Category: Uncategorized

Top Ways to Add Value to Your Property

If Blu-Ray bonus features get you excited, then trying these three bonus features for your home will make your day.

Most people who watch home renovation shows know that the most valuable parts of a complete makeover are the kitchen and bathrooms. These projects can usually take weeks, if not, months. If you have to sell your home in the near future, you may not have the time (or the budget) for all of these renovations. Fret not! It’s very possible you have the three things you need to add value to your home. Know what these three focuses are, and get moving!

  1. Stainless steel appliances

Trends come and go. Skinny jeans, floral wallpaper, mullets, the list goes on. But, like the color black, stainless steel appliances have been known to withstand the test of time. Spending just $2,000 on stainless steel appliances will make your home sell faster, and you’ll probably double your investment.

  1. Walk-in closets

In a competitive market, any advantage you have must be exploited to the best of your ability. Walk-in closets are seen as the best kinds of closets to have; they offer much room and plenty of room for mirrors and everything else. Walk-in closets may not increase the value of your home, but they will make it sell faster.

  1. Hardwood flooring

Carpet had its time, and we shamelessly let it happen. Since then, hardwood flooring is once again rightly claiming the flooring world for itself. Hardwood floors are hard to come by nowadays, so if you have it now or under your carpeting, use it to your advantage!

Use what you have to your advantage: it’s the only way you’ll get ahead in life and in real estate.

Contact Dean Rathbun when it comes time to finding the perfect plan of action to sell your home. We are happy to help you.

How to Improve Your Credit Report

Your credit report can have a big say on what you can and can’t purchase in our market, so if your credit report is not good is there a chance you can improve it?
(Yes, rest assured.)

You regularly have to clean your room, closet, garage in order for everything to be in its proper place and be neat and organized. Similarly, every now and then, you must clean your credit report. Your credit history is the foundation upon which your entire financial life is centered. The information in this report is what companies like FICO use to generate a credit score which governs everything from how much interest you pay for a loan –or if you can even get a loan to start with– all the way down to your insurance rates. If your credit report is not as clean as you would like, here are a few tips on how you can improve your credit report.

Where to find your credit report

Federal law entitles you to a free copy of your credit report every 12 months. You can get them from the three major agencies: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.

Identification basics

One of the most important parts of your credit score is the identification of your name, current address, and Social Security number. Make sure that everything on there matches you.

Look at the report for discrepancies

You have to make sure there are no errors in your report and dispute any accounts that you do not recognize. Any negative information can have severe consequences.

Your credit report can affect your mortgage application process, which may be bad if you have bad credit. Contact Dean Rathbun when it comes time to finding the perfect plan of action to buy your home. We are happy to help you!

How to Turn Home Equity into Retirement Savings

Your home equity can be a major source of cash flow, but do you know how to access and tap into it?

Many retirees are homeowners, and of those with more than $100,000 in savings, roughly 90 percent of them, own a house–according to the LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute. But even those with fewer savings still own a home–70 percent.

The ability to have access to that equity can save a retiree from running out of money or being forced to sell stocks, bonds, and other investments when the market is not so great. Equity can really improve a retiree’s cash flow, especially those individuals who depend on taking out of their savings because they do not have a pension. But, here are two ways to turn home equity into retirement savings.

  1. Sell Your Home and Downgrade
    If the only reason you kept your big home was to house your big family, and they’ve all moved out and it’s now just you and your spouse, you could sell your home and move into a less expensive one. It will cut utilities, taxes, insurance, and maintenance, plus, working under the assumption that your home value increased, you will have the extra money from your sold home which could last you decades.
  2. Borrow Against Equity
    A home equity line of credit (HELOC) can pay to remodel your home or can cover the home-improvement costs of stopping work and selling the house. The best time to do this would be a year or two before you retire, as long as you can pay it back before it becomes burdensome.

Turning your home equity into retirement savings is not difficult, especially if you use these great and helpful tips. Contact Dean Rathbun when it comes time to finding the perfect plan of action to buy your home. We are happy to help you.

The Mortgage Checklist

Mortgage lenders require certain paperwork that verifies every single aspect of your life: income, debts, assets, and more. 

Being on the lender’s best side is a good idea. A substantial step in the right direction is by having everything you need before you apply for a mortgage. The lender will request the following documents, so gather them before you apply for a mortgage. Here is a mortgage checklist you should use before shopping for a mortgage.

Mortgage Checklist

  • W-2 – Lenders require the most recent W-2 wage and tax statements, but some will need two years of W-2s.
  • Profit and Loss Statements (or 1099, if you own a business) – Self-employed borrowers may have to submit a current-year profit and loss statement.
  • Payment Stubs – In order to verify that you make as much as you claim you make, loan guidelines say to have one month of verified income.
  • Tax Returns – Including all the pages and schedules will be expected. The returns will be scrutinized for unreimbursed employee business expenses, self-employment business losses, and signs of loan fraud.
  • List of Debt – On your list should be credit card debt, student loans, car loans, and child support payments.
  • List of Assets – Including bank statements, mutual fund statement(s), real estate, automobile title(s), brokerage statement(s), and records of any other investments or assets.
  • Cancelled Checks – If any checks have bounced, your mortgage company wants to know about it. They want to know if your rent payments are up to date. If you don’t have those checks from months or even years ago,  you can supply the mortgage company with the name of your ex-landlord.

Mortgages may seem like stressful contracts to obtain, but with the right preparation, they don’t have to be! Contact  Dean Rathbun when it comes time to finding the perfect plan of action to buy your home. We are happy to help you.

How to Refinance Your Life

If you’re looking for a way to make a real difference in your financial life, refinancing your loans could be helpful. 

The word refinance is often associated with mortgages, but it’s not the only loan that can be refinanced. While refinancing helps people give their mortgages a makeover, it can also help individuals with any kind of loan; from your student loans all the way to your car loan. Do you know how refinancing can help you?

Refinancing Different Loans

What is refinancing?

In essence, refinancing means you’re replacing one kind of loan with another loan. You may refinance a loan to get a better interest rate or reduce your monthly payments.

What do you need to know about rate-and-term refinancing?

If you want to get a better interest rate or change the loan term, consider rate-and-term refinancing. This can be beneficial for borrowers if you initially took out your loan when interest rates were much higher than they are today. Additionally, it can help you change the monthly payment if you need to.

Can it help renters?

You can refinance almost any kind of debt, not just mortgages. Things like your student loans, for example, can be refinanced. If you rent your property and have student or car loans, you can refinance those to loosen your budget and have more cash for yourself.

Are there any downsides?

Good rarely comes into our life without a catch. Refinancing doesn’t guarantee that you’ll save money or even help you manage your repayments. Your loans have terms and conditions that may become void if you refinance. Some federal loans, like your student loans, are eligible for benefits like loan forgiveness or payment programs that you could be exempted from if you choose to refinance.

A refinance can help you get your financial life on the right track. Contact  Dean Rathbun when it comes time to finding the perfect plan of action to buy your home. We are happy to help you.

The Pros and Cons of Purchasing a Home During Peak Real Estate Season

Spring is the best season in which you can buy a home, but you should know the disadvantages of doing so.

The warmer weather, the pending summer vacation, and various other factors contribute to making spring the hottest real estate season. But, despite what countless people choose to do, is spring really the best time to purchase a home? Think about it, the same statistics say the hottest time to fly is in the summer and winter, but then you have to deal with inflated prices and crowded airports. When it comes to purchasing a home in spring, you should know the pros and cons. And here they are!

Pros

  • It’s as timely as Old Faithful: around spring, listings flood the housing market. Sellers feel more motivated once the warmer weather strolls through, and taking pictures of your home surrounded flowers sure beats taking pictures while its covered in snow.
  • Perfect for families. Choosing to move your whole family is stressful no matter what season. But, at least in the summer you won’t have to deal with school and moving dates will be a breeze.

Cons

  • More inventory, more competition. There may be more homes to choose, but this brings out all the wannabe homeowners as well. With more people wanting to purchase homes, bidding wars are sure to ensue—making you fork out more for your potential future home.
  • You have to get a quick move-on. With so much competition, time is of the essence. With most homes, you’re not going to get the opportunity to weigh all the pros and cons; you’ll have to place an offer as soon as you can to beat the competition.

When it comes to purchasing a home during peak season, you should know what you’re getting yourself into. Contact United American Mortgage Group when it comes time to finding the perfect plan of action to sell your home. We are happy to help you.

Add Value to Your Home with These Three Surprising Extras

Add Value to Your Home with These Three Surprising ExtrasIf Blu-Ray bonus features get you excited, then trying these three bonus features for your home will make your day.

Most people who watch home renovation shows know that the most valuable parts of a complete makeover are the kitchen and bathrooms. These projects can usually take weeks, if not, months. If you have to sell your home in the near future, you may not have the time (or the budget) for all of these renovations. Fret not! It’s very possible you have the three things you need to add value to your home. Know what the these three focuses are, and get moving!

  1. Stainless steel appliances

Trends come and go. Skinny jeans, floral wallpaper, mullets, the list goes on. But, like the color black, stainless steel appliances have been known to withstand the test of time. Spending just $2,000 on stainless steel appliances will make your home sell faster, and you’ll probably double your investment.

  1. Walk-in closets

In a competitive market, any advantage you have must be exploited to the best of your ability. Walk-in closets are seen as the best kinds of closets to have; they offer much room and plenty of room for mirrors and everything else. Walk-in closets may not increase the value of your home, but they will make it sell faster.

  1. Hardwood flooring

Carpet had its time, and we shamelessly let it happen. Since then, hardwood flooring is once again rightly claiming the flooring world for itself. Hardwood floors are hard to come by nowadays, so if you have it now or under your carpeting, use it to your advantage!

Use what you have to your advantage: it’s the only way you’ll get ahead in life and in real estate.

Contact United American Mortgage Group when it comes time to finding the perfect plan of action to sell your home. We are happy to help you.

What Can You Do to Avoid Losing Your Security Deposit?

With attention to detail and careful planning, you can ensure you’ll see your security deposit again.

You’ve known your landlord for months, perhaps years, so you’ve likely formed some type of relationship. Even if you have a good relationship with your landlord, they may do a complete 180 when it comes to your security deposit. Most tenants expect to see their security deposit back, especially when they’ve kept the place neat and tidy. Take the following steps to ensure that you receive your security deposit when you move out of your place (or, at the very least, get a detailed explanation of why it’s been withheld).

  1. Read your lease very carefully. Be sure to pay attention to the detail about when you’re moving out. Some leases have end dates, others don’t and automatically extend. If yours automatically extends, you’ll want to know how much notice you have to give, otherwise risk losing your security deposit because you broke your lease.
  2. Make an apartment rental inspection checklist. If your landlord doesn’t provide you with a move-in checklist you’re going to have to make your own. Make sure that every blemish and mark is noted in the checklist. Take pictures of your apartment before you unpack all your things. By being as detailed as possible, you’ll avoid future conflict with your landlord because he won’t be able to blame you for damage that was there before you moved out.
  3. Take Pictures. This is especially important the day you move out. Take photos of every room and email them to your landlord the very same day. That way, any damage that occurs post-moving out can’t be traced back to you. If you can’t email them, most smartphones record the date the photograph was taken.

Contact United American Mortgage Group when it comes time to finding the perfect plan of action to sell your home. We are happy to help you.

How a Side Gig Funded My Down Payment

How side income, based on true events, can help fund a real estate purchase.

There are many reasons to take up a paid hobby or side gig. Whether it’s taking extra work to build new skills or following a lifelong passion, when your side hustle starts to really pay off, that added income can be used to finance your home’s down payment. Some side gigs are so lucrative that they also allow people to save up for a massive down payment but also afford for renovations or even pay off their mortgage completely. Here are two real-life side gigs that helped two different people save enough for their down payment.

  1. Dream vacation to dream home

A Texas-based web designer named Tanner Callais wanted to help people create their dream vacations, so he built a website primarily for fun. What started as a cruise-only website that was making $300 a month, has boomed into a family of sites offering online booking and insider cruise travel tips. The income from his hobby earned him enough to put down 30 percent down on his home.

  1. Comedy Gold

Dan Nainan was terrified of public speaking, but he was a senior engineer with Intel and decided to take some stand-up class to relieve some of his phobia. It was here that he learned his true calling as a comedian. Through hard work and dedication, he climbed the ranks and has been asked to perform for President Obama, Steve Wozniak, and many other public figures. As impressive as Nainan’s career took off, it was this hobby that helped him pay off his New York apartment in cash!

Whether you’re trying to overcome a personal flaw, or just following your dreams on the side paying a large down payment on your home is important to not have the bank looming over your head for 30 years. Contact the mortgage experts atUnited American Mortgage Corporation for tips on how down payments will help you in the long run. We are happy to help you.

3 Rookie Real Estate Tax Mistakes

Don’t make these rookie mistakes when it comes to filing your taxes—be a pro!

Whether you just handed over the keys to your home for sale, or you just bought your new home, filing taxes as a homeowner can be rather difficult. While there are some basic deductions you may qualify for, there are plenty of others that aren’t very obvious, which means you’ll be missing out on possible tax breaks! If you want to maximize your tax benefit and avoid an IRS audit, you’ll want to steer clear of these 3 rookie tax mistakes.

  1. Being too antsy with the home office deductions

With so many people working from home, the home office tax deductions don’t raise as many red flags as they once used to. Still, you must follow the strict set of stipulations. For instance, the space can’t serve a dual purpose. It must be specifically used for your business. This space must also be the primary space in which your business operates.

  1. Not deducting private mortgage insurance

While your low down payment is forcing you to make up for it with monthly PMI, many homeowners can, at least, use their PMI expense as a write-off on taxes. You can qualify for a portion of the deduction if your loan was established in ’07 or later.

  1. Deducting the full escrow

If you’re paying your property taxes through an escrow account, you likely paid an amount that was either higher or lower than your actual rate was. The amount that you deduct has to match your bill, thus, deducting your full escrow amount is a rookie mistake you should avoid.

When it comes to avoiding real estate tax mistakes, contact United American Mortgage Corporation; we are happy to help you.