Posts

Image showing a customer using an ATM.

Finding it hard to save for a down payment?

Making small changes to your habits can make a big difference in your ability to save. Saving takes some pre-planning and discipline and a well-executed strategy.

Here are a few ideas to help you save.

  1. Take it right out of your paycheck and transfer a fixed amount into a special savings account. This is probably the most convenient and practical way to save. Take it right out of your paycheck. Make sure you set up an automatic direct deposit into a savings account that is earmarked for your down payment only. Commit to using this money for a down payment and no other purpose.
  2. Take advantage of special programs including down payment assistance programs. Check with your lender to see what type of down payment assistance programs they offer. See if you qualify with the FHA, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Housing Service and the Veterans Administration. Also, check out local housing authorities, such as MSHDA. If the lender doesn’t offer these programs find a knowledgeable, reputable local lender that specializes in these programs.
  3. Skip vacations for a year. Make if a fun goal to forego any large vacations. Plan a staycation, or a night somewhere, and focus on how great it feels to get closer to your goal.
  4. Lower your expenses. Look at your budget to see what small things you can cut per month. Cut out a coffee per week, make your own pizza on Friday night. If you don’t have a budget, sit down and make one and evaluate it quarterly to see how you are doing. Shop at Costco, Aldi and other discount stores.
  5. Sell your stuff on EBAY or Craigslist. If you have Designer clothes, furniture, antiques, art, gaming devices that you barely use, consider selling them and putting the proceeds in your down payment account.
  6. Start a Side Hustle. Commit to a temporary period of time and put all of the money in your down payment account.
  7. Ask for a raise. If you’ve been thinking about a raise, and feel you deserve one, now may the time to talk to your superior about the value you bring to your organization.
  8. Use gift money. Parents or relatives may be able to gift money to help out a first-time home buyer. Gifts can come from your family, spouse or a domestic partner. Be sure to include the amount of the gift on your loan application and check with your lender as the best way to obtain and track this. To be recognized as a “gift” the donor will have to sign a gift letter saying there’s no expectation of repayment, interest, or anything else.
  9. Be wise with your money. Think about your purchases before you make them. Are there cheaper brands at the grocery store that are the same quality as the premium brand? Are there restaurants that offer the same quality and experience that are a little less expensive? Do you need another tan sweater? Be mindful about your purchases and avoid impulse purchases.
  10. Use your tax refund. Set aside a percent of your tax refund to deposit into your down payment savings account.

For more ways to save for a down payment, reach out to our team at Michigan Mortgage. We’re here to help in any way we can.

Service Rewards logo

Rewarding Home Discounts for Honorable Service

Over the past 20 years, we have had the honor and pleasure to work with many clients that we consider local heroes.

There are those professions, the ones that attract a special kind of person, that make a positive different in our communities and our country.

To honor those heroes and to show our gratitude, we have designed a program to give savings to police officers, firefighters, first responders, government employees, veterans, military personnel and teachers.

At Michigan Mortgage, we are committed to maximizing what our heroes can save on a home.

“This program is special and something we believe in,” said Dave Lehner, loan officer and co-branch manager. “We are committed to our Service Rewards program because the people that go above and beyond to help, protect, teach and serve deserve a break. It takes a special person to sacrifice for our country, protect us from harm and teach our children without asking for anything in return.”

“Giving back is a small ‘thank you’ for all they do or have done for our community and we owe it to them.”

When you register with our Service Rewards program, you are eligible to receive the following discounts associated with purchasing a home.

  • Realtor Fees
  • Mortgage Closing Costs
  • Appraisals
  • Title Fees
  • Home Inspections
  • Home Cleaning, Restoration and Moving

We have partnered with local professionals that feel it is important to pass along savings to these heroes.

“We are so grateful and appreciative to our local partners for their commitment to the Service Rewards program,” said Rob Garrison, loan officer and co-branch manager. “Their discounts are a clear recognition of the sacrifices and value that service heroes bring to our nation and community.”

The process is quite simple. Visit our website, register as a Service Rewards member and we will put you in contact with a local realtor participating in the program.

If you’d rather, give us a call at 231-799-2606 and we can guide you through the process.

Image of a family hanging up an American flag

Benefits of VA Loans in Michigan

One amazing benefit for veterans and qualifying military is a VA loan. It’s amazing how many eligible VA borrows are not advised of this product when shopping for a loan. Many lenders do not provide a VA loan or do not have a working knowledge of the benefits this product offers them and their families.

A few benefits include:

1. Zero down. Purchasing a home with no out-of-pocket money can sometimes mean the difference of being able to buy now or having to wait. For some, a zero-down option is the only way that they can ever purchase a home if they are on a fixed income. For others it is a way they can save their money for home improvements or other investments. Regardless of the reason, the VA loan is one of the few loans that allows a zero-down option.

2. Truly $0 out of pocket. On a VA loan, the purchase agreements can be structured whereby the seller pays the closing and prepaid costs (setting up escrow). This allows for a truly zero out-of-pocket loan.

3. No monthly mortgage insurance. The VA loan does not require any monthly mortgage insurance (PMI). When compared to FHA or conventional loans, this can be $100-plus a month savings depending on the loan amount. While VA has a funding fee (which can be rolled into the loan), that fee is waived if the Vet is VA disabled at least 10 percent.

4. A lower credit score is allowed. There is, often times, a misunderstanding that VA loans are difficult to obtain. This is simply not the case. Because the borrower does not have to document cash to close and because the credit criteria is flexible with the VA, these loans tend to be easier to approve and often times are faster to close.

5. Additional incentives. Michigan Mortgage has created a program called Service Rewards whereby we and participating vendors give discounts for things like closing costs, realtor fees, title work and home inspections as a way to show our appreciation for their sacrifices and service!

To learn more about VA loans or our Service Rewards program, call one of our mortgage specialists today.

VA Changes Site Condo Rule

VA Changes Site Condo Rule

In the past, the VA treated Site Condos like any other condo, requiring the entire project be approved by the VA. This is a lengthy and costly undertaking. On May 24, the VA announced, effective immediately, that it will treat Site Condos in Michigan similar to stick-built homes.

Here are a few details that will help your Veterans.

  • VA will no longer review legal documentation for site condominiums. Lenders will be responsible for ensuring that any site condominium proposed as collateral for a VA-guaranteed loan meet requirements for the state of Michigan.
  • Program participants no longer need to obtain a VA condominium ID or submit condominium association documents into VA for approval of site condominiums.
  • Appraisers are still required to use Fannie Mae forms 1073 for site condominiums and complete the Project Information Section of the condominium appraisal form.

If you have questions about VA’s Site Condo loan changes, reach out to Michigan Mortgage. We’re here to help!