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Category Archives: Home Loans

How to Buy in a Tight Real Estate Market

It’s no secret that the country has seen significant shifts in the housing market, especially as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Pre-pandemic, the market was gaining steam and mortgage apps were in development due to popular demand…and then buying and selling was essentially put on pause in spring of 2020. Once the market opened back up, there was high buyer demand, but a low supply of houses for sale. People have found themselves in steep bidding wars when they decide to pursue a home purchase. The Metro Milwaukee real estate market has been no different—it has remained highly competitive in 2022. Houses are often receiving multiple offers in the first few days on the market, many times well over… Read the full article.


CRA Loan Officers: On Your Home Team

What is a CRA Loan Officer? You may have heard the title “CRA Loan Officer” before—but what does it mean, exactly? CRA stands for “Community Reinvestment Act.” A CRA Loan Officer sets up qualified borrowers with home loans in compliance with the Community Reinvestment Act. The federal act, passed by Congress in 1977, established guidelines for financial institutions to meet the needs of the local community, including low-to-moderate income neighborhoods. Great Midwest Bank has two CRA loan officers: Brenda Brown in our Bayside office and Jennifer Lamb in our Greenfield office. Jennifer is fluent in Spanish, and has a special passion for working with borrowers in the Latino community. A Word on HUD “HUD” is short for the U.S. Department… Read the full article.


What Exactly is a Jumbo Loan?

Have your eye on a mansion on the hill? Does your dream home need to be bigger? You’ll probably need a jumbo mortgage loan. A jumbo loan is a mortgage that finances properties priced much higher than what can be financed with a conventional loan. Typically the property is considered a “luxury property” or is located in a highly competitive real estate market, and the amount needed to finance the property exceeds the conventional loan limit set by the federal housing finance agency (FHFA). While the FHFA sets a federal limit on conventional loans, your local conforming loan limits are set by your state and sometimes even vary by county. In Wisconsin, jumbo loans offer financing options above the conforming… Read the full article.


Guide to financing your home renovations

You’ve made your house a home over the years. It holds lots of memories, and you wouldn’t dream of moving out. However, maybe your family has grown or they need more room to pursue the new hobbies and passions they discovered during the pandemic of 2020. Doesn’t a larger kitchen sound appetizing? Or how about turning your basement into the rec room you’ve always wanted? Or maybe there are multiple smaller projects you’d like to tackle to give your home a fresh makeover and to meet your family’s changing needs. Whatever home improvements you’re thinking about making, a home renovation loan can be just the solution you need.  Remember, your home is an investment. When you make improvements like updating… Read the full article.


What’s the Difference between Appraised Value vs. Assessed Value?

When preparing to sell or renovate your home, it’s essential to understand the current value of your property. Its worth now may be different than when you purchased the house. There are two ways to gauge your home’s value — appraised value and assessed value. While they may sound similar, they are very different and this article is meant to help you understand the differences. It is not uncommon for the two values to be different from one another, and as a homeowner you should understand why.  Why is Home Value Important? Understanding your home’s value gives you more control over insurance premiums and property taxes. Refinancing, home equity lines of credit, insurance premiums, and annual property taxes are all… Read the full article.


Four Smart Reasons to Refinance Your Home Mortgage

If you’re reading this, you’re probably a homeowner doing your research on refinancing a home mortgage. It’s been the topic of many news stories of late. So, should you be considering it too? There are many situations in which refinancing your mortgage may be right for you. We’ll go over four smart reasons to refinance your home mortgage but first let’s define what refinancing a mortgage means.  Start your mortgage refinance today What is refinancing a mortgage? When you refinance your current home mortgage, you’re basically swapping out your old loan for a new one. However, there are two main types of refinances: Rate-and-term refinance The remaining balance on your current mortgage is transformed into a new loan that has… Read the full article.


What is Common Sense Lending?

At Great Midwest Bank, we use the phrase “common sense lending” a lot. Maybe you’ve heard it before but what does it mean? Common sense lending is the method of looking beyond mainstream lending criteria to consider all circumstances individually.  In other words, common sense lending means we take the time to get to know you and your situation, not just your credit score and income history. Why? Because those two numbers alone don’t tell the whole story about you. Instead, we go one step further with a more personal approach. Let’s take a closer look at how GMB’s common sense lending philosophy can help you. No computers, no algorithms. Just a human and common sense. Every loan application submitted… Read the full article.


Should you buy or build your new home?

To build or not to build? That is the question. If you’re in the market for a new home, you’ve probably started thinking about whether you’d like to buy an existing home or dive into a new home construction project. This decision includes multiple factors, including convenience, cost, and customizable features, and how important each of those may be. While both the buy & build options have their pros and cons, there’s no denying that obtaining a brand new (or new-to-you) home in any capacity is an exciting step! The good news:  Our experienced loan officers have helped hundreds of borrowers through the same decision process and are equipped to answer any questions you may have about financing your purchase… Read the full article.


Five Things Wisconsin Borrowers Should Know about Jumbo Mortgage Loans

Jumbo loans have become a more popular topic in recent years as the market for homes in metro-Milwaukee – high-end properties included – remains competitive. Jumbo loan financing is  specialized, and because of this, some mystery and confusion surrounds the topic. At Great Midwest Bank, we offer jumbo home mortgage loans for those in the market to purchase or refinance qualified homes. There are a few factors that differentiate jumbo loans from standard home mortgage lending products, and we’re here to clear up any questions both new and experienced borrowers may have about jumbo loans. Contact our experienced loan officers to discuss any additional questions. Here are five things Wisconsin borrowers should know about jumbo home mortgage loans: 1. What… Read the full article.


Five Tips for First-Time Home Buyers

Here at Great Midwest Bank, we’re always excited to assist first-time home buyers during their search for the perfect place to call home. While the road to owning your first home can be a long and winding one, the pride you’ll feel when the papers are signed is worth the journey. The benefits to owning a home are countless – it’s a good investment that will allow you to build equity, a strong credit history and so much more. Your first home may be where you raise your family. Homeownership offers you several intangibles that can be difficult to recognize until you move in, meet the neighbors and embrace that sense of community. With over eight decades of experience, we… Read the full article.