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Start Saving for a Home in Your 20s

September 2023 | By Pat Dolon

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While it might seem like buying a home is for married couples or those in their 30s and beyond, there’s no age requirement! If you’re in your 20s and aiming to buy a home soon, these essential tips will guide you toward your goal.

Look at Your Budget

Taking a close look at your salary and budget is a crucial initial step when considering saving for a home in your 20s. Understanding your income and expenses allows you to assess your financial capacity realistically.

By evaluating your salary, you can determine how much you can afford to allocate toward savings each month. Analyzing your budget helps identify areas where you can cut back on non-essential expenses and redirect those funds towards your goal. By establishing a good savings plan early on, you can build a solid financial foundation!

Start a Savings Plan Now

Initiating a savings plan early on is vital for aspiring homeowners in their 20s. Time is a valuable asset when it comes to saving for a home.

By starting now, you can take advantage of compound interest and give your savings a significant boost. It allows you to accumulate a larger down payment, improve your credit score and establish a healthy financial habit. By prioritizing saving and diligently contributing to your funds, you increase your chances of achieving your goal of purchasing a home in your 20s and setting yourself up for future financial stability.

Consider Your Credit Score

Assessing your credit score is a crucial step when aiming to purchase a home in your 20s. Lenders heavily rely on credit scores to determine your eligibility for a mortgage and the interest rate you’ll receive.

By reviewing your credit score now, you can identify any potential issues and take steps to improve it. If you don’t yet have a credit history, consider looking into getting a credit card or opening a savings-secured loan that can help you build credit fast! Maintaining a good credit score helps secure favorable loan terms and lower interest rates, resulting in significant long-term savings.

Looking for mortgage loan options? Contact Trusted American Mortgage today!

Copyright © 2023 Trusted American Mortgage

Decorating Your Home on a Budget 

August 2023 | By Pat Donlon

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Decorating your home on a budget doesn’t mean sacrificing style or charm. There are plenty of creative ways to transform your living space without breaking the bank.

Reuse and Recycle

Before buying new, look around your home for any furniture or decor pieces that could use an upgrade. Repurposing items you already have that you aren’t using is a great way to save, while also helping out the earth! With a fresh coat of paint or some DIY modifications, old furniture can be given a new life.

Also, check out your local thrift stores and flea markets, as they are usually treasure troves for unique and affordable decor pieces. Look for vintage artwork, decorative accents or even furniture that can be refurbished to match your style. You never know what you will stumble upon, you may even end up finding something one of a kind!

Embrace the Power of DIY Projects

From creating your own artwork to crafting personalized decorative items, DIY allows you to add a personal touch to your home while keeping costs low. You can create something that perfectly matches your style and color scheme, all while staying within your budget.

Consider these budget-friendly DIY projects, or stop by your local craft store and see what you can find! Creating something uniquely curated to your home will add a personal, aesthetic flare, while also saving you money.

Small Changes That Make a Big Impact

Never underestimate the impact of small changes. Simple updates like rearranging furniture, updating lighting, adding new throw pillows or curtains and incorporating indoor plants can breathe new life into your home without breaking your budget. Sensory items, like candles, wax warmers and oil diffusers, are another easy thing that can help make your home smell nice and feel cozier.

These DIY hacks, like these paint and wallpaper tricks, are another simple and affordable way to spruce up your living space.

With a little creativity and resourcefulness, you can easily achieve a stylish and inviting home without spending a fortune.

If you’re considering selling and buying a new house soon, keep our mortgage options in mind.

Copyright © 2023 Trusted American Mortgage

 Ways to Boost the Value of Your Home
July 2023 | By Pat Donlon

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If you are considering buying a new home soon, there are many ways you can increase your home’s value now.

Get Rid of Unwanted Items & Clean Your Space

A clean, well-maintained home is much more appealing to buyers than a dirty living space. Presenting a clean home to potential buyers shows that you value and take good care of your space, making it more enticing on the market.

An easy way to increase your home’s value is by thoroughly sanitizing and decluttering your space. Clean out your basement or attic space, your drawers and cabinets, and behind furniture. Clean behind kitchen and bathroom appliances, under beds, and in any other nooks and crannies that can trap dirt.

Also, make trash and donation bins for things you no longer need. Not only will it help increase your home’s worth, but you will also have a cleaner, cozier place to live! Look into local thrift stores or churches that accept donations and make use of your unwanted items.

Go Green

Another way to increase the value of your home is by making sustainable changes that lower your energy bill. Simple fixes like changing the type of lightbulbs you use, or bigger projects like replacing your thermostat with a smart thermostat can help decrease energy costs.

Are your home’s windows up to date? Inefficient windows can allow air to seep through tiny cracks, causing your AC units to use more energy to control the temperature in your home. Upgrading the windows in your home can be a more expensive investment that will help you save money on your energy bills in the long term.

Work on the Exterior of Your Home

The outside of your home is the first thing anyone sees when they drive by. Working on your curb appeal can increase the value of your home and make it more desirable for potential buyers. Consider removing clutter, power-washing your driveway, mowing your lawn, planting flowers or even painting your front door.

Ready to move into a new home? Contact Trusted American Mortgage to get a mortgage that works for you and your family!

Copyright © 2023 Trusted American Mortgage

Is Home Staging Worth the Cost?

June 2023 | By Pat Donlon

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A significant part of selling your home is getting it ready for prospective buyers. While you love the space and all the memories your family has made, interested buyers may not feel the same way when they walk in the door.

The key is to help others feel at home in the space. Too many personal trinkets laying around may inhibit buyers’ ability to picture themselves in the home, and barren walls and a lack of furniture may make the space feel unwelcoming for some. You have to strike the right balance.

What Is Home Staging?

Home staging involves temporarily furnishing and decorating a home to prepare it for sale. The point is to help potential buyers fall in love with the property and picture their family in the home.

Home staging can mean a lot of things—smaller cleaning, painting and decorative changes or larger projects, such as knocking down walls or moving in big pieces of furniture. Depending on your current home, there may be a bigger need for home staging.

Benefits of Home Staging

Can home staging be done by you, the seller? Yes, absolutely.

But there are some benefits to hiring a home staging company. It can take part of the stress away from putting a home on the market. You have enough to deal with already!

Another benefit of home staging is increasing the appeal of the property to prospective buyers. This can also help your home listing stand out online and potentially increase your home’s selling price.

Disadvantages of Home Staging

The biggest drawback of home staging is the cost. It’s no secret this process is an investment! While home staging costs vary greatly by geographic location and overall needs for the home, you can expect to pay several thousand dollars.

Additionally, you will need a place to store your personal items, and if you don’t have a current home to do so, a storage unit will add to the expenses.

Is Home Staging Worth It?

In short, if you’re looking for a quick sale and a higher asking price on your home, then yes, home staging just may be worth it. On average, staging helps houses sell 88% faster and for 20% more compared to non-staged homes.

If it’s within your budget, you may be able to reap the benefits of home staging!

Are you looking to purchase a new home while yours is on the market? Visit us today to learn about our mortgage options!

Copyright © 2023 Trusted American Mortgage

Is It Time to Upgrade to a Larger Home?

May 2023 | By Pat Donlon

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Purchasing a new home is not a small decision. There are many factors to consider, including the financial obligation, a larger space to maintain and moving your family. But there are times when upgrading to a more spacious home makes sense for your lifestyle.

Your Family Is Growing

Adding to your growing family is a great reason to upgrade to a larger home. More family members typically mean you’ll need more bedrooms and general living space.

You’re more likely to feel overrun, overwhelmed and cramped in a tight living environment.

Your Current Space Feels Cramped

Having a cluttered space is not an excuse for getting a larger home. Clutter will follow you around, regardless of how big your home is.

Having a cramped space is another story. Feeling uncomfortable in a small home can be caused by many factors, including just not having adequate space for your family size or having a home with an odd layout. If there isn’t an open floor plan or enough natural lighting, your home can feel smaller than it actually is.

You Plan on Moving, Anyway

There are so many reasons why you’d want to move to a new home or location. Maybe you’re looking to shorten your commute or get into a better school district. Perhaps you’re looking to move closer to family, to a state you’ve always wanted to live in or into a different neighborhood.

If any of these reasons fit the bill, and you need more space anyway, purchasing a larger home just makes sense.

You Have the Budget

A larger space will almost always equate to a higher mortgage and additional upkeep costs. Figuring out how much of a mortgage you can afford is key when searching for a new home. If you need or want a larger space and can comfortably afford it in your desired neighborhood, it may be worth moving into your dream home!

Moving into a larger home is a big decision! There are so many things to consider when purchasing a new house and moving your family.

Have you made the decision to purchase a new home? Visit us today to learn more about our mortgage process!

Copyright © 2023 Trusted American Mortgage

Getting Your Family Ready for the Big Move

April 2023 | By Pat Donlon

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Moving from one home to another is a big transition for your family. If you have little ones, it is important to make the switch easier for them in every way possible.

You may be excited about the next step in your life, but sometimes, kids need a little extra help to see the positives in getting a new room, starting a new school and making new friends.

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

It’s easy to become busy looking at new homes, getting your finances in order and decluttering an entire house. Even if you think children aren’t noticing the changes, they likely are. Communication is key—with every member of the family.

When you decide it’s time to purchase a new home, make it known. Get your kids involved with the house-choosing process and let them view pictures of their potential new home. Talk to them about the neighborhoods you’re looking at and take a drive around those areas, if you can.

Maintain Routines

Picking up and moving from one home to another is sure to interrupt everyone’s routine. Early childhood experts agree that routines benefit both children and adults in many ways.

Younger kids may feel stressed when moving into a new environment, especially when their routines are disrupted.

When it’s possible, be sure to implement routines and schedules for the entire family. This likely will not happen right away, as bedrooms may not be finished and personal items may not be unpacked but try to keep to your routines as much as you can both before, during and after the big move.

Plan Activities After the Move

Moving to a new neighborhood can be stressful for any child. Leaving behind familiarity may feel stressful. To help your children integrate into their new home and new school, research local activities they may be interested in.

Does the library offer groups or clubs? Does their new school offer sports they enjoy? What about enrolling them in a local age-appropriate karate class so they can get to know others in the area? The key is to get them out of the house and involved within the community!

Moving is an exciting time, but it is a big transition for everyone. These tips can help make the process more seamless and positive for the entire family, including young children.

Are you ready to apply for a mortgage and find the home of your dreams? Visit our website today to learn more about our loan and mortgage programs!

Copyright © 2023 Trusted American Mortgage 

When Is the Right Time to Buy a House?

March 2023 | By Pat Donlon

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Buying a home is a big decision! There are many factors that go into when is the perfect time to purchase your new house, including when you’re personally ready for the financial obligation and when the market is generally considered to be at its best.

According to the Market

Did you know there are better times than others to purchase a home throughout the year? It may be a good idea to figure out when the ideal times to buy are, so you get the best rates possible.

Market research has shown that homebuyers receive the best interest rates in the fall and early winter. On the contrary, homebuyers who purchase homes in the summer will likely pay above market value.

According to Your Situation

Purchasing a home can happen at any age. The National Association of Realtors found that the median age for a first-time homebuyer in 2017 was 32. In general, you should be able to comfortably afford monthly payments, be able to make repairs as needed and plan to live in the home long enough to cover buying and selling costs.

While you can typically purchase a home anywhere as long as you’re over the age of 18, there are perks to buying young. As you build equity on your property, you are putting your money toward a potential future investment, as opposed to wasting money on rent month after month.

At the end of the day, being able to financially afford a home is the most important factor. If your finances are not yet up to par, consider taking more time to build up your savings or boost your credit score before applying for a mortgage.


While there are situations that may arise that can affect your home-buying situation, there are many factors to consider when searching for a new home. In order to ensure you are getting the most bang for your buck, think about the season you are purchasing your home in and how secure your personal finances are.

When you’re interested in purchasing a new home, be sure to do some research. A house is a long-term investment and can improve or hinder your finances!

Interested in learning about mortgage options? We are here for you! Visit our website today to learn more about getting a mortgage for your new home.

Copyright © 2023 Trusted American Mortgage

Minimalist Decorating for Your New Home

February 2023 | By Pat Donlon

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Moving into a new home is a great opportunity to create a space that is all your own. It is also a great time to get rid of the excess that cluttered up your old home and decorate your new place in a more minimalist fashion.

Minimalism doesn’t always mean bare walls and a bland color palette. It typically means a more simplified style with less clutter taking up valuable space.

While everyone has their own idea of what a minimalist home is, there are many ways to create a cozy, decluttered space where you’ll feel less stressed, more balanced and relaxed.

Consider Multi-Purpose Furniture

A great way to get the functional pieces you need for a comfortable home, while keeping a clutter-free space, is getting multipurpose furniture. For example, it is easy for a coffee table to become cluttered with remotes, books and other things.

Instead of dealing with the constant clutter, consider purchasing an ottoman that can hide these items or a new coffee table that doubles as a covered storage unit.

Increase the Lighting

Bright, warm light makes any space feel more welcoming. Especially in a smaller area, light is your best friend.

This could mean switching your current window treatments to a sheerer option or opening the curtains daily to bring the natural light indoors. If windows are sparse in your new home, consider adding more lamps and light fixtures to improve the brightness in your home.

Pops of Color

The last thing you want to do in a bright, clean space is clutter up the area with lots of color, patterns and textures. Instead, consider adding subtle pops of color.

This is a great way to add your personal style to your space without going overboard with color stimuli.

Additional Minimalist Decorating Tips

One of the best ways to keep up with your minimalist and tidy aesthetic is to declutter often. Don’t let items build up within your home; consider letting go of something when purchasing something similar.

When it comes to holiday decor, consider keeping it neutral and simple. Choose pieces that can easily integrate into your current decor and can store away in your storage spaces. Be festive—but keep your clutter-free space in mind!

When you’re ready to start fresh in a new space, we can help you get there with a mortgage that fits your needs. Contact us to learn about our mortgage options!

Copyright © 2023 Trusted American Mortgage


Deciding What You’re Looking for in a Home

January 2023 | By Pat Donlon

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When it’s time to begin the new house search, you may be left feeling a bit lost. Sure, you have a few must-haves on your list, but how well have you really thought through what you want in your new home?

Not knowing exactly what you’re looking for in a new house can cause unnecessary stress and elongate the search. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, neither will your realtor!

What’s Your Budget?

One of the first things you consider when purchasing a new home is how much you can afford. Determine whether you are willing to pay more for a turnkey property, or if you have some flexibility with a fixer-upper.

Location, Location, Location

How flexible are you with your preferred location? Are you willing to live farther away from the city’s center if that means fitting more space within your budget?

Also, consider your prospective home’s location in terms of your commute to work and recreational activities. If your family is active and running around every weekend, it may not make the most sense to purchase a home that is far away from events, activities and family or friends.

Is Outdoor Space Important?

Outdoor space can be a great addition to any property, but it’s also a lot of work. If you’re willing to put in the time and effort into maintaining a lawn, a big backyard can be a great area to host family events, cookouts or just hang out with your kids.

Think About Indoor Space

Ask yourself about the indoor space you’d like, and what you really need. For example, if you work remotely, an office would likely be at the top of your list. If your family is always entertaining others and hosting gatherings, a spacious dining room and large kitchen would be ideal.

If neither of these things is relevant to you, then a dining area that fits 10 people or a kitchen with a huge island and double oven would likely not fit your needs.

Be Flexible and Realistic

What are your absolute must-haves, and what are you just not willing to budge on?

If these fit into your budget, and there are available properties that fit your criteria, great! If not, it may be time to get back to the drawing board.

When you’re ready to start the home-buying process, we’re here for you! Contact us today to learn about our mortgage options.

Copyright © 2023 Trusted American Mortgage

Decorating Ideas for Small Spaces

December 2022 | By Pat Donlon

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You love your new home, but there is that one room that you wish was just a little bit more spacious.

Before you put the room on the back burner and decorate the rest of the house, check out these ways you can decorate your small spaces to make them feel comfortable and cozy!


The first, and potentially most important part of decorating a compact space, is reducing clutter. Nothing makes a room appear smaller than a bunch of knick-knacks everywhere.

Before you can even think about decorating, take time to declutter and organize. When you’re moving into a new home, that may mean weeding out items as you unpack.

Add Organization

Once your space is decluttered, it would be a good idea to prevent clutter from building up again. Having small space storage solutions can be a game-changer.

The key here is to give every item a home and when items no longer seem to fit, it may be time for another decluttering session.

Create a Monotone Space

Keeping the walls, rugs and furniture different shades of the same hue gives an illusion of a larger space. Since the area is not being visually broken up, it appears more cohesive and, in turn, more spacious than it actually is.

Brighten It Up

Natural light is ideal for keeping a room open and bright, but that isn’t always possible. Add lamps where you can and aim for paint colors that help small spaces appear larger.

Add Greenery

Bringing the outdoors inside is a great way to add depth to any space. Greenery helps a space feel more light and airy.

Plus, plants have a bunch of other benefits outside of looking pretty in your home, which we consider to be a win-win.

Keep It Minimal

After you’ve decluttered, added small-space storage solutions and painted the walls a similar hue as the carpeting, it is important to maintain all of your hard work. Keeping the decor minimal can help your space remain decluttered and minimize sensory overload in the small area.

Small spaces can be just as beautiful and cozy as larger spaces! With some tweaks to your current storage options and some TLC, the small spaces in your home will make you smile in no time.

Ready to upgrade your home for a larger space? Contact us today to learn about our mortgage options!

Copyright © 2022 Trusted American Mortgage

Top Upgrades to Boost the Value of Your Home

November 2022 | By Pat Donlon

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If you’re interested in selling your home, you may want to make a few changes to help boost its value before putting it on the market.

It’s important to note that not all upgrades are made the same. Some require more money, time and effort, while others are less expensive and time-consuming.

When you want to prepare your home to sell, here are a few upgrades you can make to boost your home’s value.

A Fresh Coat of Paint

Refreshing the paint in (and on) your home is one of the least expensive ways to boost its value. The key is to choose neutral colors that keep the buyer’s attention on the home itself, not the wall colors.

Painting will also take less time to do compared to other home projects.

Increased Curb Appeal

Prospective buyers judge a home immediately, that’s why the outside appearance is so important. Curb appeal can make or break a person’s impression of a property.

Keeping the grass healthy, adding a few decorative bushes and planting a garden are simple ways to boost your curb appeal.

Added Square Footage

Increasing the square footage in your home with an addition is incredibly beneficial to boosting value, but it can be a pricey and time-consuming endeavor. Depending on how long you have before putting your home on the market and your budget, it may pay off in the long run.

A study conducted by the National Association of Realtors shows that, for every 1,000 feet of living space in a home, the home’s value increases by 3.3%.

Upgraded Kitchens and Bathrooms

Investing in a kitchen or bathroom remodel is one of the best upgrades you can make for your home. It is well-known that these renovations provide the best return on investment compared to other home upgrades.

If this level of remodel is in your budget and you have the time before moving, it may be a good idea to undertake before selling your home.

Making upgrades in your home allow you to enjoy the space while you live there and then sell your home for a higher price. If you’re able to make larger renovations, that’s great! If not, something as simple as a fresh coat of paint and good landscaping can make a significant difference.

When you’re in the market to purchase a new home, contact us today for mortgage assistance!

Copyright © 2022 Trusted American Mortgage

Smart Tips to Help Prep Your Home for Potential Buyers 
October 2022 | By Pat Donlon

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You’ve decided to sell your house and find a new home for your family—congratulations!

When it’s time to set your house up for potential homebuyers, it can feel overwhelming. There are so many things that have to be done!

Aside from the financial part (which is a huge part) of selling your home, preparations have to be made to make your home appealing to others. Start here:

Make Repairs

Haven’t gotten around to the leaky sink in the bathroom, or still need to patch up that hole in the hallway wall? Now is the time to do it!

A study conducted in 2020 showed that 79% of homeowners make at least one repair while 21% sell their house as-is. Get a head-start on these small fixes so you aren’t scrambling when it’s time for the staging process.

Declutter, Declutter & Declutter

Take time to thoroughly declutter your space. We mean every room, every cabinet and every nook and cranny you can think of. Not only will this help when it’s time to pack your boxes, but it’ll also be beneficial during showings.

As a homebuyer, it’ll likely be harder to imagine yourself in a space that is cluttered, cramped and untidy. When all of your belongings are taking up all of the space, potential homebuyers may not be able to envision their belongings in the home. Be sure to decrease visual clutter, too.


It goes without saying that your home should be nice and clean when you are trying to sell it!

Take the time to give a thorough deep clean or hire a cleaning company to do the job. Whichever you choose, make sure the floors are sparkling, everything is organized and surfaces have been dusted.

Stage Your Home

Have you ever wondered why the furniture in magazines looks so appealing? It’s because the rooms are staged!

Staging your home to get it ready to sell should make the property look so appealing to potential buyers that they are interested in purchasing it right away.

There are many ways to stage your home—from changing out light fixtures to adding art pieces. If you need some help with this process, there are professional home-stagers available for hire.

Getting your home ready for potential homebuyers is an especially important part of selling your home. The goal is to make your property so appealing that offers begin flowing in quickly! With some elbow grease and a few aesthetic enhancements, you will attract interest in your home in no time.

Now that you’ve decided it’s time to sell your house, contact us today for help getting a mortgage for a new home for your family!

Copyright © 2022 Trusted American Mortgage

Finding the Right First Home

September 2022 | By Pat Donlon

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When most people think of their dream home, the first home they end up in usually doesn’t come to mind. While many people want a large, spacious home with all the bells and whistles, that may not be completely realistic for 20- or 30-somethings purchasing their first home.

But there is no need to fret! Finding a starter home that you love and that fits your family’s needs is completely possible. With a few tips and some planning, your perfect starter home is right around the corner.

Set a Realistic Budget

Not surprisingly, money management is a huge part of purchasing a home. Be realistic when determining how much you can devote every month to a mortgage, utilities and other recurring bills.

It is also a good idea to give yourself a little financial wiggle room. After all, you will now be responsible for all repairs and upgrades within the home.

Once you’ve calculated how much you can afford, you can begin the searching process.    

Consider Location

When it comes to where the house is located, what are the most important factors for you? Do you care about a long commute or are you willing to drive farther for work if it means a lower mortgage payment?

When figuring out where to live, consider the cost of commuting to work when setting a budget.

If you’re planning on starting a family and staying in the home for many years, you’ll want to think about the school district a potential home resides in. If schooling isn’t a factor, consider how far the home is from things that are important to you, such as your church or restaurants.

Longevity of the Property

Are you planning on starting a family in your starter home? Is there enough space?

Or are you wanting to live in a home for a few years, enjoy time with your partner and then find a new home to build a family in?

Realistically, how long can you and your family live in the home comfortably? These are important questions to ask yourself when finding a starter home.

When you’re unsure whether purchasing a home is right for you, consider all of the perks of buying as opposed to renting. Building equity in a property, not throwing money away on rent and not having to deal with potentially awful property owners are only a few benefits of owning your own home.

When you’ve picked a general location, set a realistic budget and you’re ready to purchase your starter home, contact us today to get the ball rolling!

Copyright © 2022 Trusted American Mortgage

 Find Your Decorating Style in Your Home 

August 2022 | By Patrick Donlon

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When the moving truck has been unloaded and it’s time to decorate your new home, do you feel confident in your personal style, or completely stuck and unsure where to start?

Some people find decorating to be enjoyable, while others dread the task. These tips can help you find your decorating style to make your new house a home!

Consider What You Already Have

There’s a good chance you’ve already developed a sense of style—you just haven’t realized it yet! Take a look around your home. What do you already have in your rooms and on your walls? What accent pieces stand out and what colors are there?

You can even look inside your closet. Personal style spans across both decor and clothing choices. If you tend to wear neutrals, it is likely that you’d prefer a more neutral color palette for your living space. The same goes for bold, bright colors.

Draw Inspiration From Elsewhere

There are so many websites dedicated to home decorating. Start browsing right away and get some inspiration!

Are there places you’ve been that have felt like home to you, or you’ve just really felt cozy and calm there? This could be a friend’s home or even somewhere you’ve traveled. Inspiration can come from anywhere!

Start With the Basics

When you have some inspiration and a general idea of what you like, start with the basics. Choose a couch color, texture or design, then add a few accent pillows. Pick out a large wall piece, then add additional wall art.

Starting with the basics can help provide a foundation for home decorating. Choosing one larger, staple item, then adding to the space can also keep things looking cohesive, instead of having a bunch of different colors or textures that do not flow well together.

Decorating your home doesn’t have to be a negative experience. With these tips, you could be decorating in your own style in no time!

When you’re ready to have a new home to decorate, contact us today to learn more about our mortgage options!

Copyright © 2022 Trusted American Mortgage


Get Your Grill on This Summer—The Safe Way 

July 2022 | By Patrick Donlon

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You recently purchased a new home with a beautiful outdoor space. You’re all moved in now, finally, even though a few boxes still remain.

What’s next? It’s time to fire up the grill and take advantage of that patio!

When the summer heat is on and the kids are out of school, time spent outdoors can be the best. But if you’re getting ready for a barbecue, let’s be sure you’re set up for success—and safety.

Design Your Grilling Space Carefully

When you’re deciding on where your grill or smoker will go, it’s important to keep safety in mind. Because the appliance is a heating device, it’s essential to keep it away from anything flammable. That includes your house.

Experts recommend using three feet as your rule of thumb. Your grill should be placed at least three feet away from the side of your house, the deck rails and other potentially flammable parts of the structure. You also need a three-foot “safe zone” where kids and pets aren’t allowed.

Clean It Up After Use

While it may seem less important to wipe up grease after you cook outdoors than it is when it’s in clear sight in the kitchen, it may actually be more important.

That’s because grease and fat left behind on the grill can build up and harden, eventually becoming a potential fire hazard. (If your house is in an area with wildlife nearby, the smell of grease left behind can also be enticing for animals you don’t want in or near your home!)

Use Propane Carefully

If your grill uses propane, be extra careful. Propane tanks and the hoses connecting them to your grill can easily leak.

Check your grill regularly for signs of a propane leak. If you smell propane when there’s no flame, that’s a sign to have the grill checked by a professional before further use. But you can also check the gas tank hose by applying soap and water to the hose. If there’s a leak, bubbles will appear. Turn off the gas tank and the grill and do not use it until the problem is fixed.

Are you ready to look for your next home? Visit our website to learn how you can get started on the pre-approval process.

Copyright © 2022 Trusted American Mortgage

Hello, Curb Appeal! 

June 2022 | By Patrick Donlon

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Are you considering making a move after the summer? Then you are going to want to make sure you have your yard ready for potential buyers!

Fortunately, there are simple things you can do in order to boost your home’s curb appeal without spending an arm and a leg. Our team at Trusted American Mortgage wants to offer some tips on how you can do exactly that.

Give Your Curb Appeal a Boost

Who doesn’t want to have the ultimate front yard during the summer months? Whether moving or not, everyone wants their house to look appealing. But if you are selling your home, your home’s curb appeal could make a difference when it comes to seeing a sold sign in the front yard.

Start here to give the property a boost:

Clean Up the Lawn

One of the first things you want to do when it comes to curb appeal is to make sure your lawn looks amazing at all times. Whoever mows your yard needs to strive to keep it the same height all season.

Don’t forget to take care of the strands of grass around the driveway and walkway of your home by using an edger. This can help to make your lawn look like it has a professional touch even if you are the one who mows your own lawn.

Polish Up the Driveway

Once the yard is cared for, then you want to move on to other parts of your home, such as the driveway and walkways. Chances are your driveway or walkways haven’t been pressure-washed since you moved in. But it can really make a difference!

Consider renting a pressure washer or having a professional come in and pressure wash the driveway and walkway and possibly even your home if your time or money allows.

Add a Touch of Paint

Finally, don’t forget to make an impact by painting your home’s door a different color. These days, there are no rules when it comes to the color you paint your front door, and it can really grab a potential buyer’s attention!

If you paint the door, think about also painting the shutters to match.

Are you ready to look for your next home? Visit our website to learn how you can get started on the pre-approval process.

Copyright © 2022 Trusted American Mortgage

What Plans Do You Have for Your Home This May? 

May 2022 | By Patrick Donlon

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Can you believe we are already into May this year? Time is flying by, don’t you think?

Since May brings a number of holidays, including Mother’s Day and Memorial Day, this month is the perfect time to get your house in order so you and your family can enjoy the warmer days. Our team at Trusted American Mortgage has tips on how you can do just that.

Light Things Up

You may want to consider adding lighting to your outdoor space. Not only can outdoor lighting set a mood for your home, it can also add security, too. Motion-activated lights can be a great addition to the exterior of your home, while if you spend a lot of time on the deck or patio, string lights might be a soft and comfortable addition.

If you already have outdoor lighting, make sure there are no bulbs or lighting that need replacing.

Spruce Up the Plants

Take care of the plants currently taking up residence in your outdoor space. Chances are there are many plants that need to be replaced after the winter.

Use this month to think about what plants (and color scheme) you would like to add to your outdoor space this season. In addition, you want to make sure you are planting any new plants where they get enough sunlight in order to grow and flourish this season.

Boost Your Safety

Finally, May is a good month to do a safety check for your home. Make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working correctly and don’t need their batteries replaced. If they’re older than age 10, it’s time to replace them altogether.

Thinking about grilling out soon? You may want to rethink the placement of your grill. The grill should be placed at least 10 feet away from the side of your house and anything else that’s flammable. You also need to ensure you have a bucket filled with water handy or a working hose nearby to extinguish flames if they get out of hand.

Are you ready to look for your next home? Visit our website to learn how you can get started on the pre-approval process.

Copyright © 2022 Trusted American Mortgage

Turn Your House Into a Home

April 2022 | By Patrick Donlon

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At Trusted Home Mortgage, our team understands that it’s not simply a house to you. It’s your home!

When you move into a new house, it may take a little while for it to start feeling like home. Our team is here to offer some tips on how to flip the switch.

Home Sweet Home

The sun is shining. The birds are chirping. The home is…blah.

The spring season is the perfect time to focus on your house in order to make it feel more homey. All you need to do is give your house a little TLC.

First, consider adding some greenery into various rooms of your home. Take time to go around to each room within your home. If you see an empty nook, consider filling it with plants. Large plants can help to make a room more filled, while hanging plants or adding a wreath to the wall can help your room appear taller.

Scared you don’t have the green thumb to keep the plants alive? Purchase artificial plants! These can still help give each room a warmer feel.

Second, consider making space in one of the rooms of your home just for you! We all need to have our own space, such as a reading nook.

When you have a place that you can call your own, it can help to make your home feel like it is all yours, even if you are a family of five.

Grab yourself a comfy chair, cozy blanket, standing light fixture, and an artificial plant—and BOOM, you have created your own space within your home. Enjoy!

Finally, make it personal. Yes, there are some amazing pieces of artwork done by professionals. But what about the artwork created by your own family members? Are those on any of the walls of your home?

In addition, while scrapbooks are perfect for photos, it is important to hang your memories on the wall. That way when you walk down the stairs every morning, you are greeted by the smiles of those people you love the most.

Are you ready to look for your next home? Visit our website to learn how you can get started on the pre-approval process.

Copyright © 2022 Trusted American Mortgage

Should You Consider a Home in Neighborhood With a Homeowner's Association?

March 2022 | By Patrick Donlon

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2021 was certainly a crazy year for many of us. As we step further into 2022, many people have seen the need for a change of scenery, and we don’t blame them!

If you are looking for a new home this year, our team at Trust American Mortgage is here to lend a helping hand. One of the things you might want to consider when on the house hunt is whether you want to purchase a home in a neighborhood with a homeowner’s association, often called an HOA.

According to the National Association of Realtors, approximately 73.9 million people living in the United States reside in a community with a homeowner’s association or condominium board. Investopedia defines an HOA as a private organization that consists of members of a community.

There are many pros that can come with living in a community with an HOA. However, not all HOAs are the same. Therefore, you want to make sure you understand the rules associated with the HOA of your home’s community before officially saying yes to your new home.

Community Engagement

Do you wish you could go back in time to living in a community where the neighbors let you borrow sugar and the kids play until the sun goes down? You may be able to get close to that when living in a community with an HOA.

There tends to be an increase in community engagement when there is an HOA.

Well-maintained Homes

Are you worried about your property value decreasing due to a neighbor using his or her yard to house broken-down vehicles? You don’t have to worry about this when living in an HOA.

An HOA tends to live by the phrase, “If the neighborhood looks good, the community feels good.” There are usually specific rules around maintaining the curb appeal of your home.

In some HOAs, manicured lawns and clean play areas are cared for under the fees associated with the HOA. As a result, some of the yard work may be taken care of for you!

And Much More

Other benefits of living in an HOA community include:

  • Higher property value
  • Community connection
  • Financial stability
  • Decreased nuisance activity
  • Support of the neighborhood

If you have never lived in an HOA community, now might be the time to consider looking at some houses that are associated with an HOA to see the positive difference it could make in your family’s life.

Our experts at Trusted American Mortgage are dedicated to helping you find the right funding for your home purchase and walking with you every step of the process. Call us today and get a partner in the mortgage business!

Copyright © 2022 Trusted American Mortgage


Keep Your Home Pest-Free This Winter 

February 2022 | By Pat Donlon

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When the weather outside is frightful, the pests start looking for a warmer space, which usually turns out to be your home.

Our team at Trusted Home Mortgage wants to share some tips about how you can keep your home pest-free this winter so that it can be ready to sell. Or if you are just moving into your new home, you don’t want to start the journey with pests in tow!

Pest-Proof Your Home Today

Don’t let another day go by waiting to pest-proof your home. Start today with these tips:

First, you want to make sure you keep a clean kitchen. When you leave dirty dishes and pots and pans in the sink, you are giving those pests a place to go for food.

Make sure you empty your sink of dirty dishes every night. Also, ensure even those hard-to-reach places in your kitchen are cleaned on a weekly (if not daily) basis.

In addition, all food should be stored in sealed containers and the trash taken out as soon as it is full.

Second, you want to look for any cracks throughout your home. Remember, these tiny little pests can fit through the tiniest of openings.

Check all your windows and doors. If needed, re-caulk to make sure they are sealed up just right to avoid letting any unwanted pests into the home.

Finally, you want to make sure you keep the clutter in your home down to a minimum. In fact, now is probably the perfect time to declutter your home so that you don’t have to worry about any pests hiding in the mess.

When clutter starts to pile up in your home, it only makes it easier for the pests to come in and hide. If you have items that are going to be sitting in one place for a long time, such as your Christmas tree or other holiday decor, you want to make sure they’re sealed up tight.

Our experts at Trusted American Mortgage are dedicated to helping you find the right funding for your home purchase and walking with you every step of the process. Call us today and get a partner in the mortgage business!

Copyright © 2022 Trusted American Mortgage

Make Your House a Home in 2022

January 2022 | By Pat Donlon

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Our team at Trusted Home Mortgage understands that it’s not simply a house—it’s your home. As a result, we want to help you make your house a home in the new year.

Home Sweet Home

Feel like your decor is stale, or doesn’t represent your personality these days? You aren’t stuck with it! Fortunately, there are a number of easy steps you can take to transition your house into a home quickly:

First, you can start by arranging your furniture in a way that makes you feel more at home and less like you’re at a museum where you cannot touch anything. Try moving your couch to the other side of your living room, or taking your bed from one wall to another.

It is amazing to see how different (and cozy) a room can look by simply moving one piece of furniture like a table or dresser to another spot in the room.

In addition, do you have some leftover paint? Rather than letting the paint sit in the garage, use it to add some color to a few rooms in your home, such as an accent wall or a ceiling.

Better yet, you don’t have to add color only to the walls of your home! You can use the extra paint to paint a cabinet or other piece of furniture to help give it a facelift and make it look new again!

Second, consider adding mirrors throughout your home. Mirrors, especially oversized ones, can help add natural light to your space, which can give a warm, homey feel.

When adding mirrors to your home, try having larger mirrors lean against a wall while smaller mirrors can rest on a mantel. The good news is that you can never have enough mirrors!

Finally, there is nothing better than taking out family photos when trying to turn your house into a home. Seeing photos of loved ones around your home can really make you feel as though you are home in every room of your house.

So, grab those shoe boxes that your photos are currently stashed in and place those photos throughout your home!

Our experts at Trusted American Mortgage are dedicated to helping you find the right funding for your home purchase and walking with you every step of the process. Call us today and get a partner in the mortgage business!

Copyright © 2022 Trusted American Mortgage

Is Now the Time to Refinance Your Home?
December 2021 | By Pat Donlon

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Many people are starting to consider what their resolutions are going to be for the new year. While the most common resolutions are exercising more, losing weight and getting more organized, getting in better financial shape is another popular resolution.

To get in a better financial spot and take advantage of the current low interest rates, some people are considering refinancing their mortgages. Our Trusted American Mortgage team wants you to know how you can make refinancing your home a success should you decide to go this route.

Reasons to Consider Refinancing Your Mortgage

There are many reasons why a person might consider refinancing a mortgage. For one, it’s appealing to have a lower mortgage payment each month. In other cases, people might refinance in order to pay off a home loan faster, such as by moving from a 30-year term to a 15-year term.

Refinancing your home can also help to get you the cash you need to make home upgrades and renovations that can add value to your home. In addition, home refinancing can help to consolidate and conquer debt.

If you feel you might be interested in refinancing your home, there are a few things you can do to help make it a success:

For starters, you want to know exactly how much you need to refinance. Is there a certain number you are looking for when refinancing your home? You want to have a number in mind.

Second, you want to know the purpose of refinancing your home, as this will be a question on the application. Again, reasons to refinance include:

  • Rate and Term
  • Cash Out
  • Limited Cash Out
  • Streamline

Third, you want to make sure you have enough equity in your home to refinance. To decide this, a home appraiser may come to verify your home’s value to see how much equity you currently have in your home. There are also online calculators that can help you determine how much equity is in your home before an appraiser comes to visit.

Are you considering refinancing your home in the new year? Get in touch today to learn how we can help!

Copyright © 2021 Trusted American Mortgage

Decking the Halls...While Selling Your House 

November 2021 | By Pat Donlon

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Is there a recurring debate in your home about when it’s OK to decorate for the holidays? Maybe you fall into the “Decorate-Right-After-Halloween” camp, or maybe you’d rather celebrate Thanksgiving first.

Either way, the time to deck the halls is rapidly approaching.

It’s time to choose between sparkly glitter tones and deep cranberry reds. But if you’re in the process of selling your house, you need to give some thought to other aspects of your holiday decor. Read on as our Trusted American Mortgage team offers some insight.

What Does Decor Have to Do with Selling a Home?

It’s a logical question, but one with a pretty specific answer. You’ve probably read articles or listened to a real estate professional talk about the value of staging your house and how it drives up the sales price.

When it comes to staging a home, you’re told that less is more. It’s best to remove clutter and certain elements of your personal belongings to allow potential buyers to visualize themselves in your house.

That approach is also true of your Christmas decor. Here are some tips for decking the halls while still keeping your house ready to sell:

Keep Outdoor Decorations in Line with Neighbors

If you usually have the flashiest house on the block, it’s a good idea to tone things down if you’re trying to sell. Small strands of white or clear lights can look classic while allowing the architecture of your house to shine through.

On the other hand, if your entire neighborhood goes all out, don’t sit out the festivities! Don’t overdo it but be sure to add some visible touches.

Avoid Oversize Design Elements

That giant inflatable snowman? Probably want to keep that in the box this year. Usually trim a supersized tree? Downsize a bit.

Why? Because you want potential buyers who are visiting your home to be able to get an accurate picture of the house itself and the property. Large visual elements can skew the picture.

Depersonalize Your Christmas Decorations

Most of us have ornaments and other items of decor that have sentimental value, or that contain our family photos or mementos. But when you’re staging your home, you’re advised to put away those personal items, because, again, you want your potential buyers to see themselves in your home.

Instead, decorate using classic holiday elements and symbols. And ensure the decorations add to the house rather than detract from it. Potential buyers need to be able to see all the nooks and crannies so they’ll fall in love with the house and want to make it a home!

Ready to make your move into a new house? Get in touch today to learn how we can help!

Copyright © 2021 Trusted American Mortgage

Are You Considering Buying a Home? Now is the Time to Boost Your Credit Score!
October 2021 | By Pat Donlon

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When you are a homeowner, you want the best loan terms possible. Who wouldn’t want the most bang for their buck when owning a home?

A good credit score can help you obtain a good home mortgage rate with the lowest interest possible. So, if you are thinking about becoming a homeowner in the future, now is the perfect time to start improving your credit score.

Our team at Trusted American Mortgage wants to share some tips about boosting your credit score so that you may achieve a low interest rate with your home mortgage loan.

The Facts About Interest Rate

Currently, the average home mortgage rate on the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is 3.014%. But this number fluctuates all the time, and it’s important to remember that the rate you receive will be tied directly with your creditworthiness.

While your credit score needs to be at least 580 to qualify for an FHA loan, having a credit score of 680 or greater can have a beneficial impact on your interest rate when applying for a home mortgage loan. The higher, the better.

As a result, it is important to take action to raise your credit score as high as possible before applying for a home mortgage loan.

Take Action

Let’s take a look at ways you can boost your credit score:

First, if you are carrying any balance on credit cards, now is the time to pay them down. When your home mortgage loan is processed and your credit score is run, you want your credit utilization rate to be as low as possible. A good rule of thumb is to use less than 30% of your limit on any credit card.

Second, you want to be timely when paying your bills. While earlier is better, paying your bills on time every time can help boost your credit score. If you have issues paying your bills on time, consider setting up a payment plan online or putting an alert on your calendar to serve as a reminder.

Interestingly enough, while you want to maintain a low balance on your existing accounts, it’s also important not to cancel them. While you might think having fewer open accounts would be helpful, the reverse is actually true. Closing out an account lowers your overall credit limit, which negatively impacts your debt to credit ratio.

Finally, make sure there are no errors on your credit report. It is one thing if your credit is being lowered because of your actions. However, you don’t want your credit score lowered because of mistakes made on your credit history. You want to make sure to dispute those errors ASAP!

Our experts at Trusted American Mortgage are dedicated to helping you find the right funding for your home purchase and walking with you through every step of the process. Call us today and get a partner in the mortgage business!

Copyright © 2021 Trusted American Mortgage

Is Refinancing Right for You? 

September 2021 | By Pat Donlon

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When to Refinance

Before you decide to refinance your home, there are a few things to consider. Mortgage refinancing can allow you to lower your interest rate, tap into your existing equity, switch rate types or reduce your monthly payments. It’s a good idea to consider how long you plan to stay in your home and know what your current credit score is before moving forward with a refinance.

Refinancing Process

Refinancing is very similar to buying a home. You are required to qualify for refinancing, just as you did for the original mortgage. You will file an application, go through underwriting, and then you will go to closing.

Reasons to Refinance

There are a few reasons to refinance your home, and your financial goal will determine which process will work best for you.

  • Early Pay Off - You may be in a better financial situation than you were when you originally bought the house, and in this case, you could refinance your 30-year mortgage into a 15-year mortgage. This will usually make your payments go up, but you will pay less interest over time.
  • Change Interest Rate Types - You can choose to change your mortgage interest rates from an adjustable-rate mortgage to a fixed-rate mortgage. This means your interest rate will no longer vary, and will stay the same, no matter the market. If your goal is to obtain a steady payment, this process is a good fit for you.
  • Lower Your Payment - Depending on your current financial circumstances, a lower monthly payment may be needed. In this case, you can refinance for a lower rate, or you can choose to extend your loan term. Of course, extending your loan means you will pay more interest over time, but reducing the stress of making your mortgage payment each month would make this process worth it.
  • Utilize Your Equity - When you refinance and want to borrow more than you owe on your existing loan, you will receive a check for the difference. This is commonly referred to as a cash-out refinance. Generally, you can couple this process with a lower interest rate.

If you’re ready to refinance your loan, contact us to get the application started!

Copyright © 2021 Trusted American Mortgage

5 Questions You Should Ask Us 

August 2021 | By Pat Donlon

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Looking to buy a house for the first time, or ready to buy a new house? One of your first steps is finding a mortgage lender, which is where we come into the picture.

Our mission is to help you find a financial solution that’s ideally suited for your family’s unique needs and situation. But don’t simply take our word for it—put us to the test!

Here are a few questions you might want to ask us:

What kinds of loans do you offer?

When it comes to a mortgage, one size doesn’t fit all! That’s why there are many loan types.

We offer a full spectrum of loan types, including fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgages. Other types of mortgage loans, including those specifically for active military and military veterans, are also available.

Our commitment to you is to help you sort through the loan types to find the best one for your needs.

How much of a down payment will I need?

The answer to this question is tied somewhat to the type of mortgage you choose. With some types of loans, you may not need any down payment at all.

With other loans, you will need a down payment, which can be as little as 3%. The 20% number you often hear is an ideal target, but usually not necessary to obtain a loan.

What interest rate will I qualify for?

This is a common question, but one we won’t know the answer to until we pull a credit rating for you. Interest rates are set by the market, but your specific rate is tied to your credit score.

It’s also important for you to know that there’s a difference between an “interest rate” and an “APR.” APR, or annual percentage rate, includes all the embedded fees associated with your loan.

How long does it take to get a mortgage?

A national survey related to closing times found that the average turnaround time is 50 days, but your actual experience may vary a little bit.

It’s important to know that the turnaround time is also tied with the type of mortgage loan you’re obtaining. With certain mortgages, such as FHA loans, it can take longer to finalize the loan, since an inspection is required and home repairs may be needed.

What documents will I need to get started?

When you reach out to us about obtaining a mortgage, we’ll guide you through the entire process, including what information and documentation we need from you. But, if you’re looking to get a jump-start, there are some basics to start putting together.

You will need to have proof of your identity, proof of your income and assets, and you will need to provide us with authorization to review your credit reports.

Our experts at Trusted American Mortgage are dedicated to helping you find the right funding for your home purchase and walking with you every step of the process. Call us today and get a partner in the mortgage business!

Copyright © 2021 Trusted American Mortgage

The First-Time Homebuyer's Guide 

July 2021 | By Pat Donlon

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Buying a home for the first time is intimidating and maybe even a little scary in “normal” times. If you’re looking to buy a house right now, it might even feel a little more alarming.

We’re currently in a seller’s market, meaning the odds favor the person selling the home. That’s because there are a limited number of houses on the market right now—and lots of people looking to buy. That makes nearly any house put up for sale a hot commodity.

But if now’s the right time for you to buy your first house, don’t let that stop you! The same basic rules that help guide first-time homebuyers at other times will still hold today.

What You Need to Know

  • Your first step is to get pre-approved for a mortgage. We can’t tell you enough how important this is, especially when you’re looking to buy a house for the first time. The last thing you need is to fall in love with a house that you ultimately can’t afford. Getting pre-qualified nails down exactly how much mortgage loan is responsible for you, given your financial situation.
  • Look into first-time homebuyer programs. There’s good news: When you’re buying a house for the first time, there are some programs out there specifically for you. These programs can be especially helpful if you haven’t built up a large down payment fund yet, and they can also impact the interest rate.
  • Know the specific type of house you want. This should include both the structure of the house, such as whether you want a condo or single-family home and the must-have features in the home, such as a bathtub or a certain number of bedrooms. Go wider in scope, too—know what neighborhoods will work best for you. Not quite sure what your wants and needs are? It’s OK to look at a few homes without knowing these specs, but don’t start to seriously look to buy until you know them.
  • Work with an experienced real estate agent. When you’re new to the game, you logically want a coach who’s been around for a while. There’s tremendous value in working with a professional who knows the ins and outs of real estate in your area. Ask friends and family for recommendations; they’re often the best resource when it comes to identifying an agent.

Ready to take care of step No. 1 on this list? Get in touch today to start the pre-qualification process!

Copyright © 2021 Trusted American Mortgage


Is It Worth It to Buy a Fixer-Upper? 

June 2021 | By Patrick Donlon

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The short answer? It can be.

Honestly, it depends on a few factors, including your current financial situation and how quickly you need to move into the home. That means the decision is a pretty personal one and highly dependent on your family’s needs and wants.

But let’s talk through a few pros and cons:

Pro: Fixer-Uppers Are Cheaper

When you buy a fixer-upper home, you’ll typically save some money, at least on the initial purchase price. On average, these homes are priced about 8% below market value.

Con: Renovations Can Be Costly

While your initial investment in the purchase price may be reduced, your total outlay can often be higher. That’s because you’re responsible for fixing up a house that may be rundown or outdated. Your total expense will vary depending on how in-depth repair work is.

Pro: You Have Creative Leeway

When you’re fixing up a home, you have total control of what goes into—or leaves—the house. You can remake it to align with your visions, enhancing it with a new bathroom or kitchen, new flooring, or a patio.

Con: There’s a Lot of Uncertainty

If you’ve ever watched an episode of a home restoration show on HGTV, you know that every home restoration comes with some unwelcome surprises. In most cases, you won’t know exactly what you’re getting into until after you’re into it. That may mean added expenses in the case of challenges such as termite damage or the lack of a weight-bearing wall.

The Bottom Line

If you’re thinking about purchasing a fixer-upper, be thoughtful about the decision. Try to cover all the bases—have a thorough home inspection performed, then nail down what restoration work you’d like to do.

From there, get an estimate on what that restoration will cost. These two pieces together can help you determine whether the total price will be worth it in the end.

The experts at Trusted American Mortgage are dedicated to helping you find the right funding for your home purchase and walking with you every step of the process. Call us today and get a partner in the mortgage business!

Copyright © 2021 Trusted American Mortgage


What You Should Know About Home Inspections 

May 2021 | By Patrick Donlon

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When it comes to the mortgage application and home-buying processes, there are steps meant to protect the lender and some that give you a chance to ensure you’re getting a place you’ll love. In that latter group is the often-misunderstood home inspection, which is typically optional and not related to the required appraisal.

So, what do you need to know about the home inspection, what can you get from it, and why should you say, “yes,” when you’re asked if you want one?

Read on to learn about this important safeguard that can protect you from getting in over your head and ensures you know what work you’re likely to face in perfecting your new place.

What Is a Home Inspection?

A home inspection is a thorough, but not comprehensive, visual examination of the property by a licensed professional. The inspector will look the property over from top to bottom, and even underground, checking for common problems and areas where they typically show up.

For instance, he or she may check the basement to ensure there isn’t an issue with water intrusion, or lingering damage or organic growth caused by previous problems. It’s likely the inspector will also look at home systems, such as the HVAC to ensure it’s in working order and the plumbing system to verify there’s adequate water pressure.

Basically, it’s a check to let you know about common issues that can range from minor things you’ll need to fix to massive red flags that could throw the purchase into doubt, such as a failing septic system or wide-scale black mold growth.

It’s important, though, to understand what the inspection isn’t. For instance, the inspector won’t look inside the walls or floors, so there could be hidden issues there. The inspector can’t predict the future, so there may be issues arise that you didn’t expect, even with this assessment.

The Benefits of a Home Inspection

In most cases, the home inspection is an optional step, one taken or skipped on the preference of the buyer. If you’re debating whether you want to incur the additional cost and delay in your purchase, there are some good reasons to opt for the check.

As we noted, a home inspection could find serious structural or health issues that could present a danger to your family and which may make you decide to back out on the sale. Certainly, that’s worth the investment. In most cases, however, the findings are minor and may come down to just best practices and things you can do to make the place more comfortable.

One real benefit of a home inspection is the findings can sometimes be used as a negotiating tool to push for a lower purchase price based on the expected costs of remedying issues found. Even if that isn’t the case, it does at least ensure you come into the purchase with a full and clear understanding of what you’re getting into. Knowing you’ll have to replace that fuse box or address the lingering damage from a sink leak that’s been repaired beats being surprised by those problems later.

The experts at Trusted American Mortgage are dedicated to helping you find the right funding for your home purchase and walking with you every step of the process. Call us today and get a partner in the mortgage business!

Copyright © 2021 Trusted American Mortgage

Tax Breaks for Homeownership

April 2021 | By Patrick Donlon

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From renovations to repairs, there can be times when it feels like owning a home is nothing but a way to spend money, but there are regular reminders of the benefits. Making your payments on time can help you build your credit and you can borrow against the equity, to name just a couple.

Then there are the annual benefits that come at tax time, with several deductions available for those who own their homes. From when you buy the property through the term of your loan and even for as long as you own the residence, you may be able to get reductions in your overall tax burden. Here are a few of the ways you can do that.

First, the Details

The standard deduction, the minimum amount every taxpayer gets, is $12,400 for single filers, $18,650 for heads of households, and $24,800 for those married and filing jointly for 2020. Increases in the standard deduction mean that about 70% of tax filers take it, with their itemized deductions adding up to less than the applicable standard deduction.

We point that out first to give context to the fact that everything we’re going to cover here is a deduction, which means you get them when you itemize. If your deductions don’t add up to more than the standard one, you likely won’t get the benefits listed here. Now, the good stuff.

Deductions for Homeowners

The actual process of purchasing a home doesn’t open the possibility for much tax benefit, but there is a common deduction available to those who open a mortgage. Those who get a home loan with points, which may also be called loan original fees or be considered an upfront on mortgage insurance, can deduct that expense. There are some requirements borrowers must meet, including that the loan must cover their primary residences and the points were normal for the area.

The real tax benefits of homeownership show up for most people as they pay off their loans. For instance, there is a deduction for private mortgage insurance that can help those who have that extra cost added to their monthly premiums. While the PMI deduction briefly disappeared after 2017, it’s back now and can even be retroactive, so make sure you look into this possibility.

While not everyone who has a home loan pays PMI, everyone with a mortgage pays interest, so it’s a good thing the mortgage interest deduction is available. It allows filers to deduct all their mortgage interest payments on debt below certain thresholds. For most people, this is the most significant tax benefit of owning a home.

If you’re ready to get all the benefits of owning a home, Trusted American Mortgage can help you secure the perfect loan for your situation. Call our experts today and let us get you started on the road to homeownership!

Copyright © 2021 Trusted American Mortgage

Key Documents You'll Need For A Mortgage Pre-Approval Letter 

March 2021 | By Patrick Donlon

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When they’re done signing for a mortgage many people feel they’ve put their names on most of the paper in the immediate area and it’s true, there’s plenty of paperwork in the process. Included in that is the documentation you’ll need to provide as part of the process.

If you’re thinking of buying a home soon and want to give yourself a head start, you may want to start tracking down and collecting all those documents.

From the readily accessible, such as identification, to the ones you may have to dig up, including your tax returns, here’s what you may need to provide as you go through the application process:

Identification: We’re starting easy here since you probably have a state-issued identification card and know where it is. Your loan officer will let you know exactly what proof you need here, since it may include more than just your driver’s license, but that and a passport, if you have one, are a good start.

Rental History: You may need to provide documentation of the apartments or other places you rented, but not everyone will so you may want to check with us on this one before you start tracking down old landlords.

Proof of Income: You’ll need to be able to show you have a steady income that is sufficient to make the payments on the amount of debt you’re seeking to incur. This may require multiple pieces of documentation, including a couple pay stubs and your most recent W2. If you have other sources of income, such as trusts or freelance work, you’ll need to provide documentation of those, too.

Tax Returns: The idea here is the same, mainly about proving your ability to make the payments. You’ll likely need to provide at least the last two years’ worth of returns. You’ll also be asked to sign an IRS Form 4506-T that gives us permission to request information from the agency.

Documentation of Assets: Another in this series that’s all about creating a picture of your financial situation, this can include retirement savings, stocks, property and anything else that can show your holdings.

Gift Letters: Not everyone will need to think about this, but if you’re getting help from friends or family to make your down payment, you’ll probably be asked to provide a letter that shows the money is a gift. Many loans have restrictions on using borrowed funds, even those that come from close family members, for the down payment, so you’ll need to be able to show you aren’t expected to repay the money.

This isn’t an exhaustive list of the documentation you may need to provide during the mortgage application process. Our experts at Trusted American Mortgage can let you know what will be required.

Copyright © 2021 Trusted American Mortgage


Homebuyer Goals for 2021

February 2021 | By Patrick Donlon

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With mortgage rates at historic lows, this may be the best time ever to get into the real estate market.

If you’ve set a goal of finding that home of your dreams in 2021, we have some suggestions of other aspirations you may want to set for the year. In these suggestions, you’ll find a good amount of homework and some explanation for why you should start saving now for that down payment if you aren’t already.

Research the tax savings. Homeownership is part of the American dream and the IRS incentivizes purchasing property by offering tax deductions and credits for homebuyers. Most of these, beyond a deduction for points, if you pay those at closing, are for after you purchase, including discounts for interest and private mortgage insurance payments. So, either these are benefits you think about for long-term return or you make the move to buy a home early in the year so you get more starting with your 2021 taxes.

Save toward that down payment. First, let’s cover some realities. While the rule of thumb for down payments is 20%, partly because that makes it easier to get some loans and can help lower your interest rate for others, most Americans don’t hit that mark. And that’s OK. Still, whether you’re just shy of that mark for your dream home or you haven’t started putting money away for the down payment, it’s a good idea to set money aside for the down payment. Not only is it required in some cases, but it can also reduce your monthly payments and how much you pay overall.

Get to know the options for assistance. Whether you need help making any down payment or getting to the 20% target, there are assistance programs that can help you get there. From grants to loans, there are plenty of options for making it to the mark you need. The Federal Housing Authority has a page listing down payment assistance options, and your states or municipality may have a similar catalog.

Figure out what you can afford. The long-standing rule of thumb is housing should take 30% of your income, though obviously there’s nothing wrong with staying below that. That mark works for most situations, but it may be more than some people can handle or want to take on with their future financial goals in mind. Figure out what’s manageable for you and make sure you stick to that budget as you cruise the market.

Learn about the different types of loans. Finding the right loan for you means educating yourself about the available mortgage options. Weighing fixed vs. variable rates, FHA vs. VA, and all the rest can be a bit confusing. Fortunately, you have friends in the industry right here.

If you’re ready to start weighing your options, the experts at Trusted American Mortgage are ready to help. Contact us today for the answers and other assistance you need.

Copyright © 2021 Trusted American Mortgage

It's Easier To Watch Your Credit
January 2021 | By Patrick Donlon

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You likely know your credit report, which documents your credit history and gives an overall rating of your ability to handle debt, is an important part of the mortgage application process. If you’re wondering how you can keep an eye on this important report, we have good news: It’s easier than ever right now!

In normal times, you can get a free copy of your credit report once per year thanks to the Fair Credit Reporting Act. But these aren’t normal times, and the credit bureaus have agreed to give you access to your reports every week for free.

The move is intended to help people struggling in the crisis resulting from the coronavirus pandemic keep watch on their financial situations.

How to Get Your Weekly Credit Reports

To ensure this powerful free resource is available to every American who needs it, the process for requesting those reports has been made as easy as possible. All you have to do is go to the AnnualCreditReport.com website used for those yearly reports in other times and complete a credit report request. You’ll have to submit the form for every week you want to receive the report.

The bureaus said they’ll provide the free weekly reports through April.

How Do I Protect My Credit Report?

You should always be careful to protect your credit scores and reports to ensure you’re in the best standing possible when you need to apply for new credit. That means ensuring you make the required payments on time and keep a good balance between your income and debt, among other things.

If you’re having trouble doing those things right now, there are some steps you can take to help reduce the risk your credit report will take a hit and increase the chance you’ll be able to stay ahead of what you owe. These recommendations come from the Federal Trade Commission:

  1. If you’re worried about making your payments, reach out to the organizations you owe. You may be able to negotiate payment plans that will make it easier for you to meet the responsibilities, delay payment or provide missed payment forgiveness. You should have information on your financial situation ready when you call.
  2. Watch your credit reports to ensure your creditors adhere to those payment agreements or temporary forbearance and don’t report payment issues to the bureaus if they’ve promised not to.
  3. Notify the credit reporting agencies immediately if you notice issues or inaccuracies on your reports. To get those resolved, you may also need to work with the companies or organizations that relayed the discrepancies to the bureaus.

The experts at Trusted American Mortgage want to help ensure you get the best home loan for your situation. If you need advice or guidance, we’re here to help.

Copyright © 2021 Trusted American Mortgage

Tips for Selling a Home in the Winter

December 2020 | By Patrick Donlon

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Winter may be the perfect time for you to sell your home. There are typically fewer homeowners looking to sell, which could open the door to your place selling faster than it would in a time when there’s a lot of stock on the market.

It could also present an opportunity to push motivated buyers to pay a little more than they would otherwise.

It’s important to recognize part of the reason fewer people look to sell in winter is that spring often provides a more-favorable market and the farther into winter it gets, the harder it may be to sell.

Buyers often seem to hibernate as the weather gets colder, which further fuels that spring boom as they come out of hiding. Still, if you need to sell now, there’s no reason to believe it will be impossible.

After all and as we already pointed out, there are good things about selling a home in winter. If your situation demands you sell your place during PSL season, here are some tips for improving your chances.

Winter Home Sale Tips

First things first, the name of the game in winter home sales is staging.

The National Association of Realtors says staging is the single most important part of selling a home in winter, which shouldn’t be a surprise because that group of industry experts believes staging is critical in all home sales. So, these tips are really all about staging your place to increase your chances of selling it.

  1. Don’t go heavy on the decorations. It can be tempting to go full holiday extravaganza, but remember you want to present a blank canvas potential buyers can paint their personalities on, so keep it light. We’ll cover a few of the exceptions.
  2. Think scents. Psychologists tell us scent is one of the strongest parts of memory, so create ways for people to use it in recalling your place. Set a candle on a warmer (Exception 1: Consider warm, cozy fall scents) or use an air freshener.
  3. Think curb appeal. This one’s always important, but you should make sure your lawn and other elements visible from the road look nice, so rake those leaves and lay some new mulch in the garden.
  4. Use that fireplace. If you have one, of course. Lighting a fire in the living room can create the impression of it being a warm space for coming cold days and nights.
  5. Set the table. This is exception two: Put potential buyers in mind of family time and happy holidays by setting the table and adding some subtle decorations.
  6. Go cozy. As the weather turns cool and potential buyers think of the cold days to come, a home draped with blankets and pillows will help them picture hibernating in the house.
  7. Light it up. Battle the growing dark of the colder months by leaving blinds and curtains open and turning on the lights.

If winter is moving season for you, Trusted American Mortgage wants to be your financing partner to help you fund the purchase of your new home!


Should I Buy a Short Sale Property? 

November 2020 | By Patrick Donlon

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Short sales were a common part of the real estate landscape a decade ago as the number of properties in distress following the financial crisis that began in 2008 skyrocketed. Thankfully, the market settled down and short sales are rare now, but they’re still out there, which can be good news for buyers.

What Is a Short Sale?

Short sales are an agreement between the lender and the property owner that allows for the property to be sold for less than the remaining loan. In some cases, the lender agrees to forgive the remaining debt, which is part of why short sales are often a better option for property owners than a foreclosure. Another advantage is it doesn’t inflict as significant a hit on the credit record.

Sellers who qualify for this type of relief are already well behind on payments, typically to a point from which it’s unlikely they’ll ever catch up, so drawing the sale out could cost the lender money. Additionally, short sales are approved when the real estate market surrounding the property are in such a slump that the house is worth less than the remaining mortgage balance.

Should I Buy a Short Sale?

There’s a lot to consider if you think about purchasing a short sale property. Here are a few:

  1. If it seems unlikely the market will recover anytime soon and you’re looking to only be in the property a short time, you should know that may mean the property not only never appreciates in value but actually continues to lose value. If you intend to live in the home, you should also think about whether the neighborhood is one you want to spend your time in.
  2. Short sales can be an opportunity to get a great deal, particularly in areas that are likely to recover. This is a hard thing to predict and may be unlikely depending on the status of the neighborhood. That’s part of why short sales were so popular in the Great Recession; many properties qualified because every market took a significant hit, so buyers got a bargain that grew in value.
  3. Properties disposed of in short sales typically don’t sit empty for months or years prior as those that go through a foreclosure process do. That time being vacant isn’t good for homes, and it’s only made worse by the fact homeowners who can’t afford to pay their mortgages are also unlikely to be able to cover the costs of maintenance. Combined with potentially lengthy terms in the possession of banks, which typically don’t do much upkeep, this can leave foreclosure properties in bad shape. Still, short sale properties are typically sold as-is, which means you don’t get any improvement concessions.
  4. Despite the name, short sales can take months and even more than a year, which is not a favorable timeline if you’re looking for a home to move into soon.

Trusted American Mortgage has the expertise to help you through financing your real estate purchase. If you’re ready to find your first or next home, let us help you!

What Sellers Should Know About Staging 

October 2020 | By Patrick Donlon

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For those who haven’t watched HGTV or visited an open house lately, staging is a bit of home-seller marketing that involves dressing your place up before potential buyers look around. The intention is to put the best face on the place to help convince people to buy.

Part of staging is making the house feel livable so potential buyers can imagine building their lives in it, while the other part is just making the house look nice and maybe high-end to help ensure you get the best offer for the property.

Is Staging Worth It?

Short answer: yes. A 2019 report from the National Association of REALTORS provides strong evidence of the value of staging.

Here are just a few of the findings from its survey of buyers’ agents:

  • 40% said buyers’ decisions to make an offer were impacted by staging.
  • 83% said buyers found it easier to visualize staged houses as their future homes.
  • 25% said staging increased dollar value offered from 1 to 5%.

Who Does Staging & What Does it Entail?

There are three common options for staging a home to get it ready for showings: DIY, sellers’ agent, and independent firm.

The latter has the advantage of having a store of items for staging, from vases and lamps to furniture and appliances, and may even keep premium items such as hot tubs that can help boost home value. This option can cost anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars.

Sellers who opt to have their agents do the work typically pay the cost for it as part of the agent’s overall fee. Agents who offer the service also keep a store of supplies for the purpose, though it’s usually not as extensive as what a professional stager would have.

Some agents may stage a house and leave it set up that way until it sells, while others will put the effort in only for open houses.

The DIY option may just be the most common, particularly for those who currently live in the houses they’re selling. Since their belongings are already there, they don’t have to bring in a lot of supplies but may need to get some enhancements to help the place look its best.

If you opt for DIY staging, here are some things you may want to do:

  • Clean up—This one seems obvious but getting a house ready to sell means a thorough cleaning beyond what you might otherwise do.
  • Reduce clutter—Remember, you want people to be able to envision themselves (and their things) living in your home. Making that possible may mean you need to stash your personal pictures and knick-knacks and you might even want to rent a storage unit and put furniture and other large items you don’t use regularly in it.
  • Brighten up—Adding lamps, putting LED bulbs in fixtures, and letting in natural light can give the home an attractive, vibrant look.
  • Set the mood—Make the home feel welcoming by playing soft music, lighting candles, and using a scent diffuser to ensure it smells great.
  • Cover up issues—We’re not talking about putting rugs down on problem spots on the floor; we just mean drape a blanket over stains on the couch and put a decoration over mars on furniture.
  • Decorate a little—Put some vases of fresh flowers out, hang a wreath on the door and decorate furniture with attractive, seasonal pillows. It’s all about making your place look its best.

If you’re ready to sell your current home and find your next one, Trusted American Mortgage is here to finance your move. Give us a call today and let’s get started on finding your dream home!

What Does the Phrase “Record-low Mortgage Rates” Mean? 
September 1, 2020 | By Patrick Donlon

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If you pay attention to internet or satellite radio ads, you may think mortgage rates are perpetually at or at least near all-time lows. They promise at any given moment you can purchase a home or refinance an existing loan for less than ever possible before.

The truth is rates really are at historic lows right now and there’s a lot of good stock on the housing market. But what does that mean, and how do you know when it’s really true?

Follow Freddie

That’s Freddie Mac, the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, which was created to increase the supply of money available for mortgage lending.

The agency keeps a record of average commitment rates for 30-year mortgages that date back to 1971, the year after it was founded. The 3.16% rate it showed for June was, indeed, the lowest ever recorded.

In fact, the rates for April (3.31), May (3.23), and June each set new records, besting the previous low mark of 3.35 set in November and December 2012.

Meanwhile, 15-year fixed-rate mortgages also hit an all-time low in Freddie Mac’s data in June, coming in at 2.60%. That beats the previous record of 2.66, also set in the last two months of 2012.

And Freddie’s sister Fannie Mae expects the hits to keep on coming, projecting an annual average rate of 3.2% for 2020. Just how low is that? The previous annual low was 3.65% in 2016, while that number has been as high as 16.63%, the all-time high set in 1981.

What Does All This Mean to Me?

What it means is this is a great time to buy a home because you’ll pay less in interest every month and significantly less over the life of the loan. The Washington Post points out that means a $300,000 loan issued in late June would come with a monthly payment of $1,298 with principal, interest, and estimated taxes and insurance included.

That’s well below the $1,448 the paper says the same loan would have cost a year before. Over the life of the loan, that difference could save this hypothetical borrower $54,000.

If you’re ready to take advantage of the great rates available right now, talk to one of the knowledgeable and helpful loan experts at Trusted American Mortgage today!


Questions to Ask When Considering a Home with a Well 

August 1, 2020 | By Patrick Donlon

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In urban areas, homes with wells are virtually unheard of, but in some rural parts of the country, they are more common than those on municipal or public supplies.

According to the EPA, an estimated 13 million U.S. homes rely on a well, which is roughly 10% of the total.

So, home buyers outside cities may run into some properties drawing water out of the ground, rather than a main. If you find yourself in that situation, here are some questions you might want to ask to ensure you have the whole picture before you make the purchase.

How was the well sunk? Most modern wells are drilled, a process that creates a cleaner hole that is easier to plumb and less likely to become contaminated.

How old is the well? Wells require maintenance and have expected lifespans. In most cases drilled wells last decades, though groundwater sources can shift and leave the well dry.

How long was it projected to last? Contractors who sink wells sometimes provide an estimated lifespan based on the flow rate of the source aquifer, expected submersible pump life, and stability of the drill, among other factors.

How deep is the well? The depth of a well can tell you a lot (for instance, how susceptible the well might be to surface contaminants), and the current owner should be able to answer this.

How much water is it rated for? This can be dictated by the available flow from the tapped aquifer and the capacity of the pump. The number is typically in the 3–5-gallon range.

Does the well meet codes? Local and state codes may dictate how the well can be sunk, how deep it must be, and what the water quality should be.

When was the well water last tested and what were the results? You should insist on receiving logs of that check. The EPA recommends testing well water annually for total coliform bacteria, nitrates, total dissolved solids, and pH levels.

If you are concerned about the well, you may want to request water quality testing and inspection as a condition of your purchase of the home.

When you’re ready to buy your next home, contact the experts at Trusted American Mortgage to walk with you each step of the way.


What is the Difference Between a Buyer's Market and a Seller's Market? 

July 1, 2020 | By Patrick Donlon

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If you have ever purchased or sold a home, you are probably familiar with the terms “buyer’s market” and “seller’s market.” But have you ever stopped to consider what those phrases actually mean?

Our team at Trusted American Mortgage wants to take a few minutes to break it down for you. Read on as we share some insight.

Buyer’s Market vs. Seller’s Market

It’s probably fairly common sense to know that the two phrases mean one market is beneficial for home buyers and one is beneficial for home sellers. But how so? And what do these types of markets mean for people looking to buy or sell a home?

First things first, let us put a definition with the phrases:

buyer’s market describes a time period when there are more homes for sale than there are buyers looking for homes.

seller’s market describes a time period when there are fewer homes for sale than there are buyers looking for homes.

What the Markets Mean for You If You are Looking to Sell

If you are not quite sure whether the time is right to sell your home, you want to consider whether you are in a seller’s market time period. When it’s a seller’s market, that means your home will be a hot commodity, because there are so many people looking for homes.

That often translates to bidding wars, where multiple potential buyers bid against each other to become the lucky winner of your home. That translates to a higher sale price for you—and potentially more money in your wallet.

On the other hand, if it is a buyer’s market, you may want to reconsider selling your home, if possible. Your home will be one of many options, making it less likely that it will sell in a timely manner and for the price you would like.

What the Markets Mean for You If You are Looking to Buy

If you are looking to buy a home, ideally, you would wait until it is a buyer’s market. During that time period, there will be more options out there to look at and more price points available.

That means you will be more apt to find a home within an affordable price range that also meets your needs and wants.

During a seller’s market, on the other hand, you could end up paying much more than you anticipated due to an overabundance of competition—other buyers looking for homes.

When you are ready to buy a home, we are here for you! Give us a call today to get started.


Pandemic Mortgage Relief 

June 1, 2020 | By Patrick Donlon

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With unemployment claims at record levels in March and April as a result of the coronavirus-triggered economic slowdown, searches for “mortgage relief” also hit all-time highs, according to Google Trends data. Fortunately for those struggling to make payments, federal regulators ordered lenders to offer flexibility to more than half of all borrowers.

The mandate gives those who have lost their incomes the opportunity to petition their lenders to reduce or completely pause payments for as long as 12 months. It only covers loans guaranteed by government-backed mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but that includes most of the outstanding loans in the U.S.

If you lost your job and/or your income as a result of economic changes related to the coronavirus, there are some things you should do to ensure your home is protected while you look for work:

How to Get Coronavirus Mortgage Relief

  • Reach out to your mortgage servicer as soon as you know you likely will not be able to make a payment. Do not wait until the due date or, worse yet, just stop making payments without communicating with your lender.
  • In most cases, you will only need to explain your situation to a lender representative, who will then work with you to determine whether you qualify for relief and how much you might get. You should be ready to provide some details—potentially including how much income you lost, what your monthly bills look like and your overall financial picture—on this call.
  • Collect paperwork to document your hardship, which you may be asked to provide to your lender to support your claim. This may include notice of termination, unemployment documentation, and records of monthly expenses.
  • Have an idea of how you might be able to get back on track with payments when you are in a better financial position. This may mean paying more each month for a set period to catch up to where you would have been without the pause or reduction or extending the term of the loan. Your lender may dictate how this ground will be made up; otherwise, a representative should be able to help you decide what plan best fits your situation.

If you have other questions about home funding, please reach out to Trusted American Mortgage agents today!


Warmer Weather = Home-Buying Time 

May 1, 2020 | By Patrick Donlon

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The weather is getting warmer. The birds are chirping. The sun is out. And potential homebuyers are on a mission!

Have you been thinking about putting your home on the market? Our team of professionals at Trusted Home Mortgage wants you to see why the summer season might just be the perfect time to sell your home.

Prepare Now to Get Ahead

More than 5 million homes were sold in the United States in 2019. That adds up to a lot of competition when it comes to the housing market!

Fortunately, if you are one of the many homeowners looking to sell your home this summer, our team is here to offer you tips on how you can help get your home sold sooner rather than later:


Many people want to sell/buy in the summer because it gives the perfect opportunity to close on a home and move without interfering with the start of school.

When people buy in the summer, it gives their family an opportunity to become familiar with the neighborhood, as well as new schools and other extracurricular activities they might be interested in like new churches and sporting events.

So, as part of your prep work in this area, you want to make sure you can identify for potential buyers what is available in your area. Provide quick reference points for schools, churches, restaurants, entertainment venues, and other oft-needed organizations.

Sparkling-clean Spaces

Summer is also a great time to sell—particularly this year—because you have likely just completed a comprehensive spring-clean. Your home is sparkling and sanitized, making it easier for potential buyers to see the opportunities your house offers to them.

Take this one step further by decluttering your space and leaving visible only what is necessary. Buyers, after all, want to see their own dreams within your house’s walls, not your reality.

Curb Appeal

While you shouldn’t judge a book by the cover, we all do, which is why it is vital for your home’s curb appeal to be on point when putting your home on the market. You want to give prospective homebuyers the wow factor as soon as they pull up your driveway.

Seize the opportunity now to clean up your outdoor spaces and give them a good shine. Work on your own or with a landscaper to boost your curb appeal with a lush lawn and decorative flowerbeds. You can even add little touches like a new coat of paint to the front door, providing a literal good first impression.

Are you ready to see yourself in a new home this summer? Check out our Trusted American Mortgage website today to find out how we can help you get started!


Take the First Step to Buying a Home, Get Pre-Approved!

April 1, 2020 | By Patrick Donlon

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Is 2020 the year for a new home? You have come to the right place! Our team at Trusted American Mortgage wants you to find the home of your dreams.

But first things first, you want to make sure you take the steps to get pre-approved for a mortgage before going on a house hunt. Learn why:

Why Is It Important to Get Pre-Approved for a New Home?

Before you get the itch to start looking at homes currently available on the market, it is important to make sure you are not jumping the gun. Rather, the first step in the home-buying process is that of getting pre-approved for a mortgage.

But why?

You want to make sure you know how much home you can afford. There is nothing more disappointing than going house-hunting only to find that the houses you are looking at are out of your price range.

Therefore, get a better idea of how much home you can afford by getting pre-approved for a mortgage before you go house-hunting. That way you will not be disappointed if you find a home and, then, it ends up being out of your price range.

If you do find a home you love, you can be one step ahead of other potential homebuyers by having a pre-approval letter in your hand. When you go in to make an offer on a house that you love, the sellers can know that you mean business.

In addition, this can help sellers feel more comfortable in accepting your offer since they do not have to worry about whether you can get funding for a new home since you are already pre-approved for a mortgage.

Are You Ready to Get Pre-Approved for a Home Loan?

Now that you know why it is important to get pre-approved for a home mortgage before looking at houses, set up an appointment with us to get started on the pre-approval process. Just make sure you bring the following documents with you:

  • Pay stubs
  • Tax returns
  • W-2s from the previous two years
  • Asset information
  • Driver's license or passport
  • Social Security number

It is not just a house. It is a home! Check out our Trusted American Mortgage website today to learn how we can help you get started in finding your dream home sooner rather than later.


 Home Sweet Home 

March  2020 | By Patrick Donlon

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Whether this is your first time buying a house or your fifth, the same outcome is always desired, you want to find a house that you can turn into a home!

Our team at Trusted American Mortgage wants you to learn how you can turn the house of your needs into the home of your dreams with some simple touches. Let's look at some ways you can add your own style into your house in order to make it more of a home:

Bring in the Greenery

What makes the best gift? A houseplant! Not only can houseplants help to improve the air quality inside your home, but they can also help add warmth and comfort for both your loved ones and your guests!

Paint the Walls Red

Well, not necessarily red. But don't be afraid to go outside the box when painting the walls of your home to fit whatever meets your style.

Whether you go for Pantone's Color of the Year in the dining room or beige in the living room or pink and white stripes for your daughter's bedroom, you want each room to have its own meaning, while also having a flow that is all your own.

The Writing is on the Wall

Along with painting the walls, do not be afraid to also add some of your family pictures, favorite quotes, and other favorite artwork to the wall to really spice things up inside your home.

When you are surrounded by photos of your loved ones, even when alone, you can feel as though you are in the comfort of your own home surrounded by the people you love the most!

Artwork, mirrors, and other home decor can also help to give life to the walls of your house in order to help make it a home.

Are you on the search for a new house that you can turn into a home? Check out our Trusted American Mortgage website today to find out how we can help you get started!


Make Liv
ing in Your Home Easier When It's for Sale  

February 1, 2020 | By Patrick Donlon

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When you are selling your home, it can be difficult to also live in it. You want everything to stay just right in case the next visitor to your home is the potential buyer!

Our team at Trusted American Mortgage wants you to know how you can make your home livable while trying to sell it in 2020.

Let's take a look at ways you can do just that:

Start Packing Now 

You are going to sell your home one day, so why not go ahead and start cleaning out each room? You can start making bins of what you want to donate, sell, throw out and move.

When you start clearing out your home, you can move items you're going to keep into a storage area and get items you're discarding or selling out of the house entirely. This will help ensure your house remains as clutter-free as possible even while you're still living in it!

Rent a Storage Unit

Now that you've decluttered, you probably need to clear some of the items you'll be keeping out of your home. Doing so will help make sure that potential buyers can visualize themselves in your house rather than simply seeing all your stuff.

One thing that may make things easier for you and your family is to move items and furniture that's not deemed essential into a storage unit or other available storage space.

Organize Your Showings

While you want your home to be available and ready for potential homebuyers to see, it's still your house! You need to have some boundaries around when you will be in the house and when it will be available for buyers to view.

Work with your Realtor to determine days and times that your house can be shown and when it should be off-limits.

By knowing the days and times your home will be shown, you will be better able to work around that schedule. You'll be able to ensure that your house is cleaned for visitors when needed but can feel more comfortable to truly live in the space on days no one will be stopping by.

Are you needing to move from one home to another? Check out our Trusted American Mortgage website today to find out how we can help!

Copyright© 2020 Trusted American Mortgage


3 Resolutions You Can Make for Your Home | Trusted American Mortgage

January 1, 2020 | By Patrick Donlon

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It's the start of a new year and the time many of us start implementing resolutions for the year ahead. Why not add one or two to the list related to your home? After all, it's a big investment, so you want to make the most of it!

Our team at Trusted American Mortgage wants you to learn how you can best care for your new home by establishing strong resolutions for 2020. Consider adding these resolutions to your list:

Make a List of Home Improvement Projects

While you do not have to take care of every home project all at once, you do want to have a running list of to-dos in order to keep your home improvement projects streamlined.

After making a list of everything you want to accomplish, you want to start listing them from highest priority to lowest priority. That way you can ensure the most important home tasks get taken care of as soon as possible, such as HVAC issues and electrical upgrades.

Make Your House Your Home

There is having a house, and then there is having a home. Although one might think these two terms are the same, they are actually very different. A house is just that, a house. But a home is so much more.

When you walk into your home, you want to be able to take a deep breath and just feel instantly at ease knowing you are safe and sound. Through home decor, home security and other ways, you can be sure to turn your house into a home in the new year!

Make Your Home More Energy-Efficient

Your electric bill comes once a month. Wouldn't it be nice to see that bill as low as possible?

Let's take a look at ways you can start making your home energy-efficient today:

  • Unplugging unused electronics
  • Turning off unnecessary water
  • Sealing all windows
  • Using energy-efficient lightbulbs
  • Turning off lights when not in the room
  • Lowering your thermostat

Then, you can use the savings of your electrical bill each month to put toward your home improvement projects on your resolution list. It's a win-win!

Are you on the search for a new home? Check out our Trusted American Mortgage website today to find out how we can help!

What's Trending in Home-buying for 2020? | Trusted American Mortgage

December 1, 2019 | By Patrick Donlon

Everyone is always wanting to stay on top of the latest trends, and who can blame them?

Our team at Trusted American Mortgage wants to inform you on the latest trends happening within the housing and mortgage market as we enter a new year!

Whether you are in the market for a new house or not, you have probably heard the phrases buyer's market and seller's market in passing. But what do these really mean?

In previous months (and years), it has certainly been a seller's market, which basically means the seller has the upper hand when negotiating the sale of a home. However, the tables are turning a little bit, which means it is becoming more of a buyer's market. That means the buyer will now have more of the power when it comes to negotiating the cost of a home.

Are you looking to sell your home in 2020? Sooner is better than later, especially since things could change within the new year. Some economic experts believe a recession could hit by 2021 and the effects could start to appear in later 2020. So now may be the time to look to sell.

A third trend to watch for in the mortgage industry is the ability to refinance. People refinance a home for a number of reasons, including:

  • Obtaining a lower interest rate and mortgage payment
  • Reducing PMI
  • Moving from an adjustable-rate mortgage to a fixed-rate mortgage
  • Buying out an ex-spouse

Even if you recently bought a home, you should still consider checking out the current refinancing rate, as you could still take advantage of a great deal in 2020!

Remember, trends are always changing, including in the housing and mortgage market. While these are some of the trends now, you never know what will happen throughout the next year! Take advantage of what you can now so that you don't regret missing out later.

Are you on the search for a new home in the new year? Check out our Trusted American Mortgage website today to find out how we can help!


Home for the Holidays! | Trusted American Mortgage
November 1- By Patrick Donlon

Can you believe we are already entering November? Where has this year gone? It always seems each year passes by faster than the next.

However, now it really is crunch time when searching for a new home just before the holidays. Our team at Trusted American Mortgage is here to help you find the perfect home just in time to celebrate the holidays with loved ones.

Be Settled in a New Home for the Holidays

While house hunting can be fun, during this time of year, you also want to be able to decorate it for the holidays! Therefore, you might want to consider ways you can find your new home fast so that you have plenty of time to celebrate it before the holiday season begins.

With the pressure on, let's take a look at ways you can find the perfect home:

Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

The first thing you want to do before you start the hunt for the perfect house this holiday season is to go ahead and get pre-approved for a mortgage. The last thing you want to do is waste time looking at homes you cannot afford.

Therefore, take care of this first step before moving forward in the homebuying process.

Get All the Documentation Ready

When you find the right home, you want to make sure you have all your ducks in a row in order to make the home buying process as efficient as possible, especially around this time of year when you have no time to waste!

The following are documents homebuyers need when purchasing a new home, such as:

  • Federal tax returns for the past two years
  • Supporting information (e.g., W-2, 1099, or other tax forms) for the past two years
  • Two months' worth of statements from any checking and savings, 401(k), retirement, and other accounts
  • Pay stubs for the past month

Prepare for Your Move

Although you may not be sure of where your new home will be, you do know that there will be a move. Therefore, start planning for your move now so that when the time does come to begin moving into your new home, you already have a head start on packing!

Also, go ahead and do some of the legwork, like determining the steps to take to get cable and internet set up, gas turned on, and other such tasks.

Are you looking for a new home just before the holidays? Give our team at Trusted American Mortgage a call to learn how we can help!


Is It Time to Refinance Your Home? | Trusted American Mortgage

August 1, 2019 by Parick Donlon

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Refinancing your mortgage can certainly save you money. However, before you pull the plug on refinancing your home, our team at Trusted American Mortgage wants to make sure that you time it just right to benefit most.

Let's take a look at some things to consider when it comes to determining whether you should refinance your mortgage:

Is It a Better Interest Rate?

You want to make sure that when you refinance your mortgage that you are able to obtain a better interest rate. Now only can the interest rate help with lowering your monthly payment, it can also help you save money throughout the lifetime of your home loan.

Therefore, you want to make sure you are improving your interest rate in order to improve your overall finances in the end!

In order to know if your interest rate is going to be better, you also need to be aware of your current credit score. If your credit score is higher than what it was when you first bought your home, then there is a good chance that you'll receive a better interest rate offer this time around.

However, if your credit score is lower than when you first became a homeowner, then you might want to rethink refinancing.

Do You Have Upcoming Expenses?

This is where you consider whether your financial needs merit refinancing to free up more money.

Are you in need of cash to help cover your child's college tuition or are you looking to make big improvements to your home?

Then, refinancing your mortgage might be the best (and cheapest) way to free up the money you need for a big expense.

Will You Ultimately Save Money?

The ultimate goal of refinancing in most cases is to save money in the long run. So carefully consider the details of any mortgage refinance offer to determine whether it will help you do that.

You'll want to examine not just the interest rate and new monthly payment, but also the total amount due, and whether that represents an actual savings over your current mortgage. A mortgage loan officer will be able to step you through all the details so you can make an informed decision.

Are you looking to refinance your home? Give our team at Trusted American Mortgage a call today to learn how to get started!


Home Loan Pre-Approval: What Is It & How to Get It | Trusted American Mortgage       September1-Pat Donlon

*There is no place like home, Dorothy

Our team at Trusted American Mortgage completely understands the need and desire to want to go house-hunting as soon as it is decided that you are in the market for a new home.

However, have you ever found something you loved and then realized at the end that you couldn't afford it? It quickly puts a damper on the entire experience and makes it hard to move forward to find something you love even more.

Therefore, rather than going in blind when house-hunting, know how much home you can afford by getting pre-approved for your mortgage before starting the search for your new home!

Things to Know About Getting Pre-Approved

Finding your dream home should be fun! So, take the risk of being disappointed out of the equation by getting pre-approved before you start hunting.

What is this pre-approval, you might ask? Well, it essentially tells you how much of a loan a bank is willing to provide to you. This will provide you with clear parameters on what you're able to afford, and what you are not.

The first thing to know, though, is that just because you get approved for a $300,000 home mortgage, it doesn't mean you need to buy a $300,000 home! It's very important that you truly understand the costs of homeownership, above and beyond just the monthly mortgage. Make sure to set yourself up for success!

How can you obtain the best possible terms for your loan? It's all about credit.

First, you want to make sure that your credit score is ready for a home mortgage. The higher the credit score, the better the interest rate on your home loan. Start taking steps to improve your score by making all payments on time, not closing old accounts and paying off your credit accounts monthly when possible.

In addition, you also want to make sure your debt-to-income ratio isn't too unbalanced. If most of your income is going toward paying off debt, that won't reflect positively when applying for a mortgage. So, work to pay down some of the debt prior to house-hunting, for best results.

Are you in the market for a new home? Before you start house-hunting, give our team at Trusted American Mortgage a call to discover how much home you can afford.


It's Time to Talk Closing Costs! | Trusted American Mortgage
October 1 -Pat Donlon

It never fails. You think you have everything you need to buy a home and, then, bam. You completely forgot to factor in the closing costs.

Our team at Trusted American Mortgage wants you to be as prepared as possible when it comes to buying a new home by making sure you include closing costs within your budget.

How Low Can the Closing Costs Go?

Of course, one thing you want to make sure you do is lower the closing costs as much as possible. Let's take a look at a few ways you can make certain you get the best price possible when it comes to closing costs on your new home.

What Will the Seller Pay For?

Just because you are paying for some of the closing costs of the home, it doesn't mean the seller isn't responsible, too. Although the seller usually pays for the real estate agent commissions, they are also usually responsible for paying for some of the closing costs.

In fact, in some markets, buyers can have the upper hand in sometimes asking the sellers to pay for all closing costs as a way to seal in the deal. However, this is only in some cases.

What If You Don't Have the Cash to Pay Closing Costs?

Are you unable to pay the closing costs associated with your new home? You can sometimes roll the closing costs into your overall mortgage payment, which can end up saving you money at closing.

However, because you are paying interest on your closing costs when putting it with the rest of your mortgage, you might actually be spending a little more in the end. Yet, this is a great way for you to have the closing costs paid for when you don't have access to the cash needed at the time of closing.

How Can You Be Better Prepared for Closing Costs?

When saving for your mortgage, you can also start saving for your closing costs. This way you will not be surprised when the time comes to discuss and pay closing costs so that you can still get the keys to your dream home!

Are you looking for more information about closing costs?  Call 303-558-1500 0r email: manager@trustedamerican.com

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