Top 6 Travel Tips To Protect Your Home

Are you getting ready to head out for Spring Break? Here are some great tips to help keep your home protected while allowing you to enjoy your very well deserved vacation.

1. Ask for help- The easiest way to get piece of mind is to ask a relative, friend, or neighbor to simply drive by your home, check your mail, or even give them a key and have them take a quick tour inside your home.

2. Lights- How many people have their house glowing all night long when you are away? Is your house normally that way? Lighting up your house will not keep strangers away, it might actually set off a red flag that you actually are gone. Try purchasing a programmable light switch timer so your lights can sporadically turn on and off automatically.

3. Social media can be our friend or our enemy- Posting details about your upcoming vacation or posting photos during your vacation can tip off strangers on the web that are searching for their next home to target. Even if your profiles are private, hackers and burglars know how to find the information they are searching for. Wait until after you get home to brag about all the amazing places you have visited or things you have done.

4. Voicemail/Email- When people go on vacation, they want to make sure that friends, clients, customers know that they are gone so they do not think they are not responding to their calls or emails. Make sure that your voice message on your cell or work phone state that you are unable to take the call or your email stats that you are unable to respond and will get back them as soon as possible. Giving specific dates or reasons why you are gone can tip off people that no one will be home.

5. Stop your mail- A great tip off that a house is empty is the huge pile of mail in the mailbox or on your front porch. Either arrange to have a friend or neighbor pick up your mail or you can go to the post office or online and place a “stop” on your mail for a specific period of time.

6. Spare key- If you don’t follow any of the above tips then you are probably not fooling anyone that you are not home. At least go out and grab the plastic rock or that hidden key under your mat so that its not easy for strangers to enter your home.

These are all great ideas to help keep your home protected and Mortgage Solutions of Georgia hopes that you have a wonderful and safe vacation.

Tips for planting and growing produce in the spring

Whether you are a new homeowner or have owned your home for years, there is still plenty of time to learn how to utilize your yard space to grow a spring garden. Here are a few tips from GeorgiaOrganics.com with times that will produce the best produce.

1. Location.
Start taking a look at your home throughout the day to notice the areas that are always exposed to the sun. Try to make it close to your home where you can get to the hose and water often while paying attention to garden. Remember, out of sight, out of mind = out of food.

2. Prepping the ground.
Grab a spade or garden fork and gently turn the soil, add plenty of material such as compost, leaf mold or decomposed animal manure. Local garden supply stores usually carry everything that you will need. Try to go organic if possible. Compost is the key to growing the best gardening; it improves soil structure, texture, aeration, and water retention. When mixed with compost, clay soils are lightened, and sandy soils retain water better. Mixing compost with soil also contributes to erosion control, soil fertility, proper pH balance, and healthy root growth in plants.

3. Plan your garden’s layout.
Make beds in the garden that are separated by walkways. Do not walk where you planted vegetables, this will compact the soil and stunt the growth.

4. Plant what you know you like.
It doesn’t really make sense to plant something that you wont eat. Take a look at the dates below that according to Georgia Organics are best dates for early season crops planted in metropolitan Atlanta, which is located in USDA plant hardiness Zone 7 or, arguably, Zone 8.

Spring Vegetables And Their Planting Dates
Asparagus, Jan 15 – Mar 1
Beets, Feb 15 – April 1
Broccoli, Feb 15 – Mar 15
Cabbage, Jan 15 – Mar 15
Carrots, Jan 15 – Mar 29
Cauliflower, Mar 1 – Apr 1
Collards, Feb 15 – Mar 15
Kale, Feb 1 – Mar 10
Lettuce, Jan 15 – Mar 1
Mustard, Jan 15 – Apr 1
Onions, Jan 1 – Mar 15
Peas, Jan 15 – Feb 15
Potatoes, Irish, Jan 15 – Mar 15
Radish, Jan 15 – Apr 1
Spinach, Jan 15 – Mar 15
Turnips, Jan 15 – Apr 1

5. Water Often
Watering in the morning is your best option, if you can set your timer on your system, you know you will have produce popping up in no time.

Growing your own garden and taking the healthy approach is an amazing lifestyle and Mortgage Solutions of Georgia loves helping people getting into their dream homes.

Top 7 Tax Write-Offs

Home ownership provides many home tax deductions, tax credits and other breaks that aren’t available to renters. Check out our top 7 list of tax breaks.

Mortgage Solutions of Georgia can help you with any home financing, however, If you wish to learn more, please contact a tax professional.

1. Who is doing your taxes?
Whether you do your own taxes with a tax calculator or have a professional prepare them, you can write off fees on your miscellaneous tax deductions list. Costs can include tax return preparation and electronic filing fees. In order to qualify, however, the preparation fees must exceed 2 percent of your AGI (Annual Gross Income).

2. Home Mortgage Interest Deduction
One of the biggest home tax breaks is the mortgage interest deduction. As a homeowner, it covers interest paid on loans of up to $1 million, or $500,000 if you’re married but filing a separate return.

3. Did you buy a new home and pay mortgage points?
If you itemize, you can deduct the points — or prepaid interest — you paid to purchase or build your primary home. Typically, if you can deduct all the interest you paid on your mortgage, you can also deduct all of the points.

4. Property Tax Deduction
Property taxes are one of the many big tax breaks for first-time homebuyers. You can claim all taxes paid from the date of sale onward. Taxpayers who itemize deductions on Schedule A are also eligible to deduct real estate taxes paid on a primary residence, said Laurie Samay, a New York-based certified financial planner with Palisades Hudson Financial Group.

5. Do you work from home?
You can deduct certain expenses for using a part of your home for business. To qualify for this deduction, you must use part of your home for one of the following:
• Primary location for trade or business
• Main location for meeting with patients or clients
• Storage facility for inventory or product samples for your business or trade
• Rental use
• Day care facility

6. Moving Expenses
If you meet the IRS distance and time tests after you relocate for a new job, you can take a moving-expense deduction. Military personnel who were required to move as part of their service obligations do not have to satisfy any distance or time qualifications.

7. Not home related, but applause to those that Volunteer…
You can deduct certain expenses for charity work, like the cost of gas and oil if you use your car to get to and from the place you volunteer. If you don’t want to calculate the value per mile, ask your tax professional what the standard per rate mile is. You can also deduct the cost of purchasing and maintaining uniforms you wear to a place you volunteer or parking in a garage if that’s required.

Home Safety Tips for Holiday Lights

5 Home Safety Tips for Holiday Lights

Out with the old: Inspect old lights that have been sitting in storage for the past year and get rid of any with frayed cords or loose connections. Always remember to unplug the lights before you try to replace any bulbs.

One is enough: Make sure to use the correct length of extension cords and not to connect multiple ones together.

Exterior Lights: If you are hanging lights outdoors, make sure to keep electrical connectors off the ground and away from any rain gutters, especially the metal ones! You can use plastic clips instead of metal nails to hold your lights in place.

Rush Hour: During the holiday season, electricity rush hour is also right after work, be sure to turn on your lights after 7pm to avoid the surge. Using a timer helps.

Sleep tight: To avoid fire hazards, turn off holiday lights when you leave the house unattended or when going to bed.

Home Winterization Checklist

Now that the colder weather seems to be here to stay, use this checklist to help keep your home warm this winter.

House Interior
o Check and apply caulk or weather stripping to drafty doors
o Get furnace serviced
o Get chimney swept
o Replace furnace filter
o Check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
o Reverse ceiling fans so blades are turning clockwise
o Flush hot water heather
o Set thermostat for winter
o Close vents in unused rooms
o Check attic for at least 12 inches of insulation
o Protect window wells with plastic shields

House Exterior
o Clear away debris from downspouts
o Check outdoor lighting and replace bulbs
o Clean gutters
o Check vents and opening
o Split and stack firewood
o Clean debris from roof
o Inspect roof and fixe damage
o Rake away debris from around foundation
o Check heating fuel level and refill
o Buy ice melt and sand
o Move sensitive potted plants indoors
o Install exterior faucet covers

What are the Basic Requirements for obtaining a USDA loan?

A USDA mortgage loan is one of the very best loan products currently on the mortgage market. A USDA loan will offer a qualified home buyer 100% financing with no down payment, low financing rates, and low monthly mortgage insurance. Requirements for a USDA loan are fairly straight forward. In a perfect world USDA wants to see a middle credit score of 640, however will go down to scores as low as 600 so long as you can verify and document a clean 12 months rental history. Generally speaking an applicant should have no late payments or collections in the most recent 12 months. Your debt ratio which looks at how much money you make compared to how much money you spend needs to be in line with USDA requirements, however there is some flexibility in these ratios with higher fico scores. USDA also has income limits, meaning that you can actually earn too much money to qualify for the loan program. This income limit works on a sliding scale in accordance to how many people live in household. USDA loans are intended for applicants who want to purchase is a Rural and have low to moderate income levels.

If you would like more information concerning USDA loans or would like to apply for one, please contact our office or complete an application online.

The Go To Guys 770.924.1111

USDALoansInformationandFAQ

BIG USDA NEWS!!

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Attention Agents!!!!

You read that right….6 DAY TURN AROUND TIME ON ALL USDA LOANS!!! That means we can get your USDA loans closed FAST!

Call us today! 770.924.1111

Is USDA right for you?

USDA

Looking to buy a home in Georgia but don’t have a down payment, you may want to look into a USDA loan. A USDA loan, also known as a Rural Development Loan, is a government insured home loan that allows qualified home buyers to purchase a home with NO Money Down. USDA Home Loans offer 100% financing to qualified buyers, and allow for all closing costs to be either paid for by the seller or financed into the loan. USDA offers some the lowest rates of any loan product, and you will always have a fixed interest rate.

Am I Eligible for a USDA Loan?

There are 3 main factors that need to be determined…

Credit Worthiness:
When an underwriter reviews your credit history, the major thing they will be looking for is a history of paying your bills in a timely
fashion. If you have had blemishes in the past they may be overlooked as long as you have reestablished your credit over the past 12 months.
Generally, any open judgments or collections will need to be paid off before you close on your new home but every situation is different so on occasion there can be some flexibility when it comes to smaller collections and medical collections.

USDA Loan Income Restrictions:
USDA loans are full doc loans, meaning that you will be required to fully document your income. USDA will generally want to see a two year history of employment or consistent income. Exceptions on the two year requirement can be made for applicants such as students. On a USDA Loan Assets are not required for approval, but can certainly help overcome any possible blemishes on credit.

Where You Want Live:
In order to qualify for a USDA Loan your home must be located in a designated USDA rural area. It might surprise you just how many areas of the Georgia do qualify for these 100% financing home loans. In fact most the majority of Counties in Georgia are either 100% eligible for USDA loans, or have areas within them that are eligible. To learn more about USDA Home Loans and how to take advantage of this great program, call the USDA Loan Experts at Mortgage Solutions of Georgia for a free credit consultation. 770.924.1111

Q & A with The Go To Guys…..When can you purchase a home after Bankruptcy?

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Dear Go To Guys,
When Can I Repurchase Again After Bankruptcy?

Answer:
This is a question we often get asked. It all depends on which type of financing you are looking to get.

Conventional: For a chapter 7 Bankruptcy it is 4 years and 2 years for a chapter 13 bankruptcy, before a buyer can repurchase again using Conventional financing.

FHA: For a chapter 7 Bankruptcy it is 2 years and 1 year for a chapter 13, before a buyer can repurchase again using FHA financing. Or, see above for how a buyer can qualify again after just 1 year if they experienced an economic event.

VA: For a chapter 7 Bankruptcy it is 2 years, and 1 year for a chapter 13 bankruptcy, before a buyer can repurchase again using VA financing.

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If you have additional questions about purchasing a home after Bankruptcy, call The Go To Guys at 770.924.1111.

Also, for more information, see our blog:
http://mortgagesolutionsofgeorgia.net/…/how-to-buy-a-home-…/

10 Essential Tips for Homebuyers

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1.Get a Home Inspection
Get a home inspection to evaluate the safety and overall condition of your new home, even if it appears flawless.

2.Get Pre-approved for a Loan
Before you start house hunting, get pre-approved for a mortgage loan.

3.Communicate Through Your Agent
When you want to ask or tell the seller something, always go through your real estate agent.

4.Put the Deal Into Writing
Get the seller to put every component of the deal and any verbal agreement into writing.

5.Include Contingencies With Offer
Include important contingencies, such as financing and property inspections, with your offer.

6.Develop a Wish List
Come up with a realistic wish list. Find out what you can afford in terms of house size, neighborhood and amenities.

7.Know Your Local Market
Know as much about the local market as you can. Use your agent’s CMA to learn about the selling price of comparable homes and the strength of the local real estate market.

8.Prioritize!
Decide what’s most important to you before the negotiation, so you know what parts of your offer you’re most comfortable giving up.

9.Keep Other Houses in Mind
When you begin negotiating on a specific property, know of other houses you’d be interested in buying. You don’t want to be so desperate to buy a certain house that you give in to whatever the seller wants.

10. Scope out Neighborhoods, Neighbors
Talk to neighbors to get the inside scoop on what it’s like to live in the neighborhoods of homes you are interested in. While doing so, gauge if you would like to live next to these people for the foreseeable future.