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These interior design trends are now cheugy

Do you have chevron-printed toss pillows? Is your favorite food lasagna? Are you rocking baby Yoda merch? Do you wear golf polos when you’re not golfing? These are tell-tale signs you, my friend, are a major cheug.

What’s “cheugy”?
According to the Urban Dictionary, cheugy (pronounced chew-gee) is the opposite of trendy. It was something that was popular but cookie-cutter and unoriginal a few years ago. A cheug is a person who follows these slightly out-of-date trends.

There’s no shame in being a cheug. Most of us indulge in some cheugy things, and that’s a little of what makes talking about it fun. Cheugy people wear their likes and dislikes openly – if they like The Office, they’ll wear Dunder Mifflin shirts and drink from a “That’s what she said” mug. If a cheug likes baby Yoda, Harry Potter, Friends, Minions, Disney, owls, rose gold, sparkles… they decorate their lives with it.

Is your home décor cheugy?
The way you dress, the way you text, how you act on social media, and even how you decorate your home can be considered cheugy. Do you have motivational quotes as art? Have you painted your walls gray? Below is a list of home design items considered cheugy. How many of them do you still have in your home?

  • Quotes as art. Like, “live, laugh, love”, “bless this mess”, “good vibes only”
  • Chevron print on bed sets, toss pillows, rugs, walls
  • Shiplap (unless it’s historic and not a remodel)
  • Simple geometric Moroccan rugs (unless they’re authentic)
  • Chalkboard walls
  • Subway tiles with dark grout (again, unless they’re in a historic home)
  • Farmhouse-vibe without being an actual farmhouse
  • Kitchen pottery with words like “butter” on a butter keeper and “tea” on a mug
  • Rolling barn doors instead of regular doors
  • Kitchen islands that are a different color and style than the other cabinetry
  • Cheeseboards as kitchen decorations
  • Mason jars as plant holders or drinkware
  • All-white kitchens
  • Wood crate tables, shelves, and furniture
  • Gray painted walls
  • Marble-topped accent tables
  • Macramé plant hangers and wall hangings
  • Brass and rose gold
  • Hanging Edison lightbulbs or lighting fixtures with exposed bulbs
  • Keep calm and ____ on prints

What do you do if you or your home are cheugy?
Nothing. If you like your home’s style or your clothes, keep them. In a few years, they’ll be back in style anyway.

Going forward, avoid trends – especially very hot ones you see everywhere. Instead, buy well-made items you like and find unique decor as you travel, at an antique store, or at a garage sale. Don’t feel pressured to keep up with what’s hot. If you like baby Yoda, sparkly water bottles, and gray walls, that’s totally ok. Your home should be a place that makes you happy.

Top field-tested cleaning tricks for 2022

We’ve gone through endless online cleaning tips to find ones we’re certain you can easily incorporate into your routine to get your home extra clean. Our only requirements were that the cleaning tip was quick to do, didn’t require any special equipment, and made an impact on how clean our house feels. Only the best-of-the-best and most useful tricks have made it into our field-tested tips.

Remove mold and stains from your toilet water tank

Citric acid occurs naturally in fruits like lemons and limes. It’s often used as an active ingredient in kitchen and bathroom cleaning solutions. You can find it wherever home canning supplies are sold.

To clean your water tank, make sure the water is turned off and flush the toilet to drain as much water as possible. Pour a bucket of warm water into the tank and add about ¼ cup of citric acid. Let it sit for an hour, then turn on the water and flush.

Freshen your garbage disposal
“Something I learned is to make sure to clean the rubber cover over your disposal. The bottom part gets dirty with food,” says Alexandra. Run baking soda, vinegar, and hot water through the disposal to neutralize the odor and clean out the remaining food.

Keep your mattress clean
Dan found keeping his mattress fresh and moisture-free was easy using common household baking soda. “Shake baking soda on your mattress and let it sit for a while. Then, just vacuum it up!”

Baking soda works wonders as a cleaner and deodorizer. It’s gentle, non-toxic, and an alternative to expensive store-bought solutions. Sprinkle a little on your cutting board, scrub, and rinse to freshen it. Add ½ cup of it to your load of laundry to boost colors and help remove stains. There are endless ideas for ways to clean with it.

De-stink your frontload washing machine
Ever notice the little hatch on the bottom of your machine? It’s how you access the machine’s filter. Pry open the hatch, drain the water from the tube, then pull the filter out to clean it. If you haven’t done it before you’ll probably find all sorts of gunk that’s causing your laundry (and frontload machine) to smell musty.

Stephanie learned to keep her machine fresh by wiping the door, soap drawer, and rubber gaskets with a little water and vinegar. She recommends this video for a quick tutorial on how to get your frontload machine stink-free.

Dust fan blades
Spray the inside of an old pillowcase with a cleaner, then place the whole blade into the case. Now, wipe the top of the blade with the case and the excess dust will fall into the case, not onto you or your floors. “I always do this when I’m cleaning my bedroom fan now. It hangs over my bed, so this trick keep my fan and my bed clean!” says Jessie.

Don’t forget about baseboards
A lot of dirt and pet hair builds up on and alongside your baseboards. Dedrean found that going over his with the vacuum every time he cleaned his floors helped keep his home clean. Another easy trick is to run a dryer sheet along your baseboards to repel dust for a few months.

Clean the outside of your fridge
We all know to clean our shelving and drawers, but Pete says cleaning the outside of your fridge is just as important. “The old ones get especially dusty, so pull it out and vacuum the coils on back as well as the area under the fridge.” Newer models have coils under the fridge. Pete recommends cleaning them once in a blue moon, but experts recommend doing it every six months.

The benefit to getting rid of all that dust and pet hair? It helps the coils push out heat and keep your foods colder.

Still want more tips?
For those of us who can’t get enough tips, Amber recommends almost everything on Go Clean Co’s Instagram page where they go over ways to clean almost everything using basic household cleaning products like powdered Tide, Windex, Dawn dish soap, white vinegar, and scrub brushes.

Getting a loan to buy a rental property

Rental properties are one way of making money in real estate. Rentals may bring you income, but managing them can be an expensive and time-consuming task. For those who find the income from a rental worth the work they’ll put into it, how can they afford to purchase the property? One solution is through a lesser-known loan product.

>> Decide whether becoming a landlord is worth it.

The DSCR mortgage

It stands for debt service coverage ratio. Basically, it’s a formula designed for property investment loans that uses the property’s income potential rather than your financials to determine whether you’re eligible to receive a loan.

DSCR = annual net operating income / annual mortgage debt

Say the property you would like to purchase will make a net income (after taxes and other expenses) of $150,000 a year. And your loan payment totals $130,000 a year. Divide the net income by the loan payment. The answer you get is your DSCR ratio. In our example, it would be 1.15.

If you’re unsure how much income your property will make, it’s ok. Your loan officer will do their own supplemental report called a market rental analysis to find out.

There isn’t a DSCR ratio that guarantees you’ll get a loan, but the higher the number the better your chances. Anything above 1.0 shows the property, at least, won’t lose income. Your lender will use their calculation of your DSCR, documentation showing you have adequate assets, and your credit score to decide whether to extend credit to you.

Benefits of a DSCR loan

  • Unlike a traditional mortgage, you don’t need to provide your income, employment verification, or paystubs to qualify.
  • If you have employment gaps or are self-employed it won’t impact your eligibility to receive the loan.
  • The loan can close in an LLC’s name instead of yours – keeping your personal finances out of the transaction.
  • The closing time may be faster since the underwriting team won’t have to verify your employment or job history. This speed may help during a bidding war to ensure your property purchase goes smoothly.

Features of a DSCR loan

  • It requires a minimum of 15% down payment.
  • They come in loan terms of either 15 or 30 years.
  • You can get a loan of $100,000 to $4,000,000 to purchase your property.
  • You can use the loan to purchase residential investments and some light mixed-use investments. That means you can purchase an apartment building and possibly even an apartment with either a commercial or industrial rental space.

We are here to help you with your DSCR loan

Investing in residential property has a lot of benefits, but it’s best to work directly with a local loan officer to help you decide whether it’s the right financial move for you. Meeting with a Mann Mortgage loan officer to discuss your loan options is always free. We’re happy to calculate your DSCR, go over the loan program, and answer any questions you may have. Buying an investment property is a big move, and we want to make sure you make the best choice for your financial goals.

What does it mean to refinance your loan?

What is a mortgage refinance?
A mortgage refinance is a process of replacing the terms of an existing mortgage. Most often, homeowners use a refinance to take advantage of better interest rates so they can lower their monthly payments. But they can also refinance to change the type of loan, adjust the length of the loan, or take out cash from their home’s equity.

How does a refinance work?
The process usually starts with the borrower working with their loan officer to select a new loan that will give them the terms they need. The borrower then completes the application process for the new loan. Next, the mortgage underwriters review the refinance loan application and determine whether the borrower’s payment history, credit, income, employment, assets, and cash reserves make it likely they will pay back the loan. If the loan is approved, the borrower would close on the loan, the funds would be used to pay off the original mortgage, and the borrower will make monthly payments to pay off the refinance amount (with, hopefully, more favorable terms than the original).

When to consider refinancing

Get a better interest rate. As a homeowner builds equity in their home, they may have access to better mortgage options. As interest rates lower, homeowners can save hundreds of dollars per month by refinancing.

Pay off a mortgage sooner. If a homeowner can make larger payments, they may consider refinancing to shorten the term of their loan. This may be an especially smart option if interest rates have dropped since they can take advantage of the interest rate savings to lessen the cost of the reduced number of mortgage payments.

Get a different type of loan. Borrowers with an adjustable-rate loan may want to refinance to a fixed-rate mortgage. Though they often have higher interest rates (especially compared to the first few years of an adjustable-rate loan), they’re stable. And it’s easier to plan for your financial future knowing exactly how much you’ll be paying each month. If interest rates fall to a new low, it might be worthwhile to lock in a low rate for the full term of your mortgage.

If homeowner has 20% equity in their home, they may want to refinance out of a loan that requires mortgage insurance premiums to a conventional loan (which doesn’t require it for borrowers with a 20% down payment). This strategy could save the borrower from having to pay any extra for the insurance premiums.

Get cash. A cash-out refinance replaces an old mortgage with a new loan for a larger amount. The borrower can keep the difference in cash to use for home renovations, pay down high-interest debt, or fund a large purchase. When interest rates are low, this may be a great option to pay for items that would typically be financed through a higher-interest loan (like a credit card).

How much does it cost?

If your refinance is approved, you’ll pay fees when the loan closes. Typical fees include the cost for origination, credit report, home appraisal, home inspection, title search, recording, and reconveyance fee. All total, the closing costs are around 2% to 5% of the total loan amount.

A borrower will have to consider the cost to refinance before they decide whether it’s a good financial option for them. Refinancing for a lower rate is great for homeowners who plan to stay in their house for many years. For borrowers that are considering moving, it may cost more to close on the refinance than they would save in the short amount of time they’ll be in their home.

How many times can a borrower refinance?
Legally, a borrower could do it as often as they wanted. But a mortgage lender will likely have their own rules around how often it can be done.

Should you refinance?

If you’re wondering whether you should refinance, talk to your local Mann Mortgage loan officer. It’s a complex financial transaction, and you’ll want an expert to crunch the numbers, go over closing costs, and together decide whether now is the right time for you to refinance. Learn more about refinancing at mannmortgage.com/refinance.

Do sellers have to disclose a death or haunting?

Half of us knock on wood, wish upon a star, and won’t open an umbrella inside. We’re superstitious. And a home with murder, death, and ghosts are definitely bad feng shui. But how do you know if a house you’re considering buying has had any of those spooky occurrences? What does the seller have to disclose?

A peaceful death in the house

It’s usually not necessary for a seller to disclose a peaceful death unless the buyer asks. Keep in mind that a vast majority of us (80%) hope to die at home. So it’s not always a bad thing to have someone have died in the house. A peaceful death in a home is fairly common (20% of people die at home) and not something most states require a homeowner to disclose. California, South Dakota, and Alaska are a little different though. In these states, they do have to disclose it if it happened within the past three years. Everywhere, however, some types of death (such as by AIDS) cannot be disclosed.

If the death was directly related to the house, as example, if someone was killed by falling down the basement stairs because there was no railing, almost every state will require it to be disclosed (even after the safety issue was corrected).

Violent death in the house

Murders and suicides are a different story. Most people don’t want to build a life where tragic things happened. In the case of a violent death, the property is considered stigmatized. Like a physical defect such as water or fire damage, a violent death is something that can affect the home’s value. Sellers in many states are required to disclose the events.

See what must be disclosed in your state: nolo.com/state-seller-disclosure-requirements

Ghost in the house

If a home is known to be haunted – either in the community or nationally, it’s treated differently than if the homeowner only feels like it’s haunted. Famously haunted houses are stigmatized and its value and potential to sell is impaired. These types of hauntings should be disclosed. If an owner has seen a few strange things during their time in the house, but it has never been officially documented, they’ll probably keep this knowledge to themselves.

What can you do?

In general, the rule is “buyer beware” when looking to purchase a property. Do your own research. Ask questions. And talk with your real estate professional if you have any concerns. Companies like diedinhouse.com can even provide you with a report on deaths, drug activity, fires, and other information you may want to know before you buy.

If you have any questions about getting a loan for a spooky property, talk to your local Mann Mortgage loan professional. They live in your community and can help you find the neighborhood with the best Halloween parties. Find your local loan officer: mannmortgage.com/find-a-loan-officer.

Members of latest Champions Club announced

Mann Mortgage announced the winners of its annual loan officer awards program, the Champions Club. Membership in the club is based on how many loans the individual has closed in their communities over the year. This year’s winners come from offices across the United States and represent the best of the best.

“These men and women have done an incredible job. They’re all small hometown lenders and they’re working directly with borrowers. They’re creating personal connections and really getting to know each borrower so they can suggest the right loan product for their needs,” says Cassidy O’Sullivan, chief strategy officer.

Award recipients are broken into two categories. Champions Club and ChairMANNs Elite.

Champions Club members are our top 20% of performer. This year, they are:

  • Tony Reynolds of Kalispell, Montana
  • Bernie Dittenhofer of Hood River, Oregon
  • Betsy Rispens of Helena, Montana
  • Brady Angelos of Allied Mortgage Resources in La Grande, Oregon
  • Brody O’Connor of Homeseed Home Loans in Bellevue, Washington
  • Chad Cole of Missoula-South, Montana
  • Christa Nadeau of corporate loans
  • Colin Myers of Monument Home Loans in Arlington, Virginia
  • Cory Henderson of Reno, Nevada
  • David Dohman of Wet Lynn/Lake Oswego, Oregon
  • Davis Kempton of Silver City, New Mexico
  • Doug Olson of Kailua, Hawaii
  • Jake Van Cleave of Redmond, Oregon
  • Jennifer Bunton of Great Falls, Montana
  • Jodi Krause of Life Mortgage in Longview, Washington
  • Jonathan Hughes of Lewiston, Idaho
  • Juan Baltazar of Homeseed Home Loans in Bellevue, Washington
  • Justin Blodgett of Missoula, Montana
  • Keith Valentine of Kalispell, Montana
  • Lara Hawkinson of Clatskanie, Oregon
  • Matthew Brown of Eugene, Oregon
  • Matthew Fleming of Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Michelle Fiala of Allied Mortgage Resources in Baker City, Oregon
  • Mike Hogan of Chimney Rock Mortgage in Spokane, Washington
  • Mike Yutzy of Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Narda Lopez of Idaho Falls, Idaho
  • Salvatore Viti of Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Sarah Bender of Homeseed Home Loans in Bellevue, Washington
  • Shane McChesney of Kalispell, Montana
  • Steve Thurston of Great Falls, Montana
  • Tanya Torres of Eugene, Oregon
  • Toby Gilchrist of Whitefish, Montana
  • Valerie Mills-Smith of Allied Mortgage Resources in La Grande, Oregon
  • Vickie Tuskan of Virginia, Minnesota

And the ChairMANN’S Elite winners, who represent the top 5% of our loan officers:

  • Angelina Rice of Life Mortgage in Longview, Washington
  • Carolyn Cole of Polson, Montana
  • Chris De Leon of Homeseed Home Loans in Bellevue, Washington
  • Corey Hill of Helena, Montana
  • David VanScoyk of Safford, Arizona
  • Deb Criddle of Idaho Falls, Idaho
  • Isaac Morris of Stafford, Arizona
  • Julie Lapham of Missoula, Montana
  • Mike Flores of Low Cost Mortgage in Colorado Springs, Colorado
  • Rob Fleming of Missoula, Montana
  • Robert Martinson of Monument Home Loans in Arlington, Virginia
  • Ru Toyama of Monument Home Loans in Arlington, Virginia
  • Ryan Howard of Las Vegas, Nevada

Congratulations to this year’s winners. Each receives travel, lodging, and meals for themselves and a guest at the next award ceremony location in addition to a selection of other perks.

Join Mann Mortgage’s award-winning team. See job opening at mannmortgage.com/careers.

Is your house haunted or needing repairs?

The first step in determining whether your house is haunted is trying to debunk what’s happening. Older homes, failing appliances, and living pests are sometimes to blame for odd occurrences. Start by looking into the most common home issues that are mistaken for hauntings.

Easy to debunk

Doors slamming shut
Check for drafts. Try opening and closing a few doors and windows to see whether they create a breeze or pressure that can open your doors. You should also grab a level to check whether your home is off a few degrees. It’s possible gravity is pulling your doors shut. For windows, check to make sure they’re being held open securely.

Knocking on walls
A lot of older homes have plumbing or heating elements that make noise. Pay attention to when the knocking begins – is it right after a toilet is flushed or the heater kicks on? You can also contact an exterminator to look for mice, raccoons, or other animal infestations. They might be responsible for noises as they walk through your home or get stuck in your walls.

Strange smells
If you smell something odd in your house, stop and take a moment to figure out where it’s coming from. As a human, you’ve got a better sense of smell then you likely realize. You can recognize thousands of smells, even when they’re practically imperceivable. Dead rodents, old food, outdoor smell, even scents left by previous homeowners can make their way into your nose. If you smell something odd, pause, breathe deep, and try to follow the scent to its source.

Objects falling from shelves or walls
Like doors slamming shut, this might be due to a breeze. Check for open windows and try closing and opening doors in the room where the object was location to see if it creates airflow that might knock the object down. Vibrations could also be to blame. Do large trucks regularly pass by your house? Sometimes even heavy footsteps can be enough to jolt an object.

Harder to debunk

Dark shadow forms
This one is a little harder to blame on common household problems. If you see an odd shadow, remain calm and investigate where you saw the shape. Perhaps there’s an old water stain on the wall or shadow being cast by a car’s headlights outside.

A weird feeling
Check for carbon monoxide in your home. It’s a colorless and odorless gas produced through burning wood, propane, and other fuels. Being poisoned by it often has symptoms we’d associate with a classic haunted house: headaches, paranoia, a sense of dread, weakness, confusion, and more. Make sure to check your carbon monoxide detectors are working or ask a professional to check for leaks.

Learn more about carbon monoxide and its impact on you: cpsc.gov//carbon-monoxide/carbon-monoxide-fact-sheet

A house in disarray
If you come home or wake up to a house that’s been ransacked – cabinets opened, contents spilled, chairs upturned, install a camera. Your pet or an animal intruder may be causing the mess, but it’s more likely a human doing it. Sleepwalkers or intruders may be to blame and catching them on camera is your best way to know for sure. Set up a camera to see whether you can catch the disruptor.

Next steps

If your house needs improvements more than it needs a ghost hunter, Mann Mortgage may be able to help. Your local loan officer can go over your options for a cash-out refinance or other way to get funds to make needed repairs.

Find your local Mann Mortgage loan officer: mannmortgage.com/find-a-loan-officer/

If you can’t debunk the weird things happening in your home, share your experiences with your roommates or family members. A Newsweek poll shows 45% of Americans believe in ghosts, so you’ve got a good chance they will take your experiences seriously.

Top interior design styles

How can you recognize some of today’s popular interior design styles? It’s probably not possible for someone to redo their entire home to fit the style, but you can always be inspired by these trends. Once you know a style you like, it’s easy to work with what you already have or buy a few accent pieces to freshen your room’s look.

Industrial
This style is very popular in cities where old factories have been converted into living spaces or restaurants. It works great if you have huge windows, exposed ductwork and brick, and concrete or rustic wood flooring. Repurposing items as furniture is a big part of industrial-style. Think of using metal piping for table legs, rustic wood for table tops, old machinery parts for decorations, and repurposed industrial lighting fixtures. To make the spaces a little more comfortable, leather chairs, sheepskin floor rugs, and neutral-colored furniture are added.
DIY industrial style designs  

Modern
To decorate in a modern style, stick with sharp edges and smooth surfaces. If your space has ceiling beams, concrete, or brick those elements should be exposed. Remove your window curtains so that natural light and the outdoor scenery shines through. Materials are natural – wood, metal, leather, wool, and linen. And, it’s important to keep the color pallet neutral colors.
20 stores that sell modern furniture

Maximalist
It’s the polar opposite of minimalism. It’s been described as a rainbow of color, texture, and styles. Put your antique armchair by your new favorite sofa. Add toss pillows made from your great grandmother’s hand embroidered pillowcases. Hang your wedding photo next to a series of paintings you got on vacation. Put your collection of antique crystal decanters together on a shelf. This style is about showing off your objects and sharing the stories they tell about your life.  
See maximalist décor ideas

Minimalism
Unlike modern design, it’s a way of life more than just a style. To be fully minimalist, you’ll need to declutter and sell or donate anything you don’t use or need. It’s uncluttered, monochromatic, and simple way of living. It works great for open floorplans, lots of light, and well built furnishings. In a minimalist room, the decorations aren’t the focus. The focus may be on a beautiful view from the window, the people in the space, or the architecture. Nothing is added as an embellishment.
Steps for the beginner minimalist

Glam
It’s a combo of art deco and old Hollywood. It’s opulent and a little over the top. It’s full of textures that beg to be touched – faux furs, velvet, and knits. Shiny brass and gold accents sparkle. A glam room would have classic furniture, glass or marble topped tables, crystal decorations, velvet toss pillows, rich colors, and sheer curtains.
How to get a glam look in your home

Cottagecore
This trend really took over while we were quarantined during Covid. It is about nostalgia, rural life, a slow pace, agriculture, with a splash of fairy-tale. It features traditional crafts like baking, gardening, knitting (all activities that became popular during quarantine). A cottagecore living room would have soft colored walls, nature-themed art, a few antique items, a hand-knit throw, potted plants, dried herbs in a basket, and a stack of books on an end table. You get extra cottagecore points if you display something you made yourself.
7 creative hobbies to take up this year

First time home buyer mistakes

If you’re buying your first home this year, you’ll need to be extra savvy. Though competition is fierce on affordable housing, interest rates are still historically low. If you can get a home, now is a great time to do it! When you’re on the hunt for our first home, be sure to avoid these common first-time buyer mistakes:

Thinking you need 20% down payment
Unless you are getting a jumbo loan, you don’t need a 20% down payment. If you chose to put down 20% for a conventional loan you won’t have to pay private mortgage insurance. But the minimum down is 3%. And other loan options may offer as little as 0% down. Of course, the more money you put down the lower your interest rate and payments will be. Talk to your home lender to see what they recommend your down payment be.

Not working with a local home lender
There are a lot of home lenders out there. The reason we recommend a local lender is they have more flexibility with down payments, minimum qualifications, and the type of loan programs they can offer. As an extra bonus, they have connections in your community with realtors, inspectors, builders, and title companies. Local lenders live and work in your community, so they have more of an incentive to give you a positive experience since word-of-mouth (and not national ad campaigns) are how they get new business.

Assuming you won’t qualify
Many renters don’t think they’ll be able to get a loan due to their credit or amount they have saved for a down payment. There are many different home loans, and each has its own qualifications. Some are designed for people with low credit, some offer 0% down payment, and others allow your family to gift you money for your down payment. Rather than assume you won’t qualify, make an appointment with your local home lender to see what programs they have available. They are the experts and will be able to tell you the best way for you to purchase a new home.

Underestimating repair costs
Before you buy a home, hire a good home inspector to get an idea of what repairs it needs. Roofs, floors, appliances, windows… all your home’s features wear out. If you purchase an older home as a starter, you might have to pay more money to keep it in working order. The International Association of Certified Home Inspectors has a great document showing the estimated life expectancy for components in your home. If you’re working with a local lender, they’ll be able to recommend inspectors in your area.

Shopping for a house before you get pre-approved
The best way to start your house hunt is by calling or visiting your loan officer. Together, you’ll set a budget for your home purchase and you’ll get an idea of what your monthly payments will be. They’ll run your credit report and pre-approve you for a home loan. In a competitive market, a pre-approval letter will let the seller know your offer is legit and will almost certainly get funded by your lender.

Not taking advantage of local first-time homebuyer programs
Many states (and some communities) combine closing costs and down payment assistance programs for first time homebuyers. Some states offer tax credits you can use on your federal tax returns too. Your local lender is an expert on the current grants and programs you can take advantage of to save money.

The benefits of owning a second home

So far in 2021, there are still less homes for sale than before Covid hit us in early 2020.  But there’s an interesting trend in the homes that are being bought. More homes are being sold as secondary homes than in previous years. The National Association of Home Builders reported that 15% of all new home sales in 2020 were for second homes – that’s up from 5.5% from 2018. With housing inventory being so low, this trend is especially significant. Whether they’re buying a vacation home or investing in real estate, why might so many more homes be for secondary purposes?

Take advantage of low interest rates
Even though home prices are high, interest rates are staying low. A buyer will likely overpay for your second home, but since rates are so low, you might still be in a better place financially than if you paid less but interest rates were higher. Some buyers who have had an eye on buying a secondary home may be jumping at the chance to get one with a low interest rate.

Income potential
If your second home is located in an area people like to vacation, you may be in an especially good position to use it for short term rental like an Airbnb. The income from the rental may help offset the cost of HOA dues, mortgage payments, and taxes. Pay attention to how much income potential you have and compare it to the time you’ll spend cleaning the property, advertising, responding to reviews, communicating with guests, filing insurance claims for damage, and booking rentals. The average is 5 hours booking per each rental.

Alternatively, you can do long term rental for your second home. It will take less time to manage but you’ll still have to handle payments, repairs, maintenance, and communicating with your renter. You won’t have the flexibility to use the home as your own vacation spot, but you may make more income overall.

Getaway
How many times have you been somewhere beautiful and dreamed of owning a little piece of that heaven? Owning a true vacation house is something a lot of people aspire to have. You just pack the car and head out for the weekend. If you maintain your home and property, you may be able to sell it for a profit some years in the future. You can even rent it out up to 14 days a year before it’s classified as an income property by the IRS.

Future retirement home
Take advantage of the low interest rates and purchase your retirement home today. You can rent it out and put the income towards the mortgage payments and home upkeep. When you’re ready to retire, you can simply move in a continue to make your mortgage payments until it’s completely yours.

Long term profits
Over time, the value of real estate typically increases. It’s possible to purchase a home now at low interest rates and reap the rewards over time when the home value increases. In order to be successful, you’ll need to know what your total investment in the home will be (factoring in principal, interest, maintenance, taxes, HOA dues, and more) as well as the potential for the home’s value to increase (in that past year, they’ve averaged an increase price of 9.2%).

Whatever your plans for a second home are, be sure to contact your local home lender. They’ll go over your loan options, an estimate of costs, and an estimate of your payments. With their information, you’ll be able to decide whether a second home is right for you.

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