As winter inches toward spring and parts of the country finally start to thaw, many people will hop in their cars and start browsing the local housing stock for their new home. It can be an exciting venture, especially when you’ve found a few in your price range.

But what is your “price range,” really? Do you know what that corner dream house with the covered patio and finished basement will cost you each month? The truth is, the sticker price in the homebuyers guide is just a part of the total housing cost and doesn’t take into account all the other costs and criteria that a lender will be considering when you apply for a mortgage loan.

There are four distinct questions a lender has to answer before they can determine what a mortgage payment is going to look like. We’ll discuss these elements over the next few weeks, but for now… we will start at the beginning.

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Early this morning, as I shoveled the overnight delivery from Winter Storm Rex, I find myself reflecting on all the reasons I detest winter – and they are many.

Getting out of a nice warm bed earlier to dig my car out from the snow, then chiseling off all the ice that accumulated overnight just so I can join the long parade of horrible drivers ranks pretty high on that list. But if I had to pick my personal Winter Enemy No. 1, it’s gotta be those high utility bills.

If ever there was a good enough reason to invest in some eco-friendly alternatives to generating energy for my house, the wintertime gas bill is it. And while “Going Green” with such sustainable energy upgrades like fuel cells, solar panels or wind turbines isn’t a novel concept, few have made the investment because, let’s face it, the cost is usually more than the average American homeowner can handle.

Fortunately, AmeriFirst Home Mortgage has rolled out the PowerSaver Grant. It’s an FHA-approved grant that allows AmerFirst to cover some closing costs when a buyer makes specific eco-friendly home improvements with the FHA 203k loan. But what does that mean?

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