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So far First Ohio has created 129 blog entries.
17 05, 2016

Renters: Are You Ready to Buy a Home?

May 17th, 2016|Blog, Buying a home, Tips & Advice|

House icon and keys on wooden background

Most renters are planning to buy a home at some point. If so, they are probably saving up for the down payment right about now. Besides that obviously step, here are four more advanced steps towards moving out your rental and into a dream home of your own.

Understanding the full cost of homeownership

As a renter, you are used to writing a check to your landlord and that covering your monthly housing payment. As a future homeowner, make sure you are familiar with the four components of a mortgage payment that are listed below, otherwise known as P.I.T.I:
Principal: Money that is going towards the remaining amount of your loan.
Interest: This is the amount of the payment that is going towards the interest on your loan. For a while at the beginning of owning your home, a large majority of your mortgage payment with be going towards the interest on the loan.
Taxes: Refers to property taxes, which are assessed by the county that you live in. They average 1.2% of your home’s value each year.
Insurance: This will be paid to a homeowner’s insurance company of your choice; this is required when you have a mortgage. Lenders require that your insurance cover the cost of rebuilding the home if it is ruined by fire or other disaster. This “replacement cost” is determined by your insurer, and must be agreed to by your lender. Insurance will typically cost $700 to $1,200 per year for a single family home.

Know your homeowner tax benefits

Mortgage interest and property taxes are deductible when you file your annual tax returns, and reduce taxable income. These deductions significantly lower your cost of homeownership. For example, for a $300,000 home with 20 percent down and a 30-year fixed mortgage […]

3 05, 2016

Down Payment: How much you should save to buy a home

May 3rd, 2016|Blog, Mortgage 101, Tips & Advice|

Horizontal view of marriage analyzing the bills

Is buying a home on the horizon for you? Have you started to save up for the down payment? Let’s first start with the basics of what a down payment is. A down payment is the amount of money you will spend upfront to purchase a home and is typically combined with a home loan to fulfill the total purchase price of a home.

How much do I need to save for my down payment?

The higher your down payment is, the lower your monthly mortgage payments will be. This will also depend on what type of loan that you get. Different loans require different amounts for the down payment. Typically you will need to save 5 to 20 percent of the sale price in cash in order to qualify for a conventional loan (30-year fixed mortgage). Down payments for jumbo loans can be as low as 5%. If you put down less than 20 perfect on a conventional loan, you will most likely have to pay mortgage insurance.

Low down payment financing options

Saving for a 20 percent down payment might be too difficult or take too long for many first-time home buyers or borrowers with lower household incomes. Other loan programs offer as low as zero to 3.5 percent down payment option, although a zero down-payment option is more difficult to get. The most common programs for the lower down payment mortgages come from the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Most FHA loans require a minimum 3.5 percent down a decent credit score in order to qualify. Additionally, these types of loans are federally insured to reduce the risk of loss if a borrower defaults on their mortgage payments.

If you meet the eligibility guidelines, you may be able to qualify […]

21 04, 2016

Components of a Mortgage Payment

April 21st, 2016|Home Finances, Mortgage 101|

Mortgage concept. isolated on white background 3d

Before you dive into buying a home, it is important to know what your money is going to each month. Your monthly mortgage payments are commonly referred to as a “PITI” or principal, interest, taxes and insurance. PMI and homeowner’s association dues may also make up a portion of your total payment.

Principal: The original amount of the loan.

Interest: Just like with any other loan, this is the amount that you are charged for borrowing money. The amount of interest for the month is calculated based on the outstanding principal balance as well as the interest rate of your loan. As the term of the mortgage proceeds, the ratio between the principal and interest amounts shifts in each payment.

Taxes: The property assessment collected by your local government. Lenders typically collect a portion of these taxes in every mortgage payment and hold the funds in an account called an esgrow account until they are due.

Insurance: This offers financial protection from risk. Like property taxes, these are typically held in an escrow account and paid on your behalf to the insurance company. There are two main types of insurance that are typically included in your mortgage payment: homeowners insurance and mortgage insurance. Homeowners insurance is required financial protection you must maintain in case your property is damaged by fire, wind, theft or other hazards. Mortgage insurance protects your lender in case you fail to repay your mortgage.

Overall there are several factors that determine how much your monthly mortgage payment will be. Two examples are the amount you pay for a down payment and the mortgage program you choose.

It is important to take all four factors into consideration when determining what house you can afford. Use our mortgage calculator […]

14 04, 2016

Is Refinancing Right for you?

April 14th, 2016|Refinance|


It is no question that mortgage rates are low right now, the real question is how long are they going to stay like this? Well unfortunately there is no exact answer for this but rates are looking to increase by this time next year. So would this be the right time for you to refinance? Let’s start with the basics.

What is refinancing? Refinancing is the process of obtaining a new mortgage in an effort to reduce monthly payments, lower your interest rates, take cash out of your home for large purchases or change mortgage companies. The reasons for refinancing are explained further below:

Securing a Lower Interest Rate

With rates being as low as they are now, refinancing might have crossed your mind. This is one of the most common reasons people refinance. The rule of thumb used to be that it was worth the money to refinance if you could reduce your interest rate by at least 2%. Today, some believe that even 1% savings is enough of an incentive. Reducing your interest rate will lower your monthly payments and also increases the rate at which you build equity in your home.

Shortening the Loan’s Term

When interest rates fall, homeowners often have the opportunity to refinance an existing loan for another loan that has a shorter term. If you currently have a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, this could be a great chance to switch to shorter term mortgage. If you can afford a slightly higher monthly payment, it will be worth the change because you will save money on interest in the long run.

Converting between Adjustable-Rate and Fixed-Rate Mortgage

While ARMs start out offering lower rates than fixed-rate mortgages, ARMs are not locked into certain rates like Fixed-Rate Mortgages are, so therefore it is likely their […]

1 04, 2016

Tips for a Quick Closing

April 1st, 2016|Blog, Buying a home, Home Finances|

iStock_000009315285XSmallIf you look at our reviews or testimonials, you’ll notice that so many of our customers have stated how happy they were with the timeline of their experience working with First Ohio Home Finance. The customer’s timeline is always a number one priority, it is important to be upfront with your Loan Officer about your timeline, it is also helpful to be realistic.

Current mortgage rates remain below 4 percent. Mortgage rates are so low, that many people are back to the “should I buy or should I rent” debate. Rent prices  are rising quickly and mortgage rates are not. The widespread availability of low down payment loans plus rising approval rates but today’s low mortgage rates have created a buyer’s market.

To help you compete in the fast-paced buying market, we have created a couple tips for closing on-time:

  • Get your purchase loan approved quickly: Typically the longest part of the process is exchanging documentation. As a home buyer, you can be prepared for the lender’s request by having your documentation ready to go. The complete list of documentation needed can be found here: If you have those documents ready, that will reduce the numbers of days required to get your approval. Just like with most other things in life, it is important to be prepared.
  • Be open with your lender: Honesty is the best policy, the loan approval is no exception. If you are going on a trip or a big life event might be happening during the process, it is crucial to let your loan officer know that. If you are going to be out of contact they are going to need to know that. If there are any financial circumstances that are going on, you need to tell your Loan […]
24 03, 2016

VA Mortgage Loans

March 24th, 2016|Blog, Buying a home|


In 1944, as part of the G.I. Bill, the Department of Veterans Affairs launched a mortgage program to help returning service members purchase a home. The VA loan program is still available and remains an important part of the benefits package for veterans and active members. The VA Loan is a mortgage loan issued by approved lenders, like First Ohio Home Finance, then guaranteed by the federal government. Since the program began, it has helped more than 20 million veterans and their families into affordable financing situations.

The VA Loan is designed specifically for those who have served, which means there are a handful of requirements. You may be eligible for a VA Home Loan if you meet one or more of the following conditions:

  • You have served 90 consecutive days of active service during wartime
  • You have served 181 days of active service during peacetime
  • You have more than 6 years of service in the National Guard or Reserves
  • You are the spouse of a service member who has died in the line of duty or as a result of a service-related disability.

If you are eligible and have completed the requirements above, you then apply to receive your Certificate of Eligibility. While you don’t need your COE in order to start the loan process, it is a very important part of your loan application. Those interested in the VA Loan aren’t required to reach any kind of certain income to use their home loan benefits; however, borrowers are expected to have stable, reliable income that will cover monthly expenses – including their new mortgage payment.

One thing that is interesting about this loan is that the VA requires that borrowers maintain an amount of income left over each month after all major expenses are paid. The excess […]

18 03, 2016

What is an FHA loan?

March 18th, 2016|Uncategorized|

house and key with Calculator on wooden background

FHA Loans have been helping people become homeowners since 1934. It is the largest insurer of residential mortgages in the world, insuring tens of millions of properties. Borrowers with these loans pay for mortgage insurance, which protects the lender from a loss if the borrower defaults on the loan. Borrowers can qualify for an FHA loan with a down payment as little as 3.5% and a credit score of 580 or higher.

The FHA program was created in response to the rash of foreclosures and defaults that happened in 1930s; to provide mortgage lenders with adequate insurance; and to help stimulate the housing market by making loans accessible and affordable for people with less than stellar credit or a low down payment.

Who are these loans ideal for?

  • First time home buyers: FHA might be just what you need. Your down payment can be as low as 3.5% of the purchase price. Available on 1-4 unit properties.
  • Financial help for seniors: Are you 62 or older? Do you live in your home? Do you own it outright or have a low loan balance? If you can answer “yes” to all of these questions, then the FHA Reverse Mortgage might be right for you. It lets you convert a portion of your equity into cash.
  • Energy efficiency: You can include the costs of energy improvements into an FHA Energy-Efficient Mortgage.
  • Manufactured housing and mobile homes: FHA has financing for mobile homes and factory-built housing. We have two loan products – one for those who own the land that the home is on and another for mobile homes that are – or will be – located in mobile home parks.

Some of the FHA Loan Requirements:

  • Must have a steady employment […]
11 03, 2016

Topics to Discuss with your Loan Officer

March 11th, 2016|Uncategorized|

Young businessmen discussing data at meeting


In order to have the most successful and efficient loan approval process, communication with your loan officer is crucial. The Loan Officers here at First Ohio Home Finance go above and beyond to create lasting relationships with their customers. Before the process begins, here are a few things you might want to discuss with your loan officer.

Communication – Everyone has their go to form of communication. Depending on the person, they may choose email, phone calls or texting. During the loan process, some issues will need to be dealt with quicker than others so it is important that your loan officer knows the best way to get ahold of you in those situations.

Goals – Do you plan on living in this house from 3-5 years or a couple decades? Do you plan to pay off your mortgage quickly? Is this house going to become a rental property soon? All of these answers can help the loan officer present the best possible loan programs for your situation. Our loan officers here at First Ohio Home Finance care about choosing the loan programs that best fit your financial goals and want to help you achieve those goals as quickly as possible.

Be Upfront – You don’t want to take the risk of not getting a loan because you were not upfront with your loan officer. We are here to help, we do this every day, and most importantly we have heard it all. Some examples of what to be upfront about would be: other rental properties, income restraints, a short sale, foreclosure or bankruptcy or anything unique. It will help both parties in the long run to be upfront from the beginning.

Timeline – If you have a strict timeline for the […]

4 03, 2016

What tax Season means for Homeowners

March 4th, 2016|Home Finances, Mortgage 101, Tips & Advice|










Tax season is upon us! Whether you already own a home or are looking to buy in the near future this is important information. For being a homeowner, there are many deductions you could receive when filing your taxes. Let’s check out a few:

  1. Mortgage Interest. When buying a home the interest payments can be pretty expensive but there is a silver lining to the situation. Interest that you pay on your mortgage is tax deductible, within limits. If you are married and filing jointly, you can deduct all your interest payments on a maximum of $1 million in mortgage debt secured by a first or second home.
  2. Points. There will be various fees when you first buy your home, one of which is called, “points.” One point is equal to 1% of the loan principal. One to three points are common on home loans, which can easily add up to thousands of dollars. You can fully deduct points associated with a home purchase mortgage. Refinanced mortgage points are also deductible, but only over the life of the loan, not all at once. Homeowners who refinance can immediately write off the balance of the old points and begin to amortize the new.
  3. Equity Loan Interest. You may be able to deduct some of the interest you pay on a home equity loan or a line of credit. However, the IRS places a limit on the amount of debt you can treat as “home equity” for this deduction. Your total is limited to the smaller of:
  • $100,000 (or $50,00 for each member of a married couple if they file separately), or
  • The total of your home’s fair market value – this is, what you’d get for your house on the open market – minus certain other outstanding debts against […]
25 02, 2016

Tips for buying a home this spring

February 25th, 2016|Blog, Buying a home, Home Finances, Tips & Advice|












It is not a secret that spring is a great time to put your home on the market. Prospective homebuyers can look at homes and condos without having to worry about trudging through snow or bad weather. Plus families search for homes during this time so they can move in the summer without disrupting the school year.

A seller’s market means that buyers have to be smart and prepared if they want to get the right house at the right price. Agents suggest that prospective buyers start by looking at home online, narrowing down neighborhood choices and deciding between must-have and preferred features.

Here are tips for buying a home this spring:

• Get mortgage prequalification or preapproval before you start looking. As with any purchase, you need to know what you can afford. If you do this before you start shopping it will help narrow down your options and makes your offer more competitive.
• Do your research. Use the internet and different apps to research neighborhood and asking prices for the type of home you want.
• Have the documents ready. In order to obtain a mortgage you will need documentation to complete the qualification process. Check out the full list of what is needed on our website:
• Be ready to move fast. A well-located house in good condition and priced right will sell quickly; it can even be the first day it goes on the market. A buyer needs to be ready to commit if they find a home they like because they risk the chance of losing it if they don’t. One of the things First Ohio Home Finance is known for is how quickly they work for their customers.
• Understand that no house is perfect. Making your offer contingent on a home […]

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