How to Lower Your Summer Air Conditioning Costs While Staying Cool

Posted By Justin Tuttle on May 25, 2017

As we head towards June, summer is on our doorstep!

With weather forecasters predicting a hotter-than-average summer for much of the country, and with the average household facing a $410 monthly electricity bill,

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Why You Shouldn’t Shop for a Car Before Buying a Home

Posted By Justin Tuttle on May 24, 2017

If you’re planning on buying a home, you have an empowering journey ahead that can provide long-lasting benefits.

Whether it’s six months or a year before you buy a home, it’s important to have your finances in order. We recommend improving your credit (most importantly,

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Blog Series: Reverse Mortgage Payouts (Line of Credit)

Posted By Justin Tuttle on May 22, 2017

With Americans living longer than ever, it’s harder for seniors to remain financially stable while extending their savings.

This is causing many seniors to delay retirement so they can work more years. Others are downsizing their homes or turning to family for assistance.

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Six Compelling Reasons to Buy Your First Home

Posted By Justin Tuttle on May 18, 2017

For individuals and families considering buying their first home, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed and question whether you should keep renting.

After all, buying a home commits you to years of monthly home payments (and risk) in an uncertain global economy. Owning a home also provides a long list of benefits,

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Video: Six Questions to Ask Your Realtor When You Find a Home You Love

Posted By Justin Tuttle on May 17, 2017

If you’re planning on buying a home, your Realtor is an important part of the process, and a valuable resource for you.  

One of the most exciting homebuying moments is discovering a home you love. When you find that house, here are six essential questions to ask your Realtor:

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Loan Comparison: How USDA Loans Measure Up to FHA Loans

Posted By Justin Tuttle on May 15, 2017

Those looking for a low to no down payment mortgage have options. From VA loans to HomeReady Loans to loans only available via the state, there are many different mortgages available for those who do not have the traditional 20% down payment.

The most common of these home loans is the FHA loan,

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Five Tips for Obtaining a Mortgage for a Rental Property

Posted By Justin Tuttle on May 11, 2017

The housing market has recovered considerably since the crash. Homes are now back in high demand, and – thanks to stricter lending practices – the likelihood of another crash in the future has been drastically reduced.

For investors, this means that now is a great time to consider purchasing a rental property.

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Mortgage Industry Highlights – April 2017

Posted By Justin Tuttle on May 8, 2017


April was another busy month in the mortgage industry. Here are some recent articles, highlights and homeowner tips:

Two Blockbuster Months In A Row Signal Steaming Home Market

Pending sales, which are home purchase transactions in which a buyer has signed a contract,

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Study: the Five Best States to Retire

Posted By Justin Tuttle on May 2, 2017

If you’re planning your retirement or are already retired, the state you live in matters.

Because individual states have different tax laws, varying affordability levels, and a range of  benefits (and drawbacks) for retirees — where you retire will have a dramatic impact on your life.

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Five Essential Online Resources for Homebuyers

Posted By Justin Tuttle on May 1, 2017

If you’re planning on buying a home, there’s a vast range of online resources available at your fingertips.

Contrast today’s virtually endless resources with 25 years ago — homebuying research was mainly limited to home listings in newspapers, books / magazines (which needed to be purchased or checked out from libraries),

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Low Income Mortgage Loans: You Can Afford More Than You Think

Posted By Justin Tuttle on April 27, 2017

It’s easy to feel like home buying may not be possible based on your income. Homes are expensive, and it’s not uncommon to hear horror stories about how difficult it is to qualify for a loan, how often borrowers took out loans that were more than they can handle,

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Five Fast Strategies to Qualify for a Higher Loan Amount

Posted By Justin Tuttle on April 26, 2017

In most cases, mortgage loan originators look into your past, present, and likely future to determine if you qualify for a home mortgage. They look at your payment history, your credit score (which takes years to develop), your income for the year, and more.

Many of these factors are difficult to change by the time you apply for a home loan.

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Tips to Fix Your Credit Before Refinancing

Posted By Justin Tuttle on April 25, 2017

Mortgage rates are on the rise, and that means if you have been putting off a refinance, it may be time to hurry. The longer you wait, the more likely the interest rates will increase – at least in today’s economy – and that reduces the value of refinancing in the future.

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Mortgage Tips for Single Parents

Posted By Justin Tuttle on April 24, 2017

If you’re a single parent looking for a home loan, it can seem challenging to find one that suits your needs. Although mortgage lenders generally don’t look at marital status when reviewing home loan applications, they do look at the following:

  • Debt and payment obligations
  • Total household income
  • Net income after taxes,

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Video: Learn About the Different Home Loans

Posted By Justin Tuttle on April 20, 2017

If you’re starting the homebuying process, it’s normal to feel confused by the different loan types.  

One of the best ways to address your concerns is learning as much as possible. After watching our new five minute video, you’ll know about the major home loans,

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What the Fed Rate Hike Means for Your Mortgage Rates

Posted By Justin Tuttle on April 19, 2017

Over the past several years the economy has improved. The stock market recently reached an all time high, investments have risen, and the unemployment rate has dropped.

Now that the economy has improved, interest rates are starting a slow climb to pre-2008 levels. Recently, the Federal Reserve increased the interest rates by a quarter of a percent,

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Six Home Security Tips for First-time Homebuyers

Posted By Justin Tuttle on April 18, 2017

If you recently bought your first home (or are planning on it), you have much to look forward to.

It’s also important to protect your property. New homeowners are especially vulnerable to  security risks as you’re likely new to your neighborhood and just beginning to understand your home.

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Should You Build or Buy Your Home?

Posted By Justin Tuttle on April 17, 2017

The longer you explore the housing market, the more you see finding your “dream” home can be difficult. Every home has flaws, and nearly every home requires that you “settle” a little on your vision. But not all families want to settle, and that is why you may consider exploring the idea of building a home yourself – one created from scratch according to your specific needs.

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Learning About Reverse Mortgages? Read these Articles!

Posted By Justin Tuttle on April 13, 2017

If you or a family member are considering a reverse mortgage, it’s important to research them beforehand.

Websites such as the Federal Trade Commission provide excellent and credible information on reverse mortgages, and are a great place to start your research.

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What Types of Home Loans Cover Renovations?

Posted By Justin Tuttle on April 12, 2017

Is your property the perfect home and the perfect investment? If you’re like most homeowners, there are upgrades, renovations, and restorations you can make on your property that will either increase its value, or help improve how comfortable you are with the look and feel of your home.

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Five Things to Know About Mortgages for Second Homes and Investment Properties

Posted By Justin Tuttle on April 11, 2017

Residential properties are great investments. That’s why homeowners often want to purchase more than one. These properties usually fall into one of two categories:

  • Investment properties
  • Second homes

Regardless of your purchase,

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Best Ways to Use Your Home Equity Line of Credit

Posted By Justin Tuttle on April 10, 2017

Your home is an investment you can use for financial purposes in the future. For example, some seniors 62 and older take out reverse mortgages, while others take out home loans.

But you may find that you need access to extra financing during specific scenarios.

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How to Prepare Your Home for Stormy Weather

Posted By Justin Tuttle on April 6, 2017

Spring has arrived, and along with it, increased storm chances in much of the US (especially the midwest and southeast).

Whether your home is in an area that gets strong spring storms, tornadoes, or high winds, preparing it for these events can help prevent damage.

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Considering a Reverse Mortgage? Here are Fees you can Expect

Posted By Justin Tuttle on April 5, 2017

Are you a retiree who wants to build your financial safety net? If so, you may want to consider a reverse mortgage!

Reverse mortgages let Americans 62-and-up convert part of their home equity (wealth) into cash, a monthly check, or a line of credit.

Read More


Mortgage Industry Highlights – March 2017

Posted By Justin Tuttle on April 4, 2017

March was another busy month in the mortgage industry. Here are some recent news articles and highlights:

Federal Reserve Raises Interest Rates for Second Time in Three Months

The Federal Reserve raised its benchmark interest rate for the second time in three months and signaled that any further hikes this year will be gradual.

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Five Ways to Soundproof Your Home

Posted By Justin Tuttle on April 3, 2017

If you’re a homeowner (or planning on becoming one), you probably desire a quiet home. And compared to apartment buildings, standalone homes are usually quieter.

However, a quiet home is is not always the case. Whether it’s noise from nearby traffic, railroads, airplanes,

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How Do Lenders Determine Mortgage Rates?

Posted By Justin Tuttle on March 29, 2017

When it comes to home loans, there are usually three numbers that borrowers pay attention to. The first is the total amount of the mortgage, in order to make sure that the amount covers the cost of the home. The second is the amount they are going to pay each month,

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Tiny Home Loans

Posted By Justin Tuttle on March 27, 2017

Interested in tiny homes? You’re far from alone!

Fueled by growing demand from millennials under the age of 35, there are an estimated 10,000 tiny homes in the United States.

Tiny homes range from 100 to 400 square feet (the typical American home is around 2,600 square feet),

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FHA Loans: Your Complete Introductory Guide

Posted By Justin Tuttle on March 23, 2017

FHA loans are one of the most common types of mortgages, especially for first time home buyers, and those without enough money available for a down payment. Backed and insured by the Federal Housing Administration, these loans allow borrowers to buy a home with a lower down payment and generous terms.

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How to Buy a New Home Before Your Home is Sold

Posted By Justin Tuttle on March 22, 2017

Your home is your greatest asset. The longer you live in your home, the more you will develop equity that you can then use to make other important financial decisions.

But you may not want to live in your home forever. Your family status may change,

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Want to Retire in a New Location? Consider the HECM for Purchase Loan

Posted By Justin Tuttle on March 21, 2017

Are you retired and thinking about moving to a new location? This is common, as 64% of retirees expect to move at least once during retirement.

Whether you want to relocate to a warmer state or move across your city to be near your grandchildren,

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The Top Five Most Affordable States for First-time Homebuyers

Posted By Justin Tuttle on March 20, 2017

If you’re thinking about buying your first home, you have much to look forward to. In addition to being an excellent investment, owning a home provides you with stability, comfort, and privacy.

While many US housing markets are increasingly unaffordable for first-time homebuyers, there are exceptions,

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Six Reasons to Consider Adding Home Insulation

Posted By Justin Tuttle on March 16, 2017

When it comes to homes, insulation matters! And according to recent research, 90% of US homes are under-insulated.

If you’re one of the many Americans living in an under-insulated home, here are six reasons to consider adding insulation:

It helps keep your home comfortable
If your home feels uncomfortably cold during winter or hot during the summer,

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Want to Apply for a Mortgage? Here are Six Important Documents You’ll Need.

Posted By Justin Tuttle on March 15, 2017

If you’re planning on buying a home with a mortgage, you can expect substantial paperwork during the mortgage application process.

This paperwork helps lenders verify important information about you, such as your income history and overall financial stability. If you begin gathering important documents several months before applying for a mortgage,

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Spring Pest Control Tips

Posted By Justin Tuttle on March 14, 2017

As we move into March, spring is on our doorstep, and temperatures are warming in much of the country.

For homeowners (and soon-to-be homeowners), this means spring cleaning! While there are many good articles offering spring cleaning tips,

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Mortgage Industry Highlights and Articles from February 2017

Posted By Justin Tuttle on March 13, 2017

February was another busy month in the mortgage industry. Here are some recent highlights and helpful articles:

Goldman Sachs: Mortgage interest rates will rise to 5.5% by 2019

Goldman Sachs’ analysts are predicting the 30-year mortgage rate to rise to 5.5% in 2019,

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Seven Signs Your Home Has Foundation Problems

Posted By Justin Tuttle on March 9, 2017

Your home’s foundation is an critical part of its wellbeing. If something goes wrong in your foundation, your home can can develop structural problems that cost significantly more to repair than foundation problems alone.

There are three major reasons home foundation problems occur:

  • Stem walls can deteriorate.

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Four Things Believed to Increase Home Value — But Actually Don’t

Posted By Justin Tuttle on March 8, 2017


If you’re a homeowner (or planning to become one), upgrading your home is an empowering activity. Whether you want to knock down a wall (to create a larger room), upgrade your energy efficiency, or improve your lighting, there are a variety of exciting possibilities.

Regardless of your home upgrade project,

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New Tools Can Help You Understand Reverse Mortgages

Posted By Justin Tuttle on March 7, 2017

If you’re a retired homeowner, you might have wondered about reverse mortgages.

Reverse mortgages, also known as Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECM), let Americans 62-and-older convert part of their home equity (wealth) into cash, a monthly check, or a line of credit.

Read More


Mortgage Refinancing: Cash-Out vs. Rate-and-Term

Posted By Justin Tuttle on March 6, 2017

If you’re a homeowner, you’ll be aware of your monthly mortgage payment and interest rate. And you might have wondered about refinancing your mortgage to change these figures.

Refinancing lets you replace your current mortgage with a new one. Two of the most common mortgage refinance methods are rate-and-term,

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Three Easy Ways to Incorporate Solar Power into Your Home

Posted By Justin Tuttle on March 2, 2017

Whether you’re a long-term homeowner or ready to buy your first home, you’re likely aware rising energy costs. America’s lowest-income families currently spend around 22% of their total income on energy while electricity prices have risen by 30% over the last decade.

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Why Do Reverse Mortgage Restrictions and Requirements Exist?

Posted By Justin Tuttle on March 1, 2017

Reverse mortgages are a unique type of loan that has quickly become popular with senior homeowners. With a reverse mortgage, a homeowner may receive a sizeable percentage of their home equity (wealth) and continue to live in their home for the rest of their life provided they pay their property taxes,

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Second Home Loans: How to Qualify and What You Need to Know

Posted By Justin Tuttle on February 28, 2017

There is no greater investment than owning a home. That’s why many people decide that one home isn’t enough. They find that, given their financial situation, they are interested in purchasing a second home, and using that home for any number of purposes, including:

  • Vacation Home
  • Investment Property/Rental
  • Home for Family Members

For those who are interested in purchasing a second home,

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Five Powerful Home Energy Improvements and their Costs

Posted By Justin Tuttle on February 27, 2017

If you’re a homeowner or planning on becoming one, it’s normal to want to upgrade your home. While there are many exciting home upgrade methods, such as improving your kitchen or adding a swimming pool, one of the best is improving your home’s energy efficiency.

Fortunately,

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How Much Are Closing Costs When Purchasing a Home?

Posted By Justin Tuttle on February 23, 2017

If you are buying a home, you’ll often hear the phrase “closing costs” thrown around by your lender or real estate agent. The term itself refers to all fees that are paid to third parties during the process of buying or selling a home.

Some closing costs are paid by the seller,

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Five Ways that Rising Interest Rates Can Be Positive

Posted By Justin Tuttle on February 22, 2017

If you’re thinking about buying a home, you may have heard that interest rates are rising. Rising interest rates have powerful effects on the mortgage industry and individual homebuyers.

While many of these effects are seen as negative (such as buyers having higher mortgage payments),

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LTV – What it Is, Why It’s Important

Posted By Justin Tuttle on February 21, 2017

Your credit score. Your down payment. Your closing costs. You may already know about the many different considerations and factors that go into owning a home. But you may not know about one of the most important terms of all: Loan-to-Value ratio, or LTV.

What is LTV?

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Birthplace Homes of Past Presidents

Posted By Justin Tuttle on February 20, 2017

Today (February 20, 2017) is Presidents’ Day.

Presidents’ Day is celebrated on the third Monday of February, and was originally established in 1885 to recognize President George Washington, the first United States president.  

Within the federal government,

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America’s Most Affordable States in 2017

Posted By Justin Tuttle on February 16, 2017

Your state’s cost of living matters, whether you want to build a home, are a first time homebuyer, or plan to raise a family.

If a low cost of living is what you’re after, here are America’s five most affordable states in 2017.

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What is Mortgage Insurance and Do I Need It?

Posted By Justin Tuttle on February 15, 2017

There is more to homebuying than the mortgage. There are property taxes that the government requires on homes. There is also the interest on the loan. Some homebuyers need to pay HOA (homeowners’ association) fees to their neighborhood. All of these add a small amount to the total monthly payment that the homeowner makes on their property.

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You Can Create a Smart Home for Under $1000. Here’s How.

Posted By Justin Tuttle on February 14, 2017

If you’re a homeowner (or planning on becoming one), you can incorporate fantastic technology into your home at budget prices to create a “smart home.” Whether you want to adjust your lighting using your voice or control your home thermostat using your phone (while not at home),

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USDA Loans – What They Are, How to Get One, and Why They Are Beneficial

Posted By Justin Tuttle on February 13, 2017

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is for more than choice meats. The USDA also offers a unique type of home loan that allows specific borrowers to purchase a home with no money down.

It is one of the only loans, other than the VA loan,

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Six Affordable Ideas to Make Valentine’s Day Special

Posted By Justin Tuttle on February 9, 2017

Valentine’s Day is big. In fact, Americans spent around $20 billion on Valentine’s Day in 2016 alone (or $146 for each person who celebrated).

But you can have a fantastic and romantic Valentine’s without spending lots, which is important if you’re saving to become a homeowner (or saving for other goals such as retirement).

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Buying a home in 2017? Here are four things to consider

Posted By Justin Tuttle on February 8, 2017

If you’re planning on buying a home in early 2017, you can expect a substantially different housing market from the beginning of 2016.

How could this impact you as a potential homebuyer? While there is still uncertainty in the economy and housing market (and predictions are often wrong),

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Don’t Have a 20% Down Payment? No Problem

Posted By Justin Tuttle on February 7, 2017

There is nothing quite like homeownership. You have a chance to buy a place you love, decorate it as you please, and also make an investment into your financial future. But if you’ve ever looked into buying a home, you have probably heard experts saying that you need at least 20% of the value of the home in cash for a down payment.

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Securing a Low Mortgage Interest Rate In an Era of Higher Rates

Posted By Justin Tuttle on February 6, 2017

Since the November presidential election, mortgage interest rates have moved higher. And while mortgage interest rates have decreased from post-election highs, many housing analysts expect higher rates throughout 2017.

Though there’s no guarantee mortgage rates will continue to rise,

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The Benefit of Escrow Accounts

Posted By Justin Tuttle on February 2, 2017

There is more to purchasing a home than the cost of the home itself. There is the interest rate, which you and your lender have likely already factored into your monthly payment. There are also the fees of the real estate agent, if any. These types of costs are frequently discussed throughout the lending process.

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Mortgage Industry Highlights and Key Takeaways from January 2017

Posted By Justin Tuttle on February 1, 2017

As we move into February, it’s been a busy period for mortgage-related news. Here are some recent highlights:

Mortgage rates down for third week straight, Freddie Mac says

Mortgage rates fell for the third straight week,

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Inspection vs. Appraisal – What’s the Difference?

Posted By Justin Tuttle on January 31, 2017

Throughout the real estate process, you’ll find yourself coming across critically important terms you may not yet be familiar with. Two terms that can be especially confusing are “inspection” and “appraisal.”

Both of these are similar, in that an expert walks through a property in order to spot trouble areas,

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Six Easy Tips to Save Money Around The House

Posted By Justin Tuttle on January 30, 2017

As we move into February, many of us are still following our new year’s resolutions and goals. One of best resolutions (or goal for any time period) is improving our finances. Open Mortgage provided some financial resolution tips and strategies in a recent blog post.

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How to Get a Mortgage Approval if You’re an Identity Theft Victim

Posted By Justin Tuttle on January 26, 2017

As discussed in part one and part two in our identity theft blog series, everyone is at risk of  identity theft. But by learning how identity theft occurs, and staying alert for signs that it happened,

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How to Get a Mortgage if you’re Self-employed

Posted By Justin Tuttle on January 25, 2017

Are you self-employed? If so, you’re part of a rapidly growing segment of the US economy. In fact, an October 2016 study found that America’s freelancing economy has grown to 55 million people, or 35% of the entire workforce.

Getting a mortgage can be harder and more expensive if you’re self employed,

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How Much Retirement Savings Do You Need?

Posted By Justin Tuttle on January 24, 2017

A recent study estimates that as many as 33% of Americans have $0 saved away for retirement, and over half have “less than $10,000.” Fewer employers offer any form of retirement package, and given the financial demands of the modern household,

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Is it a Good Idea to Pay Off Your Mortgage Early?

Posted By Justin Tuttle on January 23, 2017

If you’re considering applying for a mortgage to purchase a home, you can expect a long-term commitment. A 2015 survey found that despite 15-year mortgages being available, 86% of mortgage applicants opted for 30-year loans.

With a 30-year loan,

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Is Your Identity Safe? Eight Tips to Help You Prevent Identity Theft

Posted By Justin Tuttle on January 19, 2017

If you’re a prospective homebuyer, having a good credit rating is an important part of the mortgage process. And while there are a range of strategies for building and maintaining good credit, identity theft can damage your efforts and rapidly lower your credit score.

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How to Talk to Your Kids About a Reverse Mortgage

Posted By Justin Tuttle on January 18, 2017

It is estimated that senior property owners are sitting on more equity than at any time in history – over $6 trillion. This has led to more seniors into considering a reverse mortgage.

If you’re thinking about getting a reverse mortgage,

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Six Questions You Should Ask Your Realtor When Buying a Home

Posted By Justin Tuttle on January 17, 2017

Buying a property is both an investment, and your chance to have a home for you and your family. It is a financial decision that is not to be taken lightly, and throughout the process it is important to ask questions, stay informed, and make sure that you are making the best choice for your financial future.

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Homeowners Insurance: Why it’s a Good Thing

Posted By Justin Tuttle on January 16, 2017

If you’re considering buying a home, you’ve probably heard about homeowners insuranceand you might have groaned about being required to pay for it.

Concern over the cost of homeowners insurance is understandable, as it costs the average US homeowner $952 annually (in addition to mortgage payments and property taxes).

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Is Your Identity Safe? Learn the Identity Theft Warning Signs!

Posted By Justin Tuttle on January 12, 2017

If you’re planning on using a mortgage to buy a home, mortgage lenders will review your credit score as part of your application. Unfortunately, all Americans are at risk of something that can severely damage your credit score: identity theft.

The U.S.

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When to Recommend a Reverse Mortgage to Your Parents

Posted By Justin Tuttle on January 11, 2017

According to the Government Accountability Office, 1/3rd of seniors age 55 and over do not have even a penny of retirement savings, and well over 50% have less than they need to live comfortably.

For the children of seniors that are limited in their retirement,

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Want to customize your home? The 203k Loan could be for you

Posted By Justin Tuttle on January 10, 2017

As many long-term homeowners know (and recent homebuyers often learn), remodeling a home can dramatically improve its livability and value.

Whether it’s upgrading your kitchen, improving your bathroom, or removing a wall, remodeling can transform a home into your dream home.

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Four Ways to Protect Your Home During Extreme Cold Weather

Posted By Justin Tuttle on January 9, 2017

Winter is here, and so are arctic weather blasts!

With a massive cold front stretching across the United States during the first week of 2017 (and several months of cold weather remaining), it’s critical to protect your home during extreme cold temperatures.

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Harvard University: Reverse Mortgages Can Help Seniors Comfortably Age in Place

Posted By Justin Tuttle on January 3, 2017

Harvard University, America’s oldest university and one of the world’s best, says reverse mortgages can be an option to help senior homeowners reduce cost burdens and comfortably age in place in a new report.

The report,

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New Year’s Financial Resolutions for You and Your Future

Posted By Justin Tuttle on December 27, 2016

As we head into 2017, it’s common to reflect on your past year and make resolutions for the new year. While typical resolutions often include eating healthier or becoming more organized, what about taking stock of your finances and making financial resolutions?

While everyone’s financial situation is unique,

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Refinancing with Rates on the Rise – Is It Still a Good Idea?

Posted By Justin Tuttle on December 20, 2016

Over the past five years, the average mortgage interest rate hovered between 3.5% and 4.5% – the lowest rates of the past 30 years. This relatively  low rate meant that homeowners across the country could refinance their home mortgage, and potentially save thousands of dollars over the course of their loan.

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Ideas for Saving Money on Holiday Gifts

Posted By Justin Tuttle on December 13, 2016

It’s the holiday season, and many of us are busy buying gifts for family and friends. But how much you spend on those gifts may have a negative impact on your credit score.

If you’re planning on buying a home in 2017, it’s good financial strategy to hold off on buying expensive gifts.

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Mortgage and Housing Industry Updates

Posted By Justin Tuttle on December 12, 2016

With less than a month until 2017, the mortgage and housing industries are as active as ever.  Here are some interesting new articles on industry trends and news:

Realtor.com 2017 National Housing Forecast

Realtor.com,

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Are you a veteran who wants to buy a home?

Posted By Justin Tuttle on December 8, 2016

If you’re a veteran, we want to tell you about a loan that helps you take the empowering journey into home ownershipand doesn’t require a down payment.

The VA loan helps military members, veterans, and surviving spouses buy homes
Established in 1944 to provide home financing to World War II veterans,

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How to Save Water at Home

Posted By Justin Tuttle on December 7, 2016

Water is the foundation of life on earth, and the average household uses a lot!

In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that the average home of four uses 400 gallons of water per day (and spends $1,100 per year in water costs).

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Buying your first home in 2017? Start preparing now!

Posted By Justin Tuttle on December 6, 2016

Buying your first home is one of your biggest life decisions, and it’s important to be prepared.

Here are some things you can do to get ready:

Make sure you have good credit
To secure a low interest rate on your first mortgage,

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The Five Most Affordable Cities for Retirement

Posted By Justin Tuttle on December 5, 2016

Are you thinking about retirement? Or do you have retired family members? If either answer is yes, then affordable housing and a low cost-of-living are important issues.

GoBankingRates.com recently analyzed cost-of-living indexes and consumer expenditure data to rank America’s cheapest cities to retire.

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Documentation You’ll Need to Apply for a Reverse Mortgage

Posted By Justin Tuttle on December 1, 2016

Are you ready to take the next step toward applying for a reverse mortgage? Congratulations!

Reverse mortgages let Americans 62-and-up convert part of their home equity (wealth) into cash, a monthly check, or a line of credit. This can provide a financial nest egg for retirees to help meet unexpected costs,

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How to Increase Your Home Value on a Budget

Posted By Justin Tuttle on November 30, 2016

Whether you’re selling your home or refinancing your mortgage, your home’s value plays a big part. And in most cases, home values are determined through appraisals from state-licensed appraisers.

While some home characteristics assessed by appraisers are out of your control (such as your view,

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Want to lower your winter utility bill? Here’s how!

Posted By Justin Tuttle on November 29, 2016

Thanksgiving has come and gone, and December is nearly here. As temperatures drop and snow begins falling in many US regions, home utility bills are about to rise.

In fact, the U.S. Energy Information Administration is predicting a 22% increase in energy bills this winter.

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How to Get the Lowest Mortgage Refinance Rates

Posted By Justin Tuttle on November 28, 2016

There are a variety of reasons to consider refinancing your mortgage. Some of the most common include reducing your payment, paying off your loan faster, converting between a fixed-rate and adjustable rate mortgage, and tapping into your home equity (also known as cash-out refinancing).

Regardless of the reason,

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Recent Mortgage News Summaries

Posted By Justin Tuttle on November 23, 2016

It’s been a busy few weeks when it comes to mortgage-related news. Here are some highlights:

President-elect Trump vs Mortgage Rates
You might have heard, we just had an election! President-elect Trump’s economic policies will have a powerful impact on the mortgage industry.

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Securing Your Home During Holiday Travel

Posted By Justin Tuttle on November 22, 2016

Thanksgiving is upon us (and Christmas is a month away), bringing us into America’s busiest travel season. 

With AAA predicting 43.5 million Americans will travel over 50 miles to celebrate Thanksgiving (the highest amount since 2007), many Americans will be leaving their homes unoccupied.

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How to Have a Happy Thanksgiving On a Budget

Posted By Justin Tuttle on November 21, 2016

Thanksgiving is about giving thanks for what we have. And it’s wonderful showing loved ones how much we appreciate them. But if you’re like most Americans, you’re trying to to get through the end of the year with your pocketbook intact!

For Americans wanting to buy a house in 2017,

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How the Mortgage Industry Has Changed Since the 2008 Financial Crisis

Posted By Justin Tuttle on November 17, 2016

Before the mortgage bubble burst in 2008, there was a saying in the industry: “All you need to get a mortgage is a pulse.” Sounds suspect, no?

The mortgage industry pre-2008 was the wild west of the lending frontier.

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Retirement Planning Expert: Consider Reverse Mortgages

Posted By Justin Tuttle on November 16, 2016

Do reverse mortgages have an undeserved bad rap? One of America’s leading retirement planning experts believes so.

Wade Pfau, professor of retirement income at The American College and Director of Retirement Research at McLean Asset Management and inStream Solutions, says Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (also known as reverse mortgages) can improve retirees’ financial sustainability and build a larger legacy for their heirs.

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America’s Five Hottest Housing Markets

Posted By Justin Tuttle on November 15, 2016

Thinking about moving? Realtor.com recently ranked America’s hottest housing market ZIP codes for 2016. Their rankings are based on the most viewed ZIP codes on its website, and the time it takes properties to sell.

For the top 20 housing market ZIP codes on Realtor.com,

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Tips to Make Selling Your Home Easier

Posted By Justin Tuttle on November 14, 2016

Selling your home can be stressful and rewarding. Your home’s location, its condition, and your reasons for moving all factor into your experience.

But regardless of why you’re selling, here are some tips to make the process easier:

Price your home right
Your selling price strongly impacts the amount of offers you receive,

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Five Ways to Keep Your Mortgage Interest Rate Low

Posted By Justin Tuttle on November 9, 2016

One of the most important factors of your mortgage is the interest rate. It is absolutely necessary to secure the lowest possible interest rate to save money over the life of the loan.

For example, imagine you want to secure a mortgage for $150,000 and choose the 30-year,

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Affordable Ways to Make Your Home Green

Posted By Justin Tuttle on November 8, 2016

Until recently, turning your home “green” (environmentally friendly) was considered admirable, but not practical for most households. In many cases, “green” products would cost several times the amount of normal products, making it an easy choice to build and maintain your home using standard (IE non-green) materials.

But technology improvements,

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Indoor Home Maintenance Tips to Prepare for Winter

Posted By Justin Tuttle on November 7, 2016

As we move through November, winter is almost on our doorstep.

As a companion to our post on winterizing your home’s outdoors, here are tips for preparing your home’s indoors for winter.

Change your smoke alarm batteries
It’s important to change the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors at least once a year, Read More


Avoid These Reverse Mortgage Mistakes

Posted By Justin Tuttle on November 3, 2016

For some retirees, a reverse mortgage can be an effective retirement tool.

Reverse mortgages allow Americans aged 62 and older to convert part of their home equity (wealth) into cash without selling their home. This can help retirees supplement their monthly expenses or prepare for unexpected costs.

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Five Reasons to Refinance Your Mortgage

Posted By Justin Tuttle on November 2, 2016

They say that the only thing certain in life is change. When your life circumstances change, here are five reasons you may want to consider refinancing your mortgage:

To obtain a lower interest rate
One of the most common reasons to refinance your mortgage is to secure a lower interest rate.

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Low-maintenance Home Upgrades

Posted By Justin Tuttle on November 1, 2016

Home ownership can bring tremendous joy to you and your loved ones.

But it also takes hard work (and money) to protect your home from harsh weather, sun damage, and general wear and tear.

Here are some low-maintenance upgrades that reduce time fixing your home,

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Tips For a Happy and Affordable Halloween

Posted By Justin Tuttle on October 31, 2016

Halloween is bigger than ever in the USA.

In fact, the National Retail Federation predicts that for Halloween 2016, Americans will spend $8.4 billion (including $3.1 billion on costumes and $2.5 billion on candy). This come out to $82 dollars per person!

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Important Mortgage Terms You Should Know

Posted By Justin Tuttle on October 27, 2016

Whether you’re considering buying your first home or a long-time homeowner, the mortgage process can feel intimidating and confusing.

Much of this is due to mortgage-related terms that aren’t well-understood by the general public.

To help you become better prepared for your mortgage process,

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