Real Estate

The MI Buster Program!

MI Buster eliminates the need for mortgage insurance on purchases for qualified borrowers with an LTV between 80.01 – 89.99%. This product allows more borrowers to avoid mortgage insurance with less money down (as little as 10.01%) and those savings can mean the ability to afford more homes and/or a lower monthly payment.

MI Buster is a great option for borrowers looking to purchase a primary or second home of $200,000 or more, including first-time home buyers! Plus, with MI Buster High Balance, it’s also available on loans over conforming county loan limit amounts.

MI Buster Product Summary

  • Conventional 30-year fixed only, no Flex Term available
  • Available for primary and second home purchases
  • LTV between 80.01 and 89.99%  
  • Up to 45% DTI
  • 680+ FICO
  • Loan amounts starting at $200,000
  • MI Buster High Balance is also available for loan amounts over the county loan limits

Give your qualified borrowers the ability to afford more homes or have a lower monthly payment with the purchasing power of MI Buster!

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10 Thanksgiving Home Decor Ideas to Express Your S...

Thanksgiving home decor

Thanksgiving is one of the best social occasions of the year. Friends and loved ones gather over a hot meal to catch up and remember the things that truly matter. For many people, Thanksgiving marks the start of the holiday season and a chance to show off their design style at the turkey dinner party.

The tradition of “the Thanksgiving meal” is what makes it so special. That paired with some innovative design options can help you really wow your family this year. Check out these 10 unique home decor ideas for inspiration on your next Thanksgiving design masterpiece.

1. Indian Corn Wreath

Indian Corn Wreath

An Indian corn wreath is a fall decor piece sure to turn heads. It’s a vibrant alternative to the traditional Thanksgiving wreath and holds high cultural significance to the holiday and its indigenous founders.

The wreath can be crafted to fit many design styles, so feel free to make it your own.

2. Pheasant Feather Centerpiece 

A pheasant feather centerpiece is a perfect addition to any Thanksgiving banquet table. The feathers can be bunched together with pinecones, greens, and other earthy decor or paired with an elegant bouquet for a more upscale design.

3. Wheat Cloches

Cultivate an authentic harvest ambiance by incorporating wheat into your Thanksgiving decor. Rustic bundles of wheat coupled with the sleek cloche design makes this decor so eye-catching.

4. Gooseberry Branches

Gooseberry Branches

A simple gooseberry branch in a tall, clear, or colored vase can do wonders for your Thanksgiving table decor. It’s a minimalistic approach to the traditional over-the-top holiday festivities, which can prove refreshing for the entire family.

5. Wire Cornucopia

Wire Cornucopia

The cornucopia is a Thanksgiving staple. It celebrates abundance and prosperity. You can spice up your decor by putting a twist on the design. Instead of the traditional cornucopia, opt for one made of wire and fill it with a stunning fall bouquet for an industrial look.

6. Pumpkin Place Cards

Pumpkin Place Cards

Presentation is everything. Make your guests feel at home with individual mini pumpkin place cards. You can paint them white or gold for a more awe-inspiring effect.

7. Extravagant Fall Planters

Extravagant Fall Planters

Make your home stand out with extravagant fall planters to commemorate the season. Mix and match seasonal plants to create a textured and vibrant color scheme.

8. Table-Top Thanksgiving Tree

Table-Top Thanksgiving Tree

A small table-top Thanksgiving tree is a sweet addition to the holiday tradition. You can choose to hang party favors on the tree so each guest can have a keepsake to take with them or give each member the chance to hang gratitude leaves.

9. Apple and Eucalyptus Table Runner

Apple and Eucalyptus Table Runner

If you’re going for a more natural and elegant theme for this year’s Thanksgiving dinner, an apple and eucalyptus table runner will give you the look you’re going for. You can pair it with neutral tablecloths, white candles, and copper table decor for a refreshing feel.

10. White Pumpkin Vase

White Pumpkin Vase

A simple white pumpkin vase can do wonders in terms of decor. It serves as a more polished alternative to the traditional pumpkin decor and can be repurposed throughout the year.

Happy Thanksgiving Day!

Make this Thanksgiving your most memorable one yet by decorating with our 10 ideas for home decoration. Whether you want to show off your love of the holiday, or just enjoy some rustic charm, we have something that will fit your style and make everyone feel at home on Turkey Day. Which of these tips do you think is the best way to express my personal style?

The Fix-and-Flip Market Is Booming in 2021

The fix-and-flip market is red hot right now, and investors are reaping the benefits.

In late 2020, ATTOM Data Solutions reported that house-flipping profits reached their highest level in 20 years. In 2020, flipped homes generated a gross profit of $66,300 nationwide – up from $62,188 in 2019.

While investors saw a gross profit of $66,300, that translated into only a 40.5% ROI because they’re having to pay more for the homes they purchase because the overall housing market is so hot.

Profit margins dipped in 2020 because the median value of the homes flipped increased more slowly than the median price they paid to purchase the homes. The latest ROI reflects a decrease of 1% from 2019 and a decrease of nearly 5% from 2018. This ROI percentage was the lowest point since 2011. This wasn’t a sign of weakness in the flipping market but instead an indicator of just how hot the market for all homes is.

Despite the record-high profit number, the fix-and-flip market also saw a decline in flipping activity. ATTOM data shows that 241,630 single-family homes and condos were flipped in 2020 – a 13% decrease from 2019 and the lowest point since 2016. This reflected an overall lag in housing construction because of pandemic slowdowns in permitting.

The enduring strength of the fix-and-flip real estate investing despite these factors shows that it is still a strong investment—albeit one that’s harder to execute than it may have been a few years ago.

Fix-and-flip properties require investors to buy low and sell high while paying close attention to housing trends. Flippers have an enormous opportunity to make a profit, but they need to be careful to manage timelines that are getting longer nationwide and increasing lumber and materials prices. Flippers who sold homes in 2020 took an average of 181 days to complete the flips, up slightly from an average of 177 days for homes flipped in 2019 and 178 days in 2018.

The national housing shortage and the urban mass exodus also helped contribute to the success of the fix-and-flip market. The inventory of existing homes for sale is at its lowest since 1999, and so nearly 6% of homes sold in 2020 were to fix-and-flip investors – the second highest percentage for any year since 2012. Opportunities are still there for fix-and-flip investors to profit, even though finding properties might be more difficult.

Larger cities like Atlanta, Philadelphia, and Chicago are experiencing tight housing inventories because of the COVID-inspired urban exodus. Because so many people suddenly needed to turn their home into an office or classroom, COVID created a demand for more space in suburban areas less densely populated. As a result, the single-family rental industry flourished, giving fix-and-flip investors a new demographic to reach and the ability to pivot from fix-and-flip to fix-and-hold strategies.

Investors expect that flipping will continue to boom this year. As families continue to leave cities and move into larger suburban homes, AlphaFlow estimates that fix-and-flip investors could sell $75 billion worth of homes over the next two years. For the past three years, that average has been around $56 billion.

With a market this hot, the last thing you want to do is miss out on a profitable investment opportunity. You need a lender that works as efficiently as you do so that you don’t miss out on properties that are harder and harder to find in a tight market. So whether you’re looking at your first fix-and-flip investment or 100th, The Financial Suit Team has the FixNFlip loan options you’re looking for. We offer the industry’s best and most flexible suite of FixNFlip loans. When it’s time to fund your next flip, let The Financial Suit Team help you. Get started today.

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What not to do before buying a house: 7 Mistakes t...

Set yourself up for home buying success

In today’s ultra-competitive housing market, buyers need to be strategic to get the home they want.

Luckily, there are some simple best practices you can follow when house hunting and applying for a mortgage that will put you on the road to success.

If you know what to expect — and how to avoid common home buying mistakes — you can give yourself the best possible shot at scoring the home you want. Here’s what to do.

Mistakes can cost you when buying a house

When you’re preparing to get a mortgage and buy a new home, it’s important to clean up your personal finances and present yourself as a strong borrowing candidate.

However, that doesn’t just mean saving up cash for a down payment and closing costs.

It also means avoiding common financial mistakes that can reduce your borrowing power — or even, in a worst-case scenario, get you denied for a mortgage.

“Most buyers are so preoccupied with simply saving up for a down payment and getting their foot in the door that they forget about the little details that can trip you up — such as a low credit score and paying down their debt,” says Michele Harrington, COO of First Team Real Estate.

Don’t get so caught up in saving and house hunting that you forget about other details that impact your mortgage.

Khari Washington, broker, and owner of 1st United Realty & Mortgage agree.

“It’s easy for a home buyer to make mistakes during this process because this transaction is one of the most expensive things a person will engage in during their lifetime,” says Washington.

“Buying a home entails a lot of different activities going on at the same time. There are house condition issues, mortgage financing issues, contract negotiation issues, and appraisal issues that can all cause problems, distract you, and lead to errors in judgment if you are not careful,” he cautions.

So, what do you need to look out for? And how can you set yourself up for success?

7 Things you should never do before buying a house

Here are some of the most common mistakes first-time homebuyers make, why they matter, and how to avoid them.

1. Don’t finance a car or another big item before buying

Jim Roberts, president of True North Mortgage, says the biggest mistake buyers can make is to finance a car just before applying for a mortgage loan.

“Equally troublesome is when buyers wish to go out and purchase new furniture and appliances on credit before their new mortgage closes,” he explains.

“All of these activities are a big no-no, as lenders will do a final credit inquiry check before closing; if new debts were added, it could jeopardize the loan approval.”

And it’s not just your FICO score that’s at risk.

Taking out a loan on a car or financing a big-ticket item like a boat, wedding, or vacation can increase your debt-to-income ratio (DTI), making you look like a less attractive borrower to a lender.

“If your DTI is above a certain threshold — typically around 43% — then you are considered a risky borrower,” Harrington cautions. “Avoid making any big purchases or financing a new car for six months or a year before you want to purchase a home.”

2. Don’t max out credit card debt

Maxing out a credit card is one of the worst things you can do before closing on a home loan.

“The extra debt payment amount will offset your income and result in you qualifying for less mortgage financing,” Washington says. “It will also lower your credit score, which could increase the cost of your loan.”

Roberts notes that, in the credit scoring system, the actual debt amount doesn’t matter — you could owe $2,000 or $20,000.

What they care about is how much you owe relative to your credit limits,” says Roberts.

“If you owe $2,000 and your limit on the card is $2,500, your card is nearly maxed out and it will lead to drastically reduced credit scores — resulting in higher rates and monthly payments when it comes to getting a loan,” he explains.

For the best mortgage rate — and in the interest of keeping debt levels down — try to keep your credit utilization below 30% of your total credit limit.

For instance, if your credit card allows up to $3,000, try to maintain a balance below $900. And pay the card off in full every month, if you can.

This will improve your credit score, reduce your debts, and help you qualify for the best possible home loan.

3. Don’t quit your job or change careers before buying

Demonstrating consistent employment is essential when applying and getting approved for a mortgage loan.

“Job changes can create lending issues, especially if your pay structure changes from salary to commission, as this necessitates a longer track record of earnings — typically two years when it comes to commissions,” Roberts adds.

“A change from salary to hourly can also create some lending headaches, as hourly earners can have variations in their income simply based on how much they work,” he explains.

Roberts’ rule of thumb? Aim for consistent employment history of two years or more at the same employer or at least in the same line of work.

If you already work in accounting, for example, switching from one accounting firm to another shortly before you buy a home won’t set off any red flags for your lender.

But if you switch to a totally new field — for example, from accounting to hairdressing — you’ll likely need to work a full two years in the new industry before you can qualify.

4. Don’t assume you need 20% down

Many first-time buyers assume they need a 20 percent down payment to buy a house. But while having 20 percent down comes with perks — like avoiding private mortgage insurance (PMI) — it’s not always the best option.

Waiting until you have 20 percent down can push your home buying timeline out by years. And the longer you wait to buy, the higher home prices you’ll be chasing — which likely means you’ll need an even bigger down payment.

Luckily, there are several loan programs available today that require little to no down payment. These include:


  • A 0% down VA loan (available to qualified military/veteran borrowers)
  • A 0% down USDA loan (available in select rural and suburban areas)
  • A 3.5% down FHA loan
  • A 5-10% down conventional mortgage

“Also, some conventional loans can require as little as 3% down if you pay mortgage insurance,” Washington points out.

Typically, you need to pay mortgage insurance if you put less than 20 percent down. But the good news is that mortgage insurance companies today charge more affordable monthly premiums than they did years ago for borrowers with good credit.

“A lot of times it makes sense to put less money down and pay off other debts instead of trying to put 20 percent down on a home just to avoid paying mortgage insurance,” Roberts says.

5. Don’t shop for houses without getting preapproved

Before you go house hunting, it’s crucial to get a mortgage preapproval. Otherwise, you could be setting yourself up for disappointment.

“If a prospective buyer finds a house they love and afterward tries to get preapproved for a loan, the home may be gone before they finish getting preapproved. In addition, many sellers want to show their home to serious buyers only and will request a preapproval letter from the buyer,” says Washington.

There’s another compelling reason to get preapproved early in the process, too.

“Often, you really have no idea how much house you can afford until you get preapproved by a lender,” Harrington says.

The preapproval process involves applying with a lender who will check your income, credit history, and assets. Only after verifying these documents can a lender approve you for a home loan and tell you your real price range.

6. Don’t go with the first mortgage lender you talk to

You’re excited to claim a home, and you want to speed up the process. So you apply with one mortgage lender and move forward as soon as you’ve been approved.

The experts agree: That’s a big mistake.

“Although many lenders’ rates are very close in price to others, some lenders charge rates that are above average. Getting a bad loan with a higher interest rate can be very expensive in the long run, so be sure to shop around and get quotes in writing from several different mortgage lenders,” Washington recommends.

One of the biggest fallacies among borrowers is that their longtime bank will provide the best deal for them.

“Typically, big banks are significantly more expensive in both interest rate and closing costs than a good mortgage broker or other lender,” cautions Roberts.

So, when you’re getting quotes, try checking with a few different types of lenders. Check rates at your current bank, but also look at online mortgage lenders, credit unions, and maybe even a mortgage broker.

You won’t know who can offer you the best deal until you’ve compared personalized rate quotes from at least 3-5 companies.

7. Don’t make any big financial changes before closing

Once you have a signed purchase agreement and you’re approved for a home loan, you’ll go through the final stages of underwriting.

This is mostly a waiting game while the lender re-checks your financials and issues final approval. But don’t be lulled into thinking it’s a done deal. Nothing is official until you’ve signed the final closing papers.

The last thing you want to do while waiting for final loan approval is to make major financial changes, such as:

  • Purchasing a car
  • Significantly increasing your credit card balance
  • Opening up new credit cards
  • Changing careers
  • Applying for new loans or lines of credit

“It’s tempting to use any extra funds you have to buy thousands of dollars worth of furniture or open up a Home Depot credit card so that you can save money on new appliances. But those moves can easily tip the delicate balance of your DTI and throw off your creditworthiness so that you no longer qualify for a loan,” notes Harrington.

Remember: Loan approval isn’t final until the loan funds, at which time the house will be in your name.

“But before that time, a lender can rescind approval if a material change to the buyer’s situation occurs,” Roberts says.

To maintain a financially quiet period prior to closing, and don’t do anything that could put your final approval — and your home purchase — in jeopardy.

Best practices when buying a house is to improve your odds of getting mortgage-approved and qualifying for a lower interest rate, be financially prudent in the weeks and months before you apply for a home loan.

Roberts suggests three best practices to follow before buying a home:

  • First, do not close any active credit accounts. Keep any active revolving accounts open
  • Next, do not apply for or open any new credit accounts
  • Additionally, strive to pay down your credit balances to 30% of your credit limit or less

Of course, you’ll want to save up as much cash as possible.

Remember that your down payment isn’t the only upfront home buying expense. You’ll also have to pay closing costs, which typically equal 2-5% of the loan amount (or $2,000 to $5,000 for every $100,000 borrowed).

You should keep track of any large deposits to your bank accounts, too. “If you make any deposits into your checking or savings accounts that are not payroll deposits, be prepared to document where they came from,” Roberts adds.

Lastly, review your three free credit reports (available at and work to correct or remove any errors or inconsistencies you notice there.

Recap: What not to do before buying a house
Yes, it’s a competitive market. But there are still homes to be had for savvy buyers.

To recap, here are the seven things you should never do right before buying a home:

  1. Take out a car loan or finance other big items
  2. Max out your credit cards
  3. Quit or change jobs to a new field
  4. Assume you need 20% down
  5. Go house hunting before getting pre-approved
  6. Go house hunting before getting pre-approved
  7. Make big financial changes prior to closing

As long as you avoid these mistakes during the home buying process — and keep your finances in the best shape possible — you should be on the right track to homeownership.