real-estate-creativity

Six Ways to Improve Your Office’s Creative Thinking

Key takeaways:

  • Creative thinking is critical for problem-solving in unique situations
  • An inability to adapt and think creatively can cost you clients and referrals
  • There are simple ways to strengthen your office’s creative thinking

If you have a problem to solve, you need to be able to think creatively to formulate the best possible solution.

This is especially true when it comes to real estate. Each buyer or seller presents a unique situation and an agent must be able to adapt quickly. Failure to adapt usually means an unhappy client, which in turn means no referral. Not a great way to earn a positive reputation in the community.

In 2010, Newsweek published the results from a study into creativity. The study shows that since 1990, while IQ scores may be increasing, creativity has been inching downward. Further research into the decline shows that people in general are less creative as they get older.

Now more than ever, creative thinking is crucial to productivity. Think of your career. Has there ever been a time when your ‘job title’ hasn’t evolved to adapt to changes in your industry? Have you had to think ‘outside of the box’ to get an edge over your competition?

If you answered those questions with anything other than “every day,” then you have some catching up to do. Continue reading

mortgage refinancing

Before deciding whether a new mortgage to replace the current one is the best option, determine what it is you want to accomplish before anything else. Remember, refinancing a mortgage doesn’t pay off the debt; it just restructures it, often at a lower interest rate and possibly a different loan term than the current mortgage. Just so you guys don’t jump ship too early, here are three situations where it simply doesn’t make financial sense to refinance:

1) Your mortgage is old

In a mortgage, the proportion of a payment credited to the principal of the loan goes up each year while the proportion credited to the interest goes down. This means in the later years of a mortgage, more of a payment applies to principal and helps build equity. By refinancing late in a mortgage, you will restart the amortization process, and most of your monthly payment will be credited to paying interest again and not to building equity. However, if you refinance to a lower rate and a shorter term, the interest expense may still be in your favor. It’s worth asking a mortgage professional.

2) Your current mortgage has a prepayment penalty

A prepayment penalty is a fee that some lenders may charge if you pay off your mortgage loan early; to include a refinance. If you refinance with the same lender, ask whether the prepayment penalty can be waived. Consider the costs of any prepayment penalty against the savings you expect to gain from refinancing. Paying a prepayment penalty will increase the time it will take to break even, when you account for the costs of the refinance and the monthly savings you expect to gain.

3) You plan to move or sell your home in the next few years

The monthly savings gained from lower monthly payments may not exceed the costs of refinancing. You may want to consider an adjustable rate mortgage, if you are confident that you will not remain in your house for an extended time, doing the math to see if refinancing makes sense. Sometimes ARMS offer better terms.

If you’d like to learn more about whether refinancing is the best option for you or your clients, contact Bob Gratz at bgratz@amerifirst.com.

 

*Not all borrowers will qualify. Contact us for more information on fees and terms.

$500 AmeriCash
For many, buying a home is likely the largest expense they will ever make – any sort of financial relief could help to instill more confidence and get you into the home of your dreams. With this in mind, Amerifirst is now offering a buyer incentive program that allows you, the buyer, to receive $500 toward your closing costs.

The program, which is open to any buyer, is good for all of 2019 and renewable each year afterward, and is eligible with almost every loan we offer.* Continue reading

Key takeaways

  • Separate what you need from what you want
  • Do your homework on what the market wants
  • Budget, budget, budget!

Boost Your Home’s Value with a Little Investment

Nice big tax return this year? Lucky you! If you have a nice, strong savings account, you might want to think about putting some of that tax return into your home.

And no. We’re not talking about installing an in-ground swimming pool or adding a new air hockey table in the basement. Investing in your home is about putting money toward what you need, not what you want. Not everybody likes air hockey, but everybody loves a roof that doesn’t leak!

The first step is getting online and checking out some real estate websites to see what’s hot. Nowadays, smart homes are the hot topic. But unless you’re pulling in buckets of money, stick with these tried and true renovations to add value to your home. Continue reading

Mortgage Lending
When someone is ready to buy, they often hop in their car 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 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 couple installments, but for now… we will start at the beginning.

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Buying or selling homes that get water from a private well can present some unique challenges. In Ohio, any home with a working well being used must have that well inspected and approved by the County Board of Health as part of the sale of real estate. Most often, a Board of Health employee will take water samples from within the home to send out to the appropriate independent lab. Some Counties, however, allow non-employees to send samples of the water directly to those labs. This could be done by either the Seller or Buyer of the home. Continue reading

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

Countryside

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.

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