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Home Renovations That Add the Most Value in 2024

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Whether your starter home is beginning to seem more long-term or you’re looking to upgrade your fixer-upper, investing in remodeling projects can help customize your home to your needs, enhance curb appeal and most importantly, add value to your home when it comes time to sell.

If you ready to invest in your home, but aren’t sure where to start, we recommend tackling projects that will give you the most return on investment (ROI), meaning the value you add to your home will exceed the cost of the job.


Renovations With the Highest ROI Nationally

According to the Remodeling 2024 Cost vs. Value Report, the top three renovation projects that you’ll get the most bang for your buck are a garage door replacement, steel entry door replacement and manufactured stone veneer exterior.


Garage Door Replacement

National Average Cost: $4,513
National Average Resale Value: $8,751
National Average ROI: 193.9%

Replacing your existing 16×7-foot garage door and tracks with a four-section garage door on steel tracks with top panel windows recoups an average 193.9% of the cost – a jump of 91% more value from 2023. The job, as described by Remodeling, uses the existing motorized opener but adds a new door made from high-tensile-strength steel with two coats of paint, insulation and thermal seals – plus, a lifetime warranty on the new door.


Steel Entry Door Replacement

National Average Cost: $2,355
National Average Resale Value: $4,430
National Average ROI: 188.1%

Give your entry door a fresh look by replacing it with a new steel door.  The Remodeling report suggests a 20-gauge steel unit with a dual-pane half-glass panel and an aluminum threshold with composite stop. The job will run you about $2,355, but you’ll be recouping 188.1% of the cost – up 88% from 2023. Not only will the renovation enhance curb appeal, but steel doors are also known to provide more insulation, making it an energy-efficient choice. Plus, you can count on it being long-lasting, durable and highly secure.


Manufactured Stone Veneer

National Average Cost: $11,287
National Average Resale Value: $17,291
National Average ROI: 153.2%

Add a whopping $17,291 value to your property by replacing your exterior vinyl siding from the bottom third of the front of your home with an adhered manufactured stone veneer. Make sure to include proper water protection and you’ll be left with an attractive, long-lasting and low-maintenance enhancement to your house exterior. The project will cost you upward of $11,000, but you’ll recoup 153.2%, up 50% from 2023 with a consistent increase in value year-over-year.


Renovations With the Lowest ROI

On the flip side, the Remodeling 2024 Cost vs. Value Report detailed the renovation projects that tend to cost way more than they are worth. Think twice before you proceed with adding a primary suite, bathroom or undergoing a major kitchen remodel.

Primary Suite Addition

Upscale: National Average Cost: $339,513
National Average Resale Value: $81,042
National Average ROI: 23.9%

Midrange: National Average Cost: $164,649
National Average Resale Value: $58,484
National Average ROI: 35.5%

Whether it’s midrange or upscale, no matter how you swing it, adding another primary suite will be an expensive project with little return. In fact, data going back to 2010 suggests the cost has always outweighed the resale value, with the ROI for an upscale addition peaking at 59.9% in 2017 and sharply declining ever since.


Bathroom Addition

Upscale: National Average Cost: $107,477
National Average Resale Value: $34,997
National Average ROI: 32.6%

Midrange: National Average Cost: $58,586
National Average Resale Value: $20,334
National Average ROI: 34.7%

Adding a bathroom to your home is another high-cost, low-reward renovation project, with just a midrange addition proving to be a loss of over $38,000. Going back to 2010, data shows that the resale value has never exceeded the cost, and the ROI has continued to decline since 2019.


Major Kitchen Remodel

Upscale: National Average Cost: $158,530
National Average Resale Value: $60,176
National Average ROI: 38%

Midrange: National Average Cost: $79,982
National Average Resale Value: $39,587
National Average ROI: 49.5%

Kitchen remodels are very common, but according to the data, doing a major renovation doesn’t recoup its value and hasn’t ever based on numbers going back to 2010.

Major kitchen renovations at the midrange level include updating a 200-square foot kitchen with 30-feet of semi-custom wood cabinets, a 3×5-foot island, laminate countertops and a double-tub stainless steel sink. Additionally, a major remodel would involve adding an energy-efficient range, vented range hood, built-in microwave, dishwasher, garbage disposal, custom lighting, resilient flooring and fresh wall paint.

However, if you’ve got your heart set on updating your kitchen, you would be better off considering a midrange minor kitchen remodel according to the numbers.

A 200-square foot kitchen remodel is considered minor by leaving the existing cabinet boxes in place but updating them with new shaker-style wood panel fronts, plus new hardware. Additionally, it includes updating appliances like the range and refrigerator with new energy-efficient versions, replacing laminate countertops, opting for a moderately-priced sink, new flooring and finally, a fresh coat of paint on the walls.

A minor midrange kitchen remodel will cost an average of $27,492, but will recoup 96.1% of the cost, with a resale value of $26,406.


Remodeling Projects With the Highest ROI by Region in 2024

Take a closer look at your region to find out the projects that recoup more value than they cost, according to the Remodeling 2024 Cost vs. Value Report.

East North Central

  1. Steel Entry Door Replacement: 161.8% ROI
  2. Garage Door Replacement: 152.3% ROI
  3. Manufactured Stone Veneer: 112.2% ROI

East South Central

  1. Garage Door Replacement: 172.8% ROI
  2. Steel Entry Door Replacement: 153.2% ROI
  3. Manufactured Stone Veneer: 141.4% ROI

Middle Atlantic

  1. Garage Door Replacement: 203.6% ROI
  2. Manufactured Stone Veneer: 158.6% ROI
  3. Steel Entry Door Replacement: 158.6% ROI

Mountain

  1. Steel Entry Door Replacement: 185.2% ROI
  2. Garage Door Replacement: 174.4% ROI
  3. Manufactured Stone Veneer: 124.3% ROI
  4. Fiberglass Grand Entrance: 100.4% ROI

New England

  1. Garage Door Replacement: 314.7% ROI
  2. Steel Entry Door Replacement: 236.2% ROI
  3. Manufactured Stone Veneer: 151.7% ROI
  4. Fiber-Cement Siding Replacement: 118.3% ROI
  5. Vinyl Siding Replacement: 115.8% ROI
  6. Minor Midrange Kitchen Remodel: 110.8% ROI

Pacific

  1. Garage Door Replacement: 250.7% ROI
  2. Steel Entry Door Replacement: 249.9% ROI
  3. Manufactured Stone Veneer: 203.5% ROI
  4. Fiberglass Grand Entrance: 136.6% ROI
  5. Minor Midrange Kitchen Remodel: 134.3% ROI
  6. Fiber-Cement Siding Replacement: 115.7% ROI
  7. Wooden Deck Addition: 111.1%

South Atlantic

  1. Steel Entry Door Replacement: 198.9% ROI
  2. Garage Door Replacement: 189.5% ROI
  3. Manufactured Stone Veneer: 150.2% ROI

West North Central

  1. Garage Door Replacement: 158.4% ROI
  2. Steel Entry Door Replacement: 152.5% ROI
  3. Manufactured Stone Veneer: 111.2% ROI

West South Central

  1. Manufactured Stone Veneer: 220.1% ROI
  2. Steel Entry Door Replacement: 163.2% ROI
  3. Garage Door Replacement: 149% ROI

Renovation Financing Options

If you’re ready to invest in your home, that’s where we come in. We offer a variety of options to help you finance your remodeling projects.

Cash-Out Refinance

Our cash-out refinance allows you to access funds from your home’s equity to help with renovation projects. It works by replacing your existing mortgage with a new home loan that is for more than what you owe on your current mortgage. Then, at closing, you get back the difference in cash.

HELOC

A Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) allows you to use the equity you have built in your house as a line of credit to finance large expenditures over time. HELOCs are perfect for remodeling projects that add value back into your home.

We offer HELOC loans ranging from $25,000 to $500,000 with investment property, bridge and interest-only options.


Renovation Loans

For homebuyers looking to purchase a fixer-upper, we also offer renovation loans that cover the cost of renovating, remodeling and installing new plumbing or electrical systems.

Find Out How Much You Can Afford Today

Ready to get started on replacing that front door? Or maybe you’re ready to swing for the manufactured stone veneer for ultimate curb appeal enhancement?

Contact one of our Loan Officers today to find out how much financing you can receive for the remodeling project of your dreams.

You can trust our highly experienced team of mortgage professionals to work with you to select the PMA loan product that best suits your unique financial and renovation needs.

Top Boca Raton Mortgage Brokers: Find Your Ideal Home Loan Partner

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Are you in search of reliable boca raton mortgage brokers? Look no further. This article provides a straightforward guide to finding the right mortgage partner in Boca Raton. It spotlights brokers like Premier Mortgage Associates, who excel in offering competitive rates and personalized services. Walk through the essentials of an outstanding mortgage experience without the hassle.

Key Takeaways

  • Boca Raton mortgage lenders provide personalized services through loan officers, ensuring a tailored approach that codifies diverse homebuyer needs, with options like conventional, Jumbo, FHA, VA, and USDA loans.
  • Premier Mortgage Associates, a direct lender, offers a streamlined approval process, competitive interest rates without broker fees, and a client-centric focus for a more efficient and personalized lending experience.
  • A wide array of home loan options are available in Boca Raton, including conventional and government-backed loans, and specialty mortgages accommodating unique borrower requirements, facilitated with the help of experienced loan officers.

Understanding Boca Raton Mortgage Lenders

Mortgage lenders in Boca Raton offer a variety of services to streamline the home buying process. From pre-qualification and pre-approval to the swift provision of commitment letters, these lenders ensure homebuyers are well-equipped to navigate the property market. Loan officers, the bridge between borrowers and lenders, play a crucial role in the lending process. They assess applicants’ financial history and screen for underwriting by examining parameters like salary, credit score, and debt-to-income ratio. This thorough evaluation ensures that mortgage products are tailored to the individual needs of each client. Boca Raton mortgage lenders are known for their adaptability, catering to the needs of various buyers by offering an assortment of financing options suited to different real estate transactions in Boca Raton FL. Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or a seasoned real estate investor, Boca Raton’s lenders are equipped to guide you through the complexities of the mortgage process.

Mortgage Brokers

Mortgage brokers in Boca Raton, including a skilled mortgage broker, serve as intermediaries between borrowers and lenders. Their primary goal? To find the most favorable loan terms for their clients. These brokers collaborate with a network of wholesale lenders to obtain low-interest rates and reduce costs for borrowers, ensuring that homeownership becomes a reality for many. Offering a variety of loans, including Conventional, Jumbo, and various specialized loans, Boca Raton mortgage brokers cater to a wide array of client needs. Whether you’re looking to buy a suburban family home or a high-end beachfront property, these brokers can connect you with the right lender. However, while brokers play an important role, they are not the only option. Direct lenders, such as Premier Mortgage Associates, offer clear benefits over brokers, emphasizing a direct lending approach that aligns with customers’ needs for an efficient and less cumbersome home loan process.

Benefits of Choosing Premier Mortgage Associates

Choosing Premier Mortgage Associates as your mortgage partner can lead to significant time and money savings. With potentially better interest rates and lower closing costs compared to what brokers might offer, this direct lender ensures a favorable deal for its clients. As a reputable choice mortgage group, they are committed to providing top-notch services to their customers. One of the major advantages of working with a direct lender like Premier Mortgage Associates is the streamlined service. From processing to underwriting to closing, everything is managed in-house. This means fewer hoops to jump through and a much smoother lending experience. With Premier Mortgage Associates, you are not just a number. The firm focuses on building lasting client relationships, prioritizing this over generating a high volume of leads. This client-centric approach ensures a mortgage experience tailored to your unique needs and circumstances.

Competitive Interest Rates

Premier Mortgage Associates pride themselves in offering a variety of high-quality home loan options at competitive rates within the industry. This is made possible due to their extensive selection of home loan products, which include:
  • Conventional loans
  • FHA loans
  • VA loans
  • USDA loans
  • Jumbo loans
These loan options are tailored to meet the needs of a diverse clientele. One of the significant benefits of choosing a direct lender like Premier Mortgage Associates is the competitive interest rates. The elimination of broker fees means more savings for you – the borrower. So, whether you are a first-time home buyer or looking to refinance your mortgage, you are likely to secure a better deal with Premier Mortgage Associates.

Streamlined Approval Process

Time is of the essence in the home buying process. Premier Mortgage Associates understands this, offering a quicker loan approval process compared to many big banks. In fact, most of their loans are closed in 30 days or less. This swift approval process means you can move forward with your home purchase faster. With Premier Mortgage Associates, you no longer have to endure lengthy waiting periods or jump through bureaucratic hoops. Instead, you can focus on finding your dream home and planning the move.

Personalized Loan Programs

Direct lenders in Boca Raton, like Premier Mortgage Associates, are committed to offering personalized financing solutions. The firm focuses on building lasting client relationships for their loan programs, prioritizing this over generating a high volume of leads. They design customized loans based on clients’ unique needs and requirements to make the loan process both stress-free and seamless. This means that whether you are a first-time homebuyer, a seasoned investor, or someone looking to refinance, Premier Mortgage Associates has a loan program tailored just for you.

Exploring Home Loan Options in Boca Raton

Boca Raton’s mortgage lenders, including a reputable fl mortgage lender in Fort Lauderdale, offer an array of services to cater to various financial situations. From first-time homebuyer loans to refinancing, and even reverse mortgages, there’s a suitable loan for every borrower. Utilizing a mortgage calculator can help you determine the best option for your needs. Homebuyers in Boca Raton can choose from conventional loans, government-insured loans, and special products tailored for non-citizens and other specific borrower groups. Premier Mortgage Associates stands out in this diverse market, offering tailored loan programs such as conventional and non-conventional products designed to meet diverse financial needs. With loan options to suit a range of price points, including discounted rates for upfront payments and no-closing-cost loans, Premier Mortgage Associates ensures that there is a suitable leading edge mortgage for every borrower, regardless of their financial situation.

Conventional Loans

Conventional loans in Boca Raton serve a diverse group of buyers, catering to the needs of first-time home purchasers as well as seasoned investors. Available for a range of purposes, including home purchases and refinancing options, these loans offer flexibility and adaptability. The flexibility of conventional loans allows financing for various property types, from a buyer’s first home to real estate investment properties. So whether you’re a young couple looking to buy your first home or a seasoned real estate investor planning to expand your portfolio, conventional loans could be the right choice for you.

Government-Backed Loans

Government-backed loans provide vital financing options for many homebuyers in Boca Raton. These loans, offered by mortgage companies in the city, include FHA loans for low-to-moderate-income borrowers, USDA loans for rural property purchases, and VA loans for veterans and active military. Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer with a modest income, a veteran looking to settle down after years of service, or someone dreaming of a countryside home, these government-backed loans offer a path to homeownership. With such a range of mortgage options, finding the right one to suit your specific needs is made easier.

Specialty Mortgages

Alongside conventional and government-backed loans, Boca Raton also offers a variety of specialty mortgages. These programs cater to specific borrower needs, including:
  • Foreign nationals
  • ITIN programs for immigrants
  • Non-warrantable condo financing
  • Options for individuals with bad credit
From non-warrantable condo financing allowing for loans up to $3 million with flexible payment options, to ITIN programs allowing immigrants without a traditional credit history to access mortgages, these specialty mortgages ensure that all borrowers, regardless of their circumstances, have the chance to own a home.

The Importance of an Experienced Loan Officer

Loan officers play a crucial role in the mortgage process. They educate home buyers, maintain trust and transparency throughout the mortgage transaction, and are available seven days a week to assist clients. Experienced loan officers:
  • Evaluate creditworthiness
  • Possess a deep understanding of lending products
  • Offer personalized assessments
  • Ensure adherence to strict lending processes
  • Aid borrowers in managing paperwork
With their knowledge of banking regulations and licensing, loan originators play a crucial role in the mortgage process as a vital link between borrowers and the mortgage lender.

Navigating the Mortgage Process with Premier Mortgage Associates

The mortgage process with Premier Mortgage Associates begins with collecting personal information to start a client’s file. You then work with a loan specialist to prepare disclosure documents, outlining terms, costs, and additional loan details. These prepared disclosures are submitted to Premier Mortgage Associates for review, processing, and to acquire a preliminary loan application approval. During this process, the firm utilizes advanced financial technology for efficiency and security, ensuring that your documents are safe and handled promptly. Following underwriter approval, Premier Mortgage Associates coordinates the closing process, setting a date and clearing the client to close upon meeting all loan conditions. At closing, funds are released to the client, and you receive closing documents detailing loan repayment information.

Real Estate Agents and Mortgage Lenders: A Winning Team

The home buying process requires a team effort. Real estate agents and loan officers foster business growth by exchanging leads and leveraging one another’s resources for a competitive advantage. Effective communication by loan officers with all parties, including real estate agents, is a cornerstone of a beneficial partnership. Collaborative efforts between agents and loan officers ensure a smoother homebuying process, creating a more enjoyable experience for clients. By combining resources, they can accelerate the pre-approval process, empowering clients to act swiftly in the competitive real estate market.

Summary

Boca Raton offers a dynamic home buying market with a myriad of mortgage lenders. However, choosing a reliable partner like Premier Mortgage Associates can make all the difference. Offering competitive rates, streamlined processes, and personalized loan programs, this leading direct lender ensures a superior mortgage experience. Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or a seasoned investor, a domestic buyer, or a foreign national, Premier Mortgage Associates has a loan program tailored just for you. By choosing them as your mortgage partner, you can navigate the home buying process with ease and confidence, making your dream of owning a home in Boca Raton a reality.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the role of mortgage lenders in Boca Raton?

Mortgage lenders in Boca Raton play a crucial role in simplifying the home buying process by providing pre-qualification, pre-approval, and swift commitment letters. This enables you to navigate the process more efficiently and increase your chances of securing a home loan.

How does Premier Mortgage Associates offer competitive interest rates?

Premier Mortgage Associates offers competitive interest rates by eliminating broker fees, which leads to more savings for borrowers. This makes it a cost-effective choice for individuals seeking a mortgage.

What are the types of loans offered in Boca Raton?

In Boca Raton, you can find conventional loans, government-insured loans, and specialized products for non-citizens and other specific borrower groups. These options cater to a diverse range of borrowers, making it easier to find a loan suited to your needs.

What is the role of an experienced loan officer in the mortgage process?

An experienced loan officer plays a crucial role in educating and guiding home buyers, building trust, and assisting clients through the mortgage process to ensure transparency and support.

How do real estate agents and loan officers work together in the home buying process?

Real estate agents and loan officers work together by exchanging leads and leveraging each other’s resources to ensure a smoother home buying process and create an enjoyable experience for clients. This collaboration fosters business growth and a competitive advantage.

Navigate Your Dream Home Purchase With Top Mortgage Brokers in South Florida

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In South Florida’s competitive housing market, selecting the ideal mortgage broker is crucial. This article provides you with essential information on trusted mortgage brokers in South Florida, helping you understand their services and how they can best serve your home buying goals.

Key Takeaways

  • Premiere Mortgage Associates offers direct lending with personalized service in South Florida, with speed and tailored loan options like FHA, VA, and USDA to cater to each individual’s needs.
  • Mortgage brokers in South Florida are key players due to the high demand for homes, helping homebuyers understand their options and navigate through loan terms, while direct lenders may offer more control and potentially lower fees.
  • Premiere Mortgage Associates provides a range of services that include mortgage pre-approvals, digital loan monitoring, and refinance options to help homeowners save on payments or tap into home equity, as well as specialized financing for investment properties and second homes.

Discovering Premiere Mortgage Associates: South Florida’s Direct Lending Leader

Premiere Mortgage Associates is not just another mortgage lender in South Florida. We are a direct lender with over a quarter-century of experience under our belt. We prioritize long-term relationships with our clients, offering direct communication through our seasoned loan originators. Our intimate knowledge of the South Florida market equips us to offer you a diverse range of tailored loan products, whether you’re a first-time buyer or seeking investment properties.

The Benefits of Direct Lenders Over Brokers

Our direct lending model ensures you get the best of both worlds: personalized service and comprehensive control of the loan process. We eliminate the need for intermediaries, keeping you in the loop every step of the way, from processing to underwriting to closing. Plus, our in-house services offer loans free from hidden fees, potentially reducing overall costs for you.

Tailored Loan Programs to Meet Your Needs

Every homebuyer is unique, and so are their needs. That’s why we offer a wide array of customized loan programs, including government-backed FHA, VA, and USDA loans. These loan programs are designed with low or no down payment options and flexible credit guidelines, making them accessible to a broad range of homebuyers.

Speed and Efficiency in the Mortgage Process

When it comes to securing a mortgage, time is of the essence. Our focus on speed and efficiency means we often close loans within 30 days, surpassing the timelines of larger financial institutions. We achieve this by:
  • Incorporating innovative thinking
  • Adopting new platforms
  • Offering flexible options that accommodate your lifestyle, whether you’re at home, at work, or on the go.

The Role of Mortgage Brokers in South Florida’s Real Estate Landscape

Mortgage brokers, including a south Florida mortgage broker, play an essential role in the South Florida real estate market, especially given the high demand for investment properties and vacation homes. The warm Florida climate only adds to the allure, presenting a bustling landscape for brokers to navigate and potential homeowners to explore Florida mortgage options.

Understanding the Brokerage Service Model

At its core, the role of a mortgage broker is to:
  • Facilitate connections between buyers and lenders
  • Apply their extensive knowledge of various lenders and loan terms
  • Simplify the mortgage process
  • Present suitable options for homebuyers
In return, they earn their compensation through loan origination, upfront, and loan administration fees. However, it’s important to note that they maintain direct communication with clients, ensuring a personalized mortgage experience.

Comparing Multiple Lenders: A Double-Edged Sword?

Having access to multiple lenders and loan options through a broker can lead to more competitive mortgage rates and terms for borrowers. However, working with a direct lender like Premiere Mortgage Associates offers more control and potentially lower fees. Moreover, mortgage brokers are regulated to prevent charging excessive fees and cannot be compensated based on the loan’s interest rate or charge more than 3% of the loan amount, signaling borrower protection in their dealings with mortgage lenders.

Navigating Loan Types with Expertise

Understanding different loan options is crucial when navigating the world of mortgages. That’s why at Premiere Mortgage Associates, we offer a diverse array of loan programs tailored to fit each client’s specific circumstances. Our loan programs include:
  • Conventional loans
  • FHA loans
  • VA loans
  • USDA loans
  • Jumbo loans
Our knowledge and expertise contribute to our high approval rates for clients, helping them on their path to homeownership.

Conventional Loans Made Simple

Conventional loans, designed to comply with the lending guidelines established by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, provide borrowers with:
  • Stable interest rates
  • Regular payment amounts throughout the loan term
  • Low down payment options, some as low as 3%
  • The ability to cancel mortgage insurance once they reach an 80% loan-to-value ratio.
And if you’re looking to pay off your home faster and save on interest, shorter-term conventional loan options are also available.

Government-Backed Loans: FHA, VA, and More

Government-backed loans such as FHA and VA loans are not only for first-time homebuyers. They’re designed with low or no down payment options and flexible credit guidelines, making them accessible to a wide range of homebuyers. Plus, we offer expert guidance to help clients understand and apply for these loans, regardless of whether they are first-time buyers or not.

Innovative Solutions for Unique Circumstances

Every borrower’s financial situation is unique, and we understand that. That’s why we customize loan options to accommodate non-traditional requirements, such as covering down payments, closing costs, or property renovation expenses. Innovative lending solutions, like bank statement loans, are particularly beneficial for self-employed clients who may have non-traditional income documentation.

Achieving Homeownership Goals

At Premiere Mortgage Associates, we believe in equipping you with the right tools to achieve your homeownership goals. One of these tools is obtaining mortgage pre-approval, which not only speeds up the buying process but also gives you a competitive advantage when making an offer. Understanding the approval process is essential for a smooth and successful transaction. To make the process even smoother, we provide you with a digital platform via a mobile app that allows you to monitor your loan status and maintain clear communication with loan officers. Plus, our Monthly Mortgage Payment calculator gives you a comprehensive financial overview, including estimates for property taxes, insurance, and mortgage insurance.

Pre-Qualified vs. Pre-Approved: Starting on the Right Foot

While pre-qualification provides an informal estimate based on self-reported financial information, pre-approval is a formal indicator of creditworthiness that requires a rigorous verification of your financial data. Obtaining pre-approval gives you a clear understanding of your affordability, expected mortgage rate, and estimated costs, aiding in more informed house hunting. Plus, a pre-approved mortgage signals your seriousness and financial capacity, positioning you favorably in negotiations and home purchase endeavors.

Closing with Confidence: The Final Steps

The home buying process can be daunting, especially during the closing process. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. We help you understand and complete all necessary steps for a smooth transaction. Before closing, you’ll need to provide proof of homeowner insurance and title insurance. And remember, it’s always a good idea to conduct a final walkthrough with your realtor to confirm that all contractual conditions concerning the home’s condition are met, prior to the closing day.

Refinancing for a Better Tomorrow

Refinancing your mortgage can be a game-changer. At Premiere Mortgage Associates, our mortgage advisors provide homeowners a path to more favorable loan conditions and potentially significant long-term savings and financial flexibility by exploring various mortgage options, including mortgage refinance. By optimizing your mortgage conditions through refinancing, you can potentially lower your monthly payments and, over time, the overall cost of your home loan.

Lower Your Interest Rate and Monthly Payment

Refinancing can result in a lower monthly payment for homeowners, allowing you to allocate more cash for other expenses or investments. On average, homeowners who refinance in Florida might see their monthly mortgage payment reduced by $361. From switching from an adjustable-rate to a fixed-rate loan or shortening the term of your mortgage, refinancing offers multiple strategies to reduce your burden.

Cash-Out Refinance: Accessing Home Equity

Cash-out refinancing allows homeowners to tap into their home’s equity. You can replace your current mortgage with a larger one and receive the difference in cash. Cash-out refinancing can be used for various purposes, such as:
  • Making home improvements
  • Consolidating other debts
  • Paying for education expenses
  • Funding a major purchase or investment
By utilizing cash-out refinancing, you can access the funds you need to achieve your financial goals. But remember, this option may lead to higher monthly payments, especially if a significant portion of home equity is accessed through a home equity line.

The Local Advantage

Choosing a local lender like Premiere Mortgage Associates comes with its unique advantages. Here are some reasons why:
  • We have a deep understanding of the South Florida market
  • We stay abreast of regional trends and up-to-date with regulations
  • Our local professionals handle the mortgage process, ensuring you receive personalized, face-to-face service.

Community Roots and Personalized Service

We don’t just offer loans; we build relationships. We closely listen to your specific needs and wishes to craft personalized loan solutions. Our local professionals are always ready to provide hands-on assistance, and we use cutting-edge financial technology to protect your data and streamline the mortgage process.

Keeping It Local: Why It Matters in Real Estate

Choosing a local lender offers several advantages:
  • Personalized service
  • Comprehensive market knowledge
  • Expert advice specific to the region
  • More efficient mortgage processes due to proximity and in-depth understanding of the area’s real estate dynamics

Investment Property and Second Home Financing

South Florida’s vibrant real estate market presents an array of opportunities for investment properties and second homes. Whether you’re considering a beachfront condo or a residential building with one to four units, we offer financing options that cater to a diverse suite of investment properties. But remember, mortgage requirements for a second home stipulate that the property cannot be used for profit if it’s classified as a second home.

From Beachfront Condos to Rental Properties

Conventional loans can be utilized for a variety of investment properties, including vacation homes and rental properties. No matter your investment strategy, we can help you find the right financing option to fit your needs.

Structuring Your Loan for Investment Success

Structuring your loan correctly can play a crucial role in your investment success. Conventional loans often favored by sellers due to their perceived lower risk and less paperwork could make your offers more attractive. Plus, portfolio loans like adjustable-rate mortgages offer flexibility in your investment strategy, with finance terms that can extend up to 25 years.

Summary

Navigating the world of mortgages can be complex, but with the right lender, you can secure your dream home or investment property with confidence. Choose a local lender like Premiere Mortgage Associates, who not only offers personalized service but also a deep understanding of the South Florida market. From understanding the advantages of direct lenders over brokers to exploring diverse loan options and structuring your loan for investment success, we’ve got you covered!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the advantages of direct lenders over brokers?

Direct lenders offer centralized control, potentially lower fees, and direct communication, making the loan process more straightforward and efficient.

Why is it important to get pre-approved?

It’s important to get pre-approved because it gives you a clear understanding of your affordability, expected mortgage rate, and estimated costs. Additionally, it signals your seriousness and financial capacity to sellers, positioning you favorably in negotiations.

What are the benefits of refinancing?

Refinancing can help you save money with lower interest rates and monthly payments, as well as access your home’s equity for other financial needs. It’s a smart way to improve your financial situation.

Why should I choose a local lender?

You should choose a local lender because they have a deep understanding of the local market, offer personalized service, and can provide more efficient mortgage processes. This can ultimately benefit you in securing the best possible loan for your property purchase.

How can I structure my loan for investment success?

To structure your loan for investment success, consider choosing the right type of loan, such as a conventional or adjustable-rate mortgage, as it can significantly impact your investment outcomes.

Top Tiny Home Financing Options: How to Secure Your Dream Space with Ease

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Are you looking for ways to finance a tiny home without a traditional mortgage? Tiny home financing presents unique challenges, but also numerous opportunities. This article provides clear insights into alternative financing methods tailored for tiny homes, including personal loans, RV loans, and builder financing options. Tackle the financial aspects with confidence; we’ve got the information you need to make an informed decision.

Key Takeaways

  • Conventional mortgages often do not align with tiny home financing due to minimum loan amounts and permanent foundation requirements, pushing buyers towards alternative financing options like personal loans, RV loans, and builder financing.
  • Premier Mortgage Associates offers an efficient loan process utilizing advanced technology and personal client relationships to provide fast, secure, and well-informed financing solutions for tiny home buyers.
  • Building a tiny home entails careful budget planning, accounting for construction costs, land acquisition, and complying with zoning laws; Resale value considerations and the importance of a good credit score are critical for repayment strategies and securing favorable loan terms.

Understanding Tiny Home Financing

When it comes to financing a tiny house, there’s more than meets the eye. Traditional options, such as conventional mortgages, may not always be the best fit for tiny home buyers. They often hinge on requirements like minimum loan amounts and permanent foundations, conditions that tiny houses may not meet. The landscape of tiny home financing, therefore, requires a different roadmap. Fortunately, a variety of alternative financing options, including personal loans, RV loans, and contractor financing, are available to cater to the unique needs of tiny home buyers. As you embark on this financial journey, keep in mind factors such as mobility, potential lower resale value, and susceptibility to wear and tear.

The Challenge with Conventional Mortgages

Mortgage lenders typically set minimum loan amounts that, more often than not, exceed the total cost of a tiny home. This discrepancy renders traditional mortgages unsuitable for tiny home financing. Furthermore, tiny homes frequently do not adhere to conventional mortgage eligibility criteria, such as having a permanent foundation and meeting minimum square footage requirements. So, how do you secure tiny house financing for a tiny home? One way is to explore companies that advertise tiny house loans, which are specifically designed for this purpose. Another option is to consider builder financing, where the builder of your tiny house may offer financial assistance.

Premier Mortgage Associates: Your Partner in Tiny Home Financing

Enter Premier Mortgage Associates (PMA), a seasoned player in the mortgage industry with over 25 years of experience under their belt. PMA distinguishes itself from others by prioritizing client relationships, which serves as the core foundation for their loan closing strategy. This approach fosters a more personalized service experience throughout the entire loan process. PMA, unlike larger banks, offers a speedy loan closing process, usually completing loan closures within 30 days. Their combination of quick service and advanced, secure technology ensures a smooth path to securing your dream tiny home.

Fast and Efficient Loan Closings

PMA excels in efficiency. Their loan closing process is significantly faster than larger banks, which can take between 45-60 days to finalize a loan. By completing most loans in less than a month, PMA helps turn your dream of owning a tiny house into reality sooner.

Secure and Advanced Technology

In today’s digital age, data security is paramount. PMA employs cutting-edge financial technology to manage client data securely and expedite the loan process. They have optimized the Encompass platform, enhancing the efficiency and speed of their loan services. To bolster security, PMA incorporates Secret Double Octopus technology, enabling passwordless multi-factor authentication with biometric recognition.

Stay Informed on the Go

Keeping track of your loan status is a breeze with PMA’s mobile app. Utilizing the SimpleNexus digital mortgage platform, PMA offers real-time updates on loan status, direct communication with the loan officer, and notifications for required documentation, all at your fingertips. This centralized communication and data sharing system ensures you’re always in the loop, making the loan process smoother and more efficient.

Planning Your Tiny House Build

Building a tiny house is an exciting journey, but it requires careful planning. Rushing the process can lead to overspending and construction issues, which can quickly dampen the excitement. From choosing effective space-saving design features to understanding the legalities of land acquisition, every aspect requires meticulous attention. When budgeting for the construction of a tiny house, experts advise considering the following factors:
  • Adding an extra 20% to the timeline and 30% to cost estimates to account for unforeseen delays and expenses
  • Land acquisition
  • Resale value
  • The possibility of needing a vehicle for transportation if the home is not on a permanent foundation
Taking these factors into account will help ensure a more accurate budget for your tiny house construction project.

Budgeting for Your Tiny Home

Building a tiny home comes with significant upfront costs. The average cost of construction is between $30,000 to $60,000, often below the minimum loan amounts for traditional mortgages. But that’s not all. Potential additional expenses, such as materials and building permits, can add up to $60,000 and $1,350 respectively. Once construction is complete, ongoing costs such as insurance come into play. Annual insurance costs can range from $600 to $1,000, depending on factors like home size and mobility. Therefore, remember to account for all these costs when planning the budget for your tiny home construction.

Zoning Laws and Land Acquisition

Navigating zoning laws is a significant challenge for tiny home construction. Some key considerations include:
  • Minimum square footage requirements
  • Restrictions on tiny houses on wheels versus those on foundations
  • Zoning laws and building regulations for the specific area
When procuring land for a tiny home, it’s pivotal to confirm that the plot complies with local zoning laws and building regulations. Compliance with these laws is not just a legal requirement, but it also impacts the insurability and future resale value of tiny houses, especially those built on permanent foundations.

Repayment Strategies for Tiny House Loans

Securing financing for your tiny home is just the beginning. Effective management of tiny home loan repayments requires an understanding of the impact of loan amount, interest rates, and loan terms. For instance, making a down payment and understanding interest rates are significant factors that affect the total cost of a loan. However, one of the most crucial elements in managing loan repayments effectively is maintaining a good credit score. It not only influences the interest rates, but also the loan options available to the borrower. Therefore, it’s important to include additional expenses such as land and furnishings when determining the total cost of owning a tiny home and strategizing for loan repayments.

Importance of Credit Score

Your credit score is like a financial passport, opening up a world of possibilities for securing favorable financing terms. A good credit score can lead to more favorable loan terms, making it especially beneficial when financing a tiny home. A good credit score can significantly impact your tiny home financing journey, whether it’s about qualifying for personal loans or securing a lower interest rate.

Protecting Your Tiny Home Investment

Investing in a tiny home is more than just a financial decision; it’s a lifestyle choice. It is imperative to shield this investment from unforeseen circumstances such as natural disasters and risks associated with mobile transportation. This includes:
  • Selecting an apt insurance policy
  • Considering the resale value
  • Bolstering creditworthiness
  • Exploring a variety of loan products from Premier Mortgage Associates.
Insurance for tiny homes varies depending on whether the home is on wheels or a foundation, and if it meets local zoning codes. Additionally, the resale value of tiny homes can be affected by insurance policies and home classification. Also, one shouldn’t overlook the significance of maintaining a good credit score for securing favorable financing terms.

Insurance Options for Tiny Homes

Insurance for tiny homes is a complex landscape. Tiny houses on wheels are legally considered recreational vehicles, requiring liability insurance similar to that of an RV, which covers the home whether it’s stationary or in transit. On the other hand, stationary tiny homes can be insured under a mobile or manufactured home policy if they are certified by the National Organization of Alternative Housing. In this context, it’s essential to stay informed about the regulations and guidelines provided by the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association. Navigating through insurance options can be daunting, but major insurance carriers like Farmers and Progressive offer insurance options for tiny homes that are certified and meet local building and zoning regulations. The right insurance policy not only protects your tiny home but also impacts its resale value.

Considerations for Resale Value

Considering the resale value of your tiny home is crucial. Tiny homes on wheels, classified as RVs, typically depreciate over time, posing a risk of borrowing more than what the tiny home is eventually worth on the resale market. Additionally, the type of insurance policy a home carries can affect its resale value. Homes insured as RVs may be viewed differently on the market compared to those insured as stationary homes.

Enhancing Your Creditworthiness

Boosting your creditworthiness is a key move towards obtaining beneficial financing terms for your tiny home purchase. You can elevate your credit score by efficiently managing your existing debt and ensuring timely payments. To qualify for a personal loan, you must meet personal loan lenders’ credit requirements for personal loans, which typically include a satisfactory credit score and an appropriate debt-to-income ratio.

Diverse Loan Products from Premier Mortgage Associates

Premier Mortgage Associates shines in its diversity of loan products. Catering to a variety of homebuyer’s financial situations, PMA offers:
  • Conventional loan options
  • Non-conventional loan options
  • Home equity products, including home equity loans and home equity loan
  • Personal loans
This range of loan products, offered by a bank or credit union, caters to various financing needs and ensures there are no hidden fees, providing transparency in monthly payments. With PMA, you have a trusted partner guiding you through the complex landscape of tiny home financing.

Summary

Financing a tiny home may seem like an uphill battle, but with the right knowledge and the right partner, it doesn’t have to be. Navigating the challenges of conventional mortgages, understanding the importance of credit scores, choosing the right insurance, and planning your tiny house build are all crucial components of the journey. With Premier Mortgage Associates by your side, you are well-equipped to navigate the financial landscape of tiny home ownership and secure your dream home with ease.

Frequently Asked Questions

What types of mortgages does Premier Mortgage Associates offer?

Premier Mortgage Associates offers a wide array of high-quality home loan options, including conventional and non-conventional products and programs. You can find a suitable mortgage type for your needs.

How long does Premier Mortgage Associates take to close loans?

Premier Mortgage Associates typically closes their loans in 30 days or less, ensuring a swift and efficient process for borrowers.

What is Premier Mortgage Associates’ approach to closing loans?

Premier Mortgage Associates prioritizes closing loans based on relationships rather than leads, focusing on customer connections rather than just numbers.

How does Premier Mortgage Associates handle client data?

Premier Mortgage Associates securely inputs and stores client data using cutting-edge technology throughout the entire loan process.

What is the purpose of Premier Mortgage Associates’ mobile app?

The purpose of Premier Mortgage Associates’ mobile app is to provide clients with easy access to their loan application status, notifications for required documentation, and communication with their loan officer. It offers convenience and transparency in the loan process.  

What Documents Will I Need for a Mortgage Preapproval?

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Getting preapproved for a mortgage is an important and helpful first step in the homebuying journey! Before you begin seriously house hunting, we recommend getting preapproved with a lender, like us. We’ll take you through why and what to expect in the process.

 

But First, What is a Preapproval?

A letter of preapproval from a lender indicates how much you are tentatively approved to borrow for a mortgage. To get preapproved with us, you’ll fill out a brief application, verify your identity and provide basic documentation of your finances.

Then, one of our Underwriters will review your documentation and provide you with a letter of preapproval that indicates how much you can borrow, your interest rate and what your monthly payment would be.

The Benefits of Getting Preapproved

Thankfully, there’s no downsides to getting preapproved – only benefits.

  • House Hunting Made Easier: When you know how much of a mortgage loan you might qualify for, you get an accurate picture of your buying power and can narrow down your search to houses in your budget.
 
  • You Become a Serious Buyer: A letter of preapproval signals to sellers that you’re a serious, credible buyer who is already working with a lender and is very likely to qualify for a mortgage loan. This is helpful in low-inventory markets with steep competition.
 
  • It Makes for Faster Closings: Since your information is already in your lender’s system, you’ll have already taken care of the beginning steps of the loan process and potentially expedite your closing date.
 

Preapproval vs. Prequalification

You may have also heard the term prequalification, but be aware, it’s not the same as preapproval. Both give an idea of how much of a home you can afford and if you qualify for a loan, yet one holds more weight. Prequalification will give you a general indication that you can qualify for a mortgage were you to apply, and it requires just a basic review of your finances. However, a letter of preapproval is a much stronger signal to sellers as it requires a more thorough review of your finances.

 

How Long Does a Preapproval Last?

Some lenders have an expiration date for their preapprovals, but ours don’t. However, typically after a few months, we update your information and, providing your financial situation did not change, we renew your preapproval. Then at time of application, all information is updated prior to the underwriting of your loan.

Documentation Required for Preapproval

In order to issue a letter of preapproval, your lender will require certain documentation to verify your identity and income. The list will vary depending on your lender, and other documents may be required based on your unique financial circumstances.

Generally though, here’s the documentation we’ll ask you to submit:

  • A Valid Government-Issued ID: We’ll need a valid driver’s license or social security card as identification to start with.

  • Income Documentation
    • 30 Days of Paystubs: Your employer should provide you a paystub that shows how much you are bringing in each pay period.
    • Last Two Years of W-2s and Tax Returns: We’ll want to see tax documents from the last two years.
    • 60 Days of Asset Statements: Statements for any other assets you might have (retirement accounts, investment accounts, etc.)
    • Statements for any other assets you might have (retirement accounts, investment accounts, etc.)
    • Two Years of Business Tax Returns (If You are Self-Employed): If you are self-employed, you will need to provide documentation for your business as well.

  • Additional Documentation if You Already Own Property: If you already own property, we’ll ask to see bills for all properties you own including mortgage statements, property tax bills, insurance bills and HOA payments.

Get Preapproved With PMA

Our easy preapproval process gives you the preliminary answers you need to qualify, so that you can borrow the maximum amount you need to purchase your dream home.

Plus, our online application interface and companion mobile app makes it simple to view the status of your preapproval and submit documents. You’ll get prompt notifications about important documentation we need from you, and access to your files once they’ve been uploaded. You can also easily communicate with your Loan Officer and send and receive messages quickly and safely.

Ready to Get started?

Scroll down and click “Get Preapproved Today” to begin your homebuying journey.

7 Steps to Finding Your Dream Custom Homebuilder

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A man and woman look at blueprints with a homebuilder in a house under construction.

Many homebuyers in today’s market are turning to new construction as a solution to low inventory but also for the perks of building a home customized to them.

Data shows that new home purchases continue to outpace last year’s numbers, with July 2023 applications up 35.5% from 2022, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) Builder Application Survey.

If you’re ready to begin the search for your dream homebuilder, we’ve got seven tips to help you get started.

Step 1: Consider Your New Home Priorities

We recommend first thinking about what’s important to you regarding your new home as it will affect your homebuilder decision. You’ll want to know what your must-haves are so that you can find a builder whose portfolio and style match your needs.

Determine Your Ideal:

  • Location
  • School District
  • Lot Size (Especially if Your Family is Outdoors Often)
  • Backyard Size (Especially if You Have Pets)
  • Price Range
  • Home Style

From there, you can find a builder that meets your requirements at a good value.

As far as your price range, we can review your financial scenario and preapprove you so that you know how much home you can afford. Get preapproved in minutes here.

Step 2: Settle on a Location

Decide whether you want to live in a new home neighborhood or build on your own lot. Many custom homebuilders build exclusively in their own private neighborhood.

Step 3: Research the Top Builders in Your Area

Search for online reviews for local builders to see which are the top-rated in your area. You can find reviews on Google, Yelp and Facebook as well as sites specific to rating homebuilders:

NewHomeSource: Read reviews from real homebuyers and view ratings based on quality, value, trustworthiness and responsiveness.

Avid Ratings: In their words, “Avid Ratings is an independent customer experience research firm with the largest and most comprehensive homebuyer experience database in North America.”

Eliant Experience Management: Eliant rates builders based on feedback from recent homebuyers on the builder’s purchase process and evaluations from homeowners regarding how the builder’s quality and service holds up over time.

Your real estate agent can also direct you to potential local builders. Oftentimes, Realtors® partner with specific homebuilders.

Step 4: View Builder Portfolios

Once you’ve done some research and compiled a list of potential builders based on your desired neighborhood, Realtor® recommendation or customer reviews, take a deeper look at each builder’s portfolio.

If you have a specific style of home in mind, compare that with previous homes they have designed. Typically, you can find a gallery of floor plans and front elevations on the builder’s website.

Step 5: Visit Showrooms and Jobsites of Potential Homebuilders

In addition to viewing their online portfolios, you can request to visit complete homes and current jobsites with potential builders.

When you’re there, make sure to take note of a few things:

  • The Team Building the Home
  • The Quality of Construction
  • The Finishes in the Homes
  • Jobsite Cleanliness and Safety
  • How Hands-on the Builder is With Their Team

Step 6: Interview the Builder

Before you sign on the dotted line, make sure to interview the builder – after all, they will be working for you. Come prepared with a list of questions to ask and topics to discuss.

Some ideas include:

  • How Much You Can Customize the Home Plans They Offer
  • How Your Questions and Concerns Will Be Addressed During Construction
  • How Long Construction Should Take
  • How They Service Warranty Issues Once You Move in
  • If the Contract They Offer is a Fixed-Price Contract
  • Who’s Responsible for the Interest Payments During Construction
  • Who’s Responsible for Paying the Insurance During Construction

Step 7: Financing Your Dream Custom Home

Once you’ve narrowed down who you want your homebuilder to be, it’s time to evaluate your financing options! At Premier Mortgage Associates, we offer Construction-to-Permanent loans for single family primary residences.

How Our Construction-to-Permanent Loans Work

Construction-to-Permanent loans, also called Construction-to-Perm or CP loans, are used to build a home on a lot you own or one you wish to purchase. It’s just like any other loan that you’re used to, except it’s divided up into two phases. You have your construction phase, which is at the beginning, and when the home/project is 100% complete, then your permanent phase where you pay back the construction loan and replace it with permanent mortgage.

The Benefits of Our Construction-to-Perm Program

  • Available for Single Family Primary Residences
  • You Can Qualify to Receive Financing up to 100% Depending on Your Loan Program
  • If You Qualify, We Can Offer FNMA, VA, Jumbo, Investment or Second Home
  • The Construction of the Home Can Be Concrete or Stick (Wood) Builds
  • Depending on Construction Technique, We Can Also Allow for Modular Builds
  • Build on Your Land or Purchase a Package
  • Fixed Interest Rates During Construction Phase

What You Can Expect With Our Construction-to-Perm Program

Once you reach out, our dedicated Construction-to-Perm team will start your application and request documentation to qualify you for the loan. If you’ve chosen your builder, we will need to complete a background check on them BEFORE you sign a contract to ensure they have a low risk of causing any defaults.

If we do not have a current relationship with your selected builder, we will send them a relationship packet to complete. The rest of the process moves like a regular loan – once you close on the land and house with the construction phase loan terms, building will start. Once the construction is completed, the city has issued a Certificate of Occupancy and we have collected all completion documents from the builder, we will modify to the permanent loan.

Get Started Today With PMA

Take the first concrete step (see what we did there?) toward your new custom home – get preapproved in minutes so you know how much you can afford. We can’t wait to work with you to finance your dream custom home!

5 Things Homebuyers Should Know About School Districts

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A diverse group of children walking across a street to the entrance of a school with backpacks on.

When house hunting, there’s a variety of factors that can contribute to where you settle down: proximity to family, commute to work, neighborhood quality and more. An important factor that many buyers consider as well is the quality of local school districts.

Research shows 42% of buyers ages 31 to 40 cited quality of the school district as an influence on their neighborhood choice in 2021, according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR).

If you’re on the hunt for a home, here’s five things to keep in mind about school districts as it relates to your home purchase decision.

1. Even if You Don’t Have Children, Buying in a Reputable School Zone Can Be a Good Investment

It’s no secret buyers with children tend to be motivated to live where their family can receive high quality education, but there are still benefits to living in a top-rated school zone for buyers without children.

It’s been proven that neighborhoods located in reputable school districts see increases in property value. One 2013 Redfin study showed that on average homebuyers pay $50 more per square foot for homes in better school zones.

Families are willing to pay more for homes that have access to better-funded (and therefore better-performing) schools. A recent study concluded that a 1% increase in spending on teacher salaries increased home values by 2%.

However, the flip side is that you will incur more cost up front and encounter more competition for these desirable communities.

Overall, when you’re house hunting, investing in a home in a good school zone can benefit you in the long run when it’s time to resell.

2. Considerations of Living Close to a School

While the idea of living close enough for your child to bike or walk to school is desirable, keep in mind the upsides and downsides of living near a school.

Upsides: Convenient commutes to school for your children as well as overall safety. Properties within top-rated districts might be safer and have better maintenance.

Downsides: You can always count on traffic surrounding a school during pick-up and drop-off hours as well as a certain level of noise from bells and fire drills to kids just having fun at recess.

3. Heads up: Real Estate Agents Legally Can’t Share Certain Information About Schools With Buyers

We always recommend working with a real estate agent when you’re looking to buy a home as they can help you find a property that meets your needs, represent your interests during negotiations and give unbiased guidance. However, before asking your agent which local schools are better or even where their children attend school, you should know there are limits to what they can legally share with you.

Under the Fair Housing Act, real estate agents are prohibited from “steering” a buyer, which means they cannot influence a buyer’s choice because of their race, color, religion, gender, disability, familial status or national origin. The law protects buyers from discrimination that would limit their housing opportunities. Therefore, agents are not permitted to share their opinions about school districts and communities, no matter if they are positive or negative, because it can be interpreted as steering.

The NAR explains it this way: “Discussions about schools can raise questions about steering if there is a correlation between the quality of the schools and neighborhood racial composition – or if characterizations such as ‘a school with low test scores’ or ‘a community with declining schools’ become code words for racial or other differences in the community. Similarly, making unspoken distinctions by promoting a school in one district while keeping silent about the quality of another school can have the same effect.”

While your agent can’t be perfectly candid with you about school districts for your own protection, Realtors® are trained to provide you with access to objective information and direct you to third-party information that will help you draw your own conclusions about the quality of a school or district.

4. You Can Research School Ratings From a Variety of Online Resources

If you’re ready to do your own research, there are many sources online dedicated to giving you an accurate picture of the best schools and districts in your area so that you can make an informed decision.

Here’s a few places to start:

Niche: Search for the best public and private schools as well as school districts in your area for free and get access to reviews from parents and students. Niche has its own letter-grade ranking system based on academics, teachers, clubs and activities, diversity, college prep and sports.

GreatSchools.org: Easily access data and ratings, reviews, test scores and demographics for public, private and charter schools in your area. See how a school ranks according to the platform’s own 10-point ranking system.

SchoolDigger: Search within your state and city for school ranks based just on test scores.

Your State’s Department of Education: Visit your state’s Department of Education website and search school grades. This will give you a more raw, comprehensive look at the grades local schools were assigned by their district over the last several years. Find Florida’s school grade archives here.

5. There’s Still Options Outside of Top-Rated School Zones

If buying into the top-rated school districts aren’t in the budget for your family or your dream home happens to be in a low-performing district, there’s still options for you.

If you don’t have kids to think about, consider investing in renovation projects to add value to your home that will help you just as much down the road when reselling.

For buyers with school-aged children, there’s alternatives to the local public school your family might be zoned for through school choice. School choice allows for households to select the learning environment they deem best for their children. There are a few different types of school choice, including public options and private options. The public options include:

  • Magnet schools: Magnet schools are public schools that attract students from multiple districts to concentrate on one area of study to advance their academic interests and career goals. There are currently over 4,300 magnet schools nationwide, and California and Florida each offer over 500, according to Magnet Schools of America. The organization reports the most common magnet themes are STEM related, visual/performing arts and International Baccalaureate (IB). Most magnet schools employ a lottery for admission while 25% accept students based on academic criteria.
  • Charter schools: Charter schools are public, independently run schools that have no tuition. Some charter schools can have different focuses like technology or leadership. Most states allow for them, but enrollment is not guaranteed as they typically employ a lottery system for admission. As of 2021, 7% of all public school students were enrolled in public charter schools – a 3% jump from 2010, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
  • Open enrollment: Open enrollment, also known as inter/intra-district public school choice, gives families the option of sending their children to other public schools outside of the one they are zoned for by their zip code. Intra-district choice involves transferring to a public school within one’s district while inter-district choice offers transfers to schools outside of one’s district. As of last year, 27 states plus Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico permit intra-district choice and 43 states allow for inter-district choice, according to the Education Commission of the States.
  • Other school choice options: Homeschooling, hybrid homeschooling, online learning, microschooling, town tuitoning and personalized learning and learning pods. Learn more about each of these here.

For private school choice, there are five types of financial assistance that allow for public funds to follow a child to a private school, according to EdChoice. These include:

  • Education Savings Accounts
  • School Vouchers
  • Tax-Credit Education Savings Accounts
  • Tax-Credit Scholarships
  • Individual Tax Credits and Deductions

Ultimately, you can decide what the best learning environment is for your children without having to pay big bucks for a home in a top-performing school zone, whether you choose private, public or other methods of schooling.

The Bottom Line on School Districts

Whether you intentionally choose to purchase a home based on its school zone’s performance or if districts don’t even factor into your homebuying decision, we can help you finance the home of your choice with mortgages tailored to fit your needs.

Our talented and knowledgeable Loan Officers can work with you to determine your best financing options, starting with preapproval so that you know how much you can afford when house hunting.

Get preapproved within minutes here to start your homebuying journey.

What is Florida’s Hometown Heroes Housing Program?

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If you’re a full-time employed Floridian looking to buy a home for the first time, did you know you could qualify to receive up to $35,000 to help with your down payment and closing costs? Thanks to the Hometown Heroes Housing Program, homeownership might be closer than you think.

So, What is it?

This program was created in June 2022 to help frontline workers afford homes in the community in which they work and serve. Down payment and closing cost assistance was given to over 6,700 veterans, active-duty military members, nurses, teachers and law enforcement officers, according to a news release from the office of Governor Ron DeSantis.

However, as of July 1, 2023, guidelines no longer require a frontline work position, allowing more Florida first-time homebuyers to benefit from the program.

Additionally, more funding was allocated for the program through the Live Local Act, and the maximum down payment and closing cost assistance has increased to help make first-time homeownership more affordable for Florida’s workforce.

Who is Considered a First-Time Homebuyer?

A first-time homebuyer doesn’t just refer to someone who has NEVER owned a home; anyone who has not owned and lived in their own home in the last three years can also be considered a first-time buyer.

What Are Program’s Benefits?

Those that qualify can receive 5% of the first mortgage loan amount up to $35,000 in the form of a zero-interest, non-amortizing 30-year deferred second mortgage.

The program also offers lower-than-market interest rates on FHA, VA, RD, Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac first mortgages as well as reduced upfront fees, no origination points and no discount points. There’s also no cost to apply, so beware of anyone who tells you otherwise.

This non-forgivable second mortgage is only due in full when the home is sold or refinanced, the deed is transferred, the first mortgage is paid or it is no longer the owner’s primary residence.

Those who have served and continue to serve their country can also receive a lower first mortgage interest rate and additional special benefits.

What are the Eligibility Requirements?

  • Must Be Employed Full-Time by a Florida-Based Employer
  • Must Work With a Participating Loan Officer (Like Us!)
  • Must Have a 640 Minimum FICO Score
  • First-Time Homebuyers Only (Considered Anyone Who Has Not Owned a Home in Three or More Years)
  • Must Earn Less Than 150% of the Area Median Income According to Local County Data
  • Must Purchase a Home in the Community in Which You’re Employed
  • Must Complete a Homebuyer Education Course

What are the Income and Loan Limits?

Both vary based on the county, family size and type of loan, but income limits range from $103,500 to $162,750 and loan limits range from $472,030 to $874,000 as of May 23, 2023. For the most up-to-date limits, click here.

How Do I Know if I’m Eligible?

Our knowledgeable team can help determine if you might be eligible and assist you in applying! Contact one of our Loan Officers today to get started.

Should I Put Off Buying a Home Until Rates Drop?

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It’s no secret that interest rates have been floating in the six to seven percent range, and you might be seeing a lot of scary-sounding headlines about the market.

At the same time, your family might be outgrowing your current two-bedroom home, or you might be a long-time renter tired of sharing walls with noisy neighbors. The kids might have flown the nest and you don’t want to have to clean all that extra square footage you don’t need anymore.

Buying a home seems like the next right step in those scenarios, but you might be wondering, is now really a good time to buy?

Ultimately, it’s up to YOU to decide when the best time for YOU to buy is.

When you’re ready to pursue homeownership or move, higher interest rates don’t have to deter you. You have options, one of which is our Buydown Program.

What’s a Buydown?

Our Buydown Program for Conventional and FHA Fixed-Rate Mortgages allows for a temporary initial reduction to your rate for a certain amount of time at the beginning of the loan term. We offer 3/2/1, 2/1 or 1/1 buydowns to help you buy despite higher rates.

For example, let’s say your loan is locked at 6% and you qualify at the start rate of 6%. With a 3/2/1 buydown, the rate would be 3% for the first year, 4% for the second and 5% for the third. With a 2/1 buydown, the rate would be reduced for the first two years at 4% for the first year and 5% for the second year. A 1/1 allows for a reduced rate for the first year only.

Bottom line: You can still confidently make a home purchase and secure lower interest rates up front. Plus, when your buydown is up, you can choose to refinance if rates have lowered. Sounds like a win-win, right?

You don’t have to rely on fluctuating rates or experts telling you when the best time to buy is. You can go at your own pace and choose to buy when the time is right for you and your family.

Whether that time is now or next year, our knowledgeable loan officers will be here to walk you through every step. We’ll examine your unique financial situation and find the best financing available for you.

Ready to take the next step? Scroll down to get preapproved today.

7 Simple Tips to Grow Your Own Vegetable Garden

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Interested in growing your own vegetable garden but not sure where to start? Whether you’re a novice or have some experience with gardening, it’s not difficult to learn the basics of how to create one. What’s most beneficial about planting your own fruits and vegetables is that you can feel good about using them in the foods you serve your family every day. Most would agree that gardening is also a fulfilling hobby that will give you many hours of enjoyment. There is nothing quite like growing your own vegetables with all the aromatic flavors and vibrant colors, not to mention all the health benefits you’ll receive. Serving your family garden-to-table organic food is one of the keys to living a healthy lifestyle. In April we celebrate Lawn and Garden Month and National Gardening Day on April 14th #nationalgardeningday. So, if you’ve never planted a vegetable garden and can’t wait to get your hands in the spoil, here are some great tips to get you started:

1. Find a Sunny Location

Vegetables thrive best when basking in lots of sunlight—most will grow well with at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sun each day. Even though some leafy vegetables like lettuce may do fine in some shade, you’ll still want to give the entire garden as much sun as possible.

Smart Tip:Try a container garden if a backyard vegetable garden seems too ambitious. You can plant your vegetables and herbs in containers and place them directly on a terrace or patio where they will get the most sun.

2. Consider the Size of Your Garden

If you’re a beginner, it’s best to start small. Make sure your vegetable garden is large enough to ensure the proper growth of your plants. Consider how much space each vegetable needs to grow by following the spacing guide directions on the seed packets or plantings. You can also check out the “Old Farmer’s Almanac,” where you’ll find an excellent online garden planning tool.

Smart tip: Climbing produce like tomatoes, cucumbers and winter squash do well on vertical supports like an A-frame trellis.

3. Proximity to a Water Source

This tip is essential, especially during the first few weeks of planting. To help the seeds germinate properly, you’ll need to water them frequently to ensure they produce strong roots. Once your plants are established, you can water them less frequently, like every few days.

Smart Tip: Water sources set on timers can help you save money and ensure your vegetable garden receives the optimal drink at the right times during the day.

4. Soil that Works Best

To grow a successful vegetable garden, you must first start with great soil. You can buy a specially prepared potting mix for vegetable gardens at your local garden center or save money and make your own. Experts say a good gardening soil should be loose, not be too sandy or heavy like clay, and contain a combination of potting soil, compost, and organic matter that helps the roots of the plant retain water and remain aerated.

Smart Tip: Prepare your own compost with a mixture of vegetable scraps, coffee grounds and eggshells. It’s easy to do and eco-friendly, too..

5. Gardening Tools to Use

Working with the right gardening tools is necessary to ensure your vegetable garden thrives. You’ll need:

  • Gardening Gloves—available in fun colors, gardening gloves are necessary to protect your hands from the soil, sharp stems or vines. Make sure they are water-resistant and not too tight.
  • Trowel—an essential tool for every gardener, a trowel acts as an extension of your hand, making digging holes, mixing potting soil and planting your seeds much easier.
  • Garden Fork or Rake—you’ll need to keep these tools handy to loosen the soil and pull up any surrounding weeds.
  • Sharp Shooter—this tool is similar to a trowel, but creates more precise, deeper holes for your seeds and plantings.
  • Hand Pruners—this is tool is an essential item in every gardener’s toolbox. Pruners are used to trim each plant, so it remains healthy and does not overgrow. They are also used to cut thorny or dead branches away.
  • Spade or Hoe—these handy digging tools come in many sizes and help you prepare your plant beds. A wide flat hoe is recommended for digging a vegetable garden.
  • Watering Wand—a watering can cover a larger area, but this handy little tool allows you to pinpoint precisely the area you want to receive water.

Smart Tip: Use a wheelbarrow or garden cart to easily transport your soil, plants and gardening supplies.

6. Select the Right Veggies

Kids can be picky eaters when it comes to eating vegetables. But allowing them to select the ones they would like to see grown may encourage them to try new varieties. You should always plant the fruits, vegetables, and herbs you are most likely like to eat and use in your everyday cooking.

Smart tip: The best vegetables to start a vegetable garden with include carrots, beets, zucchini, peppers, peas, cherry tomatoes, spinach and lettuce. These are considered among the easiest to grow.

7. How to Get Rid of Small Pests and Bugs

Gardeners and farmers everywhere share the age-old problem of trying to keep pests from eating what they’ve grown. While there is no tried-and-true way to accomplish this, expert gardeners suggest trying things like spreading eggshells and coffee grounds beneath plants, or planting aromatic herbs like citronella, mint, and fennel, which have been known to keep insects away. Also, making an effort to control weeds will help keep the bugs at bay.

Smart Tip: A short mesh fence may help deter unwanted small animals like rabbits or squirrels from eating your fruits and vegetables.

Your Garden Oasis Awaits

Have you always dreamed of owning a home with a backyard where you could spend hours planting and tending to your garden? Do you long to see the vibrant colors and taste the freshness of the vegetables you’ve grown? Celebrating your home is what Premier Mortgage Associates is all about, and that’s why our experienced loan officers are always ready to help you finance the perfect home where you can build your garden oasis! We have a variety of different loan products that may fit your needs.

NQM Funding, LLC (NMLS # 75597) dba - Premier Mortgage Associates; Villa Home Loans; Texas: Consumers wishing to file a complaint against a mortgage company or a licensed residential mortgage loan originator should complete and send a complaint form to the Texas department of savings and mortgage lending, 2601 North Lamar, Suite 201, Austin, Texas 78705. Complaint forms and instructions may be obtained from the department’s website at www.sml.texas.gov. A toll-free consumer hotline is available at 1-877-276-5550. The department maintains a recovery fund to make payments of certain actual out-of-pocket damages sustained by borrowers caused by acts of licensed residential mortgage loan originators. A written application for reimbursement from the recovery fund must be filed with and investigated by the department prior to the payment of a claim. For more information about the recovery fund, please consult the department’s website at www.sml.texas.gov - nmlsconsumeraccess.org