Pre-qualification, Pre-approval, and What You Need to Know

Both pre-qualifications and pre-approvals are indications of what a bank or creditor may be willing to lend but are not loan guarantees. The most important aspect is that they show the seller you are serious about buying while giving you an idea of what you may be able to borrow. Both processes will vary depending on the lender that you select. Before you request a pre-qualification or pre-approval, be sure to ask your lender about how the process will flow, potential associated costs, whether your credit report will be pulled and if documentation will be required. Ask for a list up front so you can know exactly what you’ll need to provide.

Pre-qualification

What: A letter from a lender that says you will likely be able to get a mortgage loan up to a specified amount

Who: A bank, credit union, or financial entity writes a pre-qualification for you. Which means they are looking at your debts and income to decide your credit worthiness.

When: Usually this is the first thing a homebuyer does when looking for a home

Cost: Free (usually)

Where: Online or over the phone (depending on entity)

Why: Potential homebuyers use this to see how much of a home they may be able to afford, or in some cases if they can afford a home. This appeals to sellers because it shows them as a buyer you are serious and can get the loan you need to purchase the home.

What you’ll typically need to provide: Usually potential lenders will look into your debts and income. Lenders usually pull a credit report to evaluate before they write the pre-qualification.

Pre-approval

What: A letter that tells you what a lender is willing to lend you based on financial documentation you provide. Looks at financial history, income, and stability.

Who: A bank, credit union, or financial entity works on a pre-approval for you. Which means they are looking at your bank statements, proof of income, credit, employment, and personal documentation.

When: Usually done right after a green light on a pre-qualification, the next step, some lenders may skip pre-qualification and go straight to pre-approval.

Cost: Varies (but usually a cost is involved for application)

Where: Online or over the phone (depending on entity)

Why: It’s more sound than a pre-qualification because approvals are based on proof of financial status and often evaluated by an underwriter. Can usually provide info about mortgage types and possible interest rates.

What you’ll typically need to provide:

  • W-2 from last 2 years (proof of income)
  • Bank statements (assets)
  • Credit score
  • Pay stubs (proof of employment)
  • Driver’s license
  • Social Security # (personal documentation)

Learn More About the Mortgage Process

Gravel Driveway Repair and Preventative Care

Gravel driveways are a great, budget friendly option. Like everything else, they’ll need some maintenance and upkeep. There are plenty of things you can do to both avoid and fix problems as they arise. I’ll be looking at some of the options.

Drainage is the most important component of a gravel driveway. If your driveway has major drainage issues – you may need to do some back tracking. It could be that your driveway wasn’t put together correctly. More than likely though, the repair and upkeep addressed in this post will help you fix most issues.

Preventative –

  • Making a crownmost expert sites recommend this strategy to keep drainage moving downward. All you have to do is rake gravel to a peak in the center of your driveway. It doesn’t need to be super high, just enough to encourage the water to flow down the middle instead of down the sides.
  • Trenches and edging – These are great ideas that will give water a safe place to go. You can try digging shallow trenches on both sides of your driveway. You may also try doing a little rain garden or any type of edging that will keep your gravel in place and move the water to the end of your driveway.
  • Drains – Some people also put drains on either side of their driveway, these are more involved, but may be a perfect solution for you. Some people will install them on the sides as edging with metal or plastic grids overtop the thin drains. The most common drains are culvert pipes or French drains which are both dug underground (usually) to redistribute water.

Problem areas – 

  • Potholes – These can be tricky. Essentially, they are an issue of trapped water. A great do it yourself site, suggests a helpful process.
    • First, they recommend digging the hole out wide and deep enough, so the edges are solid. This way the gravel hole will hold for the filler.
    • Once it’s clear, you can fill with thinner/ crushed gravel.
    • Next, tamp/push down the gravel with a steel or wooden tool.
    • To finish, fill the remaining area with regular gravel to the top off the hole, plus some extra to blend it out.
    • Lastly, smooth out the gravel so everything blends well.
  • Clogged culverts– Sometimes debris and rocks can clog your pipes which prevent its whole process. There are plenty of tools you can purchase for this, or you can rig your own system. This home site recommends using something to push the debris while also spraying water down the pipe. 

Start Your Gravel Driveway Today!

I hope this helps get you started in planning how to maintain and take care of your gravel driveway. Ask a professional for help if you find a big issue or just want help making sure you do things well. May your driveway stay in good shape with this information!

single section mobile home

How to View a Mobile Home Found on VMFHomes.com

If you’re interested in viewing one of our homes, you may be curious about what the process is – so I’ve written this to help you become more aware of how it works.

You’ll need viewing info and the address before you head out to view the home.

For most land and home packages, you can get viewing info by calling in or chatting with a representative on our website or on our Facebook page. Once you arrive at the home, you’ll see a lock box on the door. You’ll put in the code given to you by the representative. Once you’ve got the numbers aligned you can slide the door on the lock box open and the key will be inside. Then you can open the door to view the home with the key (the lock box doesn’t come off the door).

Once you’ve viewed the home, please return the key to the lock box and slide the door back as well as jumble the numbers.

Some homes are not attached to land or are not sold together. For some home only sales, they may be on private property. They could also be in a park. You will usually view these in a similar fashion to the above.

However, some homes may have already been moved from the land and will be at a local home center. In this situation, you’ll need to check the hours of the lot and potentially call to ensure they are open. More than likely, you’ll just need the ID number and can open the lock box at the home and access it that way. Sometimes you’ll need to ask someone at the home center for a key or to access the home instead. I hope that this has helped you understand how to view one of our homes.

Interested in something you’ve seen on vmfhomes.com? Contact us for viewing info!

Learn How To Make an Offer!

How to Make an Offer with Vmfhomes.com

There are three main ways you can make an offer to purchase a Vanderbilt preowned home: on the phone, through the form on our website, and through certain messaging platforms.

It can feel intimidating if you don’t know about the process. Some offer processes are quite formal and may require paperwork. However, our process is not, it is relaxed and laid back. It’s a verbal commitment so you don’t have to feel pressure about your offer. We will work with you throughout the entire process.

Before making an offer, we highly recommend that you have visited the home in person. There are many things you can’t get a feel for until you see the home in person – such as the area around the home, the condition of the home, etc. If you’re wanting to make an offer, but haven’t yet visited the home, feel free to give us a call to schedule a viewing.

Making an offer by phone

All you have to do is call up one of our sales representatives with your offer. You will then work with them until you find a price you can agree on (or in some cases you may not). Sometimes there can be a little back and forth, but your sales representative will work hard to try and get back to you quickly each time. Call us at 855 – 215 – 5564!

Making an offer on our website

For homes that are eligible for online offers, making an offer on our website is easy. The following are required:

  1. Offer amount;
  2. Full name;
  3. Phone #; and
  4. Email address

You will also have the option to provide additional information if you so choose, which may allow us to better serve you. Your offer will then go to one of our sales representatives to review. Keep in mind that some of our homes listings are cash only transactions, depending on the property.

Find all the tools you need on our website!

Making an offer through messaging platforms

Making an offer through online chat (on vmfhomes.com), VMF Homes Facebook, or email (facebook@vmf.com) follows a similar process. You can send us a message with your offer, and a sales representative will review it.

Your sales representative will communicate the next steps with you if they want to accept or talk to you about your offer, and they will help you through the rest of the process.

I hope this has helped you better understand how to buy a Vanderbilt preowned home. Please feel free to call one our representatives to get more info or to ask any questions.


Why You Should View Our Homes!

Replacing the Tub Faucet in Your Mobile Home

Whether you’re looking for a simple update to your bathtub, a better functioning faucet, or just want something different – changing your faucet can improve your bathroom experience. Mobile homes tend to have easier access to the hardware. However, it’s still a bit of a project so make sure you’re well equipped for this project or ask a friend with knowledge on the subject to help.

List of materials:

  • Tarp or towel
  • A helper
  • Wrench
  • Replacement faucet
  • Rubber gasket

First, you’ll need to find an access panel for your bathtub faucet which will usually be located behind it. Most times the panel will be inside a closet. The panel can most often be opened with screws or it may be spring loaded.

If there’s not a panel, then more than likely you’ll have to cut an access point yourself. We recommend a professional in this situation (unless you have a good understanding of mobile homes and how pipes are placed). Also, consider contacting your manufacturer and/or manual to ensure you know the layout and how to cut without hitting anything.

Before you begin to work on removing the faucet, lay a towel or tarp down inside the tub to prevent damage.You may also want to have a second person to hold a flashlight and your tools as you work.

Once you’ve removed the panel and you can see the pipes and everything for the shower – you should see the shut off valve for the water. Make sure that you turn the water off before starting to remove the faucet unit. Turn the knobs and release the excess water before removal.

Then you’ll need to use the wrench to loosen the nuts attached to the water supply lines that connect to the faucet stem(s). Next, you’ll loosen the lock nut that attaches the faucet to the tub. This should free the faucet. Be sure to check for the cone washer (usually a rubber yellow or black washer that has a slight curve to it) and be sure it doesn’t get stuck as you move the faucet – if it does just put it back into place so it can continue to prevent leaks. You may need to tap the wall some for the faucet to come free.

Make sure that you’ve got a replacement part that will fit your mobile home tub. There are plenty of mobile home part stores that specialize in kits or all the necessary pieces you’ll need to replace. You could also find them at most large home improvement stores. You’ll need a rubber gasket between the tub and faucet. Once you’re ready, place the new unit in correctly and make sure that it’s a good fit and the faucet is level.

Lastly, you can tighten the nuts and lock nut onto the new stems by hand and then use the wrench to finish. Then you can attach the water lines back for the corresponding hot and cold side and to the shower. Next, turn on the water and check for leaks in the connection. If you don’t see any issues, then you’re ready to put the panel back into place and enjoy your new faucet.

Show Your Bathroom Some Love!

This is just an overview. Be sure that you get more info and get comfortable with the steps involved before beginning the project. We also recommend that you contact a professional if you feel unsure about doing it yourself.


References:

https://www.thespruce.com/mobile-home-tub-faucet-2718631

https://www.hunker.com/12001444/how-to-replace-shower-faucets-in-a-mobile-home

Understanding What Makes Up Your Credit Score

Part of accurately building your credit is by understanding it. That begins with a breakdown of the factors that play into your score. The assumption by many is that credit is based solely on our ability to pay back money. While that is an aspect – it’s important to look at the collective.

Let’s elaborate on the 5 components of credit. Below we’ve got some examples to further help explain what each section means. These are made up examples and do not pertain to actual people or advice.

    1. Payment History: How well you’ve done with paying back your charges – based off consistency of repayment. Example: Debbie pays a little over her minimum payment before the due date. 
    2. Amounts Owed: How much you owe compaired your credit limit. Example: Debbie’s credit limit is $500 and she has a balance on her credit card of about $50 at a time. This is 10 percent of her limit, so her ratio of credit to amount owed is pretty low.
    3. History Length: How long you’ve had your credit. Example: Debbie has a credit card that she’s had for about 10 years. It shows over time how she’s used the card and done with making payments.
    4. New Credit: Based off opening new lines of credit. Example: Debbie opened a credit card, got a car loan, and opened a store credit card all in within two months. This could cause her score to drop.
    5. Credit Mix: Diversity and amount of credit lines. Example: Debbie has 5 lines of credit now: a department store credit card, a car loan, a secured credit card, a credit card through a bank, and a major credit card.

Check out This Credit Infographic

Source: https://www.equifax.com/personal/education/credit/score/how-is-credit-score-calculated

5 Attitudes to Help Keep Your Financial Info Safe in the Digital Age

Today’s society is a digital one. It’s hard to escape – even when you want to. We trust the internet with a large amount of information about us, especially our finances. It makes sense – who doesn’t love online shopping? Performing financial transactions online is quicker, environmentally-friendly, and less to keep up with versus handling in person or via paper, which is not always convenient. You can’t pay with a check if you buy something online, after all. However, with the internet being the storehouse for all our bank transactions and financial processes, we have to be careful with how we interact online and what we share.

So, how can we use the internet and keep our finances safe? Let’s look at 5 attitudes that will help you deal safely on the internet:

Be a skeptic – If you sign up for a card, account, or loan ask how your info will be used and who will have to ability to see it. Read paperwork or online terms that you sign or agree to and ask questions about what confuses you. If someone on the phone, through email, or text asks for personal info – do not provide it without reason. If you did not contact them first, ask to see them in person or to see paperwork before sharing personal information. No one dealing legally with finances will demand personal information or ask for it immediately.

Be knowledgeable– Don’t be the one who doesn’t catch fraud because you never check your accounts. Log in at least weekly and be sure you can account for charges and that proper deposits have been made. Alert your financial institution immediately if you lose a payment card or fear illegal activity.

Be selective – When shopping online, don’t just buy something from a site you’ve never heard of or researched. Read reviews and research brands or companies online. If you don’t find any information, or you find bad information – don’t purchase from them. Never have your payment card information stored in a store’s website – even if you trust it.

Be thorough – Change your passwords regularly, and make them complex. Update security questions regularly as well.  Try to use multi-factor authentication to log into your accounts and applications where it is available – this means that you will have to take an additional step to gain access after entering your login credentials. Set up alerts on  your accounts and devices to notify you of sign-in activity that happens in uncommon locations versus your usual location. These steps may feel annoying, but they can discourage hackers.

Be unpredictable– Be aware of the patterns in your log in or spending activity and try to change it up from time to time where you can. Log out of email, social media sites, and other sites and applications after browsing sessions. Don’t post or list where you bank or live.

Adopt just one of these attitudes and you’re on your way to being safer online. Read more below!

Keep Your Info Safe!

Painting Vinyl on Gypsum Walls in Your Mobile Home

Some mobile homes will have vinyl walls. Typically, they will be vinyl on/over gypsum (VOG) or paper on/over vinyl (POG). It’s important to understand what you’re working with – especially if you’ve never painted this type of wall before. Adding a new paint job is a great, affordable facelift. I’ll show you some of the steps to help you do a great, lasting paint job!

Sources, like this one, stress the importance of proper technique when painting vinyl on gypsum walls. These walls are (as you are probably aware) –  a waxy, smooth texture because they are made to resist water. Read more on the home maintenance site about VOG walls and why they are such a practical choice for mobile homes.

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Find your perfect color scheme!

It’s important to note that before starting any new home project, you should always consult with a professional.

  1. Clean. You’ll need a safe, gentle cleaner and a rag or sponge to wipe down the entire wall area where you are wanting to paint. You may need to give it a few passes with the cleaner. You can let it air dry or go back through with a dry cloth. Either way, you want to make sure you give ample drying time.
  2. Quality. When it comes to selecting primer, paint, and application gear you’re going to want to pick the best you can. Many sites that give a tutorial for this project, recommend selecting the highest quality you can. This is because VOG walls may not hold your paint as well as other walls – so getting something that’s high quality ensures a better outcome. You MUST get primer for these types of walls. Keep that in mind when pricing things out before you shop. There is a 2 in 1 option, but ask the paint professionals what best fits you. Don’t forget to get good quality brushes and rollers as well.
  3. Prep.
  • Fill in holes in the walls
  • Tape off the area so you don’t get paint on the ceiling or trim.
  • Lay down old sheets or tarps to protect your flooring.

4. Battens – to keep or not to keep. Many VOG walls have battens that hold the vinyl       panels together where they join. These can be removed for painting and then filled           and smoothed over. It gives a fancy final look but adds a lot of extra time and work           unless you are used to this process. You can also simply paint over the battens. They           are visible still, but it will look nice, too.

5. Start with light coats. When applying both primer and paint use thin, light coats.          More than likely, you’ll need 2 or 3 coats to cover the wall, so over applying is                      something to be sure to avoid. This makes for easy application and quick drying!

For a little different order on the process and some more tips, check out this home site’s recommendations. You may find their approach more fitting for you. I hope this helps you get acquainted with the process and gives you confidence to keep researching and start your own painting project. For a little inspiration, check out the quiz below. This can help you find your perfect color pallet!

How to Clean Vinyl Siding

Vinyl is the exterior material used for most mobile homes. However, its popularity isn’t limited to mobile homes – many manufactured homes and site built homes utilize this versatile material. Even though it’s relatively easy to maintain, vinyl gets dirty pretty quickly.

Below are some practical ways to clean your vinyl siding. Most options are cheap and use household items/ cleaners.

First things first – before you begin utilizing these cleaning solutions and methods, be sure you test one small area of the siding before taking on the whole project. There are many different types of siding and you want to be sure your siding reacts well.

vinyl siding on mobile home

The Basics—

In a resource section of their website, The Vinyl Siding Institute – America Sides With VinylSM, recommends using a soft cloth or regular long-handled brush with soft bristles to clean vinyl.  It is suggested that you should clean from the bottom up and cover any brick on the home below the siding to prevent possible staining from runoff.

For mold and mildew, The Vinyl Siding Institute recommends a water/ vinegar mixture that is 70/30. For small areas,  Windex ® or a similar commercial cleaner can be used.

The following can be used for Stubborn Stains—

1/3 cup powered laundry detergent

2/3 cup powdered household cleaner

1 quart liquid laundry bleach*

1 Gallon of water

**Please exercise CAUTION when making any cleaning solution and be sure to NEVER mix bleach and ammonia.**

If you’ve got a garden or great landscaping around your home, you want to be sure to preserve the area while cleaning.

For a mixture that is Landscaping friendly—

Some websites suggest using a gallon of water mixed with a much smaller amount of an eco-friendly cleaner like oxygen bleach.

If these solutions aren’t for you – there is always pressure washing. It’s a little pricier to rent the equipment, but paired with one of the cleaning solutions above it will make for a powerful clean!

Pressure washing—

Most expert sites agree, that when pressure washing, it is best practice to pair with a cleaning solution. Be sure to tend to landscaping accordingly. Also, when washing keep the sprayer eye level for best results. This keeps water from getting behind the siding.

We hope this has been helpful!

Watch for Cleaning How To!