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Buying a Home During COVID-19

April 22nd, 2020 by Inlanta Staff

We are living through challenging times that will one day be found in history books throughout the world.  In Michigan, we have a Stay at Home Order in place now until June 12th.  This order has caused non-essential workers to be home more then ever before and many are realizing their current space is too small, their layout is not functional, there is not enough storage, they are sick of paying their landlord or listening to their neighbors through paper-thin walls to name a few complaints.  So, why not use this extra time to look at buying a house that will bring some joy back to being at home?

There is no better time to start looking at options for purchasing a new home, but is it possible to buy a home right now?

Some general facts you need to know before getting started in the home buying process during the COVID-19 outbreak:

  • You must be willing to embrace technology.
  • Mortgage Lenders are considered essential and are closing mortgage loans every week for purchases as well as refinances.
  • Every individual situation must be evaluated as there is not a one-size-fits-all option.
  • It is OK to get started by creating a home buying plan, but NOT purchase right away if you are uncomfortable with current conditions. Your safety and confidence are of utmost concern when purchasing a home.

Read the rest of this entry »


Real Talk on Mortgage Forbearance

April 10th, 2020 by Inlanta Staff

These are trying times with many Americans facing illness, mental and emotional fears topped off with financial pressures.  It is important to have a clear understanding about Mortgage Forbearance before making decisions.

 Mortgage Forbearance IS NOT Forgiveness

The Care Act has been passed by the government to all for “Federally Backed Mortgages” to request a forbearance on their mortgage payments for up to 6 months, depending on the individual situation.  So what is a forbearance?  A forbearance is an agreement with your mortgage servicer to reduce or delay regular payments for a set period of time.  When the forbearance period ends payments will be due as agreed upon in the forbearance agreement.

For those in a position where you have no ability to pay your mortgage a mortgage forbearance could be exactly what you need to keep your home and manage through this crisis.  It is imperative to explore ALL other alternatives as this IS NOT a handout from the federal government.

The process for which forbear mortgage payments will be made up is going to depend upon the mortgage servicer and their policies.  In some instances once the 6 months are up the next payment will be due as usual as well as ALL 6 payments that were put into the Forbearance.

If you are in a situation where payments will be missed and need help, contact your mortgage servicer because you must request forbearance; it is not automatic.  Make sure to do the following:

  1. GET EVERYTHING IN WRITING- Services will have some form of their policy that can be emailed to you direct or through their online portal.  Read this in it’s entirety, understand it and keep a copy.
  2. SEEK TO UNDERSTAND & BE PATIENT- You may need to make multiple calls and remain on long holds but you need to have a clear understanding of all your options.  If you call get someone who is not helpful, call back until you do.
  3. KNOW IF THERE ARE OTHER OPTIONS BEFORE FORBEARING PAYMENTS- The most important thing you need to understand are what your options are at the END of the forbearance.  Can payments be added to your principal balance?  Is a loan modification possible, if so what does that look like?  How will the forbearance be reported to the credit bureaus?  Will there be a lump sum required to pay back the forbear payments?  How long can you extend the forbearance period?
  4. SEEK OUT A LOCAL HUD APPROVED HOUSING COUNSELOR- These counselors are here to help you navigate some of the tough choices that may lay ahead.  This link will assist you in finding a local counselor near you: HUD APPROVED COUNSELOR
  5. TALK TO A TRUSTED MORTGAGE ADVISER- This is what we are here for!  Let us know what you are dealing with and we will help to trouble shoot your situation and provide the best advice on next steps.  We are all in this together and as a lending community we want what is best for you as a homeowner.  Calling us won’t cost you anything and our guidance is always provided as though you are out family.  This is the least we can do during these trying times.

An IMPORTANT Note if you enter into a Forbearance:

  • You will want to monitor our credit report to catch any potential errors as changes in forbearance reporting may not be seamless with the credit bureaus.  While in forbearance your credit should not be negatively impacted.

  Other Great Resources:

CFPB Guide on Corona Virus 

CFPB Video

Q&A Resource from the US House Committee


Policies are changing daily as these situations play out.  We will continue to update this post as more information or options become available.  We cannot help you with forbearance agreements directly, but are here if you have questions or need further guidance.


Springtime TOP 10 Home Maintenance Checklist

March 23rd, 2020 by Inlanta Staff

Spring is here.  Seasonal Home Maintenance Time!

Your home is your largest investment and regular upkeep can lead to higher value in the future.  This Top 10 Spring Cleaning  List will keep your home well maintained, helping to save you from costly repairs in the future.

  1. Clean windows inside & outside
  2. Clean all screens, replacing or repairing any damage
  3. Visually inspect roof for missing, loose or damaged shingles
  4. Remove debris from gutters & downspouts
  5. Power wash windows & siding
  6. Touch up/repair damaged paint
  7. Fertilize your lawn
  8. Replace batteries in smoke & carbon monoxide detectors (check expiration dates on these as well)
  9. Change filter in furnace, air conditioner and dehumidifier
  10. Have airflow vents cleaned

Get our complete home maintenance checklist with additional tips and tricks below:

Get Your Complete Home Maintenance List

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We’re Here For You

March 19th, 2020 by Inlanta Staff

During these uncertain times, Inlanta Mortgage is here for you.

Like so many of you, we have spent the last several days and weeks learning about COVID-19 and how it is impacting our world. For Inlanta Mortgage, that means understanding how it affects our customers, referral partners, employees and communities, and then making the necessary adjustments to our day-to-day operations.

With the state-mandated shut-down of businesses, we want to assure you that Inlanta Mortgage will remain fully operational and working on your loans as we are included in the list of essential businesses providing banking and financial services.

We have taken proactive steps to put your safety as our highest priority, while maintaining the high productivity of our business operations. We are committed to providing you with the same high level of service, and continuing to close loans as we always have – on time and without surprises.

With that in mind, we have made several adjustments to our business:

  • Our Ada office is closed with employees working from their home offices.
  • We continue to assist clients and partners via phone, email, chat, our IMhome app or an online meeting. We are prepared and able to operate as we always have in order to keep all loans on track.
  • We have canceled all large meetings, as well as our community events and seminars, in an effort to do what we can to help prevent the spread of the illness.
  • We are closely monitoring the situation and will continue to respond as necessary to keep everyone safe.

We are grateful to have some of the best technology available to keep things moving without interruption.

We know this is a difficult time for everyone and we thank you for your trust and continued loyalty.


Download Our IMhome App


For additional information about COVID-19 and actions you can take to help protect yourself, please visit a trusted resource such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at cdc.gov.

 

 


Our Top 10 Michigan Attractions

March 1st, 2020 by Inlanta Staff

Michigan is a state full of life and a love for the outdoors, arts, food, beer and wine!  Each city is a unique experience of landscapes, cultures and year round events.  Here are our top 10 attractions that are at heart, “Pure Michigan”.

This is just a short compiled list of some of our favorite attractions:  Read the rest of this entry »


Why Paying PMI May Be in Your Best Interest as a First Time Home Buyer

February 16th, 2020 by Inlanta Staff

One of the biggest hurdles that First Time Home Buyers face is saving up for the down payment.  There are many misconceptions that home buyers need to have at least 20% down; which can add years to the buying process for the funds to accumulate.  When a home is purchased with less than 20% down there is required PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance) that is added to the monthly mortgage payment.

Paying PMI may be in the best interest of many first time home buyers due to the rising interest rate and home price environment we are currently facing.  Additionally, as a new home owner they can begin to build equity immediately instead of waiting for years to have the 20% down payment saved up.

Take a look at the graphic below for the recent Home Price Expectation Survey, which shows an example of a home owner who purchased in January that would gain nearly $50,000 in equity over the course of five years based on the home price appreciation alone.

So what does all this mean?

As a first time home buyer, you should start a conversation now about all your mortgage financing options instead of waiting.  Our Inlanta Team can easily layout these options and put together a plan for what is best for your individual situation.  You may end up deciding to purchase right away or take some time to better prepare.

Get a Free Guide For First-Time Homebuyers

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Refinancing Traps to Watch Out For

February 1st, 2020 by Inlanta Staff

Refinancing can be tricky, but a little preparation before starting the process can help you to avoid mishaps along the way. Here are some common traps that you many run into while refinancing your home and tips to avoid falling for them.

The automatic payment trap

Did you know it can take up to two weeks to have automatic payments canceled? If your payments are made this way, be sure to turn it off before closing. You don’t want to pay for the same month twice!

The missed or late payment trap

Believe it or not, lots of people think they don’t have to keep making payments once they apply to refinance. Missing a payment could damage your credit and even preclude closing. Just be careful regarding your very last payment, as it should be made in time to assure it’s credited toward your payoff balance.

The tax escrow trap

The funds in any existing escrow account will typically be held until after the current loan is paid off. Since this money will not be available at closing, you need to be able to establish a new escrow account and/or pay any upcoming taxes from savings or the new loan proceeds.

The insufficient funds trap

The tax escrow trap can contribute to this, and so, too, can many other factors. For example, a low appraised value could limit your loan amount. As many loans are set up to cover all closing and escrow funds, it’s important to know that any necessary or unexpected adjustment could change the cash to close requirements accordingly.

We want you to be aware of these potential pitfalls before they have a chance to occur. Of course, we will work with you and on your behalf to prevent and avoid them. If you’re looking to refinance, or are already going through the process, feel free to Contact Us! We’re always happy to help.

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Top 3 Credit Misconceptions

January 13th, 2020 by Inlanta Staff

You are not alone if you have been putting off having your credit reviewed for the purposes of getting a mortgage.  There are so many things that run through people’s heads.  They want to pay off all their debt, close accounts, try to quickly build credit and their intentions are in the right place, BUT it can all backfire.  Credit is complex and everyone’s situation is completely different.

If you are even starting to think about purchasing a home, having your credit reviewed by a professional is absolutely the first step in the process.  A mortgage lender can offer you not only a review but also guidance on anything that could improve your unique situation.  Do you have these misconceptions?

  • Credit Misconception #1- I Know My Credit Scores
  • Credit Misconception #2- My Credit Scores will go Down if my Credit is Pulled
  • Credit Misconception #3- I Need to Pay Down/Off My Debts

Read the rest of this entry »


TOP 3 Reasons to Stop Renting & Buy Your Own Home

September 10th, 2019 by Inlanta Staff

Is it time to leave renting behind and purchase a home to call your own?

There are many advantages to becoming a homeowner in 2019.  We are sure you have seen the news, interest rates have dropped to all-time lows once again, making homeownership more affordable than many rising rent payments.  When considering buying a home you want to evaluate your current circumstance and stage in life.  Buying a home is not always right for each  situation. Read the rest of this entry »


The Best Way to Use Your Tax Refund

February 26th, 2019 by Inlanta Staff

A Down Payment on a New Home is the Best Option for your Tax Refund!

The tax season is well underway.  If you are receiving a refund, have you planned what you are going to do with it?  Utilizing your tax refund towards the purchase of a new home is a great long-term investment.  Typically, there is a minimum down payment of 3.5-5% on the purchase of a primary residence. The thought of this large down payment is one of the biggest challenges for home buyers to overcome.

One benefit of tax season is being able to utilize your IRS or State tax refund for a down payment. In some cases a refund is also helpful to pay off outstanding debts or credit cards to improve credit or qualify for a larger mortgage.  The most important step is start a conversation, where we can review your situation to know the best way for you use your refund and get you closer to a new home. Read the rest of this entry »