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The Piggy Bank: The Big Lessons for Teens

Posted by Kimberly Shane on 11/9/17 6:00 AM

The Piggy Bank: The Big Lessons for Teens

Freedom. It is what every pre-teen to teen aged child dreams of! But are they prepared for this taste of freedom? What about financial freedom, are they ready for that? During their teen years they will start making real money and likely, big money decisions that could affect them for the rest of their lives. While this can come across as scary and overwhelming; with a little guidance, it can be fun and exciting for our teens!

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Topics: Finances, Money, 100% financing, #SMCsmartmoney, financial, financial security

The Piggy Bank: Debit v. Credit

Posted by Kimberly Shane on 11/2/17 6:30 AM

The Piggy Bank: Debit v. Credit

How do you pay for gas? Your card. How do you pay for groceries? Your card. What do you give the restaurant server at the end of your meal? Your card. Likely, your children see you swiping your card more than paying cash for the items you purchase. But do they understand how it works? The concept of debit and credit is something that our children need to understand because it’s not likely we are reverting to using just cash anytime soon! 

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Topics: Finances, Money, 100% financing, financial

The Piggy Bank: Age Appropriate Tasks

Posted by Kimberly Shane on 10/19/17 6:10 AM

The Piggy Bank: Age Appropriate Tasks

If you are looking for some tasks that your kiddos can tackle and earn some extra money but are worried that mowing the lawn is too much for a 7-year-old—you should probably check out our latest edition of The Piggy Bank! While we certainly want to encourage young ones to start earning money and establish a foundation of financial literacy we want to help them set attainable goals. By offering them the opportunity to make money by completing age appropriate tasks then you are encouraging their drive to work, building up their self-confidence and creating a foundation for financial education. Below is a list of tasks that would be appropriate by various age groups. This information was found on the neatlings website, I’ve included a link at the end (it also contains a free printable!).

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Topics: Finances, Money, 100% financing, financial

The Piggy Bank: Teach Them to Save

Posted by Kimberly Shane on 10/12/17 6:00 AM

The Piggy Bank: Teach Them to Save

Can’t get your kids to understand that they could buy that bike faster if they didn’t spend their $10.00 on a 500-piece kitty cat puzzle? Well your kids certainly aren’t alone. According to experts, “an estimated 38 million households in the US live hand to mouth, meaning they spend every penny of their paychecks.” So, if we, as adults struggle with the idea of saving up money and not spending it just because we have it then no wonder it’s so difficult for our younger ones to grasp the idea!

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Topics: Finances, Money, 100% financing

The Piggy Bank: Stop Paying For These

Posted by Kimberly Shane on 9/19/17 6:45 AM

The Piggy Bank: Stop Paying for These

We’ve talked a little bit about why it’s important to give your kid an allowance but all the good could be undone if the allowance is not implemented correctly. So, when we give our kids allowances we also need to give them the responsibility of paying for things on their own. Kerry, a mom and blogger decided that it wasn’t just toys that the kids would need to pay for but also for some necessities. I’ve included a list of items that she lists as options for kids to cover the cost on:

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Topics: Finances, 100% financing, financial, financial security

A New Initiative to Buy

Posted by Amy Patterson on 6/17/15 4:26 PM

A new survey released from Zillow uncovers that buyers, in most markets, can break even on a home purchase in less than two years. What? Yes, two years. We knew that the housing market was booming, but that’s crazy! The first question following this information would have to be, “well then why are people still renting?”

It’s complicated.

More than half of those surveyed stated financial limitations have kept them from buying a home. More specifically, 16% said that they were unable to qualify for a mortgage loan, 18% said that they can’t afford the overall costs associated with homeownership and 13% said that they do not have enough money saved for a down payment.

Financial limitations can often put a hold on a family’s dream of home ownership; however, there are options available for borrowers in most every circumstance. Programs that offer 100% financing are a great option for borrowers that do not have a down payment. The only way to know all of the options is to talk to a mortgage banker

 You can view the full survey here.  

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Topics: Mortgage, Home Loans, Home Sales, 100% financing, Home Buyer

The time to buy a home is now

Posted by Amy Patterson on 4/28/15 3:43 PM

If you’ve been thinking about purchasing a home, now is the time to make the jump – the Federal Reserve is discussing the possibility of raising interest rates in June. While this could mean slightly higher interest rates for borrowers, it could also have great benefits for the economy as a whole.

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Topics: Insider, Mortgage, Home Loans, Community, Home Sales, interest rate, 100% financing

How much is a down payment?

Posted by Amy Patterson on 4/25/15 6:00 PM

For many first time home buyers, some of the biggest questions about buying their first home, revolve around how much their mortgage will cost. Not necessarily the mortgage itself, but the fees and costs associated with procuring the loan. Closing costs, escrow costs and down payment percentages are usually the biggest costs that borrowers worry about when getting a mortgage. Fortunately, closing costs and escrow costs are detailed in the GFE – a document that estimates the closing costs well before closing. 

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Topics: Mortgage, Finances, First Time Home Buyers, Millennials, Credit, Homeowners, Home Loans, Banking, FHA loans, Home Sales, 100% financing

Alternatives to a 20% down payment

Posted by Amy Patterson on 4/13/15 2:54 PM

Down payment requirements can be very intimidating, and trying to save for a 20% down payment can seem impossible. Luckily, the secret is out – you don’t actually need to have 20% for a down payment. Because, really, who has an extra 20 or 40 grand lying around?  

Here are your options:

Go for an FHA loan – FHA loans, or Federal Housing Administration loans, are not actually funded through the FHA, they are simply ensured by the FHA. The FHA insurance covers the lender in the event that a borrower should default, and because of that, these loans are considered less risky for lenders. The FHA loan comes with a low interest rate and as little as a 3.5% down payment.

Check out a USDA loan – USDA loans are issued through the U.S. Department of Agriculture and are great for borrowers who are unable to save for a down payment because they require NO money down. Yes, that’s right. These loans offer 100% financing. What’s the catch? Well, there is none really. Though borrowers must meet location and income requirements, the location requirements expand much further than the countryside. In fact, some suburbs that surround cities fall within the limits.

Try a contingency – This is only applicable to those who are already home owners. Essentially, a contingency is a clause in your contract that states that a percentage of the equity in your current home, will go toward the down payment of your new home, contingent upon your first home’s sale.

Are you a veteran? The VA loan allows veterans and qualifying spouses to get a 0% down mortgage.

Even if you can’t come up with a down payment, you do have options, and you can still purchase a home. If you’re interested in purchasing your first home, check out our First Time Home Buyer’s Study Guide to learn about the process.

Questions? Call a mortgage banker at 1 (888) 914-2276.

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Topics: Loans, Mortgage, Finances, First Time Home Buyers, Credit Report, Credit, Homeowners, Home Loans, Money, FHA loans, FHA, Real Estate, 100% financing, USDA loans, VA loans, Savings

Fixed vs. ARM – how do you choose?

Posted by Amy Patterson on 4/2/15 2:30 PM


Interest rate is one of the most important aspects of choosing a loan product. Your interest rate is largely determined by your credit score, however, there are two options that affect your interest rate and give you more of a choice. Those two options are a fixed rate mortgage and an adjustable rate mortgage and both have their benefits.

A fixed rate mortgage is one on which your interest rate and payment remain the same during entire life of the loan. This option may be a good choice for you if rates are currently low and you are planning to stay in your home for a long time. Most fixed rate loans also allow you to pay off the balance of the loan early without incurring any penalty fees. In addition, this loan allows you to add any amount to your fixed monthly payment in an effort to pay off the loan quicker. Most of the time, this loan is utilized for a 15 or 30 year term, however, it is also offered in 10 or 20 year terms. The length of your term will directly impact your monthly payment amount. The shorter your term, the larger your monthly payment; therefore the 30 year term would offer the lowest monthly payment.   

An adjustable rate mortgage, or ARM, is a loan on which your interest rate changes annually. The changes in rate are based on a market index and can increase or decrease depending on what current market trends are. Though this loan’s interest rates adjust annually, they do not always start adjusting the first year. Unlike how the fixed rate mortgage’s terms determine the life of the loan, terms on an ARM determine which year the interest rate will begin adjusting. For example, a 5/1 ARM will have a fixed rate for five years, after which it will adjust annually. To prevent too steep of a rate increase, ARMs (when originated) have “caps,” which set a limit to how much the interest rate can raise annually and for the life of the loan. For example, an ARM that has a 2% annual cap and a 6% lifetime cap, cannot raise more than 2% annually and can never go over 6%. This option is great for buyers who are looking for a slightly lower rate during the first few years of their loan, but know that their income will be raising steadily in the future to compensate for any adjustments.

Both the fixed rate mortgage and the ARM have their place determined by the borrower’s situation. However, either one offers its own set of benefits for any homebuyer. The best way to determine which rate option is best for you is to call or make an appointment with one of our mortgage bankers. They can easily analyze your finances, current and future situation and determine which option will be the most beneficial for you. 


Want to know more about our loan programs? Find an office near you, and talk to a mortgage banker today. 

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Topics: Loans, Mortgage, Finances, Rates, Home, Homeowners, Home Loans, FHA, Real Estate, interest rate, ARM, 100% financing, APR, Real Estatse, Fixed Rate

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