Some people prefer to rent a property as a means to avoid certain costs like property taxes. Usually these expenses are realized when owning real estate. In a sense, this is true. You will not pay directly for property taxes, nor are you personally obligated to do so. However, your landlord (the owner of the property) is obligated to do so. And more often than not, the cost is built into your monthly rent payment. Rent payments are not usually itemized… Regardless, renting something costs money. And in most cases, the rental income is sufficient to subsidize owning the property. This is why the cost to rent versus the cost to buy is more similar than people realize. And if you want to buy the property, you can rent to own it as well… Housing, and real estate in general, is diverse. Learn about your options…we can help. Ask us how.

*Not intended as real estate, accounting or investment advice. Contact your financial representative for more information.

Applying for a mortgage and buying a house are major financial decisions that affect your bottom line for years to come. It’s important to understand how much “HOUSE” you can afford. And the mortgage payment by itself is just one factor to consider. This is where a lender helps make sure you’re able to pay back your home loan in full along with additional details. It’s up to you to determine your monthly payment and how it will impact your financial goals, such as saving for your child’s college education or even your own retirement. However, insurance needs, maintenance costs and utilities are all factors you need to consider and acknowledge when determining how a monthly payment fits into your finances. Being honest about your finances and financial outlook for calculating the monthly payment you can comfortably afford helps you save you money and stress in the long run. Affording loan payments is one thing…buying a house the right way is another. We’re here to help. Ask us how.

*Not intended as real estate, accounting or investment advice. Contact your financial representative for more information.

Matt HeikkinenHave you heard the news? AmeriFirst Home Mortgage has welcomed a new member to the team! Matt Heikkinen, a proud Mahoning Valley native, is the new Business Development Manager for AmeriFirst’s Poland, Ohio branch. His portfolio is well diversified and includes being a realtor, entrepreneur and real estate instructor. Now, he’s ready to embrace a new challenge. So, what is he all about? Here are five things you need to know about Matt Heikkinen: Continue reading

It is true, getting pre-approved for a home loan is an important achievement that brings you a step closer to landing your dream home. But, you still have some work to do before getting the keys. Between pre-approval and closing, it’s vital to make few to no changes in your financial situation. And as life happens, share details with your mortgage professional. Yes, believe it or not, changing jobs and buying a boat could affect your loan approval. Please remember, buying a home (or refinancing your current home for that matter) is a process. And final loan approval comes just days in advance of your target closing date. So… like with any “PROCESS,” changing things along the way will likely have some impact on when you close. Making smart decisions promotes efficiency during the mortgage loan process. Get educated about the home buying process. We can help… Ask us how.

*Not all borrowers will qualify.

You hear about interest rates on the news, but what does it really mean and how may it affect your financial decision-making? Interest rate is a fee you are charged for borrowing money as a proportion of the total loan. This is expressed as a percentage of the total amount of the loan. Interest rates are important to consider when planning for a mortgage and yet, are just one of many important factors to consider. Do not confuse interest rate for “A-P-R.” The annual percentage rate is a broader measure of the cost of a mortgage because it expresses the true cost of borrowing money over time. Third party fees, discount points and certain other closing costs affect the APR. This is a great tool to utilize when it comes to comparing overall fees charged by different lenders across varying loan programs. Looking at interest rates and A-P-R’s, an interest rate can determine how much you will pay on a monthly basis based on the loan amount while an A-P-R can provide you with clues as to what fees are included in the loan terms. And even still, these 2 factors alone do not tell the whole story. Learn about mortgage money. The details matter… Ask us how.

*Not intended as real estate, accounting or investment advice. Contact your financial representative for more information.


Well, six reasons actually. AmeriFirst has an exclusive $2,000 R2K Grant!

Are you feeling cramped from the hustle and bustle of city life? Perhaps living out in the ‘burbs’ isn’t what you thought it would be. If either of these are the case, then we have the remedy for you and your family.

Continue reading

In real estate, negotiating the asking price for a home is common practice. Naturally, sellers want to achieve the maximum value of their home while buyers hope to have a price fall within their budget. Your real estate agent serves as your negotiation advisor and helps find the right price… They effectively determine what you are most comfortable with offering. It’s important for homebuyers to have all of their financial ducks in a row before they make an offer. This includes completing the pre-approval process and obtaining a letter from the lender identifying your loan details…essentially how to make an offer. The strategy is dependent on several factors. Type of loan – dollar amounts for purchase price or any credits you might request to cover costs and prepaid expenses. Remember, you have the right to negotiate everything. This includes the home inspection, especially if there is a laundry list of repairs that need done. Maybe even most importantly, avoid LOWBALLING an offer. This may alienate the seller and result in future offers being rejected. Get educated. We can teach. Ask us how.

Not intended as real estate, accounting or investment advice. Contact your financial representative for more information.

It is true that contributing more down payment money on a home reduces your monthly payment. But, not by as much as you’d think. Most times, it is best to consider the payment difference for every $1,000 borrowed. And in today’s market, depending on the loan terms, the difference in monthly payment for every $1,000 borrowed ranges between $5-7 in monthly payment. So, when considering available funds for cash to close, one should also consider the payment. For example, an additional $20,000 contributed for down payment reduces monthly payment approximately $100-140. So, consider how long it takes to save $20,000. It may be more important to pay less down and have additional funds in your reserves for items such as furniture, appliances, repairs – or just simply a financial safety net in the event of an unforeseen circumstance. Not all loans function the same way… Get educated about mortgages and the associated monthly loan payments. Ask us how.

*Not intended as real estate, accounting or investment advice. Contact your financial representative for more information.

Age is just a number. When you turn 18, you can vote, get a tattoo and even buy a house. Maybe even consider putting a tattoo of your house on your body! Kidding aside…

Purchasing a home is a smart move and a great investment for your future. And remember, it’s also a big commitment. If you can’t see yourself in a home or even in your area for more than five years, you may want to consider other alternatives such as renting. And then again, that five-year time period is not a hard and fast rule. The longer you are in a home, the more time it has to appreciate. So, starting at a younger age might make sense – just like normal investing. When considering a home, you’ll want to evaluate your current financial situation. It can be tough to know exactly where you stand. Ask yourself the following questions: What is your income? Do you have a low amount of debt relative to your income? Do you regularly contribute to a personal savings? We can help you answer those questions, among others. Ask us how.

*Not intended as real estate, accounting or investment advice. Contact your financial representative for more information.