5 Ways to Staycation at Your Home This Summer

While many areas of the country have begun reopening, we are still living in a pandemic and the CDC recommends distancing to take priority. Sadly, this means many of our summer vacations have been put on hold. But after months of being cooped up you may be looking for ways for change up the scenery and “staycation.” Here are 5 ways to staycation in your own home and neighborhood.

  1. Backyard Camping

Build a tent, make a fire, roast some s’mores! Get out into the night air in your own backyard and sleep under the stars.

  1. Swap Rooms or Rearrange the Furniture

Painting or home renovations may not be in your budget or a commitment you’re ready to make. Instead for a change of scenery, rearrange the furniture, sleep in the guest room, let the kids swap rooms for the night! Order “room service” by having take out delivered, hop in your pajamas, and binge watch your favorite show.

  1. Turn your backyard into an oasis

Adding some summer elements to your backyard will be sure to shake things up and give you vacation vibes you’re looking for. Some more costly ideas could be adding in a pool, volleyball net, or built in grill and bar area. If you’re looking for ideas on a budget you could opt for an inflatable pool or slip and slide for the kids, a firepit, or a new set of bistro table and chairs. Adding some of these may even add value to your home!

  1. Have a theme night

With technology these days you can have the world at your fingertips! Plan each night for a week to be a different theme, whether that be riding virtual rides at Disney World online or take an online cooking class and then fly over Paris via Google Maps. Get the family involved and assign each member with a night to plan. The options are endless!

  1. Enjoy nature

Even with social distancing guidelines in place, we are still encouraged to safely get outdoors and enjoy the fresh air. Do some research in your town or community and take up some outdoor activities you’ve never tried. Whether that is learning a new sport the family came play together or finding a new hiking trail you haven’t tried!

Be sure to check out more blogs and resources on our website HERE!

Source: https://www.realtor.com/advice/home-improvement/clever-ways-to-create-a-stellar-staycation-at-home/

First Home Mortgage Named a Top Mortgage Lender

The results are in! First Home Mortgage has been named one of Scotsman Guide’s Top Lenders of 2019! Scotsman Guide provides comprehensive and verified rankings of mortgage companies across the nation. We are honored to be recognized as a Top Lender and we thank our clients and partners for assisting us in achieving this huge accomplishment!

Not only was First Home Mortgage recognized as a company, but many of our Loan Officers were named Scotsman Guide’s Top Originators.

Matt Nader

Ryan Paquin

Jake Ryon

Scott Story

Jason Nader

Heather Devoto

Alex Jaffe

Tammi Lewis

Ayaz Rahemanji

Todd Pede

Jeff Stempler

Gabe Tuvek

David Toaff

James Moran

Kari Story

Ann Flaherty

Mike Taylor

Mike Nadeau

Mike Archer

Anne Borghesani

Santana Brown

Tom Cumpston

Jeff Halbert

Bill Payne

Darren Rickwood

Tim Sisson

Daniel Tinnin

Congratulations to all! Reach out to a loan officer in your area today!

How Much Home Can You Afford?

Whether you are ready to achieve the dream of home ownership for the first time, or are selling your current home and making the move to a new property, understanding how much you can comfortably afford to spend on your new house is key.

Important factors to consider are your down payment, and the total monthly cost of your proposed mortgage in relation to your monthly income.

Your down payment is the money you plan to put towards your home purchase up front. A larger down payment reduces the amount of your loan, and some loan programs require a certain percentage of your homes value be made in an initial down payment. However, there are specific low and no down payment loan programs available in some areas for qualified borrowers.

The most common recommendation for spending on your home is that the total monthly cost should not exceed 28% of your gross (pre-tax) monthly income. Many experts also recommend that your total monthly loan payments, including car and credit card payments, should not exceed 36% of your gross monthly income. This is a middle of the road approach, meaning that some experts recommend higher or lower percentages. It is possible to qualify for a home loan with higher percentages, so keep your overall financial picture in mind when coming to a decision on how much to spend.

Understanding the total monthly cost of your home requires factoring in the sale price, mortgage loan interest rate, property taxes, and any mortgage insurance or homeowner’s association fees. While there are many mortgage payment calculators available online, a loan officer can provide you with the most accurate payment estimate.

If you have any questions about home affordability or available low and no down payment programs, reach out to one of our loan officers today! We are utilizing a variety of communication technologies to continue providing exceptional service to our clients while maintaining social distancing.

Equifax Breach and How You’re Affected

Equifax is one of the oldest and largest credit-monitoring companies, aggregating information on over 800 million consumers.  The company provides detailed information about personal credit and payment history of individuals, indicating whether they are eligible to receive a loan.  In order to provide a full credit report, Equifax houses an enormous amount of sensitive data, such as full names, Social Security numbers, addresses, birth dates and sometimes driver’s license numbers.

Last week, Equifax revealed their data had been compromised during a cyber-security breach which occurred mid-May through July 2017.   Hackers gained access to personal information on 143 million American consumers.  Equifax also confirmed at least 209,000 consumers’ credit card credentials were taken during this attack.   This means that the opportunity for identity theft has tremendously increased for the majority of American residents.

We at First Home Mortgage understand the seriousness of this attack and need you to realize how important it is to take action immediately and be pro-active so identity theft does not happen to you.

How can I be proactive? Help!

First, monitor your credit report for any suspicious activity.  Check to see if new accounts have been opened that you did not open, late payments on debt you do not recognize or fraudulent charges made on a card.  You can check your credit report free, once a year here.  If you suspect identity theft, contact the credit card company’s fraud department immediately.

For extra protection, freeze your credit with the three major credit bureaus.  This is the best way to prevent identity theft.  Once accounts are frozen, you will not be able to open new lines of credit or have your credit checked without lifting the freeze.  Contact each bureau immediately to freeze your account.  Or, request a freeze online.  Note: You will not be able to freeze your credit if you are currently pending a large purchase or financing activity.

  •                Equifax:  1-800-349-9960 or  Click Here
  •                TransUnion:  1-888-909-8872 or  Click Here
  •                Experian:  1-888-397-3742 or  Click Here

Equifax is offering free credit monitoring and identity theft protection to all who may have been impacted, for one year.  You may also enroll in Equifax’s program to see if you are one of the millions affected by the hack.  To get started, enroll here to begin.  The enrollment process must be completed by November 21, 2017.

For additional information on what to do if you are a victim of identity theft, click here.  This site will guide you on how to report identity theft if, for example, someone else filed a tax return using your information, if your information was exposed in a data breach or anything else.

Still not sure how to get started or need additional information? Contact your local First Home Mortgage Loan Officer today and they will help point you in the right direction. 

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CAUTION- The Dangers of Rate Shopping

Buying a home will probably be the largest purchase you ever make.  With that in mind, you want the lowest interest rate, right?  WRONG!  The lowest advertised interest rate may not be your best option.  Some lenders and mortgage brokers advertise low rates, but don’t inform you of all the additional points and fees that come with the mortgage.  Here are a few tips to take into consideration to avoid misconceptions of an advertised low interest rate.

  1. Look at Points and Fees– Always ask about points, lender fees, broker fees and settlement costs. Points are pre-paid interest that affect the quoted interest rate.  You can ask to have your points quoted as a dollar amount instead of just a percentage.  For example, on a $200,000 loan, one point would equal $2,000.

 

  1. Shop Smart– Interest rates fluctuate daily. Talk to your Loan Officer about when the best time to lock is.  First Home Mortgage values honesty and service, so any questions you may have for your Loan Officer will be answered diligently, fairly and in regards to your best interest. If you contact different lenders, make sure you provide each lender with the same information.  Such information will include: the quality of your credit, location, type and use of your property, the size of down payment and/or the amount of home equity you have.

 

  1. Finding the Best Lender– Customer service may be the most important consideration when shopping for home financing. During the loan process, you should feel comfortable disclosing your financial information and asking questions. A trustworthy lender will be responsive and will assess your situation carefully to best suit your home buying needs. Make sure to choose a lender who can offer personalized options and takes the time to understand your goals.  Just remember, if you don’t close, interest rates don’t matter.

 

If you have any questions or would like to get started on this home-buying journey, contact First Home Mortgage Corporation today!  We provide the mortgage you need to make “home” happen by delivering customer service that not only fulfills goals, but exceeds expectations.

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