3 Things First Time Homeowners Wished They Knew Before Buying

Posted By Brandon Simmons on June 19, 2018

It’s an exciting time in your life. You’ve worked hard, you saved up — you’re considering buying your first home. But the road between first time homebuyers and the dotted line can be full of rookie mistakes. To help you spot these pitfalls before you’re in them, here’s three things to consider when going from homebuying to home owning for the first time.

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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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Step Up to Homeownership with Little Or No Down Payment

Posted By Brandon Simmons on June 12, 2018

A down payment can be one of the biggest obstacles to homeownership. But, it doesn’t have to be. Open Mortgage partners with our clients to identify available mortgage options with minimal or zero down payment requirements. Here are some of the ways we help borrowers achieve the dream of homeownership sooner rather than later.

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How Backyards Can Become A Black Hole For Buyers and Sellers

Posted By Brandon Simmons on June 7, 2018

With the summer housing market heating up, a sparkling pool or comfortable outdoor kitchen may seem like the key to closing a sale. However, backyard amenities may not live up to expectations, for buyers or sellers, particularly when it comes to completing the transaction.

Appraisal Process

If you’ve bought a home before,

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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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3 Questions To Make Your Dream Home A Reality

Posted By Brandon Simmons on May 8, 2018

You’ve found the house. The location is perfect and the curb appeal ideal. Even the price is well within your range.

But those cabinets! The cabinets are… yellow! How could you ever start a life in a new home with the absolutely irreparable,

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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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The Hidden Costs of Homeownership

Posted By Brandon Simmons on April 25, 2018

Shopping for a home often begins with a budget. Working with a mortgage lender, buyers can explore their borrowing power and calculate their future mortgage payment before settling on a house.

However, a down payment, insurance costs, and monthly payment are not the only considerations when budgeting for your new 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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Getting The Most Out Of Your Outdoor Space

Posted By Brandon Simmons on April 18, 2018

With the days getting longer and warmer weather settling in, moving downtime from the living room to the backyard is a familiar ambition. However, if your outdoor space lacks the functionality and comfort of your couch, it could be time to make a change.

Find The Funds

While there are lots of affordable ways to spruce up your yard or patio,

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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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Which Mortgage is Right For Remodelers? Consider a 203k Loan!

Posted By Brandon Simmons on April 2, 2018

You know exactly what you want in a house. You’ve scoped out your local market, and a couple of neighboring markets, too. You’ve kept an eye on foreclosures and auctions and done your research. There’s just one problem: nothing you’ve seen meets your expectations; the house you want doesn’t exist yet as-is.

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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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Finding the Right First Home with the Right Mortgage

Posted By Brandon Simmons on March 28, 2018

If you are a first time home-buyer dipping your toes in the waters of home mortgages, it can sometimes feel like you’re drowning in information. You’ll probably find yourself turning to the internet to Google: How much mortgage can I afford? This will give you many links to online calculators,

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What Happens When You Pay Off a Mortgage?

Posted By Brandon Simmons on March 26, 2018

Congratulations! You just paid off your mortgage. It’s probably one of the few times you actually enjoyed paying a bill. But, have you thought about what comes next?

Owning a home free and clear certainly creates new opportunities for your financial future. However, before making plans for your revamped budget,

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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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Home Buying Can Come With Deep Discounts for Community Heroes

Posted By Brandon Simmons on March 21, 2018

Teachers and first responders have an enormous impact on our communities. What they consider routine can have life-changing implications for those around them. And although the financial rewards for these professionals may match their efforts, the contributions don’t go unnoticed.

One way their dedication gets recognized is through unique home buying and mortgage programs.

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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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Rebounding From Foreclosure To Buy Again

Posted By Brandon Simmons on March 14, 2018

Getting back into the home buying market after a foreclosure is daunting, but not as uncommon as you might think. The housing crisis a decade ago left millions of homeowners in foreclosure, but many have already overcome the higher hurdles of buying their next home.

If you have a foreclosure in your past,

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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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A Guide to USDA Loans: What are the Requirements?

Posted By Brandon Simmons on March 7, 2018

Not everyone craves the energy of city living (and sometimes the hassles that can arise from it). Luckily, mortgages aren’t one-size-fits-all. There’s even a specific loan to help encourage home ownership outside the most densely populated areas of the United States.

Want to know more about the USDA loan program?

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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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Getting Your Home Ready For Spring Shoppers

Posted By Brandon Simmons on February 22, 2018

When springtime arrives, temperatures rise and the real estate market heats up. Most of us know how to take advantage of the warmer weather, but home sellers hoping to make the most of the peak season may benefit from some proven advice. Focusing on a few key areas can go a long way toward making your home stand out in a crowded marketplace.

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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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Love Your Mortgage, No Matter Your Relationship Status

Posted By Brandon Simmons on February 15, 2018

Marriage or mortgage, agreeing to a long-term commitment isn’t a decision to be taken lightly. A real connection, and the confidence it will last, is critical to the success of either.

However, shopping for a mortgage as a married couple can bring some added considerations to the table.

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Know Your Rights: Home Ownership Is For Everyone

Posted By Brandon Simmons on February 12, 2018

Black History Month celebrates the achievements of African Americans and recognizes their central role in American history. It’s also an opportunity to appreciate the advancement of civil rights, and highlight the deficiencies that still exist. 

One way to ensure progress continues is by asserting the rights that we all share,

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First Time Homeowner? Buy For Your Budget

Posted By Brandon Simmons on February 8, 2018

Most first-time home owners understand the difference between achieving the dream of buying a home versus buying a “dream home.” Part of a very personal decision-making process for buyers that know what they can realistically afford means making the latter distinction. Which means you’re probably asking yourself: How can I get the most out of my first home while staying within my budget?

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How do you Measure up in the Game of Credit Score? (Infographic)

Posted By Brandon Simmons on February 7, 2018

A credit score shouldn’t be taken lightly (it’s a necessary and important part of your financial life, after all!), but it doesn’t have to be scary, either. Credit scores will ebb and flow based on lots of factors, but here’s the most important thing: getting your score into optimal range IS achievable,

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Get A Return On Renovations When Selling Your Home

Posted By Brandon Simmons on February 5, 2018

A fresh coat of paint and trendy design can certainly impact a homebuyer’s first impression, but those efforts may not translate to more money in the seller’s pocket. Homeowners focused on maximum value should consider improvement projects that go beyond aesthetics.

The Basics

If you’re planning to put your home on the market,

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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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Be Prepared for the Unexpected When Buying a House

Posted By Brandon Simmons on January 31, 2018

Despite the “reality” shown on popular HGTV shows, buying a home isn’t always rainbows and butterflies. Real-life issues are bound to emerge after your offer is accepted and the loan process is underway. While there’s no reason to be pessimistic, it’s never a bad thing to be prepared for unseen obstacles.

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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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How Appraisals Work (FHA vs. Conventional)

Posted By Brandon Simmons on January 18, 2018

Buying or selling a home is more than just a transaction. It involves many steps, from listing to closing, and each one can be a source of frustration, especially if either party is unclear about the purpose or unsure about what to expect.  

The appraisal is just one of those anxiety-inducing steps.

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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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Achieve Your Goals in 2018 With These Mortgage Options

Posted By Brandon Simmons on December 12, 2017

Home ownership is more than just a house with your name on it; it’s a financial opportunity that can create security over the years through life’s ups and downs. Whatever your goals, the right mortgage can help you along the way.

You’re ready for a starter home.

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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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Is Refinancing Right For You?

Posted By Brandon Simmons on December 4, 2017

Our lives change over time, and so do our financial realities. In the ebb and flow between milestones, the good news is that you can capitalize on the planning you’ve already put into place by leveraging your home’s equity and refinancing your mortgage. Refinancing isn’t for everyone’s situation; it can cost from 3% to 6% of the loan’s principal,

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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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Why Owning A Home Is More Than A Monetary Investment

Posted By Brandon Simmons on November 22, 2017

Home ownership is not just a monetary investment. It takes funds, usually a mortgage (we can help with that) as well as time and energy, but owning a home is also a mental and emotional investment that can pay off in positive, sometimes unexpected ways.

Our homes are extensions of our personalities and lives.

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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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Home Equity Loans—What You Need to Know

Posted By Brandon Simmons on November 20, 2017

Let’s talk home equity.

As we navigate the complex world of home financing, it’s important to know exactly what the term means, and how it relates to you. Here’s a basic definition as it pertains to the homeowner:

Equity is the difference between how much your home is worth and how much you owe on it.

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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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VA Loans, Refinancing And Home Modification Grants For Veterans

Posted By Brandon Simmons on November 3, 2017

VA loans are home mortgages designed specifically for veterans that have served a minimum of 90 days on active duty. Developed and guaranteed by the United States Department of Veteran Affairs, approved lenders can issue home loans to veterans without the stipulations of a traditional loan. Here’s everything you need to know (and more) if you’re a veteran looking to buy,

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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 Gracefully: 7 Activities To Help You Stay Young At Heart

Posted By Brandon Simmons on October 24, 2017

At Open Mortgage, it is our belief that we should all be on a journey to self-improvement. As we age, there are additional considerations to apply to this journey we call life, but the heart of it remains the same: How can I improve myself and,

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The Ultimate Timeline For Planning The Big Move

Posted By Brandon Simmons on October 19, 2017

Buying a house is exciting. Moving is not. But there are strategies that can help you make it as painless as possible. If you’re moving within six weeks, you’ll have no problems mastering a mega move. Moving in less time than that? Some of these plans can be reorganized to fit your schedule.

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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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Student Loans & Mortgages: Here’s What You Need To Know

Posted By Brandon Simmons on October 10, 2017

Student loan debt have you worried about applying for a mortgage? It isn’t the loan itself that can affect your mortgage qualifications, but the amount you owe on that loan compared to your income, as well as the amount of the mortgage itself. Here are some basic factors that your lender will consider.

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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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The Road To Recovery: How A 203(h) Loan Can Help

Posted By Brandon Simmons on October 5, 2017

No one expects to lose a home in a natural disaster, so when the worst is realized, we do our best to put one foot in front of the other. That said, picking up the pieces following a catastrophic storm like Hurricane Harvey or Irma can be overwhelming and confusing.

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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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Your Home-Buying Style: Fixer-Upper or Move-in Ready

Posted By Brandon Simmons on October 2, 2017

You’re thinking of purchasing a home. Congratulations! Now for the big decisions. Do you want something that you can put your personal fingerprint on, or something with fingerprint-proof appliances? Do you want to retile the bathroom to your ideal color and shape, or enjoy a relaxing bath without eyeing the grout lines?

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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: Getting a Mortgage While Self-Employed

Posted By Brandon Simmons on September 11, 2017

If you’re self employed, it’s still very possible to get a mortgage, though it can be more challenging.

This video details how you can get a mortgage if you’re part of the fastest growing segment of America’s workforce (freelancers and the self-employed).

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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: 5 Ways to Keep your Mortgage Rate Low

Posted By Brandon Simmons on September 5, 2017

Many people don’t realize how much money they can save over time by securing a lower mortgage rate.

This video provides some practical tips on securing a low interest rate when applying for a mortgage.

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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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Video: Comparing Homeownership to Renting

Posted By Micah on August 28, 2017

The choice between buying a home and renting is one of the biggest financial decisions that many adults make. Each have their advantages, but what’s best for you depends on your circumstances.

If you’re thinking about buying a home, watch this video to learn some of empowering benefits that could be in your future.

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