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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Spring Remodeling Projects to Start Saving For

 As cold weather and snow continue through mid February, it is hard to imagine when Spring will come. Soon enough the warm weather will return and home improvement projects will be in full swing. According to CNBC, builder sentiment has remained in mid-to-upper-50’s (over 50 is positive) for the past 8 months, with February at a score of 55. This is a great score in comparison to last February, in which we experienced similar weather and builder sentiment was at a score of 46. The National Association of Home Builders’ Chief Economist David Crowe described the scores as “a modest, ongoing recovery,” predicting that “Solid job growth, affordable home prices and historically low mortgage rates should help unleash growing pent-up demand and keep the housing market moving forward in the year ahead.”

With a growing economy and improving weather, CF Funding expects remodeling projects to surge this spring. Many may be remodeling this year to increase their home’s appeal in order to sell it.

You may be wondering what is the best remodeling project for your home. Which improvement will provide a large return on investment? What can I afford this Spring? CF Funding is here to help.

According to Power Home Remodeling Group, the 4th largest home remodeling company in America, “Giving your home some added curb appeal with an exterior makeover will automatically boost the resale value of your property... If you plan to stay put, focus on cost effective renovations that make your home more comfortable, functional and low maintenance for your family. Either way, enhancing your home this spring will help protect your greatest investment.” Examples of exterior improvement projects include updating siding, replacing windows, and painting or replacing entry doors.

If you plan to sell your home in the near future, these projects are important because they may make a great first impression on homebuyers. If you are worried about the cost, consider this: according to Steve Brown, the president of the National Association of Realtors, “Projects such as entry door, siding and window replacements can recoup homeowners more than 78 percent of costs upon resale.” The association also rated exterior projects among the most valuable home improvements in their Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report. Examples included deck addition, garage door replacement, and roofing replacement.

Looking to start remodeling indoors before the weather permits outdoor projects? CF Funding suggests a kitchen or bathroom remodel, as they also provide large return on investment. Be sure to contact us if you are considering a refinance, as you could receive cash back to help pay for your Spring projects. Visit for more info or call (888)-344-4080 to speak to a specialist today!

For more home improvement ideas, visit our Pinterest page at

Friday, February 6, 2015

How to Protect Yourself and Your Home in the Winter

As we prepare for more snow and cold weather, how do we protect ourselves and our homes? CF Funding has put together a few tips to keep you safe.

A great way to keep cold air from entering the home is to weatherstrip your doors, or keep a towel or rug along the bottom of the doors and/or windows.

When extremely low temperatures are expected, make sure your home is heated to a minimum of 65 degrees. Although the cost of heating your home may seem out of budget this winter, put your safety first to prevent walls and pipes from freezing.We suggest that you wrap pipes with foam insulation or heat tape to prevent freezing and bursting. Keep cabinets open under the sink to keep the area ventilated. Be sure to run the water periodically in all sinks in your home.

An easy tip that could save your family’s life is to prepare an emergency kit. Make sure you have extra blankets, candles and lighters in case the power goes out. Keep your phones charged or purchase a backup battery to make sure you stay alerted, and can call for help if needed. You can also purchase a battery operated radio for as low as $15. Keep canned foods, cereals, and water stocked in case you are snowed in for an extended period of time.

An emergency kit is also a great idea for the car. Make sure you have a blanket, gloves, handwarmers, a shovel, flashlight, and a distress flag and/or emergency triangles. 

According to the Weather Channel, flooding from melting snow can pose a large risk to you and your home. One precaution you may take is to ventilate your attic well, so the warm temperatures do not melt snow on the roof.  The water can refreeze at the edge of your roof, and “If ice builds up and blocks water from draining, water is forced under the roof covering and into your attic or down the inside walls of your house.” There are also heated gutter guards made for this purpose, but they can be expensive.

If you feel that your home may be at risk for flooding, make sure electrical devices are raised off of the ground or kept out the basement, especially near windows. You may want to use plastic sheeting to cover cracks in walls or roofs. If flooding does occur from melting snow or a pipe burst, be sure to initiate cleanup as soon as it is safe to do so, to prevent rust and mold from forming. Ventilate the area with fans.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals recommends bringing pets indoors when it's cold outside, according to KETV Omaha. They shared the following tips:

  • Never let your dog off the leash on snow or ice, especially during a snowstorm, as dogs can easily become lost.
  • Thoroughly wipe off your dog's legs and stomach when coming inside from the sleet, snow or ice. Dogs could ingest salt, antifreeze or other dangerous chemicals while licking paws. Paw pads could also bleed from snow or encrusted ice.
  • Never leave your cat or dog alone in a car during cold weather.
  • Make sure your pet has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from all drafts
CF Funding asks that you do not underestimate the dangers of winter weather. Please bundle up and take the necessary precautions to protect yourself and your family.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Reduced Mortgage Insurance Premiums Allow More Buyers to Qualify

CF Funding is happy to share that the Department of Housing and Urban Development recently announced a 50 basis point reduction in MIP rates. In the HUD’s Mortgagee Letter 2015-01 , they shared that the new MIP rates will take effect January 26th. The executive order announced January 8th that the annual premiums on FHA backed loans with terms greater than 15 years will be reduced from about 1.35% of the loan balance to .85% of the loan balance.*

Since the change is only in effect for borrowers with case numbers issued on or after January 26th, FHA is allowing cancellation requests for borrowers currently in process. Ask your CF Funding loan officer to see if you could be eligible for this cancellation!

According to Jann Swanson of Mortgage News Daily, “For borrowers who have recently closed an FHA loan which has been funded there will be no immediate recourse.  They will have to wait the mandatory 210 day period  and have made six payments on their existing FHA loan before refinancing through a streamline loan in order to secure the lower MIP.”

*for most FHA loans. 

Monday, January 5, 2015

New Year, New Goals for Homeowners and Homebuyers

Are you struggling to find a great New Year’s Resolution? As a homeowner, you may be wondering what you can do to improve your finances or keep your home safe. As a homebuyer, you may wonder what you can do to prepare yourself mentally and financially. Not to worry—CF Funding has a few ideas!

New Years Resolutions for Homeowners

One great resolution to kick off the new year is to improve and maintain your safe home habits. Check your alarm system and smoke detectors to make sure they are running properly. Reduce the risk of fire by checking for damaged appliance cords and “[Keep] clothes, curtains and other potentially combustible items at least three feet from all heaters,” according to the National Association of Home Builders. You can also implement a family emergency plan if you don’t already have one. For example, make sure contact information is easily accessible for children and an escape route is planned in case of a fire.

Another way to protect your family from disasters is to check up on your homeowners insurance. You may have purchased a great plan when you first bought a home, but if you have remodeled your home or purchased new items, you might need to expand your coverage. If your goal is to spend more time with family this year, consider taking on a home improvement project. Visit our new pinterest page at for some fresh ideas.

A simple New Year’s resolution that many people overlook is to understand your credit history and credit score. Checking your credit history regularly can reduce the risk of errors, and knowing what affects your credit score both positively and negatively can help you to maintain a good score. A good score can lead to better rates on credit cards or a home refinance. If you are considering refinancing your home in the New Year, talk to a CF Funding loan specialist first. You may be able to reduce your interest rate or consolidate your debt.
Another way to save on your mortgage in the new year is to make extra mortgage payments. You could potentially cut years off your mortgage by making an extra payment each year.

New Years Resolutions for Homebuyers

One very important step in the homebuying process is to save for a substantial down payment on a home. If you have done your research or have purchased a home before, you know that down payments range from 5 to 20 percent, possibly lower if you are a veteran or qualify for an FHA loan. Saving up for a higher down payment can help to lower your interest rate and put more equity into your home from the start.

You may also want to check your credit report for inaccurate information before applying for a home loan. Understanding your credit is important for everyone, but especially for potential homebuyers. An error on your report could lead to a higher rate or denial of your application. One way to keep your credit in line is to watch your holiday spending. The holidays may be over, but the after-holiday sales are still in full swing. Opening store credit cards and raising your amount of debt for holiday spending can cause your credit score to go down and your loan rates to go up.

Attend a homeownership education course to learn more about the process of buying and maintaining your new home. There are plenty of classes available across the U.S. including seminars and online education. CF Funding also hosts classes for first-time homebuyers at local libraries. Check our
Facebook page or call 630-328-8900 for more info.

Build a great home-buying team to help you along the way. Your support team can make all the difference in the home buying process. That may include lawyers, agents, and of course our team of Loan Specialists here at CF Funding.

And finally, after moving in, Keep safety in mind by ensuring that your new home has working smoke detectors, locks, & alarm systems. Check to see that your homeowners insurance properly covers you in case of an emergency. If you don’t already have a family disaster plan, make one! You can find tools to help you at

Do you have new years resolution ideas you would like to share with CF Funding? Visit us on Facebook at and leave us a comment!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Guide to Buying and Selling in the Winter

There are many pros and cons to buying (or selling) a home during the winter season. Although the winter is generally known as a "slow season" for home buying and selling, it can have many benefits on both sides.

Here are CF Funding's list of Pros and Cons for Buying and Selling during the Winter season: 

Buying Pro's

Reduced Competition means less pressure, lower prices, and less likelihood of a bidding war.
Realtors may have more time during "slow season," are more available and responsive to your needs
Sellers may have less showings during winter months, therefore they may be quicker to respond.
Tax Benefits may be available for those who close by December 31, such as mortgage interest and property taxes.
Home shopping in winter allows you to see how well the house is built for winter weather (heating system, hot water, drafts, etc.)

Buying Cons

Limited inventory means you have less houses to choose from.
You may have difficulty seeing all features of the home's exterior due to weather (snow-covered defects may be hidden) leading to an unpleasant surprise.
You may feel a lot of pressure trying to balance holiday shopping / events with home shopping and mortgage tasks. Completing your holiday shopping early can help relieve this pressure !

Selling Pro's

Less competition from other sellers
Winter buyers tend to be more motivated, with a pressing need to move quickly.
Adorning your home with Christmas decorations is an easy way to make it look warm and welcoming!
According to a Redfin survey analyzing homes listed from March 2011 - March 2013, homes listed in winter had a 9% better chance of selling and sold about a week faster. They also sold for 1.2 percent higher price than those listed in other seasons! Read more on

Selling Cons

Showings may interrupt holiday events and activities.
Many home shoppers avoid looking during the winter, as they want more inventory, and may want to avoid moving in the cold and snow.

If you are looking to buy or sell this season, be sure to contact CF Funding for your mortgage needs. We can refer you to a great Realtor to help you get started, and we offer free preapprovals ! Give us a call at 630-328-8900 today, or visit our website at .

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Tax Breaks for Mortgage Insurance

In an article posted Tuesday, CNN shared a list of "temporary" tax breaks that have been extended into 2014, including breaks for teachers, commuters, and parents of college students. CF Funding is happy to share two great tax breaks for homeowners, including deductions for mortgage insurance premiums:

1. For those who may have purchased a home with a small down payment, and therefore were
required to pay mortgage insurance, this break would allow you to deduct the cost of your premiums (if you itemize your deductions).

2. For those who have foreclosed on a home, or sold their home for less than what is owed, this tax break allows you to exclude that remaining debt from your income. Normally, the IRS would count the remaining debt as taxable income.

Another great tax break worth noting is that "commuters may reduce their pre-tax income to account for their commuting costs... those who drive to work and pay for parking are allowed to exclude more (250 per month) than those who use mass transit (130 per month)."

According to CNN, the bill has been sent to President Obama and is awaiting signature.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

CF Funding Launches "Graduate Advantage" Program to Benefit College Students, Recent Grads

CF Funding has launched a new loan program this month, which is aimed to benefit college students and recent graduates. The program allows those with large amounts of student debt (and lower income) to add a non-occupant co-borrower, in other words-- a "cosigner," to help create a better debt-to-income ratio. This blended ratio can help students & recent grads to qualify for lower interest rates, and mortgage loan terms that they might not otherwise qualify for.

Other benefits of this program include future income qualifications, for a student or grad who may be expecting to start a job or get a raise within 60 days. Depending on the buyer's income and credit qualifications, down payments as low as 3.5% may be required. CF Funding offers free credit counseling for those who need a score increase to qualify.

Graduate Advantage is available for any Freddie Mac purchase, rate and term, or cash out refinance.
Contact a CF Funding loan specialist today to learn more at 630-328-8900 or visit

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