Michigan First Mortgage Blog

USDA Rural Housing Loan Program Explained

By Karen Smith, Mortgage Loan Officer

These specialty loans are administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The program was designed to improve the economy and quality of life in rural America. These mortgages are given to qualified individuals buying homes in rural areas, small towns, and even some suburban areas. Applicants need to be U.S. citizens or permanent resident aliens with a qualifying debt-to-income ratio, have a qualifying credit score, and have a two-year employment history.

Rural development mortgages are designed for homebuyers who might not otherwise be able obtain a traditional mortgage. Thus, borrowers must have an income below the …

Ways to Pay for Home Renovations

By Andy Towne, Plymouth and Okemos Branch Manager

Whether you’re renovating a kitchen, adding more space, remodeling that old bathroom or finishing your basement, every homeowner has dreams of how to improve their home. Just as the myriad of improvement projects possible may seem daunting, so may the many different ways to pay for it.

Even if you have the cash on hand to finance your project, there may be more financially savvy ways to accomplish your goal of living in the home you always dreamed of. Just as the needs of your family are unique, so is each individual’s financial situation.

When …

Bidding Wars

By Alex Ibrahim, Mortgage Loan Officer

In today’s market, inventory is tight. There are certainly more buyers offering on attractive properties than at any time since the great recession. Once you have found your dream home, you may ask, “How do I win a bidding war when there are multiple offers on a property?” There is no simple answer to resolve this, but there are some strategies that you can employ which will give you an edge over the competition. Let’s explore the options.

Increase Your Purchase Price

There is no doubt that money talks, and if you really want to secure that …

Building vs. Buying a Home

By Jeff Hambright, Mortgage Loan Officer

You may be thinking, “Which is the better option? Buying an existing home, or building a home from the ground up?” While both options have their benefits, and essentially lead members to homeownership, there are some pros and cons to consider. Let’s take a look.

Building a Home


The home is fully customizable
You have the ability to build your dream home
No other homeowners in the home’s history
Every appliance will be brand new and unused
No expected maintenance in the immediate future
New homes are often built with more efficient energy saving materials


Every …

Paying Off Your Home: 15-Years vs. 30-Years

By Julie Jardine-Potratz, Mortgage Loan Officer

Your dream home has just come up on the market. You’re comfortable with the selling price, you speak with your mortgage loan officer and everything is in order. The only thing you need to decide on is if you should you take out a 15 or 30-year loan. There are pros and cons to both! Your goals and financial road map will help guide you into making the right choice for you and your family.

Employment, income, assets, credit and debt are evaluated by your lender to determine your risk factor.  If your debt ratio is …

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