Archive for May, 2010

Perspective

May 28, 2010

The owner of our company, Duke VanderArk, shared his thoughts with us yesterday about the upcoming Memorial holiday.  It seemed only right to share them with you.

 

As many of us plan to relax and spend time with family & friends this Memorial Day weekend; please take a moment to reflect and remember that this is not our personal Holiday, but rather a National Holiday, given to us, for remembering those who have fought, continue to serve and protect, and give us the freedoms to enjoy our hot dogs and Hamburgers wherever and with whomever we want to.

If you happen to be by a parade this weekend, please remember to stand up and place your hand over your heart when the veterans and the flag goes by.  It’s a small thing that doesn’t hurt much, but means so much to those who served and those that lost loved ones in service to our country.  It’s also a great example to those around and to our kids and young people.

So please enjoy the long weekend and remember those who made this weekend possible for all of us.

 

 

4 + 6 = 148

May 25, 2010

Allow us to introduce you to a new way of thinking about math.  Not the standard adding and subtracting, but the exponential growth that occurs when like minded people each take small steps in the same direction. 

This past winter we had the opportunity to share 4 hockey tickets.  We ran a promotion on Facebook and were amazed at the results.  We knew we were on to something and had yet another way to support charitable organizations.

Then last month we were introduced to George Hofacker.  George owns and operates a local lawn and garden equipment company and had been giving vouchers for tickets to see the Whitecaps, a local minor league baseball team, to his customers.  After the last baseball season he still had quite a few ticket vouchers available … 148 of them.  George graciously donated the vouchers to Awareness Home Funding.  Our thought was to invite area charitable organizations – their staff, volunteers and supporters – to the game as a way of saying thank you for all the work they do to make our community better. 

The first step was to exchange the vouchers for actual tickets.  At first the Whitecaps told us they could only provide us with 6 tickets.  Then we shared the story of our company, of how we give back with $250 donations to a charity every time we close a home loan.  We shared our intentions to not just share these tickets with anyone, but with someone’s who also give back.  The Whitecaps are a community minded organization and they instantly understood.  Those 6 tickets quickly turned into 148 tickets.  Every voucher was honored.

The game was perfect.  The weather was sunny and warm; the Whitecaps won their opening game; and friends, relatives, co-workers and supporters from 8 different organizations shared common stories and experiences.

Perhaps the most amazing part is how the story is still continuing.  After the game we made two more donations, one to an organization that was at the game that afternoon and another to George’s favorite charity.   George introduced us to the Walker chapter of the AMBUCS.  The AMBUCS are an inspiring group of local business people that also share our passion to give back and build communities – one person at a time.  Since meeting the Walker AMBUCS, they have introduced us to more groups. 

This is the power of exponential math.  This is what happens when like minded people share: ideas, contacts, goals and aspirations.  Did you know we give a $250 donation to your favorite charity when we close your home loan?  Who would you like to introduce us to?

Let’s Practice!

May 19, 2010

We have been telling you how easy the Awareness Works 4 U program is to implement.  We have explained that every time we close a home loan – purchase or refinance – we donate $250 to our client’s favorite non-profit organization.  We have made sure to tell you there is no cost, nothing to monitor, or new programs to launch.  The only step is to introduce us to your friends, relatives, co-workers and supporters of your favorite charities.

So let’s practice!

We are going to share some information with you, something very exciting.  This is news nearly everyone will be interested in hearing about.  This is knowledge you will want to share.  Once we give you the details, all you need to do is pass it along.  Do you Twitter?  Tweet this tidbit.  Do you Facebook?  Post this thought.  Do you text?  Send this message.  Do you still send emails or even converse personally on the phone?  Send it, speak it, share it. 

Ready??

We have two tickets to this year’s Indianapolis 500 Race!  To enter the drawing, visit our website and complete the simple registration form.  The link is located in the left panel.

Registrations will be accepted until 12:00 midnight EST on Tuesday, May 25, 2010.  We will randomly draw one winner to receive both tickets on Wednesday, May 26, 2010.  Sorry, but the tickets may not be exchanged for a cash prize and employees of Awareness Home Funding or it’s parent company, Polaris Home Funding are not eligible to enter.

Go!

By the way, if you would like to know about future events, promotions and news sooner, visit our Facebook page and “like” us.

First-time Home Buyers Still have Options

May 13, 2010

The home buyer’s tax credit program has ended.  While many were able to take advantage of the savings; we also know that many more did not.  Perhaps the timing of the program didn’t fit with your current financial picture.  Do you feel left out and like the opportunity to buy your dream home is gone for good?  While this particular program may be over, what if something else existed to help?  Wouldn’t you want to know?  Fortunately one does!

The Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC) program is a Federal tax credit on the mortgage interest you pay on your home loan over a calendar year.  It effectively reduces the annual interest rate on your loan. 

This is not a limited life program or something offered for just a set period of time.  The MCC credit remains in effect for as long as your home continues to be your primary residence and the original mortgage loan remains in place.  Only if you refinance your home loan, sell your home or purchase a second home that becomes your primary residence, will the credit end.  Plus in select targeted areas you do not need to be a first-time home buyer to qualify.

Unfortunately this program is not offered in all states.  In the 5 states we currently do business only Michigan and Indiana offer the MCC program.  (This would be a great question to ask your state senators and representatives about if your state does not offer this program.)  Even more amazing though is that not all lenders participate in this program.  Awareness Home Funding does and will continue to do so for every state we conduct business in when available.   

If you are looking to purchase a home, now or in the future, ask us about the MCC program.  We are very familiar with how the program works and more importantly, how it can work for you.

Ever wonder why you need an Appraisal for your Refinance Loan?

May 6, 2010

It is known that when you purchase a home you will have an appraisal conducted to determine the value.  More specifically an appraiser analyzes the value of your home and property compared to surrounding homes of similar size and style that have sold in the past 6 months.  So why is another appraisal required when you are refinancing your home?

The end result of the appraisal report is a dollar value that is used to determine the maximum amount a lender is willing to loan you.  A refinance pays off your existing home loan and establishes a new loan.  Criteria used to establish a loan for a purchase are much the same for establishing a refinance loan.  Therefore the value of your home and property needs to be confirmed.

Also consider that in the time you have owned your home so far, you have most likely made some changes.  Those changes can add value to your home and property.  Market conditions can also affect your home’s worth.  Are housing prices increasing or decreasing?  An appraisal done for a refinance loan will let you know the amount of equity you now have in the home.  The point is, anytime a loan is established the value of the collateral involved must be determined.

What is a Buyer’s Agent?

May 4, 2010

There are two general types of agency involved with the purchase of a home, the listing agent and the selling agent.  The listing agent is the realtor who has listed the property as being for sale.  The selling agent is the realtor who actually sells the home to the buyer.  In both of these instances, the realtor is ultimately working to sell the home.  This is after all, how they make a living.  However, you can make one simple step to ensure a realtor is working for you the buyer.  Get a buyer’s agent.

A buyer’s agent is a realtor that works exclusively for the buyer.  But there they are also so much more than that.  Only members of the National Association of Realtors can claim the title of Realtor.  And only members of the Real Estate Buyers Agency Council can call themselves an ABR (Accredited Buyers Representative).  An ABR has gone through intensive, specialized training in the process of buying a home. These agents hold to a code of ethics that hold the professional to high standard of conduct.

Having an ABR buyer’s agent work for you can lower your risk of losing money throughout the buying process.  He or she will make recommendations that will assure that you are buying a home that is safe, environmentally sound and priced fairly according to the current marketplace. 

Don’t be surprised if you are asked to sign a contract of commitment for a set period of time to work exclusively with this particular ABR buyer’s agent.  This can actually be a very good thing.  A Realtor does not get paid until the sale of your home closes.  This means your agent is focused on helping you meet your goals, or they won’t get paid.  Now consider that Realtors have information on homes in the marketplace that you the buyer do not, such as the latest homes for sale and price changes.  As a committed client, you will have access to that information first. 

Once you find that dream home, you will want a professional on your side helping you negotiate the finer points of the transaction; handling the forms, contracts and paperwork that needs to be processed; and dealing with any challenges that come along the way.  Don’t let the purchase of your dream home turn into a nightmare.  Work with a professional, Accredited Buyers Representative.  You’ll be glad you did.