House to Home

How VantageScore may change the game

Posted by Amy Patterson on 4/24/15 2:31 PM

For individuals without any credit, securing a mortgage loan can be nearly impossible. Most of us know that a mortgage approval is based on several different factors, however, the largest factor is your credit – or more specifically, your FICO credit score.

Currently, FICO scores pulled from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion are the only reports to measure a potential borrower’s credit worthiness.

But there’s a problem with that – some would be borrowers have so little credit that they don’t even have a FICO score at all, and because of that, some borrowers are turned down for mortgages.

However, all of this may be changing soon, according to an announcement by HUD Secretary Julian Castro and NAR President Chris Polychron earlier this month. According to the two industry specialists, the agencies are exploring alternative credit systems in an effort to expand American’s access to mortgages.

This announcement falls in line with last year’s statement by VantageScore – an alternative scoring system – that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two government loan agencies, were looking into updating their credit scoring methods.

Though it has not yet been confirmed that VantageScore will be used along with or in place of FICO scoring, this new development – if utilized – could work to change the game for many borrowers – 7.6 million borrowers to be specific.


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Topics: Finances, Credit Report, Credit, Home Loans, Banking, FHA loans, FHA, Home Sales, Economy

Disposables you can ditch without missing

Posted by Amy Patterson on 4/22/15 2:22 PM

Our lives are hectic – that’s no secret. We keep getting busier and piling items on our to-do lists while it seems like the amount of time in the day keeps shrinking. So, I totally get it – using disposable items is easy and most importantly, it saves time. But there are two big things it doesn’t save – money and the environment.

  • Cleaning wipes – These little wipes make life so simple, but usually, you have to use a large amount of them to get the same effect that I could get with a reusable sponge and some DIY vinegar cleanser.
  • Shopping bags – For a one time (small) investment, you can get sturdy, clean and reusable shopping bags. And most grocery stores will even give you a discount on your bill for using them! Yes, it may only be like 5 cents per bag, but how much do you get for using plastic? ….right.
  • Curtain liner – Plastic shower curtain liners get gross – really fast, and need to be replaced far too often. For a one-time investment, you can get a cloth shower curtain liner that you can wash and re-use!
  • Plates – Ditch the paper, plastic and foam plates! They are expensive, flimsy and put unnecessary chemicals near your food.
  • Straws – Let’s face it...drinking through straws is fun. But  plastic straws are expensive and tend to break quite frequently (at least for me). But now they have glass straws! This is a much more sanitary, and in the long term less expensive, alternative. 
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Topics: Green Living, Home, Economy, Earth Day

Apartment rental costs to rise…again

Posted by Amy Patterson on 4/20/15 2:30 PM

According to commercial property tracker, Reis Inc., the average U.S. rent has grown by 14% since 2010. On average, the price that most U.S. tenants pay is $1,124 per month. And this year, things are going to get worse…a lot worse.

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Topics: Finances, First Time Home Buyers, Homeowners, Home Loans, Money, Rent, Economy

How to clean up your home’s exterior – on a budget

Posted by Amy Patterson on 4/10/15 2:30 PM

Curb appeal is important, and often, first impressions are hard to forget. But it can be hard and expensive to keep up the appearance of your home – especially the exterior. Here are some tips and tricks to spruce up your home’s exterior on a budget.

  • Clean siding – This doesn’t have to be a big process and you don’t have to hire a power washing company. In fact, you don’t even need (and really shouldn’t use) a power washer at all. Simply hosing off your siding with water will do the trick. However, if it’s been a while since you’ve washed your siding, and water alone isn’t doing it – add a tiny bit of bleach in with your water (4 parts water: 1 part bleach).
  • Add a path – Walkways or paths generally draw lines for your guests and passersby, from the curb, up to your door. Despite the common consensus, you can do this within your budget. Instead of laying a thick stone walkway, try stepping-stones.
  • Decorate – Add some hanging plants or lanterns to the front of your home. If you have a deck or porch, you have a lot more to work with for this. Try sprucing up your front porch by adding some vintage, re-purposed chairs with bold colored cushions.

Sprucing up your home doesn’t have to cost you a fortune – it’s important to shop smart (check out your local thrift stores) and focus on details that will pull the attention from some other items that might be less possible to fix. 

Don't have a home to call your own yet? Check out our First Time Home Buyer's Study Guide! 

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Topics: DIY, Green Living, First Time Home Buyers, Design, Home, Homeowners, Home Loans, Money, Renovate, Economy

How the economy is making a comeback

Posted by Amy Patterson on 4/8/15 1:33 PM

Slow and steady wins the race – but does it win the economy? It would appear so. Despite a decline in the final three months of 2014, the economy, overall, is on the rise again – and all signs point to a continuation of growth for 2015. But what has changed? According to experts, quite a bit, including the driving force behind the economy. It would appear that the growth in the stock market as well as the overall economy is beginning to restructure. Health care, oil and consumer-focused companies now fuel the growth, once fueled by banks.

Health care is widely being referred to as the “biotech boom.” With companies like Gilead Sciences expected to close the year with an astounding 300% leap in earnings per share. Along with health care, the ever-declining cost of oil has made quite a surplus in consumer’s pockets, which has caused the funds to reallocate back into the economy. Experts predict that the decrease will save American drivers upwards of $750 this year on gas. Consumer goods are up and so is an up-and-coming consumer-focused chain – Chipotle – which is suspected to report $4.1 billion. Other consumer sales companies, like Disney, are reporting heightened gains as well.

Couple this with the continued growth in housing – with mortgage applications doubling in January – and all signs point to significant economic growth. 


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Topics: Finances, Home Loans, Money, Home Sales, Economy

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