Homebuyer Concerns Regarding Rising Interest Rates

Posted By Brandon Simmons on November 13, 2018

What’s a home buyer to do when interest rates rise? It’s a question many are considering as the market recovers from the long period of historically low rates following the financial crisis of 2008. With rates rising, buyers worry about getting a bad deal, and what that could mean for long-term financial stability.

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The Best Time to Buy a House Might Surprise You

Posted By Brandon Simmons on November 8, 2018

Ah, December 25. Bells are ringing, trees are twinkling, houses are…selling?

Well, not typically, but it turns out if you’re searching for the perfect home in the winter season, and you’re willing to put in some legwork over the holidays, there’s good news for you: you’ll face less competition and the potential to get a great deal.

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Headed Out of Town? Rent Your House For Some Extra Holiday Cash

Posted By Brandon Simmons on November 1, 2018

Your home is one of your greatest financial assets, and not just because of the payoff you hope to receive if and when you sell. For many who vacation or travel to see family for the holidays, renting the house can lend some relief to holiday spending, or even help you pay for the trip you’ve always dreamed about.

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Keeping Your Home Happy and Safe This Halloween

Posted By Brandon Simmons on October 25, 2018

It’s nearly that time of year. One night soon, as the sun starts to set, the street will begin to fill with little ghosts and lovely creatures, superheroes and silly faces.

Halloween is a favorite holiday for both the young and the young-at-heart. It’s also one that requires the best efforts of all involved to make sure the focus stays on treats rather than tears.

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A House is a Home, But It’s Also a Financial Tool

Posted By Brandon Simmons on October 23, 2018

For most potential buyers, home ownership is a huge decision, particularly in an age of increased student loan debt. Since most people can’t afford to pay for a home outright, the idea of taking on a mortgage—and a multi-year commitment—can be daunting.

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Your House is a Home to Happy Memories

Posted By Brandon Simmons on October 16, 2018

Although owning a home can be a great monetary investment and long term financial tool, one of the greatest perks is that you can truly make your house a home. The sentimental value of the joy shared in your home over the years as your family grows and changes is different when you have a sense of ownership;

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No/Low-Maintenance Ways to Keep Your Yard Looking Great In the Winter

Posted By Brandon Simmons on October 11, 2018

Whether you’re putting a house on the market soon or just want your yard to look great in the fall and winter, there are lots of good options for introducing new plant life this time of year. The key is to introduce texture and color to keep the yard looking healthy and vibrant,

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The Long And Short Of Home Improvement Investments

Posted By Brandon Simmons on October 9, 2018

Is your family outgrowing your home? Tired of fighting for counter space in the bathroom? Have a retro kitchen, but not in a trendy way?

Most homeowners reach a point where home improvement projects just can’t be ignored. While some are minor and require little more than some DIY motivation and a free weekend,

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Rising Home Values Can Make Refinancing The Right Choice

Posted By Brandon Simmons on October 2, 2018

Seeing the value of your property increase is a welcome development for homeowners. It can be reassuring evidence that the home they chose to purchase, and when they bought it, was a smart decision. Rising values can also be a signal that it’s time to explore refinancing your current mortgage.

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Protecting Your Privacy During the Mortgage Process

Posted By Brandon Simmons on September 20, 2018

Unfortunately, the failure to protect personal data and financial information is all too common. As identity theft continues to rise, taking proactive steps to safeguard the records that can put us most at risk is essential.

While the possibility is always present, the depth and sensitivity of information requested during the mortgage application process warrant added vigilance.

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Six Costs Of Homebuying You Need To Know

Posted By Brandon Simmons on September 18, 2018

Nearly every homebuyer starts with a budget. Beginning the process with a down payment and sales price in mind could simplify your search and avoid the disappointment that comes with falling in love with a home you can’t afford.

However, it’s not unusual for home shoppers,

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Mortgage Without Marriage: Buying A Home With Your Partner

Posted By Brandon Simmons on September 13, 2018

Times have changed, and so has the way couples are buying homes. While some commit to a mortgage before they commit to marriage, others plan to own a home with a domestic partner and forego a legal union altogether. If you’re one of the many unmarried couples contemplating the purchase of a property,

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Making Space For Things That Make You Happy

Posted By Brandon Simmons on September 6, 2018

Home improvement isn’t just about fixing what’s broken. It’s also about improving and expanding your home to accommodate your needs as you grow. Whether it’s indoor remodeling, structural modifications or landscaping and exterior beautification, home improvement projects should improve your quality of life as well as your level of satisfaction with your house.

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Refinancing? Here’s How to Prep for an Appraisal

Posted By Brandon Simmons on September 4, 2018

Before you can refinance or sell your home, an independent appraiser must determine its value.  Appraisers come to their conclusions by comparing your home to similar properties that have recently sold in the same area. They’ll make price adjustments based on differences in size, condition or features. It might seem scary that so much of your hard work rests on the decision of one person,

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Shining City on a Hill: Top Cities for Millennial Homebuyers

Posted By Brandon Simmons on August 30, 2018

An “overwhelming majority” of renters under age 35 hope to be homeowners one day, according to studies by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Why are they waiting longer than previous generations to buy? There are several reasons, but a few that have contributed to the statistics include slower national wage gains,

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Making The Case For A Mortgage When You’re Self Employed

Posted By Brandon Simmons on August 21, 2018

Being your own boss can mean hard work, long hours and big rewards. It can also make applying for a mortgage much more intimidating. While traditional employees can provide lenders with W-2s and consistent paychecks, being self-employed complicates the income verification process.

However, by understanding what lenders will be looking for,

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I Need to Move Into My New Home ASAP. How Can I Speed Up the Mortgage Process?

Posted By Brandon Simmons on August 14, 2018

Itching to move into your new home as soon as possible? Try these time-saving tips to get your mortgage approved and processed without delay, so you can settle in and enjoy your new home. Fortune favors the prepared, and so does the mortgage process.

Come Prepared &

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Don’t Buy Into Home Buying Myths

Posted By Brandon Simmons on August 7, 2018

Sometimes buying a home seems like the most daunting process in the world, especially if you’re a first-time homebuyer that isn’t sure what to expect. Some may even have you thinking you have to hold off on home ownership until you’ve saved what seems like an almost impossible amount of cash,

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Short-Term Savings, Long-Term Expense: The Benefits of Buying vs. Renting

Posted By Brandon Simmons on July 31, 2018

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 64.2% of Americans are homeowners. If you’re part of the 35.8% renting, you might think you’re saving money, and in the short term, you might be right. However, shifting your perspective to the long-term gains and benefits of owning may have you singing a different tune.

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Summer Home Improvement Projects Perfect for the Whole Family

Posted By Brandon Simmons on July 24, 2018

School’s out and the long days of summer are in full swing, which means it’s a great time to invest in some projects to spruce up your home or yard. From one-day odd jobs to weekend undertakings, these family-friendly activities will create memories and value for years to come.

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Navigating the 2018 Real Estate Market

Posted By Brandon Simmons on July 17, 2018

We’re over halfway through 2018, which means the real estate trends for this year are becoming clear. While no one knows for sure what the future will hold, reviewing what we’ve seen happen so far can help buyers understand what to expect when they put in an offer on a potential home.

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Five Questions to Consider Before Hosting an AirBNB

Posted By Brandon Simmons on July 11, 2018

In less than a decade, Airbnb has transitioned  from a trendy vacation method to a staple of modern day travel. As the travel season approaches, some will  be looking to save money at vacation destinations, while others might be converting their homes into Airbnb units for extra cash. Could Airbnb hosting be a good option for you and your home?

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Moving Out? Here’s Your Checklist

Posted By Brandon Simmons on July 10, 2018

After weeks of gathering personal information, printing off bank statements and tax records, and waiting for the bank to approve and underwrite your loan, the time has come—you’ve signed your lender’s paperwork and bought a new house. Now for the really fun part: packing and moving. In the hectic time to come,

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Three FHA Loan Advantages You Need to Know

Posted By Brandon Simmons on July 5, 2018

As one of the most popular types of home mortgages, FHA loans can offer a unique and essential option, especially for first-time home buyers. Backed by the Federal Housing Administration, the loans combine less restrictive financial requirements with generous lending terms to create an attractive alternative.

While many borrowers may be aware of the 3.5 percent minimum down payment or that a credit score as low as 580 can still qualify,

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The Open Mortgage Guide to Outdoor Kitchen and Backyard Upgrades

Posted By Brandon Simmons on July 3, 2018

July is National Grilling Month, and with good reason: long after the 4th of July festivities are over, the lure of Summer Fridays and the promise of pool parties means the backyard is a continuous opportunity for celebration. For homeowners looking to upgrade their backyard space for this purpose,

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Make Your Home as Eco-Friendly As You Are

Posted By Brandon Simmons on June 28, 2018

We all know someone that puts an enviable amount of energy into making the planet a better place, and hey, maybe that’s you! The good news is, no matter where you lie on the spectrum of green living, there are simple ways just about anyone can make their home more eco-friendly.

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Your Home Is an Investment. Keep These Tips In Mind

Posted By Brandon Simmons on June 26, 2018

If you’re in the market for a home, it’s likely your priorities are choosing a home that is a good fit for your lifestyle: Will it fit your growing family? Is it a community with access to the activities, schools and establishments you want in your everyday life? Do you feel comfortable with the neighborhood and its surroundings?

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3 Things First Time Homeowners Wished They Knew Before Buying

Posted By Brandon Simmons on June 19, 2018

It’s an exciting time in your life. You’ve worked hard, you saved up — you’re considering buying your first home. But the road between first time homebuyers and the dotted line can be full of rookie mistakes. To help you spot these pitfalls before you’re in them, here’s three things to consider when going from homebuying to home owning for the first time.

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Step Up to Homeownership with Little Or No Down Payment

Posted By Brandon Simmons on June 12, 2018

A down payment can be one of the biggest obstacles to homeownership. But, it doesn’t have to be. Open Mortgage partners with our clients to identify available mortgage options with minimal or zero down payment requirements. Here are some of the ways we help borrowers achieve the dream of homeownership sooner rather than later.

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How Backyards Can Become A Black Hole For Buyers and Sellers

Posted By Brandon Simmons on June 7, 2018

With the summer housing market heating up, a sparkling pool or comfortable outdoor kitchen may seem like the key to closing a sale. However, backyard amenities may not live up to expectations, for buyers or sellers, particularly when it comes to completing the transaction.

Appraisal Process

If you’ve bought a home before,

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Five Tips To Help Your Yard Survive The Summer

Posted By Brandon Simmons on June 5, 2018

No one wants to look out their windows to see a yard filled with brown patches, or pull in their driveway and be greeted by sad, thirsty flowerbeds. While the summer sun can test even the greenest of thumbs, there are some simple steps to give your grass and plantings a fighting chance during the hottest months.

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Four Heat-Beating Tips Every Homeowner Needs Up Their Sleeve

Posted By Brandon Simmons on May 22, 2018

The season of vacations, pool parties, barbecues and sunblock is nearly here. But, summer months aren’t all sun and fun. The higher temperatures can run utility fees up to unsightly amounts. Take action now to make sure your summer is high on thrills and low on bills.

Cool Your Home The Old-Fashioned Way

Believe it or not,

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Low-Cost Touches To Help Sell a Home ASAP

Posted By Brandon Simmons on May 17, 2018

The negotiations and decision-making that are integral to selling a home can be stressful. While many aspects are mostly out of your hands, staging is one strategy that may help the process go more smoothly, and more quickly. Thankfully, arranging and decorating your home to appeal to potential buyers doesn’t have to break the bank.

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3 Questions To Make Your Dream Home A Reality

Posted By Brandon Simmons on May 8, 2018

You’ve found the house. The location is perfect and the curb appeal ideal. Even the price is well within your range.

But those cabinets! The cabinets are… yellow! How could you ever start a life in a new home with the absolutely irreparable,

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4 Tips to a Better Mortgage Rate

Posted By Brandon Simmons on April 30, 2018

So you’ve made the decision: you’re ready to buy a home. Like most homebuyers, you know you’ll need to finance the purchase. But how do you get the best mortgage rate possible to maximize that financing? You can save thousands of dollars over the lifetime of the loan just by lowering your mortgage rate by a percentage point.

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The Hidden Costs of Homeownership

Posted By Brandon Simmons on April 25, 2018

Shopping for a home often begins with a budget. Working with a mortgage lender, buyers can explore their borrowing power and calculate their future mortgage payment before settling on a house.

However, a down payment, insurance costs, and monthly payment are not the only considerations when budgeting for your new home.

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Choosing Home Insurance Coverage You Can Count On

Posted By Brandon Simmons on April 23, 2018

A house is likely the largest and most important purchase most of us will ever make. Considering how much time effort and money is invested into buying the perfect home, deciding how to protect it is a critical decision.

The Basics

All mortgage lenders require buyers to maintain a standard home insurance policy.

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Getting The Most Out Of Your Outdoor Space

Posted By Brandon Simmons on April 18, 2018

With the days getting longer and warmer weather settling in, moving downtime from the living room to the backyard is a familiar ambition. However, if your outdoor space lacks the functionality and comfort of your couch, it could be time to make a change.

Find The Funds

While there are lots of affordable ways to spruce up your yard or patio,

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Should You Use a Tax Refund to Pay Down Your Principal? It Depends

Posted By Brandon Simmons on April 12, 2018

It’s a time of the year many Americans dread: tax season. While preparing taxes can be painful work, almost 80% of those in the U.S. will get a refund, with an average of about $2800 over the past few years. But if you find yourself with a nice chunk of change after filing taxes,

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Which Mortgage is Right For Remodelers? Consider a 203k Loan!

Posted By Brandon Simmons on April 2, 2018

You know exactly what you want in a house. You’ve scoped out your local market, and a couple of neighboring markets, too. You’ve kept an eye on foreclosures and auctions and done your research. There’s just one problem: nothing you’ve seen meets your expectations; the house you want doesn’t exist yet as-is.

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Finding the Right First Home with the Right Mortgage

Posted By Brandon Simmons on March 28, 2018

If you are a first time home-buyer dipping your toes in the waters of home mortgages, it can sometimes feel like you’re drowning in information. You’ll probably find yourself turning to the internet to Google: How much mortgage can I afford? This will give you many links to online calculators,

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What Happens When You Pay Off a Mortgage?

Posted By Brandon Simmons on March 26, 2018

Congratulations! You just paid off your mortgage. It’s probably one of the few times you actually enjoyed paying a bill. But, have you thought about what comes next?

Owning a home free and clear certainly creates new opportunities for your financial future. However, before making plans for your revamped budget,

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Home Buying Can Come With Deep Discounts for Community Heroes

Posted By Brandon Simmons on March 21, 2018

Teachers and first responders have an enormous impact on our communities. What they consider routine can have life-changing implications for those around them. And although the financial rewards for these professionals may match their efforts, the contributions don’t go unnoticed.

One way their dedication gets recognized is through unique home buying and mortgage programs.

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Planning a Spring Flower Garden? Here’s What to Plant

Posted By Brandon Simmons on March 19, 2018

Spring is here! Frogs are croaking, birds are singing and flowers are blooming. Whether you’re getting

ready to sell your home or just want to add some beauty as an investment in your home (and equity), this guide will help you get started.

Plant Hardiness Zones

Before you plant anything,

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Rebounding From Foreclosure To Buy Again

Posted By Brandon Simmons on March 14, 2018

Getting back into the home buying market after a foreclosure is daunting, but not as uncommon as you might think. The housing crisis a decade ago left millions of homeowners in foreclosure, but many have already overcome the higher hurdles of buying their next home.

If you have a foreclosure in your past,

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A Guide to USDA Loans: What are the Requirements?

Posted By Brandon Simmons on March 7, 2018

Not everyone craves the energy of city living (and sometimes the hassles that can arise from it). Luckily, mortgages aren’t one-size-fits-all. There’s even a specific loan to help encourage home ownership outside the most densely populated areas of the United States.

Want to know more about the USDA loan program?

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Landscaping on a Budget—Get that Curb Appeal

Posted By Brandon Simmons on March 5, 2018

First impressions are important when selling a home, and the best way to make a good first impression is with curb appeal. Failing to maintain the outside of your home can turn off potential home buyers, but with a little thought and planning, you can have maximum impact on a minimum budget.

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Defining Your Dream Home: A Brief Guide to Architectural Styles

Posted By Brandon Simmons on February 28, 2018

Before anyone buys a first home, they have a picture in their mind of what it might include, and how it might look. The good news is that you don’t have to be an architecture buff to learn the basics, which can aid you in your search to finding a dream residence.

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Homes of Famous African-Americans

Posted By Brandon Simmons on February 26, 2018

February marks a time of reflection in the history of our country, and this Black History Month, we celebrate the triumphs of African American heroes. Through grit and incredible resolve, many became homeowners despite incredible odds and extreme racial prejudice. Below, we recognize the men and women that helped make strides in many aspects of social justice,

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Getting Your Home Ready For Spring Shoppers

Posted By Brandon Simmons on February 22, 2018

When springtime arrives, temperatures rise and the real estate market heats up. Most of us know how to take advantage of the warmer weather, but home sellers hoping to make the most of the peak season may benefit from some proven advice. Focusing on a few key areas can go a long way toward making your home stand out in a crowded marketplace.

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Love Your Mortgage, No Matter Your Relationship Status

Posted By Brandon Simmons on February 15, 2018

Marriage or mortgage, agreeing to a long-term commitment isn’t a decision to be taken lightly. A real connection, and the confidence it will last, is critical to the success of either.

However, shopping for a mortgage as a married couple can bring some added considerations to the table.

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Know Your Rights: Home Ownership Is For Everyone

Posted By Brandon Simmons on February 12, 2018

Black History Month celebrates the achievements of African Americans and recognizes their central role in American history. It’s also an opportunity to appreciate the advancement of civil rights, and highlight the deficiencies that still exist. 

One way to ensure progress continues is by asserting the rights that we all share,

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First Time Homeowner? Buy For Your Budget

Posted By Brandon Simmons on February 8, 2018

Most first-time home owners understand the difference between achieving the dream of buying a home versus buying a “dream home.” Part of a very personal decision-making process for buyers that know what they can realistically afford means making the latter distinction. Which means you’re probably asking yourself: How can I get the most out of my first home while staying within my budget?

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How do you Measure up in the Game of Credit Score? (Infographic)

Posted By Brandon Simmons on February 7, 2018

A credit score shouldn’t be taken lightly (it’s a necessary and important part of your financial life, after all!), but it doesn’t have to be scary, either. Credit scores will ebb and flow based on lots of factors, but here’s the most important thing: getting your score into optimal range IS achievable,

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Get A Return On Renovations When Selling Your Home

Posted By Brandon Simmons on February 5, 2018

A fresh coat of paint and trendy design can certainly impact a homebuyer’s first impression, but those efforts may not translate to more money in the seller’s pocket. Homeowners focused on maximum value should consider improvement projects that go beyond aesthetics.

The Basics

If you’re planning to put your home on the market,

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Be Prepared for the Unexpected When Buying a House

Posted By Brandon Simmons on January 31, 2018

Despite the “reality” shown on popular HGTV shows, buying a home isn’t always rainbows and butterflies. Real-life issues are bound to emerge after your offer is accepted and the loan process is underway. While there’s no reason to be pessimistic, it’s never a bad thing to be prepared for unseen obstacles.

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What’s In A Name? Your Financial Story

Posted By Brandon Simmons on January 25, 2018

Buying a home is a huge decision. There are lots of questions to ask and pros and cons to weigh before you ever commit to making an offer. But, it’s the financial decisions you made before you started shopping—and the story they tell about you—that could prove to be just as critical.

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How Appraisals Work (FHA vs. Conventional)

Posted By Brandon Simmons on January 18, 2018

Buying or selling a home is more than just a transaction. It involves many steps, from listing to closing, and each one can be a source of frustration, especially if either party is unclear about the purpose or unsure about what to expect.  

The appraisal is just one of those anxiety-inducing steps.

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Buying A Home? Prepare Your Paperwork

Posted By Brandon Simmons on January 11, 2018

Shopping for your first home is exciting. But, it can also be overwhelming. What you won’t see on most of those home-buying television shows is the preparation that goes into applying and qualifying for a mortgage, often before the shopping process even begins.

A little proactive effort before falling in love with a home can go a long way toward a smooth process.

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Happy Birthday To Us: 15 Years Young

Posted By Brandon Simmons on January 5, 2018

At the start of every year, we look forward to new beginnings and continued growth, and 2018 is no different. However, it is a big year for us. We’re toasting to a significant milestone in the company’s history: on January 5, Open Mortgage celebrates 15 years in business.

Since its inception in 2003,

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How Homeownership Can Save You Money On Taxes

Posted By Brandon Simmons on January 3, 2018

But in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” — Benjamin Franklin

If Ben Franklin were around today, he might also mention that being a homeowner certainly has its tax benefits. As the year comes to a close,

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Ways To Brighten Your Home In The Dark Days Of Winter

Posted By Brandon Simmons on December 13, 2017

They say it’s the most wonderful time of year.

With holiday parties, out-of-town visitors, and plenty of excuses to try a multitude of tasty treats, there’s definitely lots to look forward to—even as the days get shorter and the weather turns colder.

Of course,

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Achieve Your Goals in 2018 With These Mortgage Options

Posted By Brandon Simmons on December 12, 2017

Home ownership is more than just a house with your name on it; it’s a financial opportunity that can create security over the years through life’s ups and downs. Whatever your goals, the right mortgage can help you along the way.

You’re ready for a starter home.

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Avoiding Holiday Stress: Tips From A Psychologist

Posted By Brandon Simmons on December 7, 2017

The holidays aren’t joyful when you’re stressed. It’s easy to get caught up in the busyness of the season with the expectations of gift-giving, party attending, volunteering and decorating. There’s nothing wrong with any of those activities, but squeezing all of it into the normal routine can seem daunting at times.

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Is Refinancing Right For You?

Posted By Brandon Simmons on December 4, 2017

Our lives change over time, and so do our financial realities. In the ebb and flow between milestones, the good news is that you can capitalize on the planning you’ve already put into place by leveraging your home’s equity and refinancing your mortgage. Refinancing isn’t for everyone’s situation; it can cost from 3% to 6% of the loan’s principal,

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Winterize Your Home to Stay Warm and Save Money

Posted By Brandon Simmons on November 30, 2017

Winter is coming.

Though the dip in weather comes as a welcome relief to a warm summer, it can be tough on your home. Freezing temperatures, wind and ice may be just an occasional worry or a recurring threat, depending on the climate where you reside.

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Thanksgiving Leftovers That Won’t Weigh You Down

Posted By Brandon Simmons on November 27, 2017

‘Tis the season for eating large meals with heavy sides, and frankly, we’ve been waiting all year. However, if you’re feeling like you might want to switch to something a little less nap-inducing, there are options when it comes to the leftovers.

Just a little creativity (and reading this blog post) can help you battle the bulge this holiday season.

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Why Owning A Home Is More Than A Monetary Investment

Posted By Brandon Simmons on November 22, 2017

Home ownership is not just a monetary investment. It takes funds, usually a mortgage (we can help with that) as well as time and energy, but owning a home is also a mental and emotional investment that can pay off in positive, sometimes unexpected ways.

Our homes are extensions of our personalities and lives.

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Making Your Black Friday Shopping Worth The Wait

Posted By Brandon Simmons on November 21, 2017

The holiday season is just about here! You might not know who’s bringing the green bean casserole to Thanksgiving dinner, but the best Black Friday deals are already starting to emerge.

Even if spending the night camped outside a store is not for you, a bit of research could reveal a deal worth venturing out for,

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Home Equity Loans—What You Need to Know

Posted By Brandon Simmons on November 20, 2017

Let’s talk home equity.

As we navigate the complex world of home financing, it’s important to know exactly what the term means, and how it relates to you. Here’s a basic definition as it pertains to the homeowner:

Equity is the difference between how much your home is worth and how much you owe on it.

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Last Minute Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Posted By Brandon Simmons on November 16, 2017

The Thanksgiving meal—a time for hosting family and friends in your home, and also forgetting that dietary preferences for half your guests don’t fit the menu you planned.

Whether your family serves hors d’oeuvres while comfortably waiting for the main event, or waits in tense silence for the turkey to finally finish,

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Home Warranties: Do You Need One?

Posted By Brandon Simmons on November 13, 2017

A home warranty sounds like a good idea, but do you really know what it covers? Depending on your situation, it may not be necessary (and you can put that hard earned cash back into your newly purchased home).


Many home warranties are over $300 a year,

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Before You Hire: Essential Questions To Ask A Handyman

Posted By Brandon Simmons on November 8, 2017

A great handyman is worth their weight in gold. Finding someone you can trust can be a daunting task, but putting in research and effort on the front-end could prevent a lot of inconvenience and expense over the long term. Consider employing these must-ask questions before you shake hands and sign a contract with anyone working inside your home.

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What To Know About Flying The U.S. Flag At Your Home

Posted By Brandon Simmons on November 6, 2017

The pride of home ownership often includes keeping up your property’s curb appeal. The stars and stripes might be the perfect finishing touch, but did you know there are special guidelines for displaying and handling a U.S. flag? We’re here to guide you through it so you’re ready to go by Veteran’s Day,

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VA Loans, Refinancing And Home Modification Grants For Veterans

Posted By Brandon Simmons on November 3, 2017

VA loans are home mortgages designed specifically for veterans that have served a minimum of 90 days on active duty. Developed and guaranteed by the United States Department of Veteran Affairs, approved lenders can issue home loans to veterans without the stipulations of a traditional loan. Here’s everything you need to know (and more) if you’re a veteran looking to buy,

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Home Staging Tips For A Great Fall Look

Posted By Brandon Simmons on November 1, 2017

“No personal photos!” Some experts say it’s the first rule of home staging when you’re putting your house on the market. But what else should you do to beef up your curb (and interior) appeal? As you put those precious memories in storage to prepare for your home’s market debut,

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Aging Gracefully: 7 Activities To Help You Stay Young At Heart

Posted By Brandon Simmons on October 24, 2017

At Open Mortgage, it is our belief that we should all be on a journey to self-improvement. As we age, there are additional considerations to apply to this journey we call life, but the heart of it remains the same: How can I improve myself and,

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The Ultimate Timeline For Planning The Big Move

Posted By Brandon Simmons on October 19, 2017

Buying a house is exciting. Moving is not. But there are strategies that can help you make it as painless as possible. If you’re moving within six weeks, you’ll have no problems mastering a mega move. Moving in less time than that? Some of these plans can be reorganized to fit your schedule.

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Spookify Your Front Porch Just In Time For Trick-Or-Treaters

Posted By Brandon Simmons on October 16, 2017

Want to bring your A-game to Hallow’s Eve this year? Here are a few easy ways to make a hair-raising impression after sundown.

Mood Lighting

Changing the bulbs around the exterior of your home is perhaps the easiest (and least expensive) method of transitioning your house from welcoming to creepy.

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Halloween House Parties Sure To Be The Hit Of The Neighborhood

Posted By Brandon Simmons on October 12, 2017

Part of the joy of home ownership is settling into the neighborhood and forming long-lasting friendships. Starting an annual Halloween party tradition brings the community together for something to look forward to all year long, whether guests are eight or 80 years old. Here are three ideas that are sure to be the hit of any neighborhood.

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Student Loans & Mortgages: Here’s What You Need To Know

Posted By Brandon Simmons on October 10, 2017

Student loan debt have you worried about applying for a mortgage? It isn’t the loan itself that can affect your mortgage qualifications, but the amount you owe on that loan compared to your income, as well as the amount of the mortgage itself. Here are some basic factors that your lender will consider.

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The Road To Recovery: How A 203(h) Loan Can Help

Posted By Brandon Simmons on October 5, 2017

No one expects to lose a home in a natural disaster, so when the worst is realized, we do our best to put one foot in front of the other. That said, picking up the pieces following a catastrophic storm like Hurricane Harvey or Irma can be overwhelming and confusing.

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3 Plants Every Homeowner Should Keep Inside The House

Posted By Brandon Simmons on October 4, 2017

Are you green with envy when you walk into someone’s house beautifully adorned with well-maintained plants? Don’t be! Anyone can have a house full of plants if you pick the right ones. House plants don’t only function as beautiful reminders of the outdoors for homeowners, they also help purify the air,

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4 YouTube Channels To Help You Become A Master Gardener

Posted By Brandon Simmons on October 3, 2017

Home gardening can be a great relaxing hobby, but it can also be intimidating if you’re inexperienced. Luckily, there’s a YouTube channel for that. In fact, there are quite a few YouTube channels for that. Whether you’re looking for inspiration, knowledge or instruction, these four YouTube channels are some of the best resources around when you’re looking to get your hands dirty.

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Your Home-Buying Style: Fixer-Upper or Move-in Ready

Posted By Brandon Simmons on October 2, 2017

You’re thinking of purchasing a home. Congratulations! Now for the big decisions. Do you want something that you can put your personal fingerprint on, or something with fingerprint-proof appliances? Do you want to retile the bathroom to your ideal color and shape, or enjoy a relaxing bath without eyeing the grout lines?

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Why Now is a Great Time to Upgrade to a Solar Powered Home

Posted By Micah on September 25, 2017

Although solar power has been around for generations, it was not long ago where the technology was both expensive and inefficient. Early solar panels could only convert a small percentage of solar radiation to energy, and the cost per watt of the technology was well outside of the range necessary to bring about a good return on your investment.

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Fast Ways to Improve Your Credit Score Before Applying for Your Mortgage

Posted By Micah on September 18, 2017

Your FICO credit score plays a key role in your ability to apply for a low interest mortgage. The higher your credit score, the more lenders are able to offer you a competitive rate on your loan. For those who are looking at buying a new home, it’s important to prioritize fixing your credit score in order to ensure that you receive the best rate possible.

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Options for Mortgage Holders Suffering from Flood Damage

Posted By Micah on September 14, 2017

Only a couple weeks after Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, Hurricane Irma has devastated Florida this past weekend. There is no denying that homes all over the region are going to sustain damage, including flood damage from each hurricane’s harsh rain.

If your home has been affected by flood,

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What Happens if You’re Under Contract to Buy a Home That Has Been Damaged

Posted By Micah on September 13, 2017

In the wake of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, many uncommon homeowner and mortgage scenarios have been thrust into the spotlight. As those in Houston and the surrounding areas are faced with unimaginable challenges from this surprise hurricane, the following tips may give guidance and peace of mind.

One such situation involves a house that is damaged during escrow – when the homebuyer is under contract to purchase the home,

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Video: Getting a Mortgage While Self-Employed

Posted By Brandon Simmons on September 11, 2017

If you’re self employed, it’s still very possible to get a mortgage, though it can be more challenging.

This video details how you can get a mortgage if you’re part of the fastest growing segment of America’s workforce (freelancers and the self-employed).

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Video: 5 Ways to Keep your Mortgage Rate Low

Posted By Brandon Simmons on September 5, 2017

Many people don’t realize how much money they can save over time by securing a lower mortgage rate.

This video provides some practical tips on securing a low interest rate when applying for a mortgage.

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Video: Comparing Homeownership to Renting

Posted By Micah on August 28, 2017

The choice between buying a home and renting is one of the biggest financial decisions that many adults make. Each have their advantages, but what’s best for you depends on your circumstances.

If you’re thinking about buying a home, watch this video to learn some of empowering benefits that could be in your future.

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Ready to Buy a Home? Consider its Utility Costs and Energy Efficiency

Posted By Brandon Simmons on August 21, 2017

When searching for homes, it’s typical to tour many homes (and spend months looking online) before discovering the home you want in your price range.

When you finally experience this home in person, you’ll likely feel joy and excitement. After all, this home could be the setting for your next life stage!

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Video: Is a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage Right for You?

Posted By Brandon Simmons on August 16, 2017

Home equity conversion mortgages (HECM), also known as reverse mortgages, let eligible Americans 62 and older borrow money from their home equity.

While HECMs can be a powerful tool for certain individuals and families, they’re not meant for everyone. Watch this video to learn if a HECM could be right for you.

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Types of Eco-friendly Renovations Available for Your Home

Posted By Brandon Simmons on August 14, 2017

Over the past few years, more and more homeowners are investing in environmentally friendly home renovations. Not only are these upgrades good for the environment – they also have the potential to improve the value of your property and increase your home’s equity, while possibly decreasing energy consumption costs as well.

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Video: Items Needed When Buying a Home

Posted By Brandon Simmons on August 7, 2017

When you begin the homebuying process, your mind can have a million thoughts all over the place.

Let this video sort out everything you need to focus on for buying a house.

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Five Benefits that Reverse Mortgages can Offer Seniors

Posted By Brandon Simmons on August 3, 2017

Baby boomers: the ideal reverse mortgage candidate?

According to newly-released government data, 32% of Americans aged 65 to 69 are employed—the highest percentage in 55 years.

In addition, 19% of Americans aged 70 to 74 are still working,

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Five Questions to Ask a Prospective Realtor

Posted By Brandon Simmons on July 31, 2017

Five Questions to Ask a Prospective Realtor

When it comes to buying and selling your home, having the right Realtor can help you buy your dream house or sell your existing home quickly.  

Realtors perform literally hundreds of functions for individual homebuyers and sellers,

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Don’t Forget School Districts When Home Shopping

Posted By Justin Tuttle on July 25, 2017

Everyone knows the most enjoyable part of buying a home is house hunting (we even enjoy watching other people search for their homes!). It’s fun to explore different neighborhoods and settings while planning your future.

When looking at different homes, there are many things to consider,

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Five Mistakes that Can Cause You to Lose a Home Purchase

Posted By Justin Tuttle on July 24, 2017

It’s getting hot out there, particularly in the housing market.

With bidding wars increasingly common in many locations, buying a home requires discipline and strategy—and knowledge of mistakes that cause homebuyers to miss out on homes.

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