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Category Archives: #GreatTips

A Lesson in Multitasking: Buying and Selling Your Home

No matter how many times you have done it, home buying can be stressful. Home selling, whether it is your first or fifth time, is another complex process. Doing both at the same time? Spoiler alert: it’s not always smooth sailing! For starters, it can be tough to line up your home sale and home purchase to happen on the exact same day. A few questions this can bring up: Will you need a temporary place for you and your belongings? Will you have to pay for (and do you qualify for?) two mortgages at once? Do you need your sale proceeds to use as your purchase down payment? When it comes to buying and selling at the same time, an… Read the full article.


Simple DIY Ideas to Freshen Up Your Home

  Small home improvements can have a big impact! Whether you’re getting ready to sell or just want to enjoy an updated space, here are some simple and creative ideas to freshen up your home this spring. To make the biggest impact on the look and feel of any room, simply paint the walls. A new wall color creates a whole new atmosphere, and sticking with solid, neutral, lighter colors makes a space feel larger. Bonus: if and when you sell, lighter neutral tones will appeal to more buyers! Another easy way to enhance a space is to replace old light fixtures. Update hanging lights and wall sconces to bring a new energy to your dining room, foyer, kitchen, and… Read the full article.


How to Finance Your Home Improvements

  So you’ve made the decision to improve your home rather than move to a new one. What now? It’s time to start thinking about your financing options. At Great Midwest Bank, our loan options range from Home Equity Loans to Construction Loans, and we’re happy to help you find the best fit for your renovation needs! A Home Equity Loan is a simple, less costly when it comes to a minor remodel. Our local loan officers will either use a new appraisal cost or a tax assessment to determine the current fair market value of your home, rather than basing the loan amount on the value of the home after the remodeling project has been completed. In some cases,… Read the full article.


Why Cutting Corners Won’t Get You to Your Destination Faster

  Have you started looking for your dream home without seeking a mortgage pre-approval? Many buyers believe they can begin searching for houses now and worry about obtaining a letter of pre-approval later. It’s time to shed some light on the importance of seeking pre-approval before the home search begins! A best practice for the first step of the pre-approval process is to meet with a few different banks to discuss mortgage lender options.The pre-approval process should ALWAYS include submission of your pertinent documents – pay stubs, bank statements, tax returns if necessary.  I’m still shocked that some Lenders will still issue a pre-approval based on a phone call and quick check of credit.  Insist that the loan officer you are working… Read the full article.


Saving as a Millennial Living with Your Parents

Don’t look now! The largest generation in the U.S. is quickly becoming adults and in the process, redefining adulthood. Millennials have adapted and endured in a post-recession economy, their social and global values have inspired change in the labor market, and now one-third of Millennials are living in a parent’s home. Eighteen to 34-year-olds living at home is the new normal; however it has not come without its challenges. Many are saddled with student loans, consumer debt, and a serious lack of savings – both emergency and retirement. The silver lining? Living at home provides some much desired financial breathing room, just when it’s needed most. So what can a young adult, who’s moving in with their folks, do to… Read the full article.


Essential Tools for a New Homeowner

We all know someone who is “handy” around the house. The recipe to success this way is twofold.  First, you need the right tool for the right job. Second, you need a little courage. If you’re considering the purchase of your first home or in need of a great idea for a wedding gift, consider this list of essential tools for a new homeowner: Toolbox – Start small. You don’t need the heavy duty version on wheels just yet.  Consider a tool bag, or even a bucket with a belt that attaches around the top. But whatever you do, be sure to include an organizer for various size screws, nails and bolts. Hammers – Be sure to consider both a large and small version; The… Read the full article.


How to Spot a Good Real Estate Agent

Selling or buying a home can be a stressful and confusing process – not to mention you’re also preparing for a move. Having an expert to help navigate the process can make all the difference in helping you stay sane – enter the real estate agent. A real estate agent can help with various aspects of the home buying or selling process, but not all real estate agents are created equal. Furthermore, even the most experienced real estate agent might not be the best for your particular situation. It’s important to know what to look in your next real estate agent. Relationships matter – The relationship with your real estate agent is critical. If you don’t have a good feeling right… Read the full article.


Five Points to Consider Before a Major Remodel

We’ve seen a steady increase in major home improvement projects that require financing. It’s a popular option for those that love their neighborhood but need room to expand. Great Midwest Bank is one of just a few local banks that specializes in major renovation loans. With our experience, we’re able to offer a few tips if you are considering a renovation: Start the process here. You’ll do yourself a favor by sitting down with one of our Loan Officers before you get the ball rolling too far down the road. From experience, we’ll likely have a “ballpark” idea of what your project will cost. Beyond that, we’ve seen a number of projects through to completion and can offer insight on… Read the full article.


How to Boost Curb-Appeal on a Tiny Budget

First impressions are everything. As we finally get to experience spring weather, here are a few inexpensive ways to improve the look of your home from the street: Driveways and Sidewalks: Go the extra mile and consider edging along your driveway and sidewalks if you have some. And a power washer – borrowed from a neighbor or rented from an improvement store – can do wonders to both driveways and sidewalks, especially those under trees. Siding and Windows: Use that power washer to clean your siding, especially the north-facing wall of your home that receives less sunlight. Next, focus on the windows. Clean them inside and out. Skip the expensive cleaner. Just use a mix of diluted detergent and vinegar… Read the full article.


Four Ways to Protect against Tax Identity Theft

  All of us are aware of the risks of identity theft. And many of us know someone who was a victim – our Borrowers have been affected at times. It’s easy to think identity theft won’t happen to you if you are a careful online shopper and keep a close eye on you credit report. Tax identify theft, on the other hand, is a whole different threat. The FTC recently reported that tax identity theft has tripled over the last few years. Identity theft occurs when someone “steals” your personal information (social security number, birth date, name, address, etc.), files a phony tax return and gets your refund. You’ll never know it until YOU file your tax returns and… Read the full article.


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