Protecting Your Privacy During the Mortgage Process
Posted By Brandon Simmons on September 20, 2018
Unfortunately, the failure to protect personal data and financial information is all too common. As identity theft continues to rise, taking proactive steps to safeguard the records that can put us most at risk is essential.
While the possibility is always present, the depth and sensitivity of information requested during the mortgage application process warrant added vigilance.
Six Costs Of Homebuying You Need To Know
Posted By Brandon Simmons on September 18, 2018
Nearly every homebuyer starts with a budget. Beginning the process with a down payment and sales price in mind could simplify your search and avoid the disappointment that comes with falling in love with a home you can’t afford.
However, it’s not unusual for home shoppers,
Mortgage Without Marriage: Buying A Home With Your Partner
Posted By Brandon Simmons on September 13, 2018
Times have changed, and so has the way couples are buying homes. While some commit to a mortgage before they commit to marriage, others plan to own a home with a domestic partner and forego a legal union altogether. If you’re one of the many unmarried couples contemplating the purchase of a property,
Is A Reverse Mortgage Right For You?
Posted By Brandon Simmons on September 11, 2018
If retirement is on the horizon or you’re already a retiree, financial security is likely a concern. Stepping away from a career (and the consistent paycheck that comes with it) may require a comprehensive strategy to ensure your golden years are adequately funded.
One of the tools many people turn to in retirement is a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM).
Making Space For Things That Make You Happy
Posted By Brandon Simmons on September 6, 2018
Home improvement isn’t just about fixing what’s broken. It’s also about improving and expanding your home to accommodate your needs as you grow. Whether it’s indoor remodeling, structural modifications or landscaping and exterior beautification, home improvement projects should improve your quality of life as well as your level of satisfaction with your house.
Refinancing? Here’s How to Prep for an Appraisal
Posted By Brandon Simmons on September 4, 2018
Before you can refinance or sell your home, an independent appraiser must determine its value. Appraisers come to their conclusions by comparing your home to similar properties that have recently sold in the same area. They’ll make price adjustments based on differences in size, condition or features. It might seem scary that so much of your hard work rests on the decision of one person,
Shining City on a Hill: Top Cities for Millennial Homebuyers
Posted By Brandon Simmons on August 30, 2018
An “overwhelming majority” of renters under age 35 hope to be homeowners one day, according to studies by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Why are they waiting longer than previous generations to buy? There are several reasons, but a few that have contributed to the statistics include slower national wage gains,
Downsize Your Home and Maximize Your Retirement With A Reverse Mortgage
Posted By Brandon Simmons on August 21, 2018
Approaching retirement may demand a careful examination of your financial situation. Enjoying your golden years and supporting your lifestyle can mean making tough decisions regarding future priorities.
One of the most important choices faced by retired homeowners is whether or not they should remain in their current home.
Making The Case For A Mortgage When You’re Self Employed
Posted By Brandon Simmons on
Being your own boss can mean hard work, long hours and big rewards. It can also make applying for a mortgage much more intimidating. While traditional employees can provide lenders with W-2s and consistent paychecks, being self-employed complicates the income verification process.
However, by understanding what lenders will be looking for,
Moving to Age in Place? Here’s What to Look for In a New Community
Posted By Brandon Simmons on August 16, 2018
Making decisions about the future is never easy, but that’s especially true for those considering where they want to age in place. A HECM for Purchase can give you options, and help you move to a community better suited for your later retirement years.
I Need to Move Into My New Home ASAP. How Can I Speed Up the Mortgage Process?
Posted By Brandon Simmons on August 14, 2018
Itching to move into your new home as soon as possible? Try these time-saving tips to get your mortgage approved and processed without delay, so you can settle in and enjoy your new home. Fortune favors the prepared, and so does the mortgage process.
Come Prepared &
How a Reverse Mortgage Can Benefit Your Children
Posted By Brandon Simmons on August 9, 2018
As life expectancies continue to lengthen, seniors regularly outlive their retirement savings and sometimes struggle to supplement fixed incomes. Although families care deeply for their aging relatives, the cost of supporting them financially in their later years can cause added stress to an already delicate situation.
If you are like many people aged 62 or older,
Don’t Buy Into Home Buying Myths
Posted By Brandon Simmons on August 7, 2018
Sometimes buying a home seems like the most daunting process in the world, especially if you’re a first-time homebuyer that isn’t sure what to expect. Some may even have you thinking you have to hold off on home ownership until you’ve saved what seems like an almost impossible amount of cash,
5 Ways HECM Can Offer Financial Security in Retirement
Posted By Brandon Simmons on August 2, 2018
What would peace of mind in retirement look like to you? Whether you plan to spend most of your time volunteering, working in a meaningful part-time job, or simply enjoying leisure activities to the fullest, financial security is crucial. A retirement on the horizon means answering important questions about how you’ll structure your finances to ensure a healthy,
Short-Term Savings, Long-Term Expense: The Benefits of Buying vs. Renting
Posted By Brandon Simmons on July 31, 2018
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 64.2% of Americans are homeowners. If you’re part of the 35.8% renting, you might think you’re saving money, and in the short term, you might be right. However, shifting your perspective to the long-term gains and benefits of owning may have you singing a different tune.
Make Memories With The Grandkids This Summer
Posted By Brandon Simmons on July 26, 2018
Grandchildren are one of life’s great joys. However, keeping them entertained during extended summer visits can be a challenge. Whether you need to satisfy the boundless energy and curiosity of a preschooler or capture the imagination of a tween who thinks they’ve seen everything, planning ahead can be the key to memories everyone will cherish.
Summer Home Improvement Projects Perfect for the Whole Family
Posted By Brandon Simmons on July 24, 2018
School’s out and the long days of summer are in full swing, which means it’s a great time to invest in some projects to spruce up your home or yard. From one-day odd jobs to weekend undertakings, these family-friendly activities will create memories and value for years to come.
Building An Action Plan For Aging In Place
Posted By Brandon Simmons on July 19, 2018
The most recent survey by the National Council on Aging showed that 75 percent of Americans over the age of 60 intend to stay in their homes the rest of their lives. However, the reality is that many seniors will leave their homes for unforeseen financial or health reasons.
Navigating the 2018 Real Estate Market
Posted By Brandon Simmons on July 17, 2018
We’re over halfway through 2018, which means the real estate trends for this year are becoming clear. While no one knows for sure what the future will hold, reviewing what we’ve seen happen so far can help buyers understand what to expect when they put in an offer on a potential home.
The Sandwich Generation—How a Reverse Mortgage Could Help
Posted By Brandon Simmons on July 12, 2018
On the way to dropping your child off at soccer practice, your mind wanders to your to-do list for the next day, which looks something like this: pick up your mother’s medication, help make her next doctor’s appointment, and work with your eldest daughter to fill out college and scholarship applications.
Five Questions to Consider Before Hosting an AirBNB
Posted By Brandon Simmons on July 11, 2018
In less than a decade, Airbnb has transitioned from a trendy vacation method to a staple of modern day travel. As the travel season approaches, some will be looking to save money at vacation destinations, while others might be converting their homes into Airbnb units for extra cash. Could Airbnb hosting be a good option for you and your home?
Moving Out? Here’s Your Checklist
Posted By Brandon Simmons on July 10, 2018
After weeks of gathering personal information, printing off bank statements and tax records, and waiting for the bank to approve and underwrite your loan, the time has come—you’ve signed your lender’s paperwork and bought a new house. Now for the really fun part: packing and moving. In the hectic time to come,
Three FHA Loan Advantages You Need to Know
Posted By Brandon Simmons on July 5, 2018
As one of the most popular types of home mortgages, FHA loans can offer a unique and essential option, especially for first-time home buyers. Backed by the Federal Housing Administration, the loans combine less restrictive financial requirements with generous lending terms to create an attractive alternative.
While many borrowers may be aware of the 3.5 percent minimum down payment or that a credit score as low as 580 can still qualify,
The Open Mortgage Guide to Outdoor Kitchen and Backyard Upgrades
Posted By Brandon Simmons on July 3, 2018
July is National Grilling Month, and with good reason: long after the 4th of July festivities are over, the lure of Summer Fridays and the promise of pool parties means the backyard is a continuous opportunity for celebration. For homeowners looking to upgrade their backyard space for this purpose,
Make Your Home as Eco-Friendly As You Are
Posted By Brandon Simmons on June 28, 2018
We all know someone that puts an enviable amount of energy into making the planet a better place, and hey, maybe that’s you! The good news is, no matter where you lie on the spectrum of green living, there are simple ways just about anyone can make their home more eco-friendly.
Your Home Is an Investment. Keep These Tips In Mind
Posted By Brandon Simmons on June 26, 2018
If you’re in the market for a home, it’s likely your priorities are choosing a home that is a good fit for your lifestyle: Will it fit your growing family? Is it a community with access to the activities, schools and establishments you want in your everyday life? Do you feel comfortable with the neighborhood and its surroundings?
Power Up Your Home’s Energy Efficiency with a Reverse Mortgage
Posted By Brandon Simmons on June 21, 2018
A Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (a reverse mortgage sometimes referred to as HECM) is often considered an avenue for high-equity homeowners to supplement retirement income without selling the home. However, the flexibility of a HECM can also offer funding to make critical improvements or cost-saving upgrades to the home.
3 Things First Time Homeowners Wished They Knew Before Buying
Posted By Brandon Simmons on June 19, 2018
It’s an exciting time in your life. You’ve worked hard, you saved up — you’re considering buying your first home. But the road between first time homebuyers and the dotted line can be full of rookie mistakes. To help you spot these pitfalls before you’re in them, here’s three things to consider when going from homebuying to home owning for the first time.
How Does Age Factor Into The Benefits of a HECM?
Posted By Brandon Simmons on June 14, 2018
If you or a family member is considering a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage, or HECM (also known as a reverse mortgage), you probably know that age is important; after all, FHA requires that borrowers be 62 years old to qualify.
But there are other reasons age matters,
Step Up to Homeownership with Little Or No Down Payment
Posted By Brandon Simmons on June 12, 2018
A down payment can be one of the biggest obstacles to homeownership. But, it doesn’t have to be. Open Mortgage partners with our clients to identify available mortgage options with minimal or zero down payment requirements. Here are some of the ways we help borrowers achieve the dream of homeownership sooner rather than later.
How Backyards Can Become A Black Hole For Buyers and Sellers
Posted By Brandon Simmons on June 7, 2018
With the summer housing market heating up, a sparkling pool or comfortable outdoor kitchen may seem like the key to closing a sale. However, backyard amenities may not live up to expectations, for buyers or sellers, particularly when it comes to completing the transaction.
If you’ve bought a home before,
Five Tips To Help Your Yard Survive The Summer
Posted By Brandon Simmons on June 5, 2018
No one wants to look out their windows to see a yard filled with brown patches, or pull in their driveway and be greeted by sad, thirsty flowerbeds. While the summer sun can test even the greenest of thumbs, there are some simple steps to give your grass and plantings a fighting chance during the hottest months.
Protecting Your Retirement Plan With A Reverse Mortgage
Posted By Brandon Simmons on May 31, 2018
While a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM), or reverse mortgage, can be a smart financial tool for those needing to supplement their retirement income, its possible ability to protect a well-funded nest egg is easy to overlook.
As retirement approaches, even those with a solid financial plan may fear the damage an ill-timed market downturn can do to their investment portfolio.
Choosing The HECM Payout Plan That Is Right For You
Posted By Brandon Simmons on May 24, 2018
If you’re 62 and considering a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM), often referred to as a reverse mortgage, you may have more flexible options than you realize. Adding a HECM to your retirement strategy also means you can determine the payout plan that will best fit your situation.
While all reverse mortgages rely on your home’s equity for funding,
Four Heat-Beating Tips Every Homeowner Needs Up Their Sleeve
Posted By Brandon Simmons on May 22, 2018
The season of vacations, pool parties, barbecues and sunblock is nearly here. But, summer months aren’t all sun and fun. The higher temperatures can run utility fees up to unsightly amounts. Take action now to make sure your summer is high on thrills and low on bills.
Cool Your Home The Old-Fashioned Way
Believe it or not,
Low-Cost Touches To Help Sell a Home ASAP
Posted By Brandon Simmons on May 17, 2018
The negotiations and decision-making that are integral to selling a home can be stressful. While many aspects are mostly out of your hands, staging is one strategy that may help the process go more smoothly, and more quickly. Thankfully, arranging and decorating your home to appeal to potential buyers doesn’t have to break the bank.
Helping Empty Nesters Navigate The New Era Of Mortgages
Posted By Brandon Simmons on May 15, 2018
With their children out of the house, many empty nesters consider downsizing their expenses, starting with a smaller home. If they haven’t bought a home in a while, they will find that much has changed in the mortgage process, especially since the 2007 subprime mortgage crisis. Aligning your expectations with the reality of today’s mortgage process can take much of the frustration out of the experience.
Five Unexpected ways a HECM Could Improve Your Quality of Life
Posted By Brandon Simmons on May 10, 2018
Retirement is one of the milestones most looked forward to in life. Work is done and free time reigns. Maybe you’ve always wanted to travel Europe, or take up sailing, or just live closer to your children and grandchildren, but money is tighter now. For many, a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) is a great way to increase your cash and accomplish your bucket list in your retirement years.
3 Questions To Make Your Dream Home A Reality
Posted By Brandon Simmons on May 8, 2018
You’ve found the house. The location is perfect and the curb appeal ideal. Even the price is well within your range.
But those cabinets! The cabinets are… yellow! How could you ever start a life in a new home with the absolutely irreparable,
Estate Planning and HECM
Posted By Brandon Simmons on May 3, 2018
When we think about the future, we often imagine the benefits of retiring to spend time doing the things we like, enjoying hard-earned rewards and no longer having to worry about Monday morning meetings. What’s less fun to think about is the aspect of planning for what happens as we continue to age,
4 Tips to a Better Mortgage Rate
Posted By Brandon Simmons on April 30, 2018
So you’ve made the decision: you’re ready to buy a home. Like most homebuyers, you know you’ll need to finance the purchase. But how do you get the best mortgage rate possible to maximize that financing? You can save thousands of dollars over the lifetime of the loan just by lowering your mortgage rate by a percentage point.
Move Your Health Forward With A Reverse Mortgage
Posted By Brandon Simmons on April 26, 2018
Good health and financial security are essential to enjoying retirement. Planning ahead will go a long way to ensure both are waiting for you when the time comes. However, a reverse mortgage, or HECM, may also be a useful tool to help you achieve those goals.
In addition to providing a flexible revenue stream without having to sell your home,
The Hidden Costs of Homeownership
Posted By Brandon Simmons on April 25, 2018
Shopping for a home often begins with a budget. Working with a mortgage lender, buyers can explore their borrowing power and calculate their future mortgage payment before settling on a house.
However, a down payment, insurance costs, and monthly payment are not the only considerations when budgeting for your new home.
Choosing Home Insurance Coverage You Can Count On
Posted By Brandon Simmons on April 23, 2018
A house is likely the largest and most important purchase most of us will ever make. Considering how much time effort and money is invested into buying the perfect home, deciding how to protect it is a critical decision.
All mortgage lenders require buyers to maintain a standard home insurance policy.
Downsizing vs. HECM: Which Is Right For You?
Posted By Brandon Simmons on April 19, 2018
Senior homeowners face many decisions as they near retirement and begin planning for the future. While a secure income stream may be awaiting some, the reality for many will be crucial conversations about meeting financial goals and maintaining a lifestyle they can enjoy.
These discussions will likely begin with a fundamental question: Where will you live when you retire?
Getting The Most Out Of Your Outdoor Space
Posted By Brandon Simmons on April 18, 2018
With the days getting longer and warmer weather settling in, moving downtime from the living room to the backyard is a familiar ambition. However, if your outdoor space lacks the functionality and comfort of your couch, it could be time to make a change.
Find The Funds
While there are lots of affordable ways to spruce up your yard or patio,
Should You Use a Tax Refund to Pay Down Your Principal? It Depends
Posted By Brandon Simmons on April 12, 2018
It’s a time of the year many Americans dread: tax season. While preparing taxes can be painful work, almost 80% of those in the U.S. will get a refund, with an average of about $2800 over the past few years. But if you find yourself with a nice chunk of change after filing taxes,
Building a Garden to Age With You
Posted By Brandon Simmons on April 11, 2018
As homeowners grow older and retire, they look forward to a new chapter in their lives. They plan to travel more, spend time with grandkids, and read all the bestsellers, with plenty of time to putter around their home gardens. But all home gardens are not created equally; homeowners that don’t want to pay for help can keep costs low by creating a garden that stays easy to maintain throughout their golden years,
Homeowner Responsibilities and HECM: A Brief Guide
Posted By Brandon Simmons on April 4, 2018
As you prepare for retirement, and start considering a reverse mortgage, also known as Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM), there are some important things to remember.
While all HECM loans require a third-party counseling session with a government-approved housing counselor,
Which Mortgage is Right For Remodelers? Consider a 203k Loan!
Posted By Brandon Simmons on April 2, 2018
You know exactly what you want in a house. You’ve scoped out your local market, and a couple of neighboring markets, too. You’ve kept an eye on foreclosures and auctions and done your research. There’s just one problem: nothing you’ve seen meets your expectations; the house you want doesn’t exist yet as-is.
Spring Cleaning, Budget Edition: Flourishing on a Fixed Income
Posted By Brandon Simmons on March 29, 2018
Everyone looks forward to their retirement, but experiencing an income adjustment isn’t easy. This becomes especially true as homeowners and their houses age together. Retirees may find that at a certain point their homes need minor repairs or upgrades they aren’t able or willing to fix themselves. For those living on a fixed income,
Finding the Right First Home with the Right Mortgage
Posted By Brandon Simmons on March 28, 2018
If you are a first time home-buyer dipping your toes in the waters of home mortgages, it can sometimes feel like you’re drowning in information. You’ll probably find yourself turning to the internet to Google: How much mortgage can I afford? This will give you many links to online calculators,
What Happens When You Pay Off a Mortgage?
Posted By Brandon Simmons on March 26, 2018
Congratulations! You just paid off your mortgage. It’s probably one of the few times you actually enjoyed paying a bill. But, have you thought about what comes next?
Owning a home free and clear certainly creates new opportunities for your financial future. However, before making plans for your revamped budget,
HECM For Purchase Exceptions to Remember
Posted By Brandon Simmons on March 22, 2018
A Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM), or reverse mortgage, allows homeowners age 62 and older to tap into their home’s equity. The funds can be used to supplement retirement income, travel or for any number of other purposes while allowing the homeowners to remain in the home as long as they like.
Home Buying Can Come With Deep Discounts for Community Heroes
Posted By Brandon Simmons on March 21, 2018
Teachers and first responders have an enormous impact on our communities. What they consider routine can have life-changing implications for those around them. And although the financial rewards for these professionals may match their efforts, the contributions don’t go unnoticed.
One way their dedication gets recognized is through unique home buying and mortgage programs.
Planning a Spring Flower Garden? Here’s What to Plant
Posted By Brandon Simmons on March 19, 2018
Spring is here! Frogs are croaking, birds are singing and flowers are blooming. Whether you’re getting
ready to sell your home or just want to add some beauty as an investment in your home (and equity), this guide will help you get started.
Plant Hardiness Zones
Before you plant anything,
Make The Most of Retirement with a HECM
Posted By Brandon Simmons on March 15, 2018
For most of us, the appeal of retirement is due in great part to the freedom that it provides. The freedom to travel, re-discover a hobby, or spend time with loved ones, all while untethered from the distractions and restraints of employment.
One of the methods available to enjoy this freedom is a Home Equity Mortgage Conversion Mortgage (HECM) or reverse mortgage.
Rebounding From Foreclosure To Buy Again
Posted By Brandon Simmons on March 14, 2018
Getting back into the home buying market after a foreclosure is daunting, but not as uncommon as you might think. The housing crisis a decade ago left millions of homeowners in foreclosure, but many have already overcome the higher hurdles of buying their next home.
If you have a foreclosure in your past,
Welcome Spring: Tips For Post-Winter Maintenance
Posted By Brandon Simmons on March 12, 2018
Spring will be here in just a few weeks, and as the weather warms up it’s a perfect time to do a few maintenance items around your home to protect your investment. Here’s a good checklist to guide you through your spring inspection.
Around the Yard
Start with the most visible part of your home—the year.
Use a HECM to Finance Home Maintenance
Posted By Brandon Simmons on March 8, 2018
Out with the old, and in with the new. It’s the mantra of spring cleaning, and it’s not just relegated to boxes of unused items stored in the garage. With the warmer summer months right around the corner, homeowners should ensure their homes are sealed and as energy efficient as possible.
A Guide to USDA Loans: What are the Requirements?
Posted By Brandon Simmons on March 7, 2018
Not everyone craves the energy of city living (and sometimes the hassles that can arise from it). Luckily, mortgages aren’t one-size-fits-all. There’s even a specific loan to help encourage home ownership outside the most densely populated areas of the United States.
Want to know more about the USDA loan program?
Landscaping on a Budget—Get that Curb Appeal
Posted By Brandon Simmons on March 5, 2018
First impressions are important when selling a home, and the best way to make a good first impression is with curb appeal. Failing to maintain the outside of your home can turn off potential home buyers, but with a little thought and planning, you can have maximum impact on a minimum budget.
What To Expect From HECM Counseling
Posted By Brandon Simmons on March 1, 2018
Before taking out a home equity conversion mortgage (or HECM) loan, you’re required by law to take part in a third-party counseling session with a government-approved housing counselor. This counseling session is meant to help you and other potential borrowers be fully versed in all the options available, be educated on the HECM itself and provide you with support and guidance throughout it all.
Defining Your Dream Home: A Brief Guide to Architectural Styles
Posted By Brandon Simmons on February 28, 2018
Before anyone buys a first home, they have a picture in their mind of what it might include, and how it might look. The good news is that you don’t have to be an architecture buff to learn the basics, which can aid you in your search to finding a dream residence.
Homes of Famous African-Americans
Posted By Brandon Simmons on February 26, 2018
February marks a time of reflection in the history of our country, and this Black History Month, we celebrate the triumphs of African American heroes. Through grit and incredible resolve, many became homeowners despite incredible odds and extreme racial prejudice. Below, we recognize the men and women that helped make strides in many aspects of social justice,
Getting Your Home Ready For Spring Shoppers
Posted By Brandon Simmons on February 22, 2018
When springtime arrives, temperatures rise and the real estate market heats up. Most of us know how to take advantage of the warmer weather, but home sellers hoping to make the most of the peak season may benefit from some proven advice. Focusing on a few key areas can go a long way toward making your home stand out in a crowded marketplace.
HECM Updates: What Do They Mean For New Borrowers?
Posted By Brandon Simmons on February 21, 2018
Like any other government regulated programs, the reverse mortgage industry experiences regular updates as mandated by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Our reverse mortgage specialists can answer your specific questions, but this broad overview of the recent changes to the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage program (HECM) will ensure you’re an educated borrower.
Reverse Mortgages Mean Staying Ahead of Home Repairs
Posted By Brandon Simmons on February 16, 2018
A reverse mortgage offers homeowners age 62 and older an affordable avenue to access their home equity. For some, this provides an opportunity to pursue a lifelong dream, while others may simply make it a part of their retirement strategy.
In any case, tapping into your home’s value also makes you contractually obligated to be a responsible homeowner.
Love Your Mortgage, No Matter Your Relationship Status
Posted By Brandon Simmons on February 15, 2018
Marriage or mortgage, agreeing to a long-term commitment isn’t a decision to be taken lightly. A real connection, and the confidence it will last, is critical to the success of either.
However, shopping for a mortgage as a married couple can bring some added considerations to the table.
Know Your Rights: Home Ownership Is For Everyone
Posted By Brandon Simmons on February 12, 2018
Black History Month celebrates the achievements of African Americans and recognizes their central role in American history. It’s also an opportunity to appreciate the advancement of civil rights, and highlight the deficiencies that still exist.
One way to ensure progress continues is by asserting the rights that we all share,
First Time Homeowner? Buy For Your Budget
Posted By Brandon Simmons on February 8, 2018
Most first-time home owners understand the difference between achieving the dream of buying a home versus buying a “dream home.” Part of a very personal decision-making process for buyers that know what they can realistically afford means making the latter distinction. Which means you’re probably asking yourself: How can I get the most out of my first home while staying within my budget?
How do you Measure up in the Game of Credit Score? (Infographic)
Posted By Brandon Simmons on February 7, 2018
A credit score shouldn’t be taken lightly (it’s a necessary and important part of your financial life, after all!), but it doesn’t have to be scary, either. Credit scores will ebb and flow based on lots of factors, but here’s the most important thing: getting your score into optimal range IS achievable,
Get A Return On Renovations When Selling Your Home
Posted By Brandon Simmons on February 5, 2018
A fresh coat of paint and trendy design can certainly impact a homebuyer’s first impression, but those efforts may not translate to more money in the seller’s pocket. Homeowners focused on maximum value should consider improvement projects that go beyond aesthetics.
If you’re planning to put your home on the market,
Taking Out a Reverse Mortgage? Here’s How To Prepare
Posted By Brandon Simmons on February 1, 2018
If you’re in the market for a reverse mortgage (also known as a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage, or HECM), it’s a guarantee you’ll have a lot of questions, including what you’ll need to provide to make it happen. Even in the digital age, documents and paperwork can take some time and planning,
Be Prepared for the Unexpected When Buying a House
Posted By Brandon Simmons on January 31, 2018
Despite the “reality” shown on popular HGTV shows, buying a home isn’t always rainbows and butterflies. Real-life issues are bound to emerge after your offer is accepted and the loan process is underway. While there’s no reason to be pessimistic, it’s never a bad thing to be prepared for unseen obstacles.
What’s In A Name? Your Financial Story
Posted By Brandon Simmons on January 25, 2018
Buying a home is a huge decision. There are lots of questions to ask and pros and cons to weigh before you ever commit to making an offer. But, it’s the financial decisions you made before you started shopping—and the story they tell about you—that could prove to be just as critical.
How Appraisals Work (FHA vs. Conventional)
Posted By Brandon Simmons on January 18, 2018
Buying or selling a home is more than just a transaction. It involves many steps, from listing to closing, and each one can be a source of frustration, especially if either party is unclear about the purpose or unsure about what to expect.
The appraisal is just one of those anxiety-inducing steps.
Retiring in 2018? Make Sure You’re Ready
Posted By Brandon Simmons on January 17, 2018
Even in the best case scenarios, change isn’t easy. Retiring is an exciting, but complex process, and if you’re retiring in 2018, it’s important to prepare for what comes next. We’ve put together a game plan to help you stay on track.
Make tangible plans for how you’ll spend your time.
Buying A Home? Prepare Your Paperwork
Posted By Brandon Simmons on January 11, 2018
Shopping for your first home is exciting. But, it can also be overwhelming. What you won’t see on most of those home-buying television shows is the preparation that goes into applying and qualifying for a mortgage, often before the shopping process even begins.
A little proactive effort before falling in love with a home can go a long way toward a smooth process.
Protecting Your Future With An Aging Plan
Posted By Brandon Simmons on January 10, 2018
Have you taken your retirement planning far enough? You’ve probably thought about your financial security, investment options, and how to spend the well-deserved freedom that retirement brings, but your strategy shouldn’t end there.
Creating an aging plan to guide the decisions you, and your loved ones,
Happy Birthday To Us: 15 Years Young
Posted By Brandon Simmons on January 5, 2018
At the start of every year, we look forward to new beginnings and continued growth, and 2018 is no different. However, it is a big year for us. We’re toasting to a significant milestone in the company’s history: on January 5, Open Mortgage celebrates 15 years in business.
Since its inception in 2003,
How Homeownership Can Save You Money On Taxes
Posted By Brandon Simmons on January 3, 2018
“But in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” — Benjamin Franklin
If Ben Franklin were around today, he might also mention that being a homeowner certainly has its tax benefits. As the year comes to a close,
Video: How to Decide if you Need a Reverse Mortgage
Posted By Brandon Simmons on December 18, 2017
Home equity conversion mortgages (HECM), also known as reverse mortgages, let eligible Americans 62 and older borrow money from their home equity. While HECMs can be a powerful tool for certain individuals and families, they’re not meant for everyone. Watch this video to learn if a HECM could be right for you.
Ways To Brighten Your Home In The Dark Days Of Winter
Posted By Brandon Simmons on December 13, 2017
They say it’s the most wonderful time of year.
With holiday parties, out-of-town visitors, and plenty of excuses to try a multitude of tasty treats, there’s definitely lots to look forward to—even as the days get shorter and the weather turns colder.
Achieve Your Goals in 2018 With These Mortgage Options
Posted By Brandon Simmons on December 12, 2017
Home ownership is more than just a house with your name on it; it’s a financial opportunity that can create security over the years through life’s ups and downs. Whatever your goals, the right mortgage can help you along the way.
You’re ready for a starter home.
Avoiding Holiday Stress: Tips From A Psychologist
Posted By Brandon Simmons on December 7, 2017
The holidays aren’t joyful when you’re stressed. It’s easy to get caught up in the busyness of the season with the expectations of gift-giving, party attending, volunteering and decorating. There’s nothing wrong with any of those activities, but squeezing all of it into the normal routine can seem daunting at times.
Financial Freedom to Escape the Cold
Posted By Brandon Simmons on December 5, 2017
Are harsh winters putting a chill on your retirement plans? If snow and ice are keeping you from year-round enjoyment of your golden years, perhaps an annual change of scenery is in order.
While not for everyone, the lifestyle of a winter visitor, aka snowbirds,
Is Refinancing Right For You?
Posted By Brandon Simmons on December 4, 2017
Our lives change over time, and so do our financial realities. In the ebb and flow between milestones, the good news is that you can capitalize on the planning you’ve already put into place by leveraging your home’s equity and refinancing your mortgage. Refinancing isn’t for everyone’s situation; it can cost from 3% to 6% of the loan’s principal,
Winterize Your Home to Stay Warm and Save Money
Posted By Brandon Simmons on November 30, 2017
Winter is coming.
Though the dip in weather comes as a welcome relief to a warm summer, it can be tough on your home. Freezing temperatures, wind and ice may be just an occasional worry or a recurring threat, depending on the climate where you reside.
An Important Conversation for Aging Parents
Posted By Brandon Simmons on November 28, 2017
The wellbeing of a child is typically a parent’s highest priority; parents make every effort to keep them healthy, happy and safe. However, as time goes on, these roles can reverse, with adult children feeling responsible for the care of their aging parents.
Starting the Conversation
Navigating this transition is not always easy.
Thanksgiving Leftovers That Won’t Weigh You Down
Posted By Brandon Simmons on November 27, 2017
‘Tis the season for eating large meals with heavy sides, and frankly, we’ve been waiting all year. However, if you’re feeling like you might want to switch to something a little less nap-inducing, there are options when it comes to the leftovers.
Just a little creativity (and reading this blog post) can help you battle the bulge this holiday season.
Why Owning A Home Is More Than A Monetary Investment
Posted By Brandon Simmons on November 22, 2017
Home ownership is not just a monetary investment. It takes funds, usually a mortgage (we can help with that) as well as time and energy, but owning a home is also a mental and emotional investment that can pay off in positive, sometimes unexpected ways.
Our homes are extensions of our personalities and lives.
Making Your Black Friday Shopping Worth The Wait
Posted By Brandon Simmons on November 21, 2017
The holiday season is just about here! You might not know who’s bringing the green bean casserole to Thanksgiving dinner, but the best Black Friday deals are already starting to emerge.
Even if spending the night camped outside a store is not for you, a bit of research could reveal a deal worth venturing out for,
Home Equity Loans—What You Need to Know
Posted By Brandon Simmons on November 20, 2017
Let’s talk home equity.
As we navigate the complex world of home financing, it’s important to know exactly what the term means, and how it relates to you. Here’s a basic definition as it pertains to the homeowner:
Equity is the difference between how much your home is worth and how much you owe on it.
Last Minute Thanksgiving Side Dishes
Posted By Brandon Simmons on November 16, 2017
The Thanksgiving meal—a time for hosting family and friends in your home, and also forgetting that dietary preferences for half your guests don’t fit the menu you planned.
Whether your family serves hors d’oeuvres while comfortably waiting for the main event, or waits in tense silence for the turkey to finally finish,
Snuggle Buddies: Unique Volunteer Ideas For Retirees
Posted By Brandon Simmons on November 14, 2017
Retirement is a great time to start a regular volunteering gig. Not only is it a great way to ward off some of the boredom and loneliness that can come with major life changes (like retirement), it’s also a way to help others and get to know your community.
Home Warranties: Do You Need One?
Posted By Brandon Simmons on November 13, 2017
A home warranty sounds like a good idea, but do you really know what it covers? Depending on your situation, it may not be necessary (and you can put that hard earned cash back into your newly purchased home).
Many home warranties are over $300 a year,
Home Equity Conversion Mortgages: Options For Everyone
Posted By Brandon Simmons on November 9, 2017
There’s no shortage of choices when it comes to a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM). Also commonly referred to as a reverse mortgage, it offers an array of options that can be tailored to specific needs of the borrower.
Using the loan to bulk up a fixed monthly income?
Before You Hire: Essential Questions To Ask A Handyman
Posted By Brandon Simmons on November 8, 2017
A great handyman is worth their weight in gold. Finding someone you can trust can be a daunting task, but putting in research and effort on the front-end could prevent a lot of inconvenience and expense over the long term. Consider employing these must-ask questions before you shake hands and sign a contract with anyone working inside your home.
What To Know About Flying The U.S. Flag At Your Home
Posted By Brandon Simmons on November 6, 2017
The pride of home ownership often includes keeping up your property’s curb appeal. The stars and stripes might be the perfect finishing touch, but did you know there are special guidelines for displaying and handling a U.S. flag? We’re here to guide you through it so you’re ready to go by Veteran’s Day,