From Renter to Owner – Are You Ready to Make the Move?
By Kellie Streeper, Mortgage Lender, NMLS #1690311 | June 14, 2018
Most people have rented an apartment or a home when first starting out or when moving into a new area. But given the choice, once they get settled most people would prefer to own their own home. Homeownership is usually a good investment and can have some favorable tax advantages. Here are some things to consider as you take steps to make your dream of owning your own place a reality.
Budget – Create a written budget. This exercise will help identify where you are spending your money and help you determine how much you may be able to save toward a down payment on a new home.
Credit Score - your credit score is a very important part of the home buying process. Basically it shows a lender how much debt you currently have and how likely you are to repay a mortgage. Request your free credit report by going to annualcreditreport.com . Read it carefully, make a note of any false information and take the necessary steps to have that misinformation corrected. Also, check to make sure that your rent payments are being reported correctly. Don’t be discouraged if your report is not perfect or if your score is low. By obtaining your report and reviewing it thoroughly, you will be able to take steps to correct past mistakes and get yourself prepared to buy a home.
Down Payment – In addition to saving for a down payment you may qualify for down payment assistance. Lenders understand that stable neighborhoods strengthen the entire community, so some may offer special programs to help people more easily afford the down payment required to purchase a home. Check with your local bank about any down payment assistance for first time home buyers or for purchases on homes located in certain census tracts.
A little preparation work ahead of time will really pay off in the end. Follow these steps and you’ll be shopping for that new place sooner than you might think!
Looking to discuss your housing situation? We would love the opportunity to serve you! Since 1906, we pride ourselves in building communities one relationship at a time and want to create the biggest impact because St. Louis is our home. Your success is our goal. We believe in the power of Rising Together .
How Merchant Services Can Boost Your Business
By Jennifer Kulich, Midwest BankCentre | May 14, 2018
It’s a question almost every business owner eventually encounters: Do I need merchant services? Decades ago, you probably would have been advised to consider the specifics of your industry, your target market, your company’s size and other factors. But these days, in almost every case, the answer is a resounding yes .
Here are six great reasons why you should start accepting credit cards immediately – no matter your business type or whether your company is small, large or somewhere in between:
- It legitimizes your business
Credit card acceptance has become so widespread that consumers may actually feel skepticism toward companies that are not yet equipped with this capability.
- It can boost sales
Being able to accept credit card payments enables sales among consumers who only carry plastic – and also prevents those would-be customers from turning to your credit-card-accepting competitors instead.
- It encourages impulse buying
Some consumers tend to spend more (and make more impulse purchases) when shopping with credit cards than when shopping with cash, simply because they aren’t actually seeing any money leave their hands.
- It is crucial for online business
If you sell products or services online, being able to accept credit card payments is far from optional. It’s downright essential.
- It’s convenient for consumers
Nobody likes to fumble with cash at the checkout counter. By making it easier for people to pay, you may be able to increase your chances of obtaining repeat customers.
- It reduces risks
Don’t fall prey to accepting bad checks. Credit card payments are more reliable – and may even help improve your cash flow!
Looking to discuss your Merchant Services options further? We would love the opportunity to serve you! Since 1906, we pride ourselves in building communities one relationship at a time and want to create the biggest impact because St. Louis is our home . Your success is our goal . We believe in the power of Rising Together .
Getting Your Financial House in Order!
By Charles Hall II, Midwest BankCentre | April 16, 2018
When we think about spring cleaning, most often we think about physically cleaning our living space, throwing away things we don’t need and organizing various areas of the home. Why not adapt that same tradition to our finances? The thought alone may be overwhelming for many but like any other task we take on, setting goals is always a good place to start. Don’t try to accomplish a financial overhaul all at once. Choose a manageable task and stick to that one job. You can always return to do more next week, next month or even next year. Below are a few of the many manageable financial spring cleaning tasks to get you started:
- Scan, upload and backup
Pull out those boxes of important papers and first decide what goes and what stays. Before tossing documents, check with banks and financial services companies, including your 401(k) provider, to learn how long they retain electronic copies of your records. After scanning your documents, upload them to a separate hard drive and/or a reliable cloud storage service. If you want to avoid this becoming a yearly task, simply GO PAPERLESS and download your various statements on a monthly basis.
- Assess your bank accounts
It’s important that your banking relationships are beneficial to you. If you have too many accounts, close the ones that you have not used within the past year and if needed, switch to an account that adds a little interest or offers some sort of cash back. Banking options continue to evolve with accounts now being offered online only (a great option for a savings account that isn’t easily accessible to you), bank’s offer debit card alerts that send you real-time alerts as a text message or email and even accounts designed to help repair your credit. While maintaining a healthy banking relationship is important, don’t be afraid to see what other banks are offering. This is also a great time to either update or add beneficiary designations to your accounts as well.
- Negotiate with your service providers
Nothing excites me more than a deal and service providers are great at offering initial deals to get you on board but fail at offering deals on an ongoing basis. However, the last thing they want to do is lose a customer so why not ask how you can save money or if they can match the price of a competitor. The savings won’t always be substantial but every little bit of savings helps. For Example, when it comes to cable, an alternative option is to use free or less expensive services such as free network apps, or Hulu and Netflix.
Implementing financial spring cleaning tasks like these can help take the stress out of managing your finances and in some cases save you money or even make money for you. No matter what your current financial state is, consistent financial wellness is an attainable goal.
Looking to discuss your financial future further? We would love the opportunity to serve you! Since 1906, we pride ourselves in building communities one relationship at a time and want to create the biggest impact because St. Louis is our home . Your success is our goal . We believe in the power of Rising Together .