Homeownership is the number one way for Americans to build wealth. Renting, on the other hand, builds no equity and subjects tenants to an inexorable climb in the cost of rent. Before looking for a home, it's important to plan. Six months before starting a home search, check your credit report. Correct any errors and see if you can do anything to improve your score such as paying off a credit card.
Also, avoid financing any big purchases or increasing the balances on your credit cards. As the homebuying season approaches, create a homebuying checklist. This checklist will save time, define a realistic price range and help you find the perfect home.
Here are some important checklist items:
Many homebuyers become emotionally attached to a home only to discover they can't afford it. This wastes time and makes the experience unpleasant, causing them to start again from square one. To avoid this, define a budget based on your current income, then use a mortgage loan calculator to determine the price range that fits.
Remember that the mortgage isn't the only cost of ownership. Be sure your estimate factors in other costs, such as:
Never home shop without a mortgage pre-approval. The pre-approval shows the seller you are serious, which gives you leverage in negotiations. It also defines the maximum price you can consider.
Keep in mind that just because a bank approves you for a maximum amount doesn't mean you can really afford it. You have to look at your own budget, spending habits and upcoming potential expenses that the bank has no way of knowing. For example, if you plan to have children and will need daycare, will the increased costs of child-rearing put you in the red?
Finding the right loan officer makes all the difference. Good loan officers have access to many home loan options and can suggest the right loans for you. For example, HomeTown Lenders' loan officers provide all types of loans, from conventional/jumbo to FHA, VA and USDA.
HomeTown can help you find a great real estate agent in the area, you can be assured of working with an experienced agent who understands the nuances of the neighborhood and municipality you are considering. Real estate is very local, so you want someone who's plugged into the community.
List what's important, including items such as:
A column for wants and a column for needs work best.
The homebuying process takes time and effort, but it's always worthwhile to find the right house. Shopping online, visiting open houses and reviewing suggestions from your real estate agent should all be part of your checklist.
Buying a home can feel overwhelming. Many homebuyers find that getting advice from family members and friends helps them gain different perspectives and identify pitfalls. Organizing important steps in a checklist helps you stay organized and focused on finding your dream home.
HomeTown can help you with each step in the process. Click here to get connected and learn about the HomeTown Advantage.
HomeTown Lenders, Inc. has taken another big step toward becoming one of the best mortgage companies in the country!
HomeTown Lenders has added on two amazing co-managers, Chris Kelso and Cary Cox, to aid with expansion in the greater Houston area as well as the Texas Market across the state.
The two of them, along with their great team, generate an estimated $180 million in annual mortgage volume. The partnership is the latest in HomeTown's aggressive market expansion with Texas being one of the company's key states in their Vision plan updated in 2017.
"We were looking to expand our footprint in the state of Texas and we found the right guys to help us do that in the form of Chris and Cary. When we met those two, we knew they operated under the same core values and work ethic we do and would be a great fit," said Billy Taylor, CEO of HomeTown Lenders, Inc. "At the end of the day we were really looking for individuals with the right character. We found that with Chris and Cary and know growth will follow."
HomeTown operates on a simple philosophy: Recruit the best, Retain who we have, and Remember who got us here. That philosophy is continuing to push them to new heights during this extended period of growth.
"I was looking for a mortgage company that represents what I stand for in Faith, Hope, and Passion," said Chris Kelso, Branch Manager. "I found not only the right company in HomeTown, but also the right Family!"
HomeTown offers several unique selling points that can vary based on each individual case, but at the core, it's putting each other first and allowing their branches to use their own creativity to flourish and surpass their goals.
Cary Cox, Branch Manager, stated, "Coming to HomeTown allowed me to focus all my energy on my passion for Reverse Mortgages as well as share my passion with the growth of this great product across the company."
"They have built a great staff on the same set of principles as our team has built HomeTown. Their commitment to their trade is obvious and we're really excited at the prospect of what we can do together," said John Taylor, President of HomeTown Lenders, Inc. "When we partner with new branches, we look for certain key characteristics: How they handle their consumers as well as how they treat each other, and these guys knocked it out of the park in all areas. They are really a standout group and we're proud to be associated with them."
HomeTown now has 6 brick and mortar locations in and around the Houston market as well as offices in the Dallas market, Harlingen, Victoria, McAllen, Tyler, San Antonio and growing. For anyone that is not within commutable distance to one of our brick and mortar locations, don't worry, HomeTown's online platform can still allow a full process from a remote location.
Keller, a Branch Manager of Southtown Mortgage, in Moody, AL, spearheaded a campaign for his Teamworx group to fill a need that he saw in his community. He was able to successfully provide 75 bicycles and 35 gift cards for children and teens of Big Oak Ranch.
“I have always wanted to give back to kids at Christmas time and truly felt called to action to do this for the Big Oaks Ranch, so I got together with my Teamworx group and we made it happen!” Keller exclaimed.
Keller was also aided on this project by Shane Ray, the co-Manager of the Southtown office.
Not only does the Southtown branch make sure to be proactive during the holidays, but they also continuously give to Mission Firefly at the rate of $200 per funded loan!!
Mission Firefly is a 501(c)3 that was started by HomeTown’s CEO and Owner, Billy Taylor, in 2009. The non-profit has provided clean water to over 50,000 individuals living impoverished countries across the world, mostly in Guatemala, as well as serving locally to feed almost 200 children weekly through a service called Lunches of Love.
“Keller and Shane are the types of guys that we look for in partners, they have been here going on 5 years now and we hope they retire with us. They quickly realized the “WHY” in the way HomeTown operates and made it their own. Their loan donations have helped so many of those in need and we are grateful to work with them,” Logan Hoffman, Public Relations, stated.
“What Keller and Shane have done from a philanthrophy standpoint is really exciting and shows they are the embodiment of what makes Hometown Lenders a great company” said John Taylor, President of Hometown Lenders, Inc.”They truly understand that our business is a vehicle to do great things in our local communities. Keller and Shane are shining examples of what it means to build a legacy instead of an inheritance” Taylor said.
Southtown Mortgage is a D.B.A. of Hometown Lenders, Inc.
Hometown Lenders, Inc. is an Equal Housing Lender.
Billy Taylor, the CEO and Owner of HomeTown Lenders, believes in the importance of human compassion. A hardworking businessman, he started Huntsville, Alabama-based HomeTown Lenders in 2000. He relentlessly focused on expansion, building the company into a network of branch locations that spans 38 states as of 2018.
A strong believer in the people before profits philosophy, Taylor went into business believing that success comes from building relationships and treating customers right. He credits HomeTown Lender's success to the disciplined following of faith-based values.
This philosophy paid off in a big way. Taylor, along with his colleagues at HomeTown Lenders, felt that sharing the wealth they created must be their top priority. Money is not something people should hoard or spend on extravagances, especially when there are so many people in need. From a melding of business acumen and faith-based values, in 2009, Mission Firefly was born.
While on a mission trip to Guatemala, he noticed the dire poverty of so many Guatemalans. Despite the country's natural beauty and wonderful people, there was little or no opportunity for most impoverished Guatemalans.
They lacked access to the basics, such as clean drinking water, ample and safe nutritious foods, education and health care. Guatemalan children needed help to escape the cycle of poverty.
Taylor acted. With the help of his colleagues at HomeTown Lenders, he created Mission Firefly. They established it as a 501(c)3 separate from HomeTown Lenders, though HomeTown Lenders employees are very involved.
As a result, they were able to use the fruits of their labors to do charitable works. Mission Firefly has made tremendous progress in helping impoverished people survive and escape poverty, but there is still much more work to be done.
The mission also brings health care to communities lacking hospitals and doctors. Education is provided for children, and economic development programs bring jobs to the struggling regions. This comprehensive approach helps people on a holistic level.
It is not enough to just provide food and drinking water. People also need a hand up the economic ladder, and that means economic development that includes business and job opportunities.
Mission Firefly also helps churches adopt impoverished villages around the globe. Once a church embraces a community, the congregation provides help in the form of food, clothing, shelter and education. In time, church members are also able to share the joy of their faith.
Billy Taylor and Hometown Lenders are proud to help local children in Alabama as well. They recognized the needs in their own community and had taken action with programs that provide nutritional and educational help to children in need.
No child should go hungry. Hunger harms their growth and distracts them from school. Mission Firefly works to eliminate this problem among Alabama children. Below are three examples of projects Mission Firefly is most proud of:
Mission Firefly has brought clean water sources to all Guatemalan villages it works to help. This gives the communities the ongoing, stable resource of clean water, so they can focus on further development rather than seeking clean water and combating waterborne illness. Mission Firefly thanks the over 50,000 youth who helped make this a reality.
Malnutrition among Alabama children must be stopped. Mission Firefly launched the Lunches of Love program to provide school lunches to needy children. The mission focused on providing healthy food that improves school experience. It also provides assistance to kids who need food on the weekends.
Mission Firefly shows that business profits can be used to fulfill faith-based charitable works. Moral values made the company a successful enterprise. These values are now putting the wealth HomeTown Lenders built to work for the good of people everywhere.