June is National Homeownership Month, a time to celebrate the benefits that homeownership brings to families, neighborhoods, and communities across America. Not only does homeownership change lives and enhance futures, it is part of the American Dream.

To this day, there continues to be a noticeable shift from renting to homeownership, especially among young buyers. It's a way for people to increase their wealth and home equity. Keep reading to learn about some of the key benefits that homeownership has to offer.

How Did Homeownership Month Start?

National Homeownership Month started as a week-long celebration of homeownership during the Clinton administration in 1995. In 2002, President George W. Bush proclaimed June as the National Homeownership Month. Today, the mortgage industry continues the message of helping people realize the dream of responsible homeownership.

Knowledge is Power

Throughout June, Greenway Mortgage will be sharing some informational pieces on homeownership as we want to raise awareness and encourage more people to consider the benefits of buying their own home. With that said, let’s dive into some of those important benefits and discuss some of the prep work that is required in order to achieve the dream of homeownership.

Benefits of Homeownership:

  • Provides stability.

  • Creates positive environments for families.

  • Improves neighborhoods.

  • Homeowners are more involved in civic affairs, including voting in the last election and knowing their elected officials.

  • Builds wealth.

  • Provides possible tax benefits.

Prep Work:

  • Know your credit score. Having a healthy credit score is vital to the home buying process. Figure out where your credit score stands and strategize some improvements, if necessary.

  • Build your savings. Home buyers will need money available for a down payment and closing costs. This is a great time sit down and get real about your financials. Make a budget, create a timeline and set yourself some saving goals.

  • Figure out your price range. Once you have a handle on your financial situation, the next step is to determine out how much money you can spend. Keep this number in mind when you meet with your real estate agent and Greenway Mortgage Loan Officer.

  • Do your research. Research the area you would like to purchase your home. Take note of school districts, commute times, nearby parks or shopping, and any other things you feel are important to you.

  • Find a real estate agent. It is important to have a trusted real estate agent by your side during your home buying journey. Find someone you can rely on and feel comfortable with.

  • Get your documents in order. A lot of paperwork goes into getting a home loan. Come out on top by getting organized and locating necessary papers ahead of time. Have on hand recent paystubs, W-2s from the past 2 years, recent tax returns and bank and asset statements.

  • Meet with a Greenway Loan Officer. It is crucial to meet with a lender to get pre-approved for a home loan so you know how much home you can afford. This should always be step #1. Also, having a pre-approval letter puts you at an advantage when dealing with a potential seller, as he or she will know you’re one step closer to getting a mortgage.

Are you a First-Time Home Buyer?

To encourage and educate aspiring home buyers, Greenway offers free information and resources. You can visit us online to learn more about buying your first home, first-time home buyer resources, videos, and so much more. Here are a few helpful links which you might want to check out if you’re a future home buyer.

Greenway Mortgage is proud to be a part of the industry that makes homeownership a reality for so many Americans! When you’re ready to get your journey started, reach out to us!  

College graduation is a huge accomplishment. It is also the first step of your adult life! That’s why it’s important to have good financial practices in place for a successful future.
To help kick start your future, here are 6 financial practices to start after college graduation.
#1 Build a Budget & Start Saving (NOW)
Create a budget for yourself that takes in account the following:
  • Your Savings Goals
  • Monthly Payments (rent, utilities, car payments, student loans, etc)
  • Weekly Spending (gas groceries, entertainment)
Tip: There are many mobile apps now-a-days that can help you get started with your budgeting goals.
Once you have a budget in place, you’ll have a good idea as to where your money is going and be able to build a realistic budget based on your needs. As a result, this will help you save money overtime!
#2 Keep Your Finances in Check
It’s important to set some time aside at least once a month to review your finances. By doing this, you’ll develop good money habits.
Tip: Set a reminder in your phone each month to review your finances
What should you review? Review your bank account and credit card statements to ensure your spending is in line with the budget you’ve set for yourself, along with any other accounts you save, spend and invest in. In addition, stay on top of your credit report to ensure your credit score isn’t being negatively affected by your financial habits. Click here to learn more about Credit Reports and Credit Scores.
#3 Prepare for Student Loan Payments
After graduating college, you usually have a grace period of 6 months in which you can prepare your finances before starting your student loan payments. If you prepare properly you won’t be surprised when it comes time to make your first payment.
Tip: Pay attention to the interest rate on your student loans. When you can afford to pay a little extra, you’ll save the most money by paying down the loan with the highest interest rate first. Set up automatic payments, too (sometimes you’ll get a discount by doing this). This is a great way to save money and build good credit.
#4 Have You Started Your Retirement Fund?
To sooner you start saving for your future retirement, the better! We promise! One of the most recommended ways to setting up a retirement fund is with a 401(K). This may be offered through your workplace or you can set up one as a personal account through your bank or a brokerage firm. Many workplaces offer 401(K) matching. This means that your employer contributes to your 401(K) up to a certain percentage or dollar amount. The best part… it’s essentially FREE money from your employer designed to encourage you to save for your future.
#5 Switch from A Student Card
If you own a student card it may be time to switch to a credit card that has perks and rewards.
#6 Start Investing
Invest a portion of our paycheck into individual stocks or mutual funds each month. This is a great financial practice especially if you start to invest early.
Bottom Line:
Saving early is key to a successful future. Getting into simple saving habits will benefit you long-term. It will even help you put a down payment on the home of your dreams some day. So, try putting these 6 financial practices into play now!

Opportunities of Refinancing

Mar 31
Category | General

When you refinance to a lower rate, you'll get a lower payment. But the opportunities don’t stop there. Take a look:

Reduce your balance faster. 

With a lower interest rate, you pay more principal with each payment, especially in the first years of the loan. 

Example: After five years of payments on a 30-year loan of $200,000 at 4%, you would pay $19,706 in principal vs. $17,105 on the same loan at 5%. That's an extra $2,601 in benefit on top of the $7,052 of interest savings. Total advantage = $9,653

Own Free and Clear Sooner. There are 2 ways to make this happen:

  • Pay extra principal. Apply your monthly savings toward principal to shorten your loan term by several years. Example: Using the same loan terms from above, pay your $118/month savings as extra toward principal and cut the loan from 30 to 24.33 year.
  • Refinance for a shorter term. Rates on 15-year loans are typically lower than 30-year loans, so a payment on a shorter term may still be within a comfortable range for you.

Maximize Your Rate of Return Through Investments. 

If you deposit the $118 monthly savings from the example above into a tax deferred account earning 6% over time, it will grow to $81,852 in 25 years. If you use the savings to increase your 401K contribution with a 50% employer match, that figure would equal $122,782. Earning 6% on your money may be tough right now, yet historically, returns on a properly balanced and diversified portfolio are 7% or better. Always consult with a properly licensed financial advisor when making investment decisions.

Tap Into Your Equity. 

If you need to make repairs or improvements, you may be surprised at how much cash you might be able to free up without increasing your monthly payment. The same can be said for financing college educations or purchasing a second home or investment property.

Enjoy Peace of Mind. 

There’s comfort in making a prudent decision and putting a plan into action.

We're here to review your options and help you decide what might be right for you.

Try Our Refinance Calculator Here.

Congrats! You’ve made an offer and it was accepted! What’s next? It’s now time to have the home inspected prior to closing.  A thorough home inspection when you’re buying a house can save you thousands of dollars in unexpected repairs — or from unwittingly buying a money pit.
What is a Home Inspection?
A home inspection is an objective visual examination of the physical structure and systems of a house, from the roof to the foundation.
Agents often recommend you make your offer contingent upon a clean home inspection. Why? This contingency allows you to renegotiate the price you offered for the home, ask the sellers to cover repairs, or in some cases, walk away if challenges arise. Your agent can advise you on the best course of action once the report is filed.
How Do I Choose an Inspector?
Your agent will most likely have a short list of inspectors they’ve worked with in the past to recommend to you. HGTV suggests you consider the following 5 areas when choosing the right home inspector:
#1 Qualifications – Find out what’s included in your inspection and if the age or location of your home may warrant specific certifications or specialties.
#2 Sample Reports – Ask for a sample inspection report so you can review how thoroughly they will be inspecting your dream home.
#3 References – Do your homework. Ask for phone numbers and names of past clients who you can call to discuss their experiences.
#4 Memberships – Not all inspectors belong to a national or state association of home inspectors, and membership in one of these groups should not be the only way to evaluate your choice. Membership in one of these organizations does, however, often mean continued training and education are required.
#5 Errors and Omission Insurance – Find out what the liability of the inspector or inspection company is once the inspection is over. The inspector is only human, after all, and it is possible they might miss something they should see.
What Should I Expect During the Inspection?
  • Ask your inspector if you can tag along. This way you can explore your new home in detail and ask questions as you go. This process can give you much more information than the report alone.
  • A home inspection can take 2-4 hours, but may take more time depending on the size of the house.
  • Don’t be surprised if you see the inspector climbing on the roof or crawling around in the attic and on the floors.
What Will The Inspector Review?
The job of the inspector is to protect your investment and find any issues with the home, including but not limited to:
  • Roof
  • Plumbing
  • Electrical components
  • Appliances
  • Heating and air conditioning systems
  • Ventilation
  • Windows
  • Basement
  • Structural components
  • Fireplace and chimney
  • Foundation, and so much more
Bottom Line
Work with a professional you can trust to give you the most information possible, so you can make the most educated decision about your purchase.

Did you know that you do not need a down payment of 20% to buy a home? In fact, according to data from the National Association of Realtors, over half of home buyers make down payments of less than 6%. Yes, that’s correct!

Of course, the advantage of a larger down payment is the potential for lower borrowing costs. In turn, this results in a smaller monthly mortgage payment. In the end, it all depends on your specific situation.

Benefits to Buying a House with A Small Down Payment

There are some positives to buying a house with little or no down payment as well. For instance, once you make a down payment, you can only access that money via a home loan refinance or the sale of your home. With little or no money down, you avoid the risk of depleting your savings. It’s important to keep in mind that you may need some extra money for repairs and maintenance. Bottom line, you’ll always want to have some savings left after you buy.

Low or No Down Payment Loan Options are Available

There are many low or no down payment options available. What it comes down to is your eligibility. Take for example, these 2 government-insured loan programs:

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Loan:  VA loans are a special type of home mortgage reserved for active military members and veterans. These home loans are guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and offered by participating approved lenders such as Greenway Mortgage. VA loans are designed to provide long-term home financing to qualified veterans and, in some cases, their surviving unmarried spouses. In many instances, their interest rates can be better than other conventional loans. Learn more about the VA Loan here.

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Loan: This program is offered to rural property owners with a low-to-moderate income for their area. Learn more about the USDA Loan here.

Down Payment Assistance (DPA) Programs

There are even down payment assistance programs that are designed for home buyers who can afford monthly mortgage payments but don’t have enough money for a down payment. These programs are available county-by county to offer first-time homebuyers’ relief from the costs of purchasing a home. The assistance is provided in form of a loan or grant. Learn more about NJ’s FHA Down Payment Assistance Program here.

Are You Ready to Get Started?

Greenway Mortgage is ready to help you get into the home of your dreams this year. We have many down payment assistance programs that can help you become a homeowner. Start your home buying process today by determining the annual income you’ll need to buy a house. Use our affordability calculator here.

If you’re ready to get pre-approved, you can visit us online here or give us a call 732.832.2967. We are happy to answer any of your questions, choose the right mortgage program for you, as well as walk you through the process from start to finish!


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