REAL ESTATE TIP #3: Is there a difference between mortgage prequalification and preapproval?

Taking out a mortgage can be an exciting time, especially for first-time homebuyers. However, all the steps involved can also make the process time-consuming. If you’re in the market for a home loan, it’s likely you’ve heard the terms “prequalification” and “preapproval” tossed around in conversation, on the web, or in advertisements from lenders.

While these two concepts are related, they refer to entirely different stages within the mortgage process. Yet many borrowers may think both words mean the same thing, especially if they haven’t encountered such terms before. It’s important to understand exactly what each refers to, as both are a way to streamline the steps it takes to get a mortgage. Here’s a primer on mortgage prequalification vs. preapproval to ensure your homebuying process is a smooth as possible.

REAL ESTATE TIP #2: Things to avoid when applying for a mortgage

Congratulations! You’ve found a home to buy and have applied for a mortgage! You’re undoubtedly excited about the opportunity to decorate your new home, but before you make any large purchases, move your money around, or make any big-time life changes, consult your loan officer – someone who will be able to tell you how your decisions will impact your home loan.

REAL ESTATE TIP #1: What buyers need to know about HOAs?

When searching for a home, you may end up selecting a property in a community with a Homeowners Association (HOA). Before you buy, it’s important to know how an HOA works and what they mean for you.

According to a recent article on,

“In a nutshell, an HOA helps ensure that your community looks its best and functions smoothly…The number of Americans living in homes with HOAs is on the rise, growing from a mere 1% in 1970 to 25% today, according to the Foundation for Community Association Research.”

An HOA is governed by a board nominated by those living in the neighborhood. It is designed to make sure the residents have a support structure to maintain the value of the community while abiding by a set of guidelines called Common Restrictive Covenants (CC&R),