes you eligible for better mortgage rates. A poor credit history and/or score sends a message to lenders that you’re not a good risk which subjects you to higher rates. Higher rates mean higher payments. It’s also possible to be denied credit if the score is low enough. It’s important to review your credit report. Financial experts advise to check your credit report once a year for inaccuracies. A 2004 Federal law now means that you can now receive a free copy of your credit report every year from each of the three major credit reporting agencies. Or…

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Avoid Pre Payment Penalties

Avoid Pre Payment Penalties

Pre-payment penalties can cost you tens of thousands of dollars, depending on your loan balance at the time of pre-payment. Be wary of mortgages that offer you a lower interest rate in exchange for a pre-payment penalty. Borrower Beware Lenders often entice borrowers to finance a home with a slightly lower interest rate in exchange for something called a mortgage pre-payment penalty. A pre-payment penalty on a mortgage note is a penalty for paying off your loan early. But what borrowers don’t fully understand when they agree to such terms is that although they may save a little on their monthly mortgage payment with a lower rate, pre-payment penalties could end up costing them tens of thousands of dollars. Lenders use pre-payment penalties to secure loans long enough to recover some or all of the expenses they incur from originating the loan. Lenders also know a mortgage pre-payment penalty discourages refinancing. If rates should fall, lenders are guaranteed a higher rate of return on the money they lent to you. Say interest rates drop and you want to refinance to that lower rate. You can’t! You end up paying your current rate while your lender likely pockets that extra money, unless you pay their fee. Even if the duration of the penalty matches the amount of time you plan to keep the loan, you can’t predict the future. What if your circumstances change and you have to move? Say your job is transferred to a different city or state. Selling…

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VA Loans for Buying a Home

VA Loans for Buying a Home

The VA loan is one of the most popular loan programs in America. In fact, since the end of World War II more than 14 million veterans and military members have bought homes with the aid of VA loans. What makes VA loans so appealing is the no-down payment requirement for most loans. This is a huge benefit and allows many more home buyers – especially in difficult housing and financial markets – to afford a home. The VA (Department of Veterans Affairs) doesn’t actually offer loans. It simply insures loans that are written by banks and mortgage companies. This is similar to how an FHA loan works with a few exceptions. The main one being that VA loans are only available for veterans and active members of the U.S. Military (and spouses – even widows, as long as they don’t remarry). What are the benefits of a VA Loan? 100% financing, no down payment loans are common. No PMI on VA loans. No prepayment penalties on VA loans. Loan qualification is sometimes easier than if you were applying for a conventional loan. Less than perfect credit is usually accepted with VA loans. Sellers can pay all closing costs. VA assistance to veteran borrowers in default due to temporary financial difficulty. Ability to finance the VA funding fee (no funding fee for disabled veterans). VA Loans Done the Right Way At Quicken Loans, our exclusive, simplified mortgage process allows for a quick and easy way to get a VA loan. We use…

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