Monday, July 31, 2017

Home DIY Projects Without Tools

DIY has become the new drug of choice for homeowners everywhere. Now, instead of shopping for decorative items to fill the house with, people are building their own. There are vast communities of people both on and offline who are addicted to this new wave of ideas.

Source: Home DIY Projects Without Tools: Use Glue not a Screw – Top Reveal

Friday, July 28, 2017

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Coolest gadgets to kick off Summer

It’s time to power-down your phone, put on some SPF 30 and head outside for BBQs, hikes and the beach days. But you don’t have to give up all technology to relax. Here are some gadgets to get the most out of summer’s lazy days.

Source: Blast tunes at the beach – Coolest gadgets to kick off summer – CNNMoney

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Mortgage Help for Debt-Saddled Grads

Today’s college grads leave school with an average of $34,000 in student-loan debt. That mound of debt is delaying homeownership among millennials. Parents and grandparents who cosigned private student loans or took out Parent PLUS loans may also be burdened. Now, mortgage giant Fannie Mae has launched loan-underwriting changes that will lighten the load.

Source: Mortgage Help for Debt-Saddled Grads | The Network Journal

Monday, July 24, 2017

Port St. Lucie property values jump 11.2%

ST. LUCIE COUNTY — Revised figures for next year show a slightly higher taxable property value for the entire county than originally released.

The preliminary tax roll for the 2017-18 budget year, released late Wednesday by the Property Appraiser’s Office, shows a countywide taxable property value of about $18.8 billion, about 7.3 percent higher than this year’s $17.5 billion.The June 1 estimate was $18.7 billion.

Source: Port St. Lucie property values jump 11.2 percent

Friday, July 21, 2017

Enjoy a concert, movie, show and more this weekend | July 21-23

Treasure Coast news and information in Indian River County, Martin County and St. Lucie County, Florida.

The summer is going by so fast and in less than a month, students will return to school.

The first day of public school in St. Lucie and Indian River counties is Aug. 14 and Martin students start Aug. 15.

So take some time to enjoy a lazy weekend and have some fun.

Source: Enjoy a concert, movie, show and more this weekend | July 21-23

Thursday, July 20, 2017

How to Get a Mortgage Without a Full-Time, Permanent Job

The growing number of gig economy workers in this country may have the freedom to work whenever they want, and sometimes from wherever they want, but when it comes to buying a home, all of that freedom has its price.

It turns out employees who have many part-time jobs, hop from one short-term contract or project to the next, or rely on freelance work as opposed to permanent jobs, don’t come packaged in the tidy financial box that mortgage lenders typically like.

“Historically the mortgage industry wants everything — residency, credit score and a two-year history of employment. And we’re also trying to predict the likelihood of that continuing for the next three years,” said Whitney Fite, senior vice president, strategic accounts for Atlanta-based Angel Oak Home Loans. “With the gig economy, we’re seeing less and less people fitting in that box.”

Gig economy workers don’t often have the requisite stack of W-2s to document wages. And predictions for future income can be murky. All of which can make obtaining a mortgage an uphill climb unless you, as the gig economy worker, do your homework and start preparing your finances and paperwork well in advance.

Here are six tips to help prepare you for the home loan application process.

1. Get Organized

The No. 1 piece of advice Fite has for gig economy workers who want to own a home is to spend time organizing all of your documentation, including proof of employment and income, the names and phone numbers of references, previous employers, landlords and more. You’ll also want to pull your credit scores so you know exactly where you stand. You can get your two free credit scores on

“Have all of your records, have all the dates of where you worked, who you worked for. It’s going to be onerous from a documentation standpoint, but you need to be prepared,” said Fite.

Gathering this information is more important for gig economy workers than typical borrowers, because you will have to work harder to convince a mortgage lender to approve a home loan.

2. Go the Extra Mile to Educate Your Mortgage Lender

You need to be able to explain to your mortgage lender what you do for a living.

Take the time to educate him or her about your job. Perhaps print out a news article or other information that will help a lender understand what you do.

“You need to prove that your past two years are normal. And that the likelihood of continuance is there,” said Fite. “Be prepared to supply a lot of documentation for that, such as articles about your industry. Things of that nature go a long way. The mortgage lender is not going to make a decision based on it, but it will help create a level of comfort.”

In addition, showing consistency in terms of the type of work you do will improve your chances of obtaining a mortgage, said John Moran, a mortgage professional who runs The Home Mortgage Pro.

A mortgage underwriter is looking for a stable history. Even if the gigs themselves start and stop frequently, gigs within the same industry or utilizing the same skill set will be considered more favorably.

3. Ease Up on the Deductions…

Self-employed individuals, as gig economy workers typically are, often use a Schedule C when filing taxes to report income and write off numerous expenses tied to working the way they do.

The downside of deducting a long list of expenses from your income is that it reduces your profits on paper. You may bring in $73,000 in a given year. But after deducting the cost of everything from internet and cell phone bills, to travel, business meals and professional memberships, your net income on paper may be far less.

“Use caution in how you’re deducting expenses as it’s the net income that’s used to qualify for a mortgage, not the gross pay,” said Kevin Hardin, a senior loan officer with HomeStreet Bank. “It’s tempting to use the full breadth of the IRS tax laws to reduce taxable income, but every dollar that is reduced from that taxable income reduces the income that can be used for qualifying for a mortgage.”

So, if you know you want to buy a home in the near future, consider forgoing some or all of the deductions for a year or two to increase the income you’re reporting.

4. …But First, Talk With a Mortgage Officer About Your Goals

Before completely doing away with claiming any or all expenses on your tax return, however, talk to a mortgage officer about your home buying goals. Here are some tips for finding a good mortgage lender.

“Go to a mortgage officer and say, ‘This is the amount of home I want to buy, how much income will I need to show?’” said Hardin. “Don’t just arbitrarily stop writing things off.”

In other words, get educated about the income you’ll need to show on paper first, before throwing write-offs out the window. Once you’ve identified how much mortgage you’d like, it will be easier to determine what the monthly mortgage payment would be and thus, how much income you’ll need to be able to document.

“The first step is to talk to a mortgage loan officer and then take that information to your tax preparer and say, ‘This is the number I need to hit in terms of income,’” Hardin said.

5. Get Your Debt Down

Let’s stress this one more time — because you are a gig economy worker, mortgage lenders will require more assurance that you’re qualified for a loan and that you’re a good risk.

To that end, work to get your debt down to zero, or as low as possible before applying for a mortgage, and keep your credit score in excellent standing, said Casey Fleming, a mortgage adviser since 1995 and author of The Loan Guide: How to Get the Best Possible Mortgage.

“Self-employed borrowers are going to be held to a higher standard because there is an added layer of risk with them,” said Fleming.

6. Try a ‘Bank Statement’ Mortgage

Newly emerging “bank statement” mortgage programs may be a good option for self-employed or gig economy workers to consider, said Fite, of Angel Oak Home Loans.

Such mortgages rely upon reviewing 12 to 24 months worth of deposits to one bank account  and a profit and loss statement for your business, in lieu of the traditional two years of tax returns, W-2s, and payroll checks.

“These are geared toward the gig economy. It’s a rapidly growing segment of mortgages across our industry,” said Fite.

A variety of mortgage lenders are beginning to offer this loan option.

Image: Jacob Ammentorp Lund

Source: How to Get a Mortgage Without a Full-Time, Permanent Job |

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Answering Your Mortgage Lending Questions

Q:  My friend told me I can get a loan in the country with 100 percent financing, is this true? What kind of loan is it?A. That is a great question because in fact there is such a loan product.The USDA, the same federal government agency that inspects farms and rates the steaks you buy at the grocery store, offers a home loan program in which there isn’t a down payment requirement when you purchase a home.

Source: Answering your mortgage lending questions

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Monday, July 17, 2017

Mortgage Help for Debt-Saddled Grads

Today’s college grads leave school with an average of $34,000 in student-loan debt. That mound of debt is delaying homeownership among millennials. Parents and grandparents who co-signed private student loans or took out Parent PLUS loans may also be burdened. Now, mortgage giant Fannie Mae has launched loan-underwriting changes that will lighten the load.

Source: Mortgage Help for Debt-Saddled Grads | The Network Journal

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Five places never to use a credit or debit card.

In today’s cashless culture, nearly all of our purchases (including those new ankle-boot beauties) are paid for via credit card. But with all the identity theft and hacking in the headlines (just when you thought you were safe on Ashley Madison…), there are plenty of reasons to give pause.

So we tapped Shaun Murphy, former privacy and security expert for the Department of Defense, for his tips on when you should use alternate forms of payment to avoid risk. Here’s where to think twice before swiping.

1. Online Shopping Sites That Aren’t Secure: It seems obvious, but many of us are guilty of giving up our card numbers without checking on the security of the site. Before you enter your digits, look for the green lock icon (without any overlays) at the front of the site’s URL.

2. Gas Pumps and Self-Checkout Stations: These places are sweet targets for credit-card skimming devices that can sit there for months without anyone noticing. They’re small, not obvious to the average customer and easy for criminals to retrieve or install in a matter of minutes.

3. Outdoor ATMs and Pay Terminals: Avoid using ATMs that are out in the open (on the sidewalk, in the corner store) whenever you can. And when you have to use them, at least be sure to cover the PIN pad while entering your information–you never know who’s lurking behind you or if there’s a hidden camera nearby. Outdoor stations, including fast-food drive-throughs, are prime locations for hidden skimmer devices.

4. Cell-Phone Charging Stations: We know what it’s like to have a dead battery, but swiping your card to get access to free charging stations at the airport could be putting you in danger. These kiosks are ripe for skimming and nefarious card-information storage, and have also been known to dump the information from your cell phone while charging. It’s called juice jacking.

5. Desktop or Mobile Applications: Watch out for apps and pop-ups on your computer and phone that ask for credit-card info outside of the official program or app store. Things like “You have a virus–please deposit $10” or “Your files have been encrypted and can be unlocked for a certain price.” You’ve probably seen at least one of these threats before. It might seem obvious, but be alert and don’t fall for these traps.

So how should you pay? Murphy suggests using cold, hard cash or prepaid reloadable cards that aren’t linked to any personal financial information. As the old saying goes, buyer beware.

Source: Five places never to use a credit or debit card | Money | Purewow

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Development boom hits little-known Tradition Area.

The 3,606 acres on the south side of Tradition Parkway — technically named Southern Grove, but marketed as Tradition — is experiencing its first growth spurt.

The area soon could see its first singleand multi-family homes and senior- and veterans-care facilities in addition to more medical development.

Continental Properties Co. has proposed Springs at Tradition, a 304-unit apartment complex with studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, including handicap-accessible units, west

Source: Development boom hits little-known Tradition area – Treasure Coast Newspapers

Monday, July 10, 2017

5 questions to ask before combining finances (or not).

Though your financial chemistry may not be what’s lighting you up right now, one of the most important things you can do as a new couple is to get to know each other money-wise.

Source: 5 questions to ask before combining finances (or not) – Jun. 22, 2017

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Top 5 Simple Renovations That Add Value To Your Home

Renovating a home can be a difficult, stressful task. But, it doesn’t have to be. Here are five simple renovations that add value to your home.

Source: Top 5 Simple Renovations That Add Value To Your Home

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Did You Know? Floresta Drive Closure

Beginning June 5 to August 11 during the St. Lucie County School summer break, the City’s contractor will close a portion of Floresta Drive to complete necessary drainage and underground infrastructure activities for the Crosstown Parkway Extension Project.

Monday, July 3, 2017