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GMB Blog

Guide to Home Construction Loans

Building your own home is an incredibly rewarding experience. Hard hat on, you’re in the driver’s seat of the concrete mixer, ready to pour the foundation for your new home. Well, metaphorically speaking. YOU determine the overall design and layout, personal flair like unique lighting choices, and maybe a zen garden out back. Because that’s your thing, and this is your dream home. While your new home is picture-perfect and finished in your head, the actual home construction may pose challenging moments. Will this be finished on schedule? Those weren’t the windows we chose, were they? But most importantly—how are we going to pay for it all? So, let’s break ground by learning how home construction loans work and how… Read the full article.


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.


Home Renovation Projects: DIY or bring in an expert?

Lots of people get the home improvement urge at some point. You may have just moved into a new place and already have grand visions for how to make it your own. Or maybe you’ve lived in your home for a long time. The kids moved out, and you want to adjust the house to fit your new lifestyle. Home renovation projects can range from simple aesthetic adjustments to complex transformations. They’re not all created equal in terms of cost, required skills, and time investment. Some projects could feasibly be DIYed in a weekend. Other projects are complicated and might be best left to a professional contractor. We’ll go over different considerations of home renovation projects so you can decide… Read the full article.


Transform your Home Search with Portfolio Loans

One of the biggest reasons people want to own a house? Freedom. When you buy a house, there’s something magical about being empowered to make it your home. Maybe you’ll remodel the kitchen, perhaps even set up a chicken coop in the backyard. Owning a home is liberating. The only downstairs neighbors you have to worry about disturbing are your family members. Purchasing your own place also provides stability and security. You’ll build equity and won’t have to worry about landlord stressors. When people start the path to homeownership, the home mortgage loan approval process can feel challenging and confusing. It’s no secret that individuals often feel overwhelmed when applying for mortgage loans—particularly because qualifying can be difficult. Securing an… Read the full article.


Small Remodeling Tips that Pay Big Returns

Over the past few years many of us have spent more time in our homes than we could have ever imagined when we first purchased the place. Perhaps you had to adapt your home to become your workspace, too. Or maybe you picked up a new hobby that requires space in your home. Regardless of the catalyst or inspiration, chances are you have a “wish list” of remodeling projects you’d love to have completed. Getting started on those projects can be daunting, though. Do you ever watch those remodeling shows on television? Thanks to TV magic they make massive remodel projects look like they are completed in days, or sometimes even hours. To do those projects in reality, well, it… Read the full article.


How to Build Credit When You’re Just Starting Out

The American dream is a little bit different for everyone, but most people include homeownership as part of it. For those without established credit history, securing a home mortgage loan can seem like a daunting task. They tell you the only way to build credit is to get a loan and make regular payments on time, but how do you secure a loan with no credit? The whole thing seems cyclical, with no place to enter, and is enough to drive a person mad. We are here to tell you that it does not have to be this way. There exist non-traditional paths to building credit, and buying your first home is attainable. The Conventional Method of Building Credit Traditional… 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.


Casual for a Cause 2022

After a week of dressing up for work, who doesn’t love dressing down on the weekends? We do too! And once a month, our team participates in our very own, special version of “casual Friday.” We call it “Casual for a Cause.”Because community is at the heart of everything we do, we decided that casual Friday was going to mean something more than just getting to wear jeans and sneakers to work. While we enjoy that part too, the best part about Casual for a Cause Fridays is that it’s an opportunity to raise money and awareness for organizations that are making a positive impact on our communities in Southeast Wisconsin. At the beginning of each year, our branch locations… Read the full article.


Recap: 15th Annual WSSP Toy Drive for Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin

Thank you to everyone who helped us make the holidays extra special for the kids at Children’s Hospital this year. We are once again proud to have been the official bank of the 15th Annual WSSP Toy Drive for Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. With the community’s help, together we raised almost $70,000 in toys and monetary donations! Children’s Wisconsin is the region’s only independent healthcare system dedicated solely to the health and well-being of children. They provide kids with a wide range of care from earaches and sore throats, to the treatment of chronic conditions, and the use of life-saving medical advances to care for children in our community. The toys donated through this year’s Toy Drive will help brighten… Read the full article.