Commonly Overlooked Spring Cleaning Hiding Places

Don’t we wish spring cleaning were as simple as Snow White wielding a broom and whistling while she works? It seems no matter how thorough a housekeeper you are, there are a number of spots that tend to get bypassed during your spring-cleaning tirade, only to grow in grime if ignored.

What? You’re one of those people who supposedly leaves no stone unturned as you move through your spring cleaning tasks like a whirling dervish? Realtor.com suggested these areas of your home we can bet you’ll forget to clean this spring as well as what to do about it.

Tile floors and/or countertops have grout that can harbor germs and mold, and a mere swipe of a nubby-sided sponge or a thorough mop job may not cut it. The grout will eventually start to stain, meaning an even bigger cleaning job down the road. Cleaning experts advise wiping the grout with vinegar, then scrubbing it with baking soda and a brush. Yes. On your hands and knees, if need be. Also effective are borax or olive oil-based Castile soap. For in-your-face moldy grout, spray on 3% hydrogen peroxide diluted by half in water and let it steep for 45 minutes, then rinse.

We’re not trying to go existentialist on you, but just because you can’t see dirt doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Picture yourself as a tiny drone buzzing close to the ceiling, photographing anything above your sightline, and you’ll be able to picture where a primo dust collection is taking place. We’re talking door and trim tops, upper kitchen cabinets not attached to the ceiling, stately bookcases as well (as the tops of each book), and on and on. And just think about how anything that started out as dust in your kitchen is now mixed with sticky kitchen grease. It’s the stuff about which obsessive types have nightmares.  How to head off those nightmares? Use a damp cloth to wipe door frames and bookshelves. For greasy gunk, try rubbing dish detergent on, leaving it for a moment, then wiping it off. If that doesn’t cut it, level up to Goo Gone Kitchen Degreaser. And don’t forget light fixtures and ceiling fans that trap bugs and attract dust bunnies.

“Look down” is not just a musical phrase out of a song in Les Mis. Try casting your eyes down into your garbage disposal using a small flashlight to aid your view. But first, prepare your stomach for it. Beside general disgust, you’ll take note of the serious grease buildup that has the potential to seriously back up your sink drains. Attack this by running hot water, turning on the disposal, pouring a tablespoon of dish soap down there, and letting the water run for 15 to 30 seconds. Then turn off the disposal and let the water run until this orifice is bubble-less. Use an angled brush (if you can find one) to scrub the underside of the drain flaps with hot water and dish soap.

Okay, toilets are just naturally disgusting merely by the nature of and reason for their existence, and your toilet brush and holder can make their own horror movies. We know thousands of fastidious people simply give up on the idea of cleaning these things in favor of buying new ones and, of course, that is an option as long as you budget for it. But you can also prevent some germ build-up on your existing implements by spraying down the brush with disinfectant after each use. Use your toilet seat to clamp it down and let it dry awhile, dripping over the bowl. Oh, and spraying warm water mixed with a few capfuls of bleach is also a good remedy. Just be very careful with the bleach.

Drapery is a passive collector of dust, pet hair, odors, and other air gunk. Start with vacuuming them, then determine if they are washable. You can rent a steamer for the really heavy stuff, but the very idea of cleaning a house full of drapery may have you running to a professional.

Oh, and don’t forget the electronics — phones, keyboards, computers, entertainment electronics, etc. All fall into the category of things your grimy fingers touch every day and some heat up, making them dust magnets. Keyboards collect food crumbs (you know how this happens, so don’t pretend you don’t). After carefully flopping your keyboard over to dislodge the crumbs, use a toothpick or Q-tip to dislodge anything stuck in the crevices and swipe the rest with a cotton ball soaked (but not dripping from) in a tiny bit of rubbing alcohol.

Did you know that research shows that cell phones are dirtier than toilet seats? For your phone, grab a dewy-soft microfiber cleaning cloth and spray it with a 50/50 combination of distilled water and vinegar or distilled water and isopropyl alcohol. Wipe down your phone thoroughly without getting it too wet.

Chimneys are serious business and chimney fires are more common than most would think. Don’t want to get up on your own roof risking life and limb to sweep your own chimney? Then call a handy professional for the task, because doing it wrong can have serious consequences. Experts recommend once a year for this at a minimum for optimum fireplace safety.

Have you decided that no amount of spring cleaning is going to make you happy with the house you are currently in?  Maybe now is the time to sell!  Spring is an excellent time to get a home on the market, however, before you do that, Contact Us. We can help you get pre-approved for a mortgage and determine how much house you can buy this next time around.  Rainbow Mortgage, Inc. is a broker so we have access to many different lenders and their loan programs which translates into more options for you!

Source: TBWS

Rainbow Mortgage Inc March Madness

This is Mortgage Madness!

It’s March Madness on and off the court! Rainbow Mortgage Inc. is currently offering so many different unique home loan programs that it’s pure mortgage madness!

1% Down

The buzzer is ticking down and it’ll soon be game over for our 1% down home loan program! This program is perfect for first time home buyers or those who are strapped for cash but have great credit. You, the home buyer puts 1% down, the lender gives you an additional 2%, which gives you 3% equity in your home!

FREE Appraisals

What’s better than seeing your team make it through to the Final Four- getting a FREE appraisal on your home! If you’re looking to purchase a home in either Hennepin or Ramsey County, it qualifies for a free appraisal! No matter what your income is, or if this is your first or 5th home, you’ll save over $500! (other counties may also be eligible, call for details).

High Balance Loans

When it’s tournament time, these teams go big or go home, with our high balance home loans you’re able to go big and go home! Rainbow Mortgage Inc. is offering low-rate conventional loans for homes up to $850,000 with a loan amount as high as of $679, 650. This is big news since these conventional loans allow for lower rates, easier guidelines, and fewer documents than a jumbo loan.

Pre-Qualified

With the fast-moving housing market, it may feel like you’re watching the Selection Show while waiting to hear back if your offer has been accepted. Before the intensity builds, get a letter of pre-qualification. This not only proves to the sellers that you’re a serious contender for the big dance, it gives you an idea of what you can afford. Our pre-qualification process is simple, give us a call today to get it started!

Are you ready for mortgage madness?

Working with Rainbow Mortgage Inc. is always a slam dunk! We’ve been in business for over 19 years and have created systems to produce faster closing loans that require less paperwork. Now is the perfect opportunity to take advantage of our March Mortgage Madness. Call us today, and our team of mortgage experts will start planning your full court press.

The Different Types of Home Mortgage Loans and Which is Right for You

Did you know there are many varieties of home loans, and that not every mortgage is the same? Rainbow Mortgage Inc. is a local mortgage broker with has access to more loan programs than the big banks, ensuring you get the best mortgage loan for your situation. Even though there are many different types of loans, the majority will fall into these categories:

Conventional Loans:

The standard home mortgage loan is a conventional loan. Many people believe you need a 20% down payment when applying for a conventional loan however, this is not true. Rainbow Mortgage Inc. is proud to be one of the few mortgage companies in Minnesota to offer a 1% down payment program.

FHA Loans:

FHA Loans are backed by the US Federal Housing Administration and carry mortgage insurance throughout the life of the loan. FHA Loans have a minimum down payment requirement of 3.5% which can be from a savings account or gifted monies. Not every property qualifies for an FHA loan, but FHA home loans are available to those who have lower credit scores.

VA Loans:

Active duty military members and veterans of all military branches are eligible for a VA Home Loan. Two of the best perks of a VA Loan are the lower rates and that there is no down payment required! In addition, a VA Loan provides the option of a cash-out-refinance for up to 100% of the home’s value for any reason.

Jumbo Loans:

In most counties, a home mortgage larger than $453,100 is considered jumbo! These loans typically require higher rates than conventional and FHA loans.  However, Rainbow Mortgage Inc. is now able to offer a high balance loan option (loan amount from $453,100-$679,650) while still keeping the loan “conventional”.  This option allows for lower rates, easier guidelines, and fewer documents than a jumbo loan.

USDA Loans:

For those looking for a home in a rural area, the home may qualify for a USDA Home Loan. This government loan program is designed to improve the economy and quality of life in rural areas. Although there are income limitations with this program, the loans have lower rates and don’t require a down payment.

Specialty Home Loans:

As a Twin Cities mortgage broker, our team has access to more lenders with more loan products than the big or local banks do. If you have a unique situation (self-employed, unemployed, need down payment assistance, or have had credit issues), we can help find the best home loan program for your scenario. At Rainbow Mortgage Inc. we never say “no”, we say “not now” as we’ll work with you create a plan to help you achieve your housing goals.

 

Ready to Learn More?

Contact the experienced mortgage brokers at Rainbow Mortgage Inc. to learn more about any of these programs and get started today!

4 Questions to Ask Your Lender If You’re Going Through a Divorce

During a divorce, one of the largest hang ups can be the real estate. Not only do the separating parties have to decide who is keeping the home and who is relocating, but there has to be consideration on what both parties can afford. Finding the mortgage expert to help answer divorce and mortgage questions is essential for a fluid divorce proceeding. Before choosing any given local mortgage broker company, ask these questions to ensure you’re in good hands:

Have you worked with clients who are currently going through a divorce? If so, for how long?

Rainbow Mortgage Inc. has been working with clients going through divorce since 2004. Since then, we’ve built a reputation as being the mortgage and divorce experts, while finding creative solutions to complex financial situations. We’ve worked alongside dozens of attorneys and have gained their trust while handling complicated transactions during a divorce.

Will you work with my attorney to ensure they’re up to date on my loan’s process?

Our goal is to save you time, money, legal fees, and trips to court by working with your attorney. We take the time to meet and work with your attorney to ensure that your goals are met and you’re able to get into your home whether it’s through a refinance or a purchase.

Will you read over my divorce decree to ensure I’ll be able to achieve my financial and housing goals?

Our Twin Cities mortgage experts prefer to read your divorce decree before it’s sent to the judge to be signed. This way, we can ensure the wording will allow you to obtain your goals and will not hinder your loan process. If your decree has already been signed, we can still look it over, however, it may need some adjustments which the judge will have to sign off on.

I was the homemaker while we were together, will I still be able to afford a new home?

Yes! If you have reentered the work force and are working full time, you only need to provide one full pay stub. If you’re going to be working part time, there are other conditions that apply.  Some programs even allow a letter of employment to be used in lieu of a pay stub.  Give us a call for more details on what you need to qualify for your loan.

 

Getting a mortgage after a divorce doesn’t have to be difficult. Contact the local mortgage advisors at Rainbow Mortgage Inc. to have all your mortgage and divorce questions answered today!

2018 Financial Resolutions

It’s not too late to start your 2018 Resolutions!

More than 25% of people who make a New Year’s Resolution include a financial goal on their list.  Here are the four most common finance-related New Year’s Resolutions, and how you can easily follow them throughout the entire year!

 

1) Monitor Your Credit Score

Don’t put yourself in a situation where you apply for a loan and have to hope your credit score is good enough. Monitoring your credit score is easy to do and should be done every few months. Keeping an eye on your credit is not only beneficial when applying for a home mortgage loan or credit card, but you’ll also be able to see if there are any fraudulent accounts opened in your name. Federal law allows you to get a FREE copy of your credit report every 12 months from each credit reporting company to determine if the information on your credit report is accurate and up to date. You can check your credit for free at www.annualcreditreport.com.

2) Track Your Expenses

The best way to manage your money is to know exactly where it is going. You can start tracking your expenses by writing down where you’re spending your money. You may be surprised to find out how much you’re actually spending, and how those Target runs and extra items at the grocery store really do add up. Once you see your spending habits, you’ll be able to find areas you can cut back and set a realistic budget.

3) Cash Diet

 After the holidays, you and your bank account may be feeling a little sluggish. If you’re like me, you’ve indulged in too many cookies and drinks and swiped your card too many times over the last few months. Consider helping your waistline and your budget by going on a cash diet by only paying with cash. When physically handing over cash, you’re seeing the money leaving your possession at that very moment. Unlike when you swipe your card, you generally won’t experience the same feeling until you check your bank statement to see all of the transactions at which point it’s too late.

4) Save

I am fairly sure that there isn’t a single person who hasn’t thought “I wish I would have saved more” at one time in their life. It is never too late to start saving, and it’s ok to start small. The easiest way to start is to set up automatic transfers from your checking account to your savings account every month. Setting a goal will also help you save. It’s great to say, “I’ll save more” but setting a specific goal will make it easier for you to see your progress and achieve your goal.

 

If your New Year’s Resolution is to save for your next home, ask our Twin Cities mortgage team about our low-down home mortgage payment options. You may only have to save 1% of the home’s value to be approved for a home loan! Rainbow Mortgage Inc. is one of the few independent home mortgage companies in Minnesota to offer this unique program. Learn more about our 1% Down Payment program and start your 2018 New Year’s Resolution today!       

Rainbow Mortgage Inc.

3300 Edinborough Way #550

Edina, MN 55435

 NMLS# 345827 || 952-405-2090|| www.rainbowmortgageinc.com|| dave@rainbowmortgageinc.com

Mortgage Myths

Mortgage Myths: Busted!

When you mention you are about to buy a house, there’s a chance that your friends and family will give you their advice on how to get a mortgage or tips they’ve heard before. While some of the advice may be helpful, you should most likely proceed with caution since rules, regulations, and programs change all the time in the mortgage loan world. Here are the top 5 mortgage myths that we hear from our clients.

1) You need excellent credit to qualify.

Typically, a credit score of 670 is “good” and higher scores will generally help keep your interest rates lower- saving you money! Each specific loan program has a different credit requirement; some FHA loans can be done with a 600 or even a 500 credit score. While your credit score is a key factor, lenders look at other items while reviewing your mortgage loan application too. Ask us what programs your score qualifies for, or how to improve it if you’re not satisfied with your current credit score.

2) If you get pre-qualified, you definitely get a loan.

It’s advised that you get a letter of prequalification before you start looking for a home, and you may think this means you’re guaranteed a loan, but that’s not the case. The mortgage pre-qualification process determines the amount of home you’ll be eligible to purchase, based off of your income, credit score and a few other factors. Your pre-qualification letter is not a binding agreement or a specific offer to lend, as you’ll have to provide further documentation once you’re ready to move forward with the loan process and have found a house!

3) You need a significant down payment to purchase a home.

It’s been programmed in our minds that a 20% down payment is needed to purchase a home. It is not a requirement, but is an ideal amount. There are many loan programs out there that work with significantly lower down payments for those who may be strapped for cash, some programs even accept 1% or 3.5% down. The government also offers a few programs that require no down payment. Both the USDA and VA Loans offer mortgage loans without down payments! Keep in mind that if you do not put 20% down, you may be required to pay mortgage insurance. Adding that additional insurance will be important to factor into your monthly mortgage payment.

4) A 30-year loan is the best option.

A loan with a 30 year term may be the best option if you are looking to keep your payments lower, however, lower interest rates are usually offered with lower term mortgages. A 15-year mortgage may be the best option because of the amount of interest you’ll save over the life of the loan, however, your payment will most likely be higher than the 30 year option because of the shorter term of the loan (must be paid off in 15 years versus 30). Another low payment, low interest rate option would be an ARM or an Adjustable Rate Mortgage, where the interest rate periodically changes to reflect the market conditions. The rate may go up, causing your payment to go up, or it may go down, causing your payment to decrease. Consider each of these options when deciding which loan option is best for you! As a local mortgage broker, we’re able to shop around and find the different loan options so you don’t have to.

5) Student debt will prevent you from buying a home.

While it may be true that student loan debt may hinder your ability to purchase a home, new guideline changes have made it a bit easier. The debt-to-income ratio was increased to 50% since many of the first-time mortgage applicants looking to buy a home currently have student loan debt. Before this increase, borrowers had to fit all of their monthly debt obligations (including the presumed mortgage) within 45% of their pre-tax income. Even though the ratio has been increased, consider if it is right for your budget to have approximately 50% of your budget going towards debt.

These mortgage myths just break the surface on all of the free-floating mortgage advice. Have further questions on your situation, give us a call!

 

Rainbow Mortgage Inc.

3300 Edinborough Way #550

Edina, MN 55435

 NMLS# 345827 || 952-405-2090|| www.rainbowmortgageinc.com|| dave@rainbowmortgageinc.com

Three Credit Mistakes to Avoid When Going Through Divorce

Going through a divorce is a very challenging time for most people, parenting plans, splitting of assets, who gets the dog and so on. One area that many divorcing couples overlook is the effects of their divorce on their credit score. Simple things can reduce your score overnight by over 100 points or more if you are not careful. Here are three mistakes to avoid if you are going through a divorce.

  1. Stop paying your bills.

    The number one category for credit scoring is how well you pay your bills. Payment history makes up 35% of the credit score. Many times when couples split up before the divorce is final or they ever meet with an attorney, they will stop making payments on their credit accounts. If you stop paying credit cards, car loans or mortgages it will adversely affect your credit score and can prevent you from refinancing your home, purchasing a new one, renting or even buying a new car.

    A better plan is to freeze all revolving accounts so additional debt cannot be added to the family budget. You must continue to make the minimum monthly payments on the credit cards, and make your payments as usual on your auto loans and home loans. These simple steps will protect your credit score for future use and limit the amount of debt the family will have post decree.

  2. Over Charging/Going over the Limit on your credit cards

    Another large part of the credit score is your available credit.  If you go over the limit, I have seen scores drop over 125 points in one day by just adding $200.00 of debt.  The $200.00 in debt put two credit cards over the limit causing the client to go from a 667 credit score to a 542 credit score, that changed their loan from approved to denied.  Over charging or going over the limit can happen when one of the spouses moves out and uses joint accounts to furnish the new residence or it can occur if you are using your credit card to pay your attorney fees with credit cards.

    A better plan is for each spouse to get their own credit upon one or the other moving out so that all expenses are traceable to each party.  As mentioned in mistake number one, freeze the account so that no additional debt can be incurred. Finally, if you cannot get a new card and you are getting close to a limit, call the credit card company to increase your credit limit.  Credit card companies are more likely to increase credit lines if you are abiding by your contract limits, once you go over the limit they are less likely to assist you.

  3. Closing Accounts

    We see this one a lot!  When couples are faced with divorce, they want to protect themselves from further loss.  Couples either on their own or at the advice of their attorney close all the credit account, sometimes, due to circumstances surrounding the divorce, closing the accounts may be advisable.  However, if the divorce is amicable and there is some trust left, leave the accounts open, at least until you have your housing situation squared away.  I recently had a client that had a 744 credit score, it took them 6 months to complete the divorce.  In the process of the divorce they, paid off all the credit card debt and closed them, sold the house, and paid off the car loans.  You would think with no debt the credit score would be over 800!  The facts of the matter turned out to be the exact opposite.  At the time we needed a 640 credit score to qualify for a home loan, the credit score dropped to an amazingly low 636!

    A better plan would be to again freeze the credit card accounts and active lines of credit so that no additional debt jointly held debt would be obtained.  You can always payoff accounts, you just want to leave them open long enough to obtain your home loan financing.

 

Should you have any questions regarding this article, or any home financing questions, please feel free to contact Dave Jamison at 952-405-2090.

David Jamison is an Accredited Speaker and presenter of Continuing Law Education on the subject of Divorce and Mortgage, A Certified Mortgage Divorce Planning Professional, Certified Mortgage Planning Specialist  and Dave has been featured on 980 am Radio as a Divorce Mortgage Specialist.