12 02, 2018

Using Your Tax Return to Fund A Down Payment

February 12th, 2018|Uncategorized|

Tax season is upon us, which means many people will shortly be receiving their tax returns. This is an exciting time for many, the much-needed extra money after the holidays or a chance to boost your savings. If you are looking to buy a house this year, take this opportunity to help you get closer to achieving your home ownership dreams.

For first time homeowners, one of the biggest obstacles is coming up with the down payment. So, there is no better time to qualify for a new home than now if you save your tax refund! If your tax refund is large enough, it may cover the entire down payment on a home purchase. If your tax refund does not cover your down payment, you will be in better shape financially than you were before you got the refund. If you put the refund directly into savings you will have that down payment before you know it!

If you are applying for a loan that does not require a down payment (click here to learn about those loan types) it is still smart to save your tax refund. You could use the tax refund for any of the following:

  • Pay closing costs
  • Pay off debts to help you qualify
  • Keep the refund in the bank as reserves. The more reserves equal better chance of approval
  • Pay down credit card balances to raise credit scores
  • Have money for furniture and emergency funds as a homeowner

It is perfectly fine to apply for a mortgage loan when you have not yet received your refund yet. When you are filling out the application, we can just assume the amount that you will be receiving. As long as we can prove that the funds are in your account prior to […]

8 02, 2018

First Ohio will be at The Dispatch Home & Garden Show Feb. 17-25

February 8th, 2018|Uncategorized|

The Dispatch Home & Garden Show is right around the corner! First Ohio Home Finance will have Loan Officers at booth 314 ready to discuss your renovation, refinance and purchase loan needs.

Make sure to stop by the check out our exclusive deal, up to a $400.00 value!

Get your tickets for the show here: https://www.dispatchshows.com/#spring-home-garden-show-welcome

12 12, 2017

7 Steps to Prepare You for Buying a House in 2018

December 12th, 2017|Blog, Uncategorized|

Now is the perfect time to “warm up” for the house hunt so you can be ready in the new year. The prep work is basically the same wherever you are looking.

  1. Check your credit score

The higher the score the better. FICO scores typically range from 300 to 850. If your score is 740 or above, you’ll get the best interest rate on a loan. A lower rate can lead to saving thousands of dollars in a year. If your score is less than this, start repairing it now. Start paying your bills on time, correct any errors that may be on your report, and get your credit limit raised. You should only use 30% or less of your total available credit and not max it out every month.

  1. Don’t open new credit cards

As tempting as it gets to open a new credit card to save at the checkout, resist! Opening a new card may hurt your chances of getting a mortgage or even getting the best rate on a loan. What could save you a few dollars right now, could cost you way more in the long run if your mortgage payments end up higher.

  1. Suggest financial gifts for the holidays

Along with a mortgage loan, you will need a considerable amount of cash to buy a house. There are closing costs, a down payment and moving costs. Also, you should set aside money for unexpected costs and repairs.

  1. Interview potential real estate agents

You owe it to yourself to show around for the perfect agent. Make sure they are not new or unaware of how to do a specific transaction. The end of the year is typically a slow time for agents, which can lead to them being more […]

13 11, 2017

First Ohio Home Finance A+ rated by the Better Business Bureau

November 13th, 2017|Uncategorized|

First Ohio Home Finance is rated A+ by the Better Business Bureau. We are proud to be accredited by the BBB, it is another way First Ohio goes above and beyond to ensure our customers we are the ones to work with!

19 10, 2017

4 Reasons to Refinance Your Mortgage

October 19th, 2017|Home Finances, Refinance, Uncategorized|

Are you considering refinancing your mortgage?

While mortgage rates are expected to rise a little this year, they are still historically low compared to the trend over the last few decades. So, if you are thinking about refinancing, you can still get a great deal!

There are several reasons why refinancing might be right for you. Usually, people refinance their home for one or more of the following reasons:

Does refinancing make sense for you? Use our refinance calculator to analyze your situation. 

If you’re interested in refinancing or would like more information about this option, please contact us.

21 08, 2017

Brandon Cooper Joins First Ohio Home Finance Westerville Office

August 21st, 2017|Uncategorized|

First Ohio Home Finance is excited to welcome Brandon Cooper to our home office! Brandon is joining the team as a Senior Mortgage Banker. He graduated from The Ohio State University and received a bachelor’s degree in business finance with a specialization in Real estate. He has worked in the mortgage business since 2010 specializing in all products (specifically FHA, VA, and Conventional).  He love seeing the satisfaction on customers’ faces when helping them out with their purchase or refinance. He strives himself on communication, integrity and transparency.  Brandon truly does look out for the borrower / buyers best interest, and I’m as honest as they come.  Outside of work, Brandon loves spending time with my 3 year old son, golfing, working out and attending country music concerts.

NMLS ID #: 846512
Phone: (614) 949-9797


13 06, 2017

Starter Homes: Pros and Cons

June 13th, 2017|Uncategorized|


Earlier generations often bought start homes initially and then would move into larger homes are their families and income grew. Now, coming up with a large down payment is a struggle for many. This results in renting and saving up for a down payment for a few years. There is also the option of buying a starter home and staying in it for longer than previous generations and paying down more of the mortgage. In order to help first-time home buyers, guide through these tricky decisions, we are going to look at pros and cons of a starter home.

Build stability quicker

When you buy a home in a certain area, many homebuyers can’t believe how much stability and roots they feel in a community. You are able to make any changes you want in order for it to feel more like your home. Overall home buyers feel a much great sense of stability.


It is no question that moving is not a fun task. Buying a starter home then upgrading in a few years will requires moving twice in a short time span. For some, it might be more cost-effective to save more and buy a bigger home instead of moving twice within a shorter time period.

Build Equity Sooner

If you can commit five to seven years to a home, there is a good chance you will come out on top in regards to building equity. If you make improvements that add value, you can take the equity you’ve built and apply it as a down payment on the next home. In essence, the start home might help you purchase your dream home.


In addition to mortgage payments and property tax, there are extra costs such as furniture, landscape improvements and buying items specific to […]

2 12, 2016

Should you take your home off the Market for the Holidays?

December 2nd, 2016|Uncategorized|

For sale sign sign in front of house in the middle of winter with snow on the ground.  Focus is on the sign.  Space on sign for additional copy.

When selling a home, we often think to only sell during the spring and summer months because that is when the most people are often looking. Even though winter and the holidays are not often thought of as the popular time to be selling a home, that does not mean that you should take your home off the market either.

The internet, smartphones, tablets, and the always-on lifestyle that many people live now has ultimately made the home-buying season a yearlong thing. Now you can set up alerts and notifications (sent directly to your phone) for homes in a certain area and price range.

Here are a couple reasons why you should consider listing your home during the holidays – or even in January.

Buyers check listings 24/7

These days, serious buyers are always real estate aware – and the holidays are no exception. People are on their phones constantly. When they are waiting for the bus or bored before bed, they can check listings with the large number of apps and websites that are available right at their fingertips, literally. People cannot step away, they are always on the go, so the same goes for buying a home. They can’t step away from that either.

Less Competition

Despite our always-on lifestyles as talked about above, many sellers still believe buyers stop looking come the middle of November. Or sellers who have had their home on the market for a while, usually take it off to give it a rest. The net effect is that the inventory for good homes often tightens this time of year. There is […]

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 […]

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