26 11, 2018

Preparing Your Home For the Holidays

2021-09-28T16:52:38+00:00November 26th, 2018|Tips & Advice|

The holiday season is in full swing, which means it’s time to entertain family and friends. Below are some holiday home prep tips to make your guests feel at home and to alleviate any last minute problems that can come up and take time away from your family during the holiday season.


Make sure walkways and porches are free of ice, snow and any other bumps that someone could trip on. Taking someone to the emergency room because of a fall is not the way you want to start the holidays. Another way to ensure your guests’ safety is to make sure all outdoor lighting is functioning properly and is turned on when it is dark.


The kitchen has become one of the main areas for entertaining during the holiday season. If you have old or outdated appliances, it might be a good idea to install new ones. Replacing the appliances can make a huge difference when you’re preparing meals for large groups.


Make sure your bathroom is clean and free of mold or mildew. Be sure there is plenty of hand soap, hand towels, and toilet paper so your guests can easily access more supplies if needed. It’s also a good idea to clean out the sink and bathtub drain before guests arrive to avoid any clogs.


If your guests are staying in a spare bedroom, be sure to make the bed with clean linens and provide some extra blankets if needed. Add a reading light and alarm clock to the nightside table since not everyone goes to sleep and wakes up at the same time.

20 11, 2018

How VA Loans Differ From Other Types of Loans

2021-09-28T16:52:42+00:00November 20th, 2018|Buying a home|

FHA loans, VA loans and Conventional loans and are all issued by banks and approved lending institutions, but there are a few major differences with VA and FHA loans. One of the biggest differences is that VA loans are insured and guaranteed by the federal government through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.  FHA loans are also insured by the U.S. government through the Department of Housing and Urban Development, also known as HUD. This means that if the borrower stops making payments on the loan, the government will insure the loan so the lender is protected against loan losses. On the other hand, Conventional loans carry no guarantee from the government against loan defaults.  Since a Conventional loan is not insured by the government, home buyers are required to purchase private mortgage insurance (PMI) if they have less than a 20% down payment.

With a VA loan, there is no down payment required because of the government guarantee to the lender.  This gives military veterans and service members the ability to purchase a home even if they do not have down payment funds or they want to save money for other purposes. With FHA loans, a lesser down payment is required compared to a Conventional loan, but FHA loans require 2 other types of mortgage insurance known as Up Front Mortgage Insurance Premium (UFMIP) and monthly mortgage insurance premiums (MIP).

VA loans have specific requirements for eligibility that other types of loans do not require.  First, a potential homebuyer must be a veteran, active duty service member, spouse, or dependent who meets the VA specifications for time served or eligible family relationship to the service member or veteran.  Also, eligible VA borrowers can utilize VA loans to refinance non-VA mortgages, even if income or credit is thought […]

15 11, 2018

What To Do After Refinancing Your Mortgage

2021-09-28T16:52:45+00:00November 15th, 2018|Refinance|

Did you just complete the mortgage refinance process and are excited about your new savings? While it’s exciting to lower your monthly payment and have some extra cash, it’s important to use that extra money wisely so it will benefit you in the future. Below are some money-savvy options for putting this extra cash to good use.

  1. Establish or enhance your emergency finance fund. If your income is interrupted or if an opportunity or need arises, your emergency fund lets you avoid interest costs from borrowing or tax consequences from cashing out investments.
  2. Pay down credit card debt. Paying off high rate credit cards or other debts will free up your finances so you can invest it for the future.
  3. Invest, Invest, Invest. Max out your 401K contribution. Even a partial match from your employer yields an amazing, instant rate of return. Got kids? Start or ramp up a college savings plan. Tuition costs are rising faster than inflation. Invest now to help beat the trend.
  4. Make sure you are protected. Do you have sufficient life, disability and property insurance? Doing everything else right matters little if tragedy strikes and you lose it all due to lack of coverage. Double check you’re covered before anything happens.
  5. Pay off your loan faster. This is not always the best thing to do with your cash (see numbers 1, 2, 3 and 4), but for some, peace of mind has the best rate of return.

Here’s another thing to think about. How about buying your vacation/retirement home today? Finance your payments by renting it out when you aren’t there. Then, when you do retire, you will have already built memories in your new home, […]

6 11, 2018

FHA vs. Conventional Loans: Which is Best for You?

2021-09-28T16:52:48+00:00November 6th, 2018|Mortgage 101|

Whether you’re searching for a new home or looking to refinance your current mortgage, there are many loan options available for you. Two of the most common loan options are conventional and FHA. Qualifying for each comes down to your credit score, available down payment, and long-term goals. Below are the pros and cons of each loan type and will help you determine which option is best for you.

FHA Loans

FHA loans are insured by HUD and are eligible for purchasing, refinancing and home repairs. These loans can be attractive to buyers with low-to-average credit scores. To qualify for the lowest down payment available, your credit score must be 580 or higher. FHA loans require a down payment of at least 3.5 percent. You are also required to pay monthly mortgage insurance. Your down payment can be a gift or there are many down payment assistance programs available and grants accepted.

Conventional Loans

This is the most common loan type. If you have good credit, then get rewarded with great rates through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. With conventional loans, your credit score must be 620 or higher. The typical down payment is between 5 and 20 percent of the loan. Mortgage insurance monthly payments are required if you have a down payment of less than 20 percent, but generally, the insurance can be cancelled when your loan-to-value ratio reaches 80 percent.

There are pros and cons to each of these loan types. To learn more each about mortgage loan or to find out if you qualify, contact a loan officer at First Ohio Home Finance today!