The FHA 203(k) renovation loan is one of those mortgage programs that should get a lot more attention but don’t. Why? Maybe because fewer lenders offer the program and for lenders who aren’t familiar with this special loan they can often try and steer someone into another direction such as taking a higher cost equity loan or second mortgage. The 203(k) renovation loan is used to finance a primary residence on a property that requires some degree of improvements or remodeling.

For example, a home is listed at a below market value and with certain repairs the home would be worth so much more. Say a home needs a new kitchen as the appliances are too old and no longer working. The FHA loan allows borrowers to borrow the funds needed to not only finance the purchase but provide needed funds for a brand new kitchen all in one mortgage at competitive rates.

Or, the loan can be used for a bath remodel, repair or replace an outdoor deck or patio. If the HVAC systems don’t work you can borrow the funds needed to repair or replace the heating and cooling systems. What types of properties qualify for the FHA 203(k) renovation loan?

Remember the loan can only be used to finance a home in which you intend to live. Eligible properties include:

  • An existing single family home that is at ...

Making Homeownership Work on a Budget

Jun 23
Category | Blog

For  many American families, buying a home can seem out of reach. On top of financial stress, the competitive market may make buyers feel like they will never find a home they can afford. If you dream of buying a house but have lost hope because you don’t think you can afford it, don't give up. There are several things you can do to help make your dream of buying a home into a reality.

Search in More Affordable Neighborhoods
When trying to buy a house in a competitive market, you might see high-end houses snapped up in minutes. In order to avoid bidding wars and having to either walk away or agree to a price way outside your budget, consider looking at areas with less interest. This includes neighborhoods you may have written off—you may find a hidden gem in an area you originally ignored.
Consider neighborhoods farther away from downtown, which often have lower house values. You could get more bang for your buck in terms of home size and outdoor space in these areas. Some neighborhoods on public transit lines may end up being quicker commutes than areas closer to downtown metros.

Save for Amenities
If switching neighborhoods isn’t an option, scale back on your must-have list. A great home doesn't have to come with all the bells and whistles and you can save up to make gradual improvements after you purchase your home. Several aspects of ...

Successful money managers share a simple strategy: spend less than you make over a long period of time and invest the difference. Here’s list of the 5 worst things you can do to sabotage your financial independence:

  1. Not taking care of your credit score. You may think you’re doing all the right things credit-wise, but that may not be how credit-scoring firms evaluate your profile. Your balances may be too high, you may have too many credit cards, or you may have been late on a payment or two. All of these things affect your credit score, so be sure to check your credit report three times a year and dispute any mistakes you find.
  2. Not saving and overspending – Putting money aside is essential if you are going to be able to invest. Experts suggest saving 10 percent of your salary. It’s tempting to splurge, but develop a budget and stick with it. Even if retirement is a long way off, it takes a long time to save enough money to live comfortably once you leave the workforce. Starting today, make sure to save part of every dollar you earn.
  3. Waiting to purchase property– renting always seems like the less expensive option; however ultimately as a renter you are paying someone else’s rent. Your landlord is cashing in on home equity and value- these are benefits renters do not enjoy ...

A new generation of homebuyers may shatter the myth that millennials are serial renters, according to a recent survey by As cited in the survey: 61 percent of first-time buyers in the coming year will be under the age of thirty-five. It appears that despite student loans, credit card debt, and near-stagnant wages, the millennial generation is setting down roots and eschewing rent payments. But this does not mean they are looking for the one dream house to last a lifetime.

Millennials overall are saying goodbye to the idea of a "forever home."  The old concept of buying a home at 25 and living in the home well through retirement may have seen its last days. The antiquated idea of buying that dream house and living there forever is one the millennials do not uphold. A recent community survey shows that over half (56 percent) of homeowners no longer believe in the forever home. 

A recent study found that fifty-eight percent of millennials believe that the forever home is dead, and expect their home to evolve as their life does. From a growing family to a new job or ...

6 Steps to Making the Right Bid

Jun 8
Category | Blog

Congratulations! You've finally found the house you're looking for and you're ready to make a bid. Here comes the tricky part: how much should you bid? Sometimes the bidding process can be a complicated tightrope to traverse. Multiple offer situations, or cases in which more than one competing offer is placed on a home, can be challenging for a homebuyer, especially one new to the process. To guide you along the way, here are steps to make the right bid and land your dream house.

While a listing agent can offer advice and suggestions, all decisions about how offers will be presented—and dealt with—are made by the seller. Your agent likely has other buyer clients, some of whom may be interested in the same properties as you are, so ask how offers and counter-offers will be presented and negotiated.

Looking into comparable sales is also a great idea to judge what you should bid. Check out how much houses in the area are going for and go back as far as six months. Find houses that are very similar to the one you intend to purchase. How much did these listings sell for and how much over or under was the sale price? All of these factors can help you assess your own bid.

Talk to the neighbors about noise levels, crime rates, schools and construction in the area. They ...

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