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 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



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?


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

10 Essential Tips for Homebuyers


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.

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.

Just got engaged?


Did you know that FHA allows couples to set up a “Bridal Registry Account” if they are planning on getting married soon and want to accumulate funds for their down payment to buy a home? This is a great way for “married-to-be” couples to come up with their down payment to buy a home.

Just like registering at Target or Pottery Barn, the FHA Bridal Registry program allows you to register a down payment account. Then, your friends and family are able to make gift payments into an interest bearing account on your behalf.

Not only can your gifts earn interest, but they can be used as a down payment towards an FHA Loan.

Here’s how it works:
-Open a savings account at your bank prior to the wedding.
-Give Friends and Family the banking information where the gifts will be deposited.
-The gift funds can go towards the FHA required 3.5% down payment.
-There is no requirement that you be married prior to closing on your new home.

One last advantage is that there are NO gift letters or other documentation required other than proof of your savings account named “bridal registry account.” It’s that simple.

Call us today so we can get you preapproved for your FHA loan 770.924.1111.

Buying a home AFTER Bankruptcy….


Declaring Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy is often devastating and can turn your home buying plans upside down. Most home loan applicants think that if they have had a Bankruptcy in the past that they can never buy a home in the future and this is simply not the case. In fact, more people have prior Bankruptcies than what you might think. Filing for a Bankruptcy may be a low point in your life, but with proper preparation, patience and financial planning, you might be able to purchase a home sooner than expected. If you have had a Bankruptcy and want to purchase a home, here are the steps you need to take to get yourself in a position to purchase.

Discharge and Organize:
First things first: The bankruptcy must be discharged. If you are still in the process, it will be difficult to get a mortgage lender will speak to you.

Once your bankruptcy is discharged, organize and scrutinize your credit report. If there are debts that have been paid back but still appear on your report, contact the credit agency and have them corrected. While you’re at it, check for other mistakes on your credit report. You are entitled to one free credit report from each of the big three credit rating agencies each year—Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. If there is an error, dispute it online via the particular credit agency’s website.

Use Secured Credit Cards:
The fastest way to start rebuilding your credit score after a bankruptcy is to prove to creditors and other lenders that you can be trusted to pay back the money you owe them. You can do this by opening the right kinds of credit and managing it well.

A great place to start rebuilding your credit is by obtaining a secured credit card. A secured credit card gives you credit limited to the amount you have on deposit with the issuing bank. So, if you have $20 to $500 to place in an account with the issuing bank, then the bank will limit your credit each month to the amount of that deposit.

More Tips to Remember While Building Credit…..
Use only a small portion of your credit.
Don’t max out your credit cards and don’t apply for too much credit at one time.
Move slowly and build up your credit with on-time or even early payments.
At the end of every month, pay enough on your credit card to drop the balance down to $10.

-Pay all your bills on time and save money.
-Stay at the same job for a good length of time.
-Remove any outstanding tax liens.

Wait at Least Two Years:
Here’s where you will need patience: You should wait at least 24 months after your bankruptcy is discharged to apply for a mortgage. You may be able to get a mortgage sooner but the terms, like interest rates, won’t be as attractive as they would be if you waited two years. Since you might be paying that mortgage interest for up to 30 years, you will save money if you wait long enough after the discharge to get a good interest rate.

Finally Applying For a Mortgage:
After the two-year period, make sure you are fully prepared to apply for a loan. Your lender will want you to meet certain criteria before agreeing to lend you money: A good debt-to-income ratio, stability and time on the job. Money in the bank and no bounced checks help tremendously, of course. Any retirement plans or 401(k) assets makes your credit look good as well.

If you are seeking a home loan in the State of Georgia and would like to talk to a Loan officer about your particular situation, please call us at 770-924-1111

The VA Loan….4 reasons why it is the best.


If you are a Veteran of one of the great military institutions and have served enough time to earn your Certificate of Eligibility, a VA home loan is most likely right for you! Here is an interesting fact, although some ill-advised experts will contend that 100% financing or low down payment programs led to the housing crisis, did you know that the 100% VA loan has the lowest rate of loan default out of any loan product on the market? The VA loan is the best financing product on the market, here are 4 reasons why:

100% Financing.
The VA loan entitles eligible Veterans to receive no down payment 100% financing on their home loans. This allows the Veteran to retain their personal savings making them better equipped to deal with life’s little emergencies that most likely will occur down the road. After all, life happens right?

NO Monthly Mortgage Insurance.
With most loan products, if you won’t put down 20% you must pay monthly mortgage insurance on your loan which is included in your monthly mortgage payment. Most all government backed loans such as FHA or USDA have required monthly mortgage insurance, but not VA loans. This increases the affordability of a home that the Veteran chooses, making it easier for them to maintain on time payments to the lender.

Flexible, Make Sense Underwriting Standards.
The VA has established make sense underwriting guidelines giving Veterans additional leeway when it comes to credit issues. They have the shortest seasoning guidelines on foreclosures, short sales, and Bankruptcy’s of any government backed loan. With that being said, the Veteran still must meet minimum credit standards established by the VA and the mortgage lender. Just because a Veteran has his/her Certificate of Eligibility is not an automatic loan approval. However working with a Loan Officer who has an extensive knowledge of the VA guidelines can be the difference between a loan approval and a loan denial. Although the VA has their own underwriting guidelines, not all VA Lenders have the same guidelines and you will find that credit score requirement vary greatly from lender to lender.

Low Rates
The VA does not establish mortgage rates or actually lend any money themselves to make a mortgage loan, rather mortgage rates are established by each individual lender. However, VA loan rates are some of the most competitive rates in the business.

If you are a Veteran and would like to explore your options to purchase a home using your VA Entitlement, we would love the opportunity to earn your business. Please call 770-924-1111 for a FREE, no obligation credit consultation.