MiLEND is a local mortgage lender licensed in 11 states along the East Coast. Some fast facts:
- Established in 1995
- A+ Better Business Bureau rating
- Inc. Magazine Fastest Growing Company 2011
- Atlanta’s Best and Brightest place to work
- Atlanta Business Chronicle Pacesetter 2011
In today’s market, getting the most out of your home’s value is at the top of the list when it comes to being able to save money on any type of mortgage. The more your home is worth, the more mortgage options you will available to you.
There are a lot of factors involved in the valuation of your home. Some of these are can’t be controlled by you, as the homeowner, but there are definitely some areas you can help.
- Be there when the appraiser gets there – Starting off on the right foot is important for everyone. The appraiser will schedule a time for you, and you shouldn’t be late.
- Make a list of any improvements or upgrades you have made to the house – Upgrading your home can keep it on the top of the value curve for your neighborhood. Make a detailed list of any home improvements you have made since you purchased the home. If you are interested in doing some home improvement, take a look at a few home improvements that give the most bang for your buck!
- Let the appraiser be the appraiser – All appraisers have to take classes and be mentored prior to become fully licensed. They are the most qualified to value your home, so let them work to get the best value from your home.
The common sense approach is to just take care of your home. Don’t let your house fall into disrepair and keep on top of things that can really affect the appearance and value of your home.
Also, remember, by law, a loan consultant cannot influence the appraiser in any way. Be wary of loan consultants that say they can guarantee the value of your home.
When filing for a personal bankruptcy, you have a couple options. They are Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and the Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. In the spirit of keeping it easy, here is a table comparing the different types of bankruptcy and how they affect your ability to get a mortgage.
|Chapter 7||Chapter 13|
|This involves asking the court to discharge most, if not all, of the debt you owe. The discharge is made on the condition that the bankruptcy trustee can take any property or assets that you own, that aren’t exempt from collection, and sell it to pay your creditors. Each state will have its own exemption policies.||This allows you to create a repayment plan and pays back all or part of your debt over a certain time. The payoff time is a set schedule and your payments are based several factors including how much you earn.|
|You will usually have to wait at least two years after the discharge of the bankruptcy to apply for a mortgage.||You will have to make your payments on time for at least a year depending on the mortgage lender or investor.|
If you’re still unsure about your type of bankruptcy and whether or not you can get a home mortgage, give one of our mortgage consultants a call at 1-855-MILEND-1 and we will be able to help you with any information you need.
A HARP (Home Affordable Refinance Program) Loan is designed to offer a refinance option to current borrowers that may be underwater in their homes but continue to maintain a solid payment history.
What is the difference between a HARP loan and a standard conventional loan?
A HARP loan will allow you to borrow up to 125% of the appraised value. In the simplest terms, this means a HARP loan would allow you to borrow $125,000 on a $100,000 house.
A HARP loan will not allow you to borrow additional cash over the currently owed amount and any additional fees or charges for the loan. So, no cash out loans.
In some cases a HARP eligible loan will offer an appraisal waiver. This means the home does not require an appraisal to qualify for the loan.
Am I eligible for a HARP loan?
You may be eligible for a HARP loan if you meet the following requirements:
- Your mortgage is owned or guaranteed by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae.
- Your mortgage was sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac on or before May 31, 2009.
- You haven’t previously refinanced under the HARP program, unless it was from March 2009 – May 2009.
- Your current loan to value is greater than 80%.
- You have not been late on a mortgage payment in the last 12 months.
Is there more than one type of HARP loan?
Yes, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac both have their version of the HARP program.
Fannie Mae calls their program the DU Refi Plus or DURP program. The “DU” stands for Desktop Underwriter which is the software used to underwrite and approve Fannie Mae loans.
Freddie Mac calls their program the LP Relief program, but you may also hear it called the LP Open Access program. The “LP” stands for Loan Prospector, which is the software used to underwrite and approve Freddie Mac loans.
How do I know if Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac own my loan?
You can find out if Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac own your loan by going to their specific look up tools.
When does the HARP program end?
As of right now, the current HARP program ends on December 31, 2016. This may change, but there is no guarantee.
What do I need to do to get a HARP loan?
Your best bet is to contact a mortgage consultant and have them perform a mortgage checkup on your current home loan.
This should give you a basic idea of the difference between a HARP and regular conventional loan, as well as give you an idea of what it takes to qualify for a HARP loan. Remember, just because you may not qualify for the HARP program, it doesn’t mean you can’t qualify for one of many mortgage programs offered.
There comes a time in almost everyone’s life where they will ask themselves, “should I rent a house or should I buy a house?” There are a lot of factors involved, including personal and financial, so, we thought we would help and give you some things to think about.
|Equity Builder: Buying a home allows you to build usable equity. In short, this means you will have a resource you can tap in the future for investments, emergencies, or even retirement or education. The assumption here is your home value doesn’t go below the amount owed||No Repair Costs: The biggest pro when renting is not using your own cash when something goes wrong. Considering the apartment complex’s job is to generate positive cash flow, this could be considered a con depending on how important they see the repair.|
|No Wall Sharing: Living in a house means not having to interpret your neighbor’s questionable music tastes.||Not Tied To a Mortgage: Renting generally requires you to sign a 6 – 12 month lease. This means once your lease is up, you are free to move. If you plan to be in the area for only a short time, this is a great benefit. However, if you break your lease, there are fees involved.|
|No Landlord: Want to paint your walls plaid? Go for it. Homeownership gives you the ability to customize to your taste. Can you say “Ultimate NFL Party Cave?”|
|Tax Benefits: As of right now, June 2016, home owners are able to use the interest, mortgage insurance premium, and/or home property taxes as a deduction on their personal income tax. For some home owners, this can mean thousands of dollars in savings every year.|
|Intangible Benefits: Home ownership lends itself to a feeling of security and gives a sense of pride in ownership.|
Ultimately it could all boil down to how long you expect to stay in the area. If you don’t like being tied to one place, you will probably want to go the rental route. However, if you are really looking for a place to call home, the choice is home ownership.
MiLEND, Inc is a mortgage lender, not a tax or financial planning company. All suggestions are just meant to give you some points for your home ownership research.
A mortgage checkup is simply evaluating your current mortgage and determining if you are in the best interest rate and mortgage product available to you.
Having a licensed mortgage consultant review your home mortgage can help you save money over the life of the loan, and it may even open up some financial opportunities you didn’t know you had available to you.
Mortgage rates and programs change often. In the case of mortgage rates, they change multiple times throughout the day. That is why it is important to regularly check your current mortgage to see if it is the best program for you. Make sure you have your home equity and money working for you and not just sitting there.
Here are some reasons to get your mortgage evaluated:
Have you seen rates dropping since your last refinance?
This is a good time to get a mortgage checkup. Our licensed mortgage consultants will be able to look at your current rate and financial situation and give you an honest answer on whether it is the right time to refinance or not.
Been in the same mortgage for five years or more?
We often run into people that have been in the same mortgage for 10+ years. If you have been in the same mortgage for that long, you should call a mortgage consultant to see what options you have available. In today’s market, this more than likely means your rate is too high and you are paying the same amount on a principle that has gone down by a good chunk. Qualify for a new mortgage and lower your monthly payment!
Finding yourself deeper in debt?
The economy hits everyone at some point, and debt can be a necessary evil. A mortgage checkup may open the doors for a debt consolidation mortgage loan. In most cases the debt consolidation loan will relieve some of your monthly financial stress by tying all of your debt into one installment loan at a much lower interest rate than most revolving accounts.
Contact one of MiLEND’s mortgage consultants at 1-855-MILEND-1 to get a free mortgage checkup today!
In today’s economy, debt is an unfortunate fact of life. The good news is things are getting better, and that gives you a great opportunity to start cleaning up your debt situation and relieve some of that debt stress. In the spirit of better days ahead, here are some tips for getting rid of that debt.
- Pay more than minimum – Paying more than minimum on your debt will help you lower the principle balance, which will also help you pay less interest over the life of the loan. Even paying just a little extra each month will help you over the long run.
- Debt Consolidation Loan – Use the equity in your house to consolidate your debt into one payment. Doing this will help you lower your monthly payment and save on interest compared to standard credit card rates. Talk to a MiLEND Mortgage Consultant about a debt consolidation loan.
- Roll old payments to different debt – Once you are done paying off one debt, roll that payment into the next debt. This is called “snowballing your payments” and can result in paying off your debt surprisingly fast.
- Move your debt to a lower interest loan – Credit card companies are notorious for having very high interest rates. They are also famous for offering extremely low initial interest rates. Move all your high interest rate credit card debt to lower interest rate credit cards. If your credit can handle it, apply for a new low interest card and transfer all your high interest balances to that card.
- Ask for lower interest rates – Credit card companies want your money. It doesn’t hurt to ask for a lower interest rate, especially if you have the leverage of a lower interest card and are able to move your money to another company.
- Borrow from yourself to pay off debt – There are people that will tell you to never touch your 401k or savings accounts. I ask you to look at the numbers. If your 401k is making about 8% and your savings account is making about .3%, and your debt is costing you 18%, which one is winning? Take money from your savings or 401k and pay down the 18% debt. Once you pay that high interest debt off, pay yourself back with the monthly savings.
- Borrow from family to pay off debt – This is a tough call because it is always hard to ask family for help. However, you may be surprised how quickly friends and family may jump to your aid. Work out a loan repayment plan and set up a contract just like you would with a lender. If it will seal the deal, offer to pay them back at a low interest rate. This is one debt you will never want to default on.
- Stop spending more than you have – It’s hard to admit, but sometimes we just spend more than we are able to spend. Evaluate everything you have and budget appropriately.
We are not financial advisors and this is not meant to be anything other than a list of friendly neighborhood tips. It’s always a great idea to do research on your own and see what kind of options you have out there.
Getting your financials in order is the best way to start paying off debt and setting savings goals. Taking the first step is easy.
Start down the path of financial freedom with these three steps:
- Know Where You Stand: The most important piece of the puzzle when getting your financial game plan together is to know exactly how much money comes in per month and where that money goes. Make a list of fixed monthly expenses and be realistic with your list of adjustable expenses, such as groceries and gas.
- Credit card bills, mortgage payments, or student loans are the most common sources of debt and can be consolidated at lower interest rates, saving you money each month.
- Ask Advice from the Pros: Not sure where to start? Ask someone. Getting a mortgage checkup is a great away to see if your mortgage is working for you.
Have a question about your insurance or taxes? MiLEND’s network of professionals can help you with any questions you may have.
Make a Game Plan:
Talk to your family to make sure everyone is on the same page. Getting financially fit is something that takes work, but will definitely pay off in the end. Set benchmarks for one, three and six months out, and don’t lose sight of your goals!
Riddle me this, if you knew you had a $50 bill in your jacket pocket, would you just let it sit there? You may take it out and put it in your savings account, or even buy something, but you wouldn’t just let it sit there.
Equity is your home’s value over and above the principle amount of your loan. Allowing your home equity to just sit there is like leaving that $50 bill in your jacket pocket. Instead of using your money to make more money, or improve your home or debt situation, you are letting it just sit there.
There are a few options when it comes to home equity:
- You can just leave it sitting there and do nothing – This is considered the safe bet by some people. However, like I mentioned, it is just letting money sit in the hopes it will still be there years from now.
- You can take out a home equity loan and use the money to improve or refurbish your house – Doing this will help improve the value of your home.
- Use the home equity to pay off existing debt – Revolving and installment debt usually come at a higher price than mortgage debt. Using your home equity to pay off existing debt at a lower interest rate will allow you to free up monthly income and relieve some debt stress.
- Take out a home equity loan and invest the money – This option let’s your money work for you. If you are paying 3.5% on the home equity loan, but gaining 8% a year on the investment, you are effectively making money on your home’s value.
So the real question is, why wouldn’t you take a look at how much equity you have in your home? With super low interest rates and home values increasing, this could be the perfect time to cash in.
It’s time to see if you are in the position to take advantage of this perfect storm of rates and values.
It is our belief that the men and women who defend our country deserve the best financing options available, and a VA loan has many benefits. More than 25.5 million veterans and service personnel are eligible for VA financing. Those who qualify for this federally supported loan can benefit from many advantages including:
- No down payment requirement
- Lower interest rates
- No private mortgage insurance (PMI) required
- Fewer qualifying provisions
- Less out of pocket expenses
- Loan limits are significantly higher than the FHA limits, and there are certain closing costs that VA does not allow the Veteran to pay, saving the borrower money.
If you are a veteran, currently serving in the U.S. military, the surviving spouse of a veteran or a member of the Reserves, you could qualify for VA loan.
Give one of our licensed Loan Officers a call at at 1-855-MILEND-1 or fill in the Get a Quote form on this page to start getting the benefits you deserve!
The document list for a mortgage loan can look pretty daunting, but the faster you can get the information together and back your MiLEND mortgage loan consultant, processor, or underwriter, the faster they can get the file processed and closed.
To help you get a head start, we put together an online list of documents for the most common situations.
Everyone getting a mortgage loan will need:
- Copy of your W-2s for the last two years
- Copy of your paycheck stubs for the last 2 months
- If commission or bonus income is applicable and is more than 25% of base salary, you will have to provide your tax returns
- Copy of your checking and savings account statement for the last two months (ALL PAGES)
- Copy of any quarterly or semi-annual statements for any investment or retirement funds (ALL PAGES)
- Employment history for the last two years
- Residence history for the last two years
- If you have paid off any mortgage in the last 2 years, you will need a copy of the HUD-1 Settlement Statement
- Copy of the driver’s license and Social Security card for all borrowers
- If you are purchasing a home or investment property, you will need a copy of the sale contract when signed by all parties
- If you are refinancing, you will need a copy of your home owner’s insurance policy
If you are a Self-Employed Borrower, you will also need:
- Copy of your most recent 2 years of tax returns, including all schedules
- Copy of your current Profit and Loss Statement and Balance Sheet
- Copy of corporate / partnership tax returns for the most recent 2 years (include copies of W-2s or 1099s)
If you are getting a VA (Veteran’s Administration) mortgage loan, you will also need:
- Your original Certificate of Eligibility and a copy of your DD214 Discharge
- The name and address of your nearest living relative
If you have filed for a bankruptcy, you will need:
- Copies of the petition for bankruptcy and the discharge. Be sure you have ALL supporting documents.
- Divorce decree
If you receive any Social Security or retirement income, you will need:
- Copy of the bank statement showing your direct deposit and the most recent award letter
This list covers the majority of the documents you may need prior to closing your home mortgage loan. There is always the chance another document may be requested, but this is a great head start!
Before getting into the time and steps needed to close a home loan, please remember that different factors may affect the time it takes to apply for, process, and close a mortgage loan. The best advice I can give is be as patient as you can and remember everything the mortgage lender is requesting is to help speed the process of closing your loan. As a mortgage lender, we are working for you.
Keeping that in mind, here are the basics of how the loan process works.
Your Loan Application
The mortgage loan application is where it all starts.
The application can take as little as 10 minutes, but you want to make sure you, and your loan consultant, take as much time as you need to understand your loan and your loan options. The loan consultant is there to answer any questions you may have and make sure you are an informed borrower.
During the loan application you will want to have at least the following available for everyone on the loan:
- Current address and contact information
- Current employment and salary information
- List of owned properties
- The time spent on an application is minimal.
Ordering the Appraisal
What is an appraisal? An appraisal is an expert estimation of the value of your home.
Once the loan consultant has your complete and signed application in hand, they will order your property appraisal. Without a complete mortgage application your loan consultant will not be able to order your appraisal.
By federal law a mortgage loan consultant is not allowed to influence the home appraiser in any way. Be wary of any loan consultant than tells you they can guarantee your property will be appraised at a value you need to get the mortgage loan done.
The appraisal usually takes about 7 days.
Documents and Processing
Processing your mortgage loan is the act of verifying the loan information is true and accurate as well as making sure we have gathered the necessary documents.
You will usually gather your documents while you and your loan consultant are waiting for your property appraisal, but there may be more needed during processing.
The amount of documents you need can vary depending on the loan type and your situation. It’s always important to understand that not all mortgage loan programs will fit everyone. In most cases, you will want to have at least the following:
- Your W2s from the last two years
- Your home insurance declaration page
- Your Purchase Contract (if it is a new home purchase)
- A Photo ID (a drivers license is generally good enough)
- Your Social Security Card
- Your last two months of bank statements
You may need more, or less, than the listed documents, and your mortgage loan consultant and loan processor will always help you with what you need.
This step will usually take 2 – 4 calendar days.
The underwriter is the person that gives the final approval on your loan, and underwriting is the process of making sure your loan is sellable or insurable. An underwriter will go through the loan with a fine tooth comb to determine risk and make sure everything is completed correctly.
A file will only get to underwriting once it is complete, and your loan consultant and loan processor should work with you to make sure that happens. During the underwriting process you may be asked to provide additional or more up to date documents for the underwriter.
Although a super clean file can be underwritten within 48 hours, there are many factors involved that can determine the speed of underwriting your loan. You should be ready to provide any additional information the underwriter needs during this step.
This step can take from 2 – 10 days depending on the many factors involved.
Closing Your Loan
There is one more department to hit before you can close your mortgage loan; the closing department.
The closing department will go through your loan one more time to make the loan complies with federal and state laws as well as prepare the documents for, and deliver the closing documents to the closing attorney.
This step usually takes a few days and your lender should call you to schedule your closing once this step is complete.
Congratulations, you have just applied for and closed your home mortgage in under 30 days!
There are cases where closing a mortgage loan can take a lot less time. The reality is that every mortgage loan goes through the same exact process and some loans are easier than others. You can be sure MiLEND will do everything in our power to close your loan as fast as possible.
Closing costs vary. Depending on the loan size, MiLEND may be able to credit some or all of the closing costs.
Conventional rates are for a 30 year Fixed rate mortgage and a 25% down payment(or with a max Loan-To-Value (LTV) of 75%). APR stands for Annual Percentage Rate. Above APR is an estimate based on above loan terms on a $300,000. loan amount. Monthly Payments are Principal & Interest only & does not include monthly Taxes & Property Insurance. Actual payment will be higher.
ARM Rates are based on a 5/1 Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM), 30 year term based on the LIBOR Index, using a Margin of 2.250%, and minimum 25% down payment (or, with a maximum Loan-To-Value (LTV) of 75%). The interest rate is fixed for 60 months and adjustable annually thereafter. After the first 60 months, the interest rate may adjust up or down by a maximum of 5.000%, and each year after it may adjust up or down by a maximum of 2.000% with a Maximum Adjusted Rate of 8.250% and a Minimum Adjusted Rate of 2.250%.
In most places across the US, a jumbo mortgage is one that exceeds $417,000. There are a few “high-cost” areas where jumbo loans start at $625,000 and there are a few counties where the jumbo limit is somewhere in between.
So what’s the difference?
First of all, there are different rates for jumbo loans vs conventional loans. Typically, jumbo loans have a higher rate. Also, jumbo loans usually have guidelines that are tougher than those of a conventional loan. For example, jumbo mortgages normally require two appraisals instead of just one. In addition, they have lower debt-to-income requirements and require a larger down payment.
Jumbo loans are available for a single family residence, whether it’s a primary residence, vacation house, second home, or investment property.
Interest only loans are also known as simple interest loans. It’s very “simple” to calculate the payment without the need of a financial calculator.
Loan amount X rate / 12 = monthly payment
We all agree that Interest only loans have had a bad reputation since 2008. This is largely due to them being overused and borrowers using them to buy homes that they really couldn’t afford. Back then, the mentality was “home prices always go up.” Needless to say, the last decade disproved that way of thinking and taught everyone a very important lesson. So, let’s take a look at the use of interest only loans today.
What’s the benefit of an Interest only loan?
In our opinion, an I/O loan is best suited for someone whose income fluctuates. There are many commission employees who have paychecks that go up and down drastically from month to month. This type of individual can benefit from an I/O loan because the payment is lower than a fixed 30 year payment. The smaller payment can provide some breathing room when cash flow might be a low.
But the principal amount is never getting paid on this type of loan. That’s actually how a lot of people got in trouble with these loans. It’s important to be disciplined and have a plan for paying down the principal. Again, think of somebody whose paycheck fluctuates. When they have a good month, they can then pay extra (which is principal) on the loan. Once the principal starts getting paid down, all future payments are adjusted based on the new lower balance. This drops the minimum payment or interest only payment going forward.
There has been only one loan where an interest only is a fixed rate. They’re usually an ARM and the rate becomes adjustable after the initial period. With the one loan where the rate was fixed for the life of the loan, the interest only period was for 10 years. After that, the loan converted to a 20 year fixed principal and interest loan based on what the balance was at that time. This loan gave the benefit and peace of mind of a fixed rate with 10 full years of the flexibility of interest only.
A Reverse Mortgage is a mortgage in which a homeowner can borrow money against the value of their home. No repayment of the mortgages principal or interest is required until the home is sold or the borrower(s) do not occupy the home as their primary residence for more than 12 months. The only monthly financial obligations the borrower is responsible for is the taxes, insurance and basic maintenance.
Reverse Mortgages allow homeowners aged 62 or older to borrow up to $625,500 depending on several factors, such as the age of the borrower.
With a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (or HECM) you can turn the equity of your house into cash without having to sell the property, move out of your home, or make monthly mortgage payments. If you are looking for another financial option for retirement, a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage may be just the thing for you.
A reverse mortgage may provide income that people can access for their retirement. One major convenience of a reverse mortgage is that the borrower’s credit is often not important because the borrower is not required to make any payments. Since the home serves as collateral, the reverse mortgage must be sold or paid within 1 year of the last member of the house vacating the home. Additionally, most reverse mortgages are Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECM), which are non-recourse loans insured, by the FHA. Typically, the only upfront, out of pocket costs associated with these loans is the fee charged to appraise a home. All other costs, such as origination costs are not out of pocket costs and become part of the initial loan balance that accrues interest.
The amount varies by borrower and depends on:
- Age of the youngest borrower or eligible non-borrowing spouse.
- Current interest rate; and
- Lesser of appraised value or the HECM FHA mortgage limit of $625,500 or the sales price.
- If there is more than one borrower and no eligible non-borrowing spouse, the age of the youngest borrower is used to determine the amount you can borrow.
A home equity conversion mortgage is a non-recourse loan. That means you or your heirs will never owe more than your home is worth. If your home sells for less than what is owed on the loan, FHA insurance pays the difference.
This is one of the most popular questions. Yes, you will retain ownership of your home.
Adjustable Rate Mortgage
An ARM is an Adjustable Rate Mortgage and is exactly what it sounds like, a mortgage interest rate that will adjust, up or down, over time.
ARMs usually start out with very low interest rates and will keep that low rate for a fixed amount of time before adjusting.
The important thing to know is when your ARM will adjust, and by how much.
That depends on the ARM program. Traditionally, you will see ARM loan programs called 5/1 ARM, 3/1 ARM, 7/1 ARM, 10/1 ARM, etc.
These numbers give you some very important information.
The first number is the number of years your ARM will keep the initial rate; so a 5/1 ARM will keep its initial rate for 5 years, or 60 months.
The second number is how often your rate will change, in years. In the case of the 5/1 ARM, your rate will change as often as once every 12 months.
This is where you should know another set of numbers known as the ARM Caps, or “cap structure.” A cap structure for a 5/1 ARM could look like this: 5/2/5.
Again, this is very important information.
|The first number is the Initial Cap. The Initial Cap is the maximum your loan will adjust on its first adjustment. So if you had a 5/1, 5/2/5 ARM at 3.25%, it could adjust a maximum of 5% after the first 60 months. This means you could get an interest rate of 8.25% after the first adjustment. But, keep reading!||The second number is the Rate Adjustment Cap. The Rate Adjustment Cap is the maximum your loan will adjust after the initial adjustment. In the 5/1, 5/2/5 example, it would mean your loan would adjust by a maximum of 2% each year after the first adjustment.||The third number is the Lifetime Cap. The Lifetime Cap is a very important number. This is the most your loan can adjust over the life of the ARM. So a 5/1, 5/2/5 ARM at 3.25% could never be more than 8.25% or the initial interest rate of 3.25% plus the lifetime cap of 5%. See, I told you to keep reading.|
Each adjustment will be determined by your loan “margin” and a market index. A common index used in ARM loans would be the LIBOR , or London InterBank Offered Rate, Index. The margin is the interest rate offered by your lender, and doesn’t change throughout the life of the loan.
To determine your new rate, you will add your margin to the current LIBOR index.
So, if your margin is 2.25% and the LIBOR is 1.25, your new rate would be 3.50%. On the plus side, if the index goes down, you could see a decrease in your interest rate.
Absolutely! You can refinance just like you would any other loan.
To find out if the Adjustable Rate Mortgage is the right choice for you, call a MiLEND mortgage consultant today at 1-855-MILEND-1 or just fill out the Get a Quote form on this page.
So you bought your own home. Congratulations! There is nothing that beats the feeling of pride that comes with ownership. Until the lock on the porch door jams, or the power goes out and your car is in the garage. We’ve got a couple, often overlooked ideas to keep your home operating smoothly and the stress (and cost) down!
- You try and try but the door just won’t unlock. Before you call a locksmith, spray WD-40 or squirt some graphite powder in the keyhole. Voila! You’ve mended your lock. (Extra Free Tip: Be careful with your keys the first few weeks; some residue might stick to your key)
- You’ve tried everything, and it’s time to call in a professional. Think you should start with a Google search to find the best handy man? Think again. Ask for recommendations from your friends or family in the area or better yet, ask the guys at your local hardware store. They already know the people in the area doing odd jobs because they are buying the supplies from them.
- That one light bulb that goes out before the rest. We’ve all got them, but did you know that you could extend the life of that bulb? First, turn the power to the light OFF! After you’ve turned the power off, use a Q-Tip to clean out the brass bit that touches the light bulb bottom. If you need to, use a screwdriver to nudge the brass tip into a horizontal position so it sticks to the light bulb better.
- You’ve locked yourself out of the bathroom and the water is running. You should totally know how to pick an interior lock. Get a tiny piece of metal such as a small screwdriver or a bobby pin and slip it into the small hole in the center of the knob or handle. Press slowly down on the spring once the screwdriver is in the hole and turn. Crisis averted.
- Power is out. And so is your electric garage door opener. After making sure you are safe to leave, head out to the garage and pull down on the red handle you have always wanted to pull. This will allow you to manually slide the door up and you can get your car out.
These tips should help you get out of some common household binds. If you have some good tips, please don’t hesitate to write us at [email protected] and let us know!
Whether energy prices are high or low, everyone wants to save energy and money. MiLEND has put together some tips to help save energy in your home.
- Check Insulation – Make sure your insulation is up to the task. Insulation should be about 12 inches deep in the attic. You could go through the entire attic with a yard stick or just take a look at your ceiling joists. If you can see them, you need insulation. Your insulation should be at least two inches above your joists and the thicker the better.
- Fix Energy Leaks – This is a big topic and deserves its own page. Please head over here for tips on finding and fixing energy leaks in your home.
- Replace Old Windows – This can be an expensive project, but well worth it in the end. Not only will you get energy savings, you will also help increase your home value (link to http://home/jbreeland/public_html.milend.com/home-pages/home-improvement.php). Plan on doing a few windows at a time, starting in your most used rooms.
- Check your Air Ducts – This is a great time to fix all those little things you have intended to fix in the past. Hole in the wall? Broken stair railing? Leaking sink? This is a great time to get out the toolbox and get to work. It will be worth it.
- Clean your Air Ducts – The U.S. Department of Energy states that a home can lose up to 60% of its heated or cooled air before it reaches the main vents if the ductwork isn’t connect or insulated correctly. Although it may be too late to redirect your air ducts away from unheated spaces in your house, it is pretty easy to find air duct problems with a visual inspection. Look for kinks in the duct work, obvious air leaks, and gaps in your duct work. Repair, in a lot of cases can be as easy as shifting the ductwork or using metal backed tape to cover holes.
- Use the Fan Reverse Switch in the Winter – Have you ever wondered why fans have a reverse switch? Reversing your fan so it turns counterclockwise, will pull the cold air up and push the warm air down. And… now you know.
Whether you know it or not, every home is full of holes. If you could take every hole in your house and put it in one place, you would probably be able fit a basketball through it. MiLEND has put together some tips on finding and repairing that basketball sized leak.
- Use Smoke: Close all your doors and windows and fireplace flues, turn on all your exhaust fans that blow air outside, and light some incense. Pass the incense smoke around common leak areas like door and window frames, electrical outlets, switch plates, attic doors, telephone and cable lines, drying vent openings, weather stripping, baseboards, etc.
If the incense smoke blows in or out, you most likely have a leak in that area of your home.
- Use Your Hand: This doesn’t work as well as the smoke, but may work on bigger leaks. Dampen your hand and pass your hand over the same common leak areas listed when you use smoke. If your hand becomes cool, you probably have a leak in that area.
- Hire a Qualified Technician: A qualified technician is your best bet to finding and repairing most of your leaks. This isn’t as much fun as incense or a damp hand, but whatever works for you.
Now comes the fun part! You get to fix the leaks in your home.
- Use caulk or weather stripping to seal doors and windows that are leaking. If there is a large hole or leak, you may want to use foam sealant.
- Install foam gaskets behind your light switch and electrical outlet plates. They make gaskets specifically for this purpose.
- Use caulk or foam sealant to seal air leaks where pipes or vents come into your house or through your walls.
- Replace single pane windows in your home with double pane windows. Single pane windows do very little to stop the heat or cold from coming in your house.
There are a ton of things you can do to help save energy, money, and keep your home comfortable. We hope this helps you catch some of the more obvious issues.
The holiday season can be an exciting and even hectic time for everyone, and the fast pace of the holidays can often mean forgetting some basic rules of home and personal safety. Unfortunately, criminals and safety hazards will not take the holidays off, so we have to make sure we remember to keep our home and family safe.
Here are some tips to make their jobs harder and your holiday season as safe and fun as it should be.
- Make sure you are locking your doors and windows. It only takes a minute for a thief to check your house for an unlocked door.
- Avoid putting large piles of gifts or large gifts in front of open windows. We love to show off our holiday cheer, but let’s make sure we aren’t putting our home at risk.
- Set your Christmas lights on an auto timer. Not only does this help save on electricity, it keeps the criminals guessing on whether or not you are at home.
- If you are leaving your home to visit relatives or for any extended time, be sure to let a trusted neighbor or family member know you are gone. That will allow them to pick up your mail and newspapers.
- If you don’t have a neighbor to pick up your mail, contact your local postal service and put your mail on hold.
- Make your house look occupied by leaving a television or radio on.
- If you use Christmas lights, make sure there aren’t any tears or frays in the wiring. Most Christmas tree related home fires are caused by faulty wiring.
- Keep your Christmas tree watered. Dead and dry trees are quick to burn.
Make sure your Christmas tree is on a sturdy base so your tree cannot easily be pulled over by a child or pet.
- Before lighting your fireplace or any fire in the house, be sure all decorations and wrapping paper are clear of the fire source. Also remember to never use gift wrap in your fire as it tends to ignite suddenly.
I hope you find these tips helpful, and have a safe and happy holiday season!
How many times have you said to yourself “I would love it if my kitchen had…” or, “this would make an awesome man cave?” This is pretty familiar to everyone, and most people buy a house with the intent to grow and make it even better as time goes on.
There are many factors involved in finding the best home improvement projects to take on including your neighborhood, your home style, and the market in general. Keeping that in mind, we wanted to give you a couple of home improvements that will most likely impact on your home appraisal.
|Project||Average Price Range|
|Painting: This simple and inexpensive upgrade will help bring new life to every room in your home. Although not a large improvement like the previous items, fresh paint may be the least expensive improvement you can make, with the highest impact.||$500 – $1,500|
|Remodel the kitchen – The kitchen is one of the most active rooms in any house. People gather around food areas and there is no better example of that than the kitchen. In most cases you can usually expect to get 60% – 70% of your investment on an appraisal with a good kitchen upgrade.||$10,000 – $20,000|
|Create outdoor seating areas or a deck – Creating a social space adds sale appeal to your home as well as giving you about 60% of your investment back in the form of home value. This is more than just putting some chairs in your yard. This is about adding a functional and relaxing space.||$10,000 – $15,000|
|Remodel your bathroom(s) – The bathroom is one of the most frequently used rooms in the house and can have a huge impact on how comfortable people feel when they are at home or when they visit someone’s home. A good bathroom remodel can offer a 60% return to their home owner.||$5,000 – $15,000|
|Replace Old Windows – In today’s energy conscience world, already having new windows in your home is a huge plus to a potential buyer or appraiser. Not only will this help update the look of your house, it will help save money on your electric bills!||$2,000 – $12,000 (based on number of windows)|
These are just a few upgrades you can do to help the value of your home. Remember, not all home improvements will have a large impact on your home evaluation, but anything you can do to keep your home updated and appealing will give you the edge over your neighbors that haven’t done the same.