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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Here’s What to Do With Family Heirlooms

Posted By Brandon Simmons on November 6, 2018

After lots of thought and conferring with family members, you’ve made the decision to simplify your post-retirement life. You’re on board with looking for a smaller, more manageable home, but realize you have a challenge ahead: what will you do with the things that won’t fit into a space with less square footage?

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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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Keep Learning: 5 Ways A HECM Can Help

Posted By Brandon Simmons on October 18, 2018

Continuous learning can keep your mind sharp as you age and can play a fundamental role in making the most of your retirement. However, retirement savings can limit your ability to be a lifelong learner. One option to free up some cash and secure your financial stability is a reverse mortgage or Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM).

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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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Useful Upgrades for Seniors Aging in Place

Posted By Brandon Simmons on October 4, 2018

More than just improving aesthetic appeal or energy efficiency, some home improvements can be necessary for seniors aging in place to retain independence and quality of life. For many elderly homeowners, normal things like moving about their home, reaching for high or low items, and performing everyday tasks becomes increasingly difficult with age and requires specific accommodations.

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Start Your Dream Business With A Reverse Mortgage

Posted By Brandon Simmons on September 27, 2018

Many seniors can’t wait to retire when the day finally comes, and after a lifetime of hard work, they’ve earned it. But sometimes, after a year of tending the garden, playing golf, and reading through the local library, people find themselves looking for a new project. If you have a little money saved up and you’re drawing from retirement funds,

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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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Is A Reverse Mortgage Right For You?

Posted By Brandon Simmons on September 11, 2018

If retirement is on the horizon or you’re already a retiree, financial security is likely a concern. Stepping away from a career (and the consistent paycheck that comes with it) may require a comprehensive strategy to ensure your golden years are adequately funded.

One of the tools many people turn to in retirement is a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM).

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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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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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Downsize Your Home and Maximize Your Retirement With A Reverse Mortgage

Posted By Brandon Simmons on August 21, 2018

Approaching retirement may demand a careful examination of your financial situation. Enjoying your golden years and supporting your lifestyle can mean making tough decisions regarding future priorities.

One of the most important choices faced by retired homeowners is whether or not they should remain in their current home.

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Moving to Age in Place? Here’s What to Look for In a New Community

Posted By Brandon Simmons on August 16, 2018

Making decisions about the future is never easy, but that’s especially true for those considering where they want to age in place. A HECM for Purchase can give you options, and help you move to a community better suited for your later retirement years.

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How a Reverse Mortgage Can Benefit Your Children

Posted By Brandon Simmons on August 9, 2018

As life expectancies continue to lengthen, seniors regularly outlive their retirement savings and sometimes struggle to supplement fixed incomes. Although families care deeply for their aging relatives, the cost of supporting them financially in their later years can cause added stress to an already delicate situation.

If you are like many people aged 62 or older,

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5 Ways HECM Can Offer Financial Security in Retirement

Posted By Brandon Simmons on August 2, 2018

What would peace of mind in retirement look like to you? Whether you plan to spend most of your time volunteering, working in a meaningful part-time job, or simply enjoying leisure activities to the fullest, financial security is crucial. A retirement on the horizon means answering important questions about how you’ll structure your finances to ensure a healthy,

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Make Memories With The Grandkids This Summer

Posted By Brandon Simmons on July 26, 2018

Grandchildren are one of life’s great joys. However, keeping them entertained during extended summer visits can be a challenge. Whether you need to satisfy the boundless energy and curiosity of a preschooler or capture the imagination of a tween who thinks they’ve seen everything, planning ahead can be the key to memories everyone will cherish.

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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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Building An Action Plan For Aging In Place

Posted By Brandon Simmons on July 19, 2018

The most recent survey by the National Council on Aging showed that 75 percent of Americans over the age of 60 intend to stay in their homes the rest of their lives. However, the reality is that many seniors will leave their homes for unforeseen financial or health reasons.

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The Sandwich Generation—How a Reverse Mortgage Could Help

Posted By Brandon Simmons on July 12, 2018

On the way to dropping your child off at soccer practice, your mind wanders to your to-do list for the next day, which looks something like this: pick up your mother’s medication, help make her next doctor’s appointment, and work with your eldest daughter to fill out college and scholarship applications.

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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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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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Power Up Your Home’s Energy Efficiency with a Reverse Mortgage

Posted By Brandon Simmons on June 21, 2018

A Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (a reverse mortgage sometimes referred to as HECM) is often considered an avenue for high-equity homeowners to supplement retirement income without selling the home. However, the flexibility of a HECM can also offer funding to make critical improvements or cost-saving upgrades to the home.

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How Does Age Factor Into The Benefits of a HECM?

Posted By Brandon Simmons on June 14, 2018

If you or a family member is considering a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage, or HECM (also known as a reverse mortgage), you probably know that age is important; after all, FHA requires that borrowers be 62 years old to qualify.

But there are other reasons age matters,

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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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Protecting Your Retirement Plan With A Reverse Mortgage

Posted By Brandon Simmons on May 31, 2018

While a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM), or reverse mortgage, can be a smart financial tool for those needing to supplement their retirement income, its possible ability to protect a well-funded nest egg is easy to overlook.

As retirement approaches, even those with a solid financial plan may fear the damage an ill-timed market downturn can do to their investment portfolio.

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Choosing The HECM Payout Plan That Is Right For You

Posted By Brandon Simmons on May 24, 2018

If you’re 62 and considering a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM), often referred to as a reverse mortgage, you may have more flexible options than you realize. Adding a HECM to your retirement strategy also means you can determine the payout plan that will best fit your situation.

While all reverse mortgages rely on your home’s equity for funding,

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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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Helping Empty Nesters Navigate The New Era Of Mortgages

Posted By Brandon Simmons on May 15, 2018

With their children out of the house, many empty nesters consider downsizing their expenses, starting with a smaller home. If they haven’t bought a home in a while, they will find that much has changed in the mortgage process, especially since the 2007 subprime mortgage crisis. Aligning your expectations with the reality of today’s mortgage process can take much of the frustration out of the experience.  

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Five Unexpected ways a HECM Could Improve Your Quality of Life

Posted By Brandon Simmons on May 10, 2018

Retirement is one of the milestones most looked forward to in life. Work is done and free time reigns. Maybe you’ve always wanted to travel Europe, or take up sailing, or just live closer to your children and grandchildren, but money is tighter now. For many, a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) is a great way to increase your cash and accomplish your bucket list in your retirement years.

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Estate Planning and HECM

Posted By Brandon Simmons on May 3, 2018

When we think about the future, we often imagine the benefits of retiring to spend time doing the things we like, enjoying hard-earned rewards and no longer having to worry about Monday morning meetings. What’s less fun to think about is the aspect of planning for what happens as we continue to age,

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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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Move Your Health Forward With A Reverse Mortgage

Posted By Brandon Simmons on April 26, 2018

Good health and financial security are essential to enjoying retirement. Planning ahead will go a long way to ensure both are waiting for you when the time comes. However, a reverse mortgage, or HECM, may also be a useful tool to help you achieve those goals.

In addition to providing a flexible revenue stream without having to sell your 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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Downsizing vs. HECM: Which Is Right For You?

Posted By Brandon Simmons on April 19, 2018

Senior homeowners face many decisions as they near retirement and begin planning for the future. While a secure income stream may be awaiting some, the reality for many will be crucial conversations about meeting financial goals and maintaining a lifestyle they can enjoy.

These discussions will likely begin with a fundamental question: Where will you live when you retire?

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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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Building a Garden to Age With You

Posted By Brandon Simmons on April 11, 2018

As homeowners grow older and retire, they look forward to a new chapter in their lives. They plan to travel more, spend time with grandkids, and read all the bestsellers, with plenty of time to putter around their home gardens. But all home gardens are not created equally; homeowners that don’t want to pay for help can keep costs low by creating a garden that stays easy to maintain throughout their golden years,

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Homeowner Responsibilities and HECM: A Brief Guide

Posted By Brandon Simmons on April 4, 2018

As you prepare for retirement, and start considering a reverse mortgage, also known as Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM), there are some important things to remember.

While all HECM loans require a third-party counseling session with a government-approved housing counselor,

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Spring Cleaning, Budget Edition: Flourishing on a Fixed Income

Posted By Brandon Simmons on March 29, 2018

Everyone looks forward to their retirement, but experiencing an income adjustment isn’t easy. This becomes especially true as homeowners and their houses age together. Retirees may find that at a certain point their homes need minor repairs or upgrades they aren’t able or willing to fix themselves. For those living on a fixed income,

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HECM For Purchase Exceptions to Remember

Posted By Brandon Simmons on March 22, 2018

A Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM), or reverse mortgage, allows homeowners age 62 and older to tap into their home’s equity. The funds can be used to supplement retirement income, travel or for any number of other purposes while allowing the homeowners to remain in the home as long as they like.

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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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Make The Most of Retirement with a HECM

Posted By Brandon Simmons on March 15, 2018

For most of us, the appeal of retirement is due in great part to the freedom that it provides. The freedom to travel, re-discover a hobby, or spend time with loved ones, all while untethered from the distractions and restraints of employment.

One of the methods available to enjoy this freedom is a Home Equity Mortgage Conversion Mortgage (HECM) or reverse mortgage.

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Welcome Spring: Tips For Post-Winter Maintenance

Posted By Brandon Simmons on March 12, 2018

Spring will be here in just a few weeks, and as the weather warms up it’s a perfect time to do a few maintenance items around your home to protect your investment. Here’s a good checklist to guide you through your spring inspection.

Around the Yard

Start with the most visible part of your home—the year.

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Use a HECM to Finance Home Maintenance

Posted By Brandon Simmons on March 8, 2018

Out with the old, and in with the new. It’s the mantra of spring cleaning, and it’s not just relegated to boxes of unused items stored in the garage. With the warmer summer months right around the corner, homeowners should ensure their homes are sealed and as energy efficient as possible.

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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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What To Expect From HECM Counseling

Posted By Brandon Simmons on March 1, 2018

Before taking out a home equity conversion mortgage (or HECM) loan, you’re required by law to take part in a third-party counseling session with a government-approved housing counselor. This counseling session is meant to help you and other potential borrowers be fully versed in all the options available, be educated on the HECM  itself and provide you with support and guidance throughout it all.

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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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HECM Updates: What Do They Mean For New Borrowers?

Posted By Brandon Simmons on February 21, 2018

Like any other government regulated programs, the reverse mortgage industry experiences regular updates as mandated by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Our reverse mortgage specialists can answer your specific questions, but this broad overview of the recent changes to the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage program (HECM) will ensure you’re an educated borrower.

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Reverse Mortgages Mean Staying Ahead of Home Repairs

Posted By Brandon Simmons on February 16, 2018

A reverse mortgage offers homeowners age 62 and older an affordable avenue to access their home equity. For some, this provides an opportunity to pursue a lifelong dream, while others may simply make it a part of their retirement strategy.

In any case, tapping into your home’s value also makes you contractually obligated to be a responsible homeowner.

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Taking Out a Reverse Mortgage? Here’s How To Prepare

Posted By Brandon Simmons on February 1, 2018

If you’re in the market for a reverse mortgage (also known as a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage, or HECM), it’s a guarantee you’ll have a lot of questions, including what you’ll need to provide to make it happen. Even in the digital age, documents and paperwork can take some time and planning,

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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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Retiring in 2018? Make Sure You’re Ready

Posted By Brandon Simmons on January 17, 2018

Even in the best case scenarios, change isn’t easy. Retiring is an exciting, but complex process, and if you’re retiring in 2018, it’s important to prepare for what comes next. We’ve put together a game plan to help you stay on track.

Make tangible plans for how you’ll spend your time.

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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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Protecting Your Future With An Aging Plan

Posted By Brandon Simmons on January 10, 2018

Have you taken your retirement planning far enough? You’ve probably thought about your financial security, investment options, and how to spend the well-deserved freedom that retirement brings, but your strategy shouldn’t end there.

Creating an aging plan to guide the decisions you, and your loved ones,

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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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Video: How to Decide if you Need a Reverse Mortgage

Posted By Brandon Simmons on December 18, 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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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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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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Financial Freedom to Escape the Cold

Posted By Brandon Simmons on December 5, 2017

Are harsh winters putting a chill on your retirement plans? If snow and ice are keeping you from year-round enjoyment of your golden years, perhaps an annual change of scenery is in order.

While not for everyone, the lifestyle of a winter visitor, aka snowbirds,

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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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An Important Conversation for Aging Parents

Posted By Brandon Simmons on November 28, 2017

The wellbeing of a child is typically a parent’s highest priority; parents make every effort to keep them healthy, happy and safe. However, as time goes on, these roles can reverse, with adult children feeling responsible for the care of their aging parents.

Starting the Conversation

Navigating this transition is not always easy.

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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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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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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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Snuggle Buddies: Unique Volunteer Ideas For Retirees

Posted By Brandon Simmons on November 14, 2017

Retirement is a great time to start a regular volunteering gig. Not only is it a great way to ward off some of the boredom and loneliness that can come with major life changes (like retirement), it’s also a way to help others and get to know your community.

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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).

Services

Many home warranties are over $300 a year,

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Home Equity Conversion Mortgages: Options For Everyone

Posted By Brandon Simmons on November 9, 2017

There’s no shortage of choices when it comes to a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM). Also commonly referred to as a reverse mortgage, it offers an array of options that can be tailored to specific needs of the borrower.

Using the loan to bulk up a fixed monthly income?

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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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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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4 Common Misconceptions About Reverse Mortgages

Posted By Brandon Simmons on October 30, 2017

The term “reverse mortgage” gets a bad rap.

But before we talk about what reverse mortgages are not, let’s define what they truly are: Loans allowing homeowners 62 and older to access a portion of their home equity via lump sums,

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Does it Pay to Refinance Your Home?

Posted By Brandon Simmons on October 26, 2017

If you’re considering refinancing, you’ll need to do the numbers more than once—and different homeowners have different needs and goals.

If you’re a recent retiree with a traditional 30-year fixed rate mortgage, the current rates on a 15-year mortgage might have you wondering: is refinancing worth it?

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Aging in Place: A Guide for Retirees and Older Adults

Posted By Brandon Simmons on October 17, 2017

We can’t predict our futures, but we can plan for contingencies, especially as we age. AARP’s research shows that nearly 90% of seniors wish to stay in their own homes as they age. After all, home is where the heart is, it’s where we find comfort and familiarity and often,

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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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Empty Nesters: Ideas On How To Put Those Vacant Rooms Back To Work

Posted By Brandon Simmons on October 9, 2017

If you’ve found yourself in a house that has rooms going unused, or you’ve abandoned your sewing, crafting or model ship-building room, there are plenty of ways to get that square footage back to work. While some of these are easy to implement, others may take a little bit of preparation and foresight,

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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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Changes Coming to Reverse Mortgage: What You Need to Know

Posted By Micah on September 27, 2017

Open Mortgage is committed to keeping all of our customers up to date on today’s reverse mortgage environment. Recently, The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced changes to both the Reverse Mortgage Initial Principal Limit (“PL” – the amount you are able to borrow) and the Mortgage Insurance Premium (MIP).

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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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Seasonal Jobs for Senior RV Travelers

Posted By Micah on September 20, 2017

There is nothing quite like traveling across the country in an RV. For many seniors, the activity has long been on their “bucket list,” as there is never a better time to explore all that the United States – and possibly even Canada, Mexico, or wherever the road takes you.

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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 BLOG: Talking to Your Children about Reverse Mortgages

Posted By Brandon Simmons on September 12, 2017

If you’re considering a reverse mortgage, we advise talking talking to your adult children beforehand about your thoughts and goals.

This video provides some tips to help guide this conversation:

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Video: Is HECM Counseling Free?

Posted By Brandon Simmons on September 6, 2017

Before you can receive a home equity conversion mortgage (also known as reverse mortgage), you’re required to take part in a third party counseling session with a government-approved counselor. This counseling session helps you learn more about the loan.

Depending on your financial circumstances, there could be fees for this session.

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Video: Reverse Mortgage Items Needed

Posted By Micah on August 30, 2017

When you apply for a reverse mortgage loan, you will need to provide some documentation. It is a good idea to create a checklist of all the documents that you may need for the reverse mortgage process.

This video breaks down the documents you should gather before applying for a reverse mortgage.

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How to Save for a Cruise on a Fixed Income

Posted By Micah on August 24, 2017

Retirement is meant to be a time of self-exploration, fun, and relaxation. You spent 40+ years working hard, and retirement is your reward for that hard work. Many seniors take advantage of their free time with vacations, especially cruises, which provide the ultimate escape from day to day life.

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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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What Happens When a Reverse Mortgage Becomes Due?

Posted By Brandon Simmons on August 10, 2017

Reverse mortgages provide seniors with an opportunity to take out a home loan on the equity of their current home. Seniors can continue to live on their property without making any additional mortgage payments. Interest is added to the balance of the loan.

With a reverse mortgage,

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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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Mortgage Industry Highlights – June 2017

Posted By Justin Tuttle on July 18, 2017

June was another busy month in the red-hot mortgage industry. Here are some recent articles, highlights and tips for homeowners:


Fed hikes interest rates and brightens economic outlook

The Federal Reserve raised short-term interest rates by a quarter point on Wednesday,

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Seniors: Buy a Home and Have No Mortgage Payment

Posted By Justin Tuttle on July 17, 2017

Until the last decade, if you were 62 or older and and wanted to buy a new home, your options were limited by the equity accessed from selling your home, your cash savings, and the size of any mortgage you could obtain.

But in 2009,

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Six Ways to Lower Your Home’s Fire Risk

Posted By Justin Tuttle on July 6, 2017

For many homeowners and homebuyers, fires are a distant concern.

But recent data gathered by the National Fire Protection Association paints a different picture.  In 2015 alone, fire departments across the United States responded to a staggering 365,000 home structure fires,

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The Facts About Home Equity Conversion Mortgages [Infographic]

Posted By Justin Tuttle on July 5, 2017

Discover the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM), a remarkable tool that can provide seniors increased financial stability.

The infographic below breaks down:

  • How seniors 62-and-up can strategically use the $6.2 trillion of equity stored in their homes
  • Reasons why you or a family member might consider using a HECM
  • The HECM’s wide range of payout methods
  • How to buy a new home using a HECM and never have a mortgage payment

If you’re interested in speaking about the HECM,

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