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Don't Downplay the Down Payment

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Winter is Coming... Again

  Winter is Coming... Again As Ben Franklin once said: “In this world, nothing is certain but death and cleaning your gutters before winter to prevent ice dams”. With that, here are five fall home maintenance activities to start thinking about in the coming weeks. Check your chimney Make sure everything is in order before the first fire of the season. "Creosote buildup causes chimney fires," says Family Handyman. "You should have your chimney professionally inspected or cleaned after every 70 fires. Don't remember the last time you had it cleaned by a pro? A quick way to tell if your chimney needs cleaning is to run the point of your fireplace poker along the inside of your chimney liner. If you find a 1/8” layer (or more) of buildup, call a chimney sweep." Check your roof Storms, wind, and other weather conditions over the past year could have done damage that you're not aware of. Don’t wait until the first heavy snow to find out you have a leak. If you'

Avoiding Moving Woes

  Avoiding Moving Woes It’s a timeless and universal truth: moving is no fun. Ancient Polynesian seafarers, while nervously prepping outrigger canoes for uncharted trips across the South Pacific, probably groaned in frustration when they realized at the last minute that someone forgot to pack up all the fishing gear. Sure, locating to a new place can be an exciting adventure, but the actual moving process can be stressful, costly, and full of surprises. Make your next move as smooth and simple as possible by avoiding these pitfalls: Hiring a shady mover.  Moving scams can run the gamut from bogus “moving deposits”, to bait-and-switch estimates, to overly-complicated contracts designed to nullify mover liability. You can steer clear of a less-than-upstanding mover by doing your homework. The Better Business Bureau, Angie's List, your state transportation regulator, and the U.S. Department of Transportation - and even your relatives, friends and neighbors - are all good sources of in

Eligibility for VA Loans


Put Down Roots this Fall

  Put Down Roots this Fall Spring is often thought of as the best time for planting, but planting in the fall can offer some significant advantages for your plants. Below are some reasons why fall is the best time for planting perennials, trees, and shrubs. Perfect Planting Weather The cooler weather of fall is easier for plants and gardeners alike. The ground isn't dry or frozen, and temperatures are mild and enjoyable. Your plants aren't stressed out by extreme conditions, so they acclimate to their new environment quicker. Plus, you can tend to them without excessive sweating or sunburn! Flexibility and Rampant Roots There is no need to rush to prevent plants from drying up in their containers or delay because the ground is too hot. You can plant whenever is convenient for you. As for trees, planting them when they've lost their leaves is actually better because they won't have to exert energy growing leaves and can focus on growing roots. This is the biggest fall ad

Which States Have the Lowest Cost of Living?

  Which States Have the Lowest Cost of Living? For many of us, the past year has brought about a slew of unexpected changes. The pandemic didn’t slow rising home prices or increase the amount of available inventory in major metro areas, but what it did do was dispel the idea that all office workers must be tethered to a physical location. With remote work becoming more and more normalized, many Americans are wondering why they’re paying exorbitant housing costs for less space, less privacy, and less stability. With that in mind, let’s take a glance at the most affordable places to live in the United States by cost of living index*. Mississippi:  With a cost of living index of 84.8 (the national average is considered 100), Mississippi has the lowest housing costs in the country and has held the top spot for years. You can expect to pay around $134,000 for a home, so if you’re looking for a new home town where your money can go further, Mississippi might be for you. Oklahoma:  Oklahoma h

Private Mortgage Insurance Explained

  Private Mortgage Insurance Explained When a lender looks at a loan application, their main question is "what risk do I take on by issuing this loan?" Credit checks, bank statements, employment verification – all the documentation required when getting approved for a loan is in service of assessing what the odds are that the loan will go into default. This is why a down payment is such a crucial part of obtaining a home loan. When a borrower has a substantial down payment (20 to 30% or more), the lender's exposure is lessened in the event of a default. This 20-30% figure used to be required, yet clearly this kept a lot of people from realizing the benefits of homeownership, especially first time buyers. That is until 1957, when Max H. Karl, a  real   estate  attorney, founded Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corporation and invented the modern form of private mortgage insurance. PMI is designed to address the hefty down payment hurdle. Instead of coming to the table with 20%