Claiming Your Home Journey: A Financial Blueprint for a Successful Mortgage Application

Claiming Your Home Journey: A Financial Blueprint for a Successful Mortgage Application 6228 4912 Your Loan Officer for Life

A new study from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found more loan applications were denied due to “insufficient income” in 2022 than in previous years. These denials keep renters locked out of the most valuable financial investment available to American families and keep homeowners from unlocking their hard-earned home equity. The cause behind tightening lending guidelines lies in slow wage growth, record-breaking home values, and higher monthly payments.

I want to empower you to realize your home ownership and home finance goals by revealing the blueprint to a successful mortgage application

Understanding the Mortgage Landscape

In today’s real estate world, financing requires navigating a complex and challenging mortgage landscape. Low home inventory, rising property prices, and interest rates make it harder to get approved for financing because those larger loan amounts and higher monthly payments take a bigger bite out of your paycheck. This scenario makes home financing difficult for borrowers based on their income, especially those eyeing homeownership or seeking to tap into their home equity.

One of the things that I love about the team at Milend is that they get more borrowers approved than your typical mortgage company. Everyone I work with understands that every financing story is unique, and we have special programs designed to get more borrowers qualified based on their income.

Optimizing Debt-to-Income Ratio (DTI)

Debt-to-Income (DTI) ratio is calculated by comparing total monthly debt payments to their gross monthly income. Lenders use DTI to gauge the risk associated with lending to a particular individual. When applying for a new loan the Debt-to Income ratio will include the payments of the proposed new home loan added to your current debt.  It’s one of the key ingredients to whether your loan application gets approved or denied.

If you have big auto loans or credit card balances, that raises your debt load. If this sounds like you, don’t worry. Our mortgage consultants work with homeowners in this situation all the time and can craft a tailored plan to help you get financed and reduce your total debt load.

Leveraging Credit Scores for Success

Your credit history is like a financial report card, reflecting your creditworthiness to potential lenders. A higher credit score generally signifies responsible financial behavior, making lenders more likely to approve your loan application at more favorable terms.

Our team works with borrowers who have a wide range of credit scores and all of our experts take the time to find the possible financing terms for you, even if you have less-than-stellar marks on your credit history.

Assessing your Financial Readiness

Income, Debt-to-Income ratio, and Credit History are the core factors that influence whether your loan application can be approved or not. These guidelines have gotten tougher due to market and economic factors, but you don’t have to do all the heavy lifting to assess your financial readiness on your own.

Milend has a proven track record of helping more borrowers get approved for home financing. Contact one of our loan experts to get an assessment of your financial readiness for a mortgage to purchase a new home or refinance. They’ll look for programs to overcome hurdles in your income, DTI, and credit factors. If it’s not the right time, they’ll help you plan for improving your financial picture to get you approval-ready in no time!

Your Ultimate Winter Home Preparation Guide
A Financial Blueprint for a Successful Mortgage Application
Guide to Owner Financing for Home Buyers

Guide to Owner Financing for Home Buyers

Guide to Owner Financing for Home Buyers 1920 1280 Your Loan Officer for Life

We’re here with another hot topic that’s been gaining interest among home shoppers – Owner Financing. I sat down with some friends this week to discuss whether they should look for listings with owner financing instead of going the traditional mortgage route. I’ll break down the ins and outs, just like I did for my friends – but the short answer is the risks aren’t close to worth the couple percentage points you’re looking to save on interest rate.

What is Owner Financing?

Owner financing is when the home seller also funds the purchase for the buyer. The seller takes the place of a traditional lender. Home buyers usually look into owner financing as a last resort when they feel they can’t finance a home any other way. It might seem like a slick solution for buyers struggling to get a mortgage, but this is one gift horse worth looking in the mouth.

Pros of Owner Financing:

Requirements are more Lax – Sellers might not require a high credit score or big down payment. That’s why it sounds attractive to buyers struggling to qualify.
PRO TIP: There are loan programs designed just for low credit borrowers, AND programs for borrowers who can’t put down a full down payment

Faster Time to Closing – With less red tape and paperwork, and more handshake, seller financing can speed up the closing process with less legal protections for the buyer.

Possiblity of Lower Interest Rates: The seller and buyer can negotiate the interest rate. Since profit on loan interest motivates seller to keep paying the mortgage, it usually isn’t any lower that what buyers could qualify for through a traditional lender. 

Cons of Owner Financing:

Balloon Payments – Many owner financing agreements include balloon payments that could result in a large lump sum due a few years into the loan, which can be financially devastating if you’re not ready for it.

Lack of Legal Protections – Traditional loans come with numerous protections for borrowers. Seller financing doesn’t offer the same security, potentially putting home buyers at risk.

High Chance of Higher Interest Rates: Since profit on loan interest motivates seller to keep paying the mortgage, it’s often similar to what buyers could qualify for through a traditional lender or even much higher. 

Owner Financing: Boom or Bust?

Owner financing can seem attractive in the face of rising interest rates, booming home prices, and ballooning down payments. But there are a lot of risks involved, and home buyers could easily find themselves in a financial nightmare and underwater. That’s why I always stress financial literacy and making smart money moves.

PRO TIP: There are loan programs designed specifically for buyers with lower credit scores or limited down payments. These loans come with the legal protections you deserve and offer a safer pathway to homeownership. Reach out to the team at Milend to discuss these alternatives and ensure that your path to homeownership is as smooth as possible.

As always, I’m here to guide you through the maze of home buying and selling. Let’s make your financial goals and homeownership dreams come true!

Your Ultimate Winter Home Preparation Guide
A Financial Blueprint for a Successful Mortgage Application
Guide to Owner Financing for Home Buyers

Is a Home Security System worth the money?

Is a Home Security System worth the money? 1200 801 Caitlin Hussey

Is a Home Security System Worth the Money?

In a short answer: yes. A home security system is worth the money. To go further into detail, purchasing a home security system will give you peace of mind, especially when you are away from your home. A home security system can also protect your belongings and family from potential intruders. In this article, we’ll go over a few reasons why homeowners should consider purchasing a home security system. Keep reading to learn more!


A likely reason why you’re hesitant to get a home security system is because of the cost. When evaluating the initial cost, the average cost of a home security system usually ranges from $100 to upwards of $1000 or more depending on the type of installation, equipment, and security system you want.

However, keep in mind that these are one-time costs and not recurring expenses. The good news is that you may own the equipment in most cases. It is also important to mention that there are monthly fees you may be charged once your home security system is installed and functional. Some systems, such as Nest, have very high costs for equipment but don’t require a contract. Learn more about this plan by reading about Nest Home Security reviews.

Different packages are available depending on the levels of monitoring, features, and services you choose to allow you to have control over your monthly fees. If you are really on a tight budget, you can opt for the basic plan from trustworthy brands for as little as $30 per month.

Advanced packages are also available depending on your budget and needs. They include features like regular security patrols and live monitoring that can include additional monthly fees.

Deter Burglars

Before getting your security system, ensure its effectiveness in terms of keeping criminals at bay. A quality home security system can prevent burglars from breaking into your house. The presence of a security sign can keep criminals at bay because it indicates your house is protected by a security system.

Even when a thief still manages to break into your house, the security system will be activated immediately. The sensors that are attached to your system will sound and scare the criminals. In turn, this will prevent them from moving into your home and stealing.

Moreover, you and the service in charge of monitoring your home security system will be notified immediately about the break-in. You will also be informed about the type of break-in that occurred. After you have been alerted, the incident will be responded to right away to minimize the chances of your belongings stolen.

Discounted Home Insurance Premiums

Generally, if your home security system has more features, you might receive a higher discount on your homeowner’s insurance. Most homeowner’s insurance companies give premium discounts if you have a security system installed. However, you should first check with your insurance provider to see the available discounts. Some

For instance, higher discounts are for systems that monitor intrusion and those that can detect water damage, smoke, or fire. It’s also important to note that some home insurance policies will only compensate you if your home is located in a place with high cases of theft or when your house has been broken into.

Energy Savings and Convenience

Most modern security systems are equipped with home automation functionalities that provide energy savings and convenience. For example, connected garage door openers and smart door locks offer a secure way to allow your friends into your house.

Additionally, thermostats and internet-connected lights attached to the security system can adjust themselves and save energy while you are away and your system is armed.

Protection Against Fire

Apart from monitoring your home and keeping thieves at bay, modern home security systems can also protect you against fire as they are designed to detect smoke. That is why you should install a security system in your home because the number of deaths as a result of a fire in homes that don’t have this system is twice than in homes with one.

Moreover, if your system has water sensors, it will help prevent property damage due to flooding. It will sound the alarm in case of potential water damage and help you reduce losses.

Wrap Up

Security systems are a great investment because apart from keeping you linked to your house no matter your location, they can also deter intruders. You will also know if someone tries to access forbidden areas like gun cabinets, or when doors are closed and opened in your home. Other benefits include discounts on homeowners’ insurance.

Your Ultimate Winter Home Preparation Guide
A Financial Blueprint for a Successful Mortgage Application
Guide to Owner Financing for Home Buyers
Atlanta Mortgage Lender - Market Update - Aug 19

Atlanta Market Update: August 2019

Atlanta Market Update: August 2019 2110 1178 Jason Breeland

Atlanta Mortgage Lender – Mortgage and Real Estate Market Update on Atlanta, GA Area


If you’re looking to buy or sell your home in the current housing market, a good place to start is by talking with your Atlanta mortgage lender.  They will know what the local housing trends are and what the forecast looks like for 2019.


Housing Market Forecast for Atlanta in 2019

Toward the end of 2018, we saw home sales decline in the Atlanta area.  This tends to suggest that there is a softening of housing demand from buyers.  However, we also saw a combo of growth in the population, along with an inventory that is a bit limited.  This should help to sustain demand for 2019.  It’s also likely that we will see a rise in home price gains as well.

A number of experts are predicting a rise in home prices for the remainder of the year, however, at a much slower rate than we have seen in the past couple of years.  One Atlanta mortgage broker shared that, given the current situation with supply and demand for the Atlanta area, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see a 5 to 8% rise in the median home prices this year.  Bear in mind that this level of home appreciation will vary from each area as a result of different levels of supply.

Overall, this looks like it will be a good year for buying a home in the Atlanta area, given the inventory rise experienced during 2018.  This means home buyers will have more choices when it comes to home buying. Even better is the fact that mortgage rates have remained at historically low levels.


Home Prices

Over the last couple of years, we have seen a steady rise in home prices that outpaced the national average.  This was down to having a limited number of homes available for sale and an abundance of buyers, which put upward pressure on home prices.  At the start of 2019, the median home price in Atlanta was around $256,000, a gain of over 14% compared to this time last year.

We are set to see a shift during the rest of this year, however.  Inventory has been rising as of late, which has given buyers more options for them to choose from.  At the same time, this has eased the competition in the market for the area. Over the past few years, it has been more of a seller’s market in Atlanta.  However, 2018 saw a shift in this trend and 2019 will become a more balanced market, with the possibility of a soft buyer’s market.


Supply and Demand

Inventory has been one of the most noted changes for the real estate market in Atlanta.  Like most major cities across America, Atlanta has also suffered over the past few years from a home shortage.  However, that started to shift in 2018 and Atlanta went from having a 2.5 month supply to a 4.5 month supply by December of last year.   This means buyers will have more to choose from for 2019.

Atlanta mortgage lenders have seen a number of price reductions for 2019, and these slowing sales are what have motivated sellers to be more flexible when listing their prices and when negotiating with buyers.  If these trends continue for 2019, it’s quite possible that 2020 will become more of a buyer’s market.

Your Ultimate Winter Home Preparation Guide
A Financial Blueprint for a Successful Mortgage Application
Guide to Owner Financing for Home Buyers
Atlanta Mortgage Lender - Guide To Automating A Home

Milend’s Guide To Automating A Home

Milend’s Guide To Automating A Home 1200 821 Jason Breeland

Your Local
Atlanta Mortgage Lender’s 
Guide To Automating A Home

Most smart home systems work similarly. In the simplest terms, your smart components — lights or door locks, for example — receive commands from a smartphone app or another central data hub, process those commands, and take appropriate action.


If you have a smart garage door opener, for instance, you can use your smartphone to check whether your teenager remembered to close the garage door when he left for school. If he didn’t, a tap of a button from your app will close the garage door (and restore your peace of mind). You’ll find that most home automation products are typically equipped with Wi-Fi and/or Bluetooth technology.



Pro tip: Stay ahead of the game by opting for products that accommodate Wi-Fi 6. Tech experts predict an increase in the use of Wi-Fi 6 to address issues with lack of bandwidth and insufficient speed, which can impair device functionality.



Most gadgets connect to a hub, which you can communicate with via a smartphone app or voice command. Today, most manufacturers design their home automation products to be compatible with one another and with most types of hubs. Devices such as Google Home and Amazon Echo can also function as hubs for many types of systems.


If the idea of talking to your phone or a smart speaker isn’t particularly appealing to you, set schedules for your smart devices instead. For example, smart outlets, light bulbs, and appliances give you the ability to have your coffeemaker and your kitchen lights turn on just before you come downstairs each morning to start your day. Certain smart devices can also gradually learn your preferences based on adjustments and changes you make to the device settings.



Common Types of Smart Home Gadgets







Your home’s lighting is an area where automation can make practical sense. Smart solutions address the common problem of forgetting to turn off lights or of fumbling to turn on a switch in a dark room. Some advantages of automating your lights include electricity savings and added convenience.


With many systems, the smart technology is built into the light bulbs themselves, so there’s no need to replace your fixtures. This means you don’t even have to own your home to benefit from this innovation, as it does not require you to make any modifications a landlord would object to.


Smart lighting is about more than being able to regulate your lights without pressing a switch. You’ll see savings in energy costs, and you might even discover that a smart light bulb set to your wake-up schedule makes a far gentler alarm clock than a blaring tone.


Climate Control


Smart thermostats are so popular (and available in a wide range of price points) that they’re on the verge of becoming the norm. Use a smart thermostat to fine-tune your HVAC system’s optimal, most energy-efficient heating and cooling settings. This ensures that you’ll be able to maintain the right temperature indoors regardless of the time of day.


Because smart thermostats help reduce energy consumption (and therefore cause less strain on the power grid), many electric companies and local governments offer rebates or other incentives for purchase and installation.


Home Security


Smart security systems may include a variety of components, including glass-break sensors, motion detectors, and cameras. Everyone’s home security needs are different, so your best bet is to opt for a system that is highly customizable and flexible, should you choose to add components in the future.


Check out our overview of the most popular smart security system components: Smart Doorbells.


A popular smart security system product is the smart doorbell camera. Smart doorbell cameras activate when someone approaches the door or rings the bell. You receive an alert on your phone and can view the camera. Some video doorbell products on the market also allow you to speak to the person at your door and hear their responses.


Smart security cameras. Incorporating cameras into your smart security system adds another layer of safety to your home. Smart security cameras can be placed in strategic spots on the exterior (or interior) of your home. Most cameras can be controlled via a smartphone app and automatically upload footage to cloud storage.


Smart door locks. While you shouldn’t toss your keys in the trash just yet, smart locks do offer convenience and security. You’ll find a wide range of options on the market, from keyless entry locksets that require a code to unlock to locks that respond to commands via a smartphone app.


Smart smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Smoke (and carbon monoxide, if you have any gas appliances) detectors are a must-have for every home, and smart versions of these devices are a great way to give yourself additional peace of mind. If the device senses smoke or carbon monoxide, it sounds a loud alarm and sends an alert to your smartphone.






From a fridge that monitors its contents and reminds you to stock up to an egg tray that counts your eggs, the kitchen is full of appliances and devices that work well with automation. Like other smart devices, you communicate with your smart kitchen tools via an app on your smartphone. You can also use voice control, which is great for when you have your hands full.


Because there are so many options, it is important to plan your smart kitchen well. Give careful consideration to your budget, how much time you usually spend cooking, and what you hope to accomplish with a smart kitchen device.







Smart entertainment systems integrate streaming services, television, music, and gaming. You control everything with one device, typically a phone or tablet running an app.




As with other smart systems, you can also use voice commands for certain functions. And because entertainment systems are only as good as their speakers, talk to your home theater consultant about surround-sound or built-in speakers.




Lawn care




Whether you aim for a pristine lawn or a record-breaking vegetable garden, automation can improve your results. Smart solutions for automating functions such as irrigation and fertilization can optimize quantities and adjust for the weather. Automation lets you control sprinklers and other systems remotely.




You can also purchase sensors that send you data about soil composition and other factors affecting your plants’ growth.




Contact Us

For more information on top home renovations that pay off or to get started on your home loan application, please contact your local mortgage lender in Atlanta, Milend, Inc., at 855-645-3631.

Your Ultimate Winter Home Preparation Guide
A Financial Blueprint for a Successful Mortgage Application
Guide to Owner Financing for Home Buyers
Atlanta Mortgage Lender - Top Questions to Ask

Top 5 Questions to Ask Your Mortgage Lender Before You Get Started

Top 5 Questions to Ask Your Mortgage Lender Before You Get Started 531 502 Jason Breeland

Before you begin the application process for an Atlanta mortgage, such as with MiLEND, Inc., there are a few useful questions you should ask a mortgage professional. So, to help you get started, your local mortgage lender with MiLend has listed 5 useful questions that every first-time buyer should know before they begin the process of becoming a homeowner.


Question #1: What If I Don’t Have A Perfect Credit Score?

Having a perfect credit score is not a pre-requisite in becoming a homeowner. The best Atlanta mortgage lender should do everything they can to help ensure you get a low rate on your mortgage.

There are also government-backed loans, such as an FHA loan, that has a minimum credit score requirement which are generally much lower than a conventional mortgage loan requires and is perfect for those who have a low credit score and a low income.


Question #2: Should I Get Pre-Approved?

Getting pre-approved has a lot of additional benefits for you while you begin the application process. For example, your mortgage lender will review your finances and let you know your affordability through a pre-approval, this can help you save time when viewing different homes so you avoid shopping outside your budget.

Also, most real estate agents refuse to work with buyers who have not been pre-approved, so if you wish to work with a professional and have more access to real estate listings, then getting pre-approved might be your best option.


Question #3: Do I Have To Use The Same Lender That Pre-Approved Me For My Mortgage?

If you get pre-approved, you do not have to use the same Atlanta mortgage lender for your mortgage application. You have no financial obligation to work with them and instead, you can shop around with different lenders to find the one that gives you the best deal for your goals as a homeowner. With that being said, the Lender you are pre-approved with will be able to process and close your loan faster because they will already have your information.


Question #4: What If I Pay Less Than 20% Towards My Down Payment?

If you pay less than 20% for your down payment, you will be required to obtain private mortgage insurance. This is a fee that can either be added onto your mortgage payments every month or is a one-time upfront cost. This insurance is required so the lender is protected in case the borrower fails to make a mortgage payment.


Question #5: Is A 15-Year Mortgage Better Than A 30-Year Mortgage?

A 15-year mortgage is not necessarily better than a 30-year mortgage, it just depends on what you are trying to achieve. If you want to have a higher monthly payment but pay less in interest over time or just want to pay your mortgage off quicker, then you should look into getting a 15-year mortgage. However, if you have a lower income and are wanting smaller monthly payments with a higher interest rate, than a 30-year mortgage may be your best option.


Contact Us

If you would like to receive more information on the top 5 questions to ask your Atlanta mortgage lender or if you are looking to begin your home loan application, please contact the MiLend team at 855-645-3631. All of MiLEND’s Mortgage Loan Originators are State licensed in whatever States they do business in and are registered with the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System (NMLS) as a professional Mortgage Loan Originator.

Your Ultimate Winter Home Preparation Guide
A Financial Blueprint for a Successful Mortgage Application
Guide to Owner Financing for Home Buyers
Atlanta Mortgage Lender - Top Renovations that Pay Off

Top Home Renovations that Pay Off

Top Home Renovations that Pay Off 974 487 Jason Breeland

If you are looking to update your home before you sell, there are a few home renovations you should be aware of that give you the biggest return on investment. So, to help you get started, your local Atlanta mortgage lender with Milend, Inc. has listed the top home renovations that pay off.


#1: Kitchen and Bathrooms

Regardless if you are selling your home in a prime location, updating your kitchen and bathrooms can appeal to anyone. Most home buyers want that new modern look for their kitchen and bathroom so spending the money and time to update these areas can almost guarantee a 100% return on investment. When buyers view a home, they can immediately tell if a lot of money went into remodeling the kitchen or the bathrooms so, update these areas to appeal to more people.

Now, updating a kitchen or bathroom might be your biggest renovation cost, so if you are looking for ways to afford these projects, you may want to consider refinancing your Atlanta mortgage. You can tap into your home equity through a mortgage refinance or a second mortgage and use this amount to help update your home. Contact your local lender for more information.


#2: Curb Appeal

How the outside of your house looks is the first impression it will make on a buyer. Therefore, it is worth the expense to update this area of your house. If the seller’s come up to your property and are immediately turned off by the exterior appearance, they will most likely not even bother coming inside. This means it would be helpful to add some fresh flowers and new mulch to give your yard a cleaner, newer feel. It would also be beneficial to touch up any chipped paint on the outside of your home.


#3: Home Expansion

If you have an older home where the rooms are smaller and the hallways are narrow, you may want to consider expanding your house. Adding some extra rooms or enlarging the current ones can help appeal to more seller’s. If the rooms are too small, home buyers may feel too claustrophobic and lose interest in your home.

Also, according to this Home Improvement Show, you could earn an increase of at least 30% on your home’s asking price by every 1,000 square feet you add, which means it could financially be in your best interest to add some extra space.


Contact Us

For more information on top home renovations that pay off or to get started on your home loan application, please contact your local mortgage lender in Atlanta, Milend, Inc., at 855-645-3631.

Your Ultimate Winter Home Preparation Guide
A Financial Blueprint for a Successful Mortgage Application
Guide to Owner Financing for Home Buyers
Atlanta Mortgage Lender - Secrets to Buying in a Seller's Market

Secrets to Buying in a Seller’s Market

Secrets to Buying in a Seller’s Market 1632 930 Jason Breeland

If you are looking to purchase a home but currently live in a competitive market, do not worry because there are simple tips to help you overcome the competition. So, to help provide some insight, your local Atlanta mortgage lender, Milend, Inc., has listed top secrets to buying in a seller’s market.

Tip #1: Get Pre-Approved

Working with a mortgage professional who thoroughly understands the home buying process knows what it takes to stand out with sellers. MiLEND, Inc. can pre-approve you for a mortgage, which can set you aside from other buyers. Getting pre-approved shows seller’s that you have had a professional review your finances and that they have agreed that you are financially capable of becoming a homeowner.

Tip #2: Work With A Real Estate Agent

Real estate agents are experts in their field and they can give you access to more homes on the market that you might not have known about. They are also used to working hand in hand with seller’s, which means they can help you stand out more from other buyers. If you are not currently working with a real estate agent and need help finding one, just ask your local Atlanta mortgage lender, MiLEND, Inc., who they would recommend.

Tip #3: Be Reasonable

Once the time comes to put an offer on the house, you want to be reasonable with your bid. If you do not offer a fair price, you risk the chance of the seller choosing another family to buy their house. You do not want to offer more than you need to, but you also want to be sure you are not offering too little. Just be reasonable and fair.

Tip #4: Don’t Wait Too Long

Trying to buy a home in a seller’s market means the pickings are slim and competitive. Therefore, if you find a house you love, try not to dwell on the decision too long. You don’t want to be impulsive but you also want to act quickly before your dream home comes off the market.

Tip #5: Make Yourself Stand Out

If you are in the middle of a bidding war with another family, you want to be sure and stand out from them. This can be done by offering to put down a larger deposit on the house or by being flexible with when the move in date is.

Contact Us

For more secrets on buying in a seller’s market, please contact your local Atlanta mortgage lender, Milend Inc., at 855-645-3631.

Your Ultimate Winter Home Preparation Guide
A Financial Blueprint for a Successful Mortgage Application
Guide to Owner Financing for Home Buyers
Atlanta Mortgage Lender - Resolution List

Add These Items To Your Resolution List

Add These Items To Your Resolution List 1514 850 Jason Breeland

With the holidays behind us,  If you are not well-prepared you could end up paying unmanageable interest on credit card interest.  The ability to save money is important this time of year. So, to help avoid these problems, our team at Milend, Inc. suggests that you add these items to your resolution list.

Brown Bag - MiLend - Atlanta Mortgage Lender#1. Brown Bagging!

Eating out during the work or school day is undeniably convenient. There’s no scrounging in the cupboards for something to prepare, searching for forks when you forgot yours at home or eating cold spaghetti when the office microwave is out of order.

But what’s better than convenience? Keeping money in your wallet.

The fact that packing lunch is cheaper than buying lunch isn’t surprising. What is surprising is just how much money you can save by brown-bagging it. In fact, some simple math might be enough to convince you to do away with takeout lunches permanently.

Let’s say your preferred takeout lunch is a deli sandwich with a drink. With taxes, your total is about $10. If that’s your lunch choice five days out of seven, you’re spending $50 a week, $200 a month, $2,600 each year.

What if you make that same sandwich at home? Maybe the ingredients (a loaf of bread, cheese, and sliced meat) cost you $15 up front, and they make about five sandwiches. Now your cost is $3 per sandwich, for a total of $15 a week, $60 a month, $780 a year. That’s a yearly savings of $1,820!

There’s another kind of savings that comes with bringing your own lunch: calories. While how many calories you can save depends on what you choose to bring, home-cooked meals are typically more healthful than takeout is.

No, this lunch switch won’t make you a millionaire. Still, with fewer calories and lower cost, all these savings might make that brown bag look more enticing.

Tips on Tipping - MiLend - Atlanta Mortgages

#2. Need a Tip on How Much You Should Tip?

Should you tip them or simply say thank you? Discerning when to tip and how much can be stressful. Thankfully, there are generally accepted practices you can adhere to that will make this task easier.

Food and drink: For food delivery, tip $2-$4. For bartenders, tip them $1 per drink. Tip restaurant servers 15-20 percent of the bill.

Travel: Expect to give those who carry your bags, whether porters at airports or bellhops, $1 or $2 for each item. At hotels, pay special attention to the housekeeping staff. Your tip should reflect the quality of the hotel; the more expensive the accommodations, the greater the tip. Also, tip each day. The housekeeping staff may change during your time there. Lastly, read bills for room service carefully before tipping. Additional “service charges” don’t cover the tip, but a “gratuity” does.

Holidays: If you have a nanny or housekeeper, an appropriate holiday bonus is equivalent to one week’s pay. Be especially generous to the person who delivers newspapers. Keep in mind that adults, not children, are doing that job now. It’s never too late give this gift if you happen to have forgotten.

Optional tip: There are times when tipping is optional. It doesn’t hurt to give a barista some spare change as a tip, but it’s not required. You don’t need to tip someone who wraps your gifts, but it might be a nice gesture.

No tip: Not every service requires a tip. House sitters, grocery store baggers, cable installers, sports instructors, and Fed Ex delivery personnel are among the individuals who are exempt from tips.

Save on Cell Phone - MiLend - Atlanta Home Loans

#3. Save on Your Cell Phone Upgrade

From Samsung’s Galaxy Note9 to Apple’s iPhone XS, there’s no shortage of options for anyone looking to buy a new phone. But as technology evolves and smartphones get smarter, the price tags on these devices continue to skyrocket.

Before you part with your hard-earned cash in order to upgrade your phone, make sure you follow these money-saving tips.

Out with the old: The easiest way to save coins on your new phone purchase is to trade in your old phone. In recent years, most wireless carriers and retailers have improved and expanded their trade-in programs to make the process smoother for customers. Best Buy, for example, offers a gift credit in exchange for most used devices, including smartphones, tablets, and even video game hardware. Once you’ve traded in your old device, you can use the gift credit toward your new phone.

Sell the old: Another option is to sell your device directly to another person, who may pay more for your phone than a trade-in program would. There are a number of sites to help facilitate your sale, including eBay and Swappa. That being said, make sure you prepare for the peskier buyers who ask endless questions or waffle on sending your payment.

In with the old: The best way to save money, though, might not be the most desirable: Skip the upgrade altogether. If your phone is still working but is just a little slow, there are ways to help speed things up, like replacing your device’s battery or clearing out storage. You might not have the flashiest device this way, but the savings can make up for it.

Contact Us

For more information on common pitfalls to avoid as a first-time homebuyer or to get started on your mortgage application, please contact the expert Altanta Mortgage Lender team at Milend, Inc. at 855-645-3631.



Your Ultimate Winter Home Preparation Guide
A Financial Blueprint for a Successful Mortgage Application
Guide to Owner Financing for Home Buyers
Atlanta Mortgage Lender - Market Update

Atlanta Area Fall Market Update

Atlanta Area Fall Market Update 974 487 Jason Breeland

The fall season is officially here, which means it’s time to indulge in delicious food, relax outside in the cooler weather, witness the leaves changing colors, and explore all the local pumpkin patches. This time of year is magical for some people, which can really get consumers in the home buying spirit. Who wouldn’t want to spend this time of year in a brand new home, celebrating the holidays with the ones they love?

Buying a home now means you could also benefit from low-interest rates from your Atlanta mortgage lender. So, to help you get started in the home buying process, your local lenders with Milend, Inc. have listed the most current market update for the Atlanta and Alpharetta area.


Atlanta Market Update

According to realtor.com, the median listing price for the Atlanta region has been increasing annually over the past three years. In October 2015, the median listing price was $269,900 and increased 11.2% the following year to $300,000. By October 2017, the median listing price was $339,900 and the current median listing price is $350,000, which is approximately a 3% increase from the previous year and a 29.7% increase since October 2015.

With the median listing prices continuously on the rise, you may want to consider locking in an interest rate with your Atlanta mortgage lender now before they get even more expensive in the near future.


Alpharetta Market Update

Median listing home prices are a little more expensive in Alpharetta than in Atlanta, however, the increasing trend in listing price is consistent amongst both cities. In October 2015, the median listing price was $425,000 and increased 11.8% the following year to $475,000. By October 2017, the median listing price for Alpharetta was $495,000 and one year later the median price increased only slightly to $497,400.


Contact Us

For more details on the market update for the Atlanta and Alpharetta region or to get started on your Atlanta mortgage application today, please contact the Milend, Inc. team at 855-645-3631.

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