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Celebrated on the 17th of March, St. Patrick’s Day has been known as a day of Leprechauns, pots of gold, and everyone wearing green to show recognition for the Irish culture. There are parties and parades, but where did all the traditions come from? And what’s with those shamrocks anyway? The following is a brief history of the holiday and how it came to be the fun-filled day of festivities we know today.

Saint Patrick, who is credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland, was born in Roman Britain, and has been honored as Ireland’s patron saint for well over a thousand years. The anniversary of his death (believed to have been on March 17, 461) became an important and recognized religious holiday in the ninth or tenth century and was celebrated through prayer, church services, and feasts. The festivities we are familiar with today didn’t come about until 1762 and didn’t even originate in Ireland!

The very first St. Patrick’s Day parade took place in the New York City when the Irish soldiers serving in the English military decided to march so that they might reconnect with their Irish roots. They gathered together and played their traditional music, enjoying the company of their community, and rejoicing in their nation despite being so far from home. The tradition continued to grow as Irish immigrants used it to boost pride in their culture and became a sign of strength for disenfranchised Irish Americans. Slowly, as the Irish-American community began to grow and take shape, the parade turned into a highly attended event and celebration. Today, the New York City St. Patrick’s Day parade boasts nearly 150,000 participants and an even larger audience.

Shamrocks are related to the historical aspect of the holiday. One of the most well-known legends about St. Patrick talks about how he explained the Holy Trinity of the Catholic religion using the three leaves of the popular Irish clover. Wearing green, however, is not related to St. Patrick, his life, or any of the original traditions. In fact, the color did not become associated with the holiday until the late 18th century when supporters of Irish independence wore the color to represent their cause.

Though the holiday may have started as a devoted religious celebration of patron saint of Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day has become a fun holiday celebrated by people of all backgrounds. Though North America has been known to have the largest productions for the holiday, there are celebrations in many other parts of the world far from Ireland including Australia, Japan, Singapore, and Russia. To some it’s a religious day, to others a day of fun and of luck, but for all of us, it’s a day to celebrate Ireland and the culture that makes it great.

Have fun, be safe, and maybe impress your friends with some St. Patrick’s Day trivia this March 17th.


Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Buy a Home in 2017

Buying a home is one of the biggest decision you’ll make, but it can also be one of the best investments. Here are our top 5 reasons why you should stop paying rent in 2017 and instead, make the decision to purchase a home.

Mortgages Are More Affordable. Between today’s still low interest rates, and an abundance of mortgage products that offer a variety of low to no down payment options, it is much easier for first time homebuyers to find affordable housing options.


Less Strain On Your Application. Credit requirements have eased significantly, allowing for lower credit scores to be accepted. Plus, Homestead Funding offers a variety of products that allow for more people to find a mortgage that will fit with their particular financial situation.


Enjoyable Tax Breaks. Thankfully, a homeowner’s mortgage interest, and many other home-related expenses, are deductible from income tax. Thus, owning a home can actually help decrease tax burdens. Consult with a tax advisor about your specific situation.


It Helps Young Families Build Wealth. Instead of throwing away your hard earned money every month towards rent, put it towards a mortgage instead. Avoid worrying about rental cost rising because the money that goes into each mortgage payment will begin to build equity and contribute to a primary source of a homebuyer’s net worth. In some cases, buying a home is less expensive than renting.


Freedom in Owning a Home. Owning a home means being free to decorate and change it to better match your personal taste. There are now options to paint, change the flooring, hang photos, or even take down whole walls without having to worry about putting everything back when it’s time to move out. The house belongs to the homeowner, not a landlord who gets to call the shots.


If you have any questions about home loan rates or loan products, please don't hesitate to contact one of our Loan Originators.


As mortgage rates and house prices continue to rise in the coming year, the supply of homes on the market is expected to stay low. Despite all this negative sounding news, there is a great solution for homebuyers to obtain the dream home they have always wanted. Beat out the heavy competition that exists within the housing market with a Renovation loan!

In a competitive market with low home inventory, your best chance to purchase a home without getting stuck spending a fortune in a bidding war may be to purchase a property in need of updates or renovations. A house with good bones but an unattractive face, or a “fixer-upper” as they’ve come to be known, may be listed below market price and potentially end up with fewer offers and views as it sits on the market. These houses, with a well thought out plan, can usually be spruced up through a handful of renovation and remodeling projects. Renovation loans allow for the purchase of a house below your budget and renovate it up to what is affordable.  

Renovation loans such as the FHA 203k or the Fannie Mae HomeStyle loan were created so that homebuyers could purchase a home they felt had potential, and could make their own. Using these loans, homebuyers can borrow money for a house and its desired renovations all at once without the need for a second loan.

FHA 203K Renovation mortgages allow buyers to borrow the funds for both the purchase and renovation of a home, based on the projected value of the finished product, and may be used for almost any renovation project except luxury items.  A HomeStyle Renovation Mortgage allows for the purchase and financing of up to 50% of your property’s post renovation value, and can be used for luxury additions such as swimming pools as well as room remodels and any other permanent renovation that will add value to the home.

Fixer-uppers and home remodels are currently all the rage, and, considering the housing market projections, are expected to rise in the coming year. There are always ways for buyers to get their dream home, it just requires a little imagination and the ability to see past the imperfections of the current home. Thinking outside of the box will help today's buyers navigate the competition in the current market and renovation loans offer buyers a solution to still get their dream home.

Contact one of our Loan Originators for details on how to finance and renovate your dream home today!


You Gotta Have Heart

Jan 27
Category | Informational

February is American Heart Month, and a perfect reminder to make small changes that can have a big impact in your heart health.

Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States, so it makes sense to know a little bit about what makes your heart tick. While some risk factors like your age, gender, race and heredity cannot be controlled, others are very much in your own hands. The American Heart Association (AHA) has a number of strategies that can help you take control of these factors:

Eat with color. Healthy eating habits are at the top of the list. And if you follow AHA's food color guidelines, as well as seasonal eating habits, you will be on your way to managing cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar level and a healthy weight. Eat more vegetables, fruits, whole-grains and high-fiber foods, fish, lean protein, and fat-free or low-fat dairy products. All of these nutrient-rich foods are packed with vitamins and minerals, but are lower in calories.

Don't weigh yourself down with expensive diet plans. Losing excess body fat is essential to heart health, and the AHA's free diet and exercise program can help you get started on the right track.

Get physical by working your way up to 30 minutes of activity per day, at least five days per week. The AHA has numerous ways to help you make moderate physical activity a valued part of your life.

Check your stress at the door, and learn to control one of the most important factors related to heart health. The AHA has an entire section of their website dedicated to helping you manage stress levels.

Commit to quit if you still smoke. Yes, it's easier said than done but there's a lot riding on this risk factor. No matter how tough it is to quit smoking, it's a lot harder to recover from a heart attack. The AHA has detailed help here too, with resources and ideas for making this one resolution that sticks.

Know the signs of a heart attack. Familiarity with the warning signs can save a life:

  • Chest discomfort. Any pain in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few moments, even if it stops and then comes back, can be a sign that something is wrong and you should seek help.
  • Upper body discomfort. Pay attention to pain or discomfort in your arms, back, neck, jaw or even your stomach.
  • Shortness of breath. Even if you don't have discomfort, shortness of breath is an important warning sign, and one that you should never ignore.
  • Lightheadedness, nausea or cold sweats are other signs to be aware of.

When it comes to heart disease, every minute matters. Commit to heart-healthy choices and watch out for warning signs.

For more information, please visit the American Heart Association’s website:

Source: American Heart Association



The Rise of 2017

Jan 27
Category | Informational

The Rise of 2017

As the books closed on 2016, many economic indicators were on the rise. Some signal good news for those in the market to buy a home.

Housing Starts Surge

For regions struggling with limited housing inventory, Housing Starts may provide some hope. December Housing Starts surged 11.3 percent from November, the Commerce Department reported. The welcome news follows a disappointing pullback in November and a nine-year high in October. For all of 2016, average monthly Housing Starts were the best since 2007. Building Permits, which signal future construction, fell just short of expectations in December.

On another positive note, Existing Home Sales ended 2016 as the best year in a decade.

Limited housing inventory continued to push home prices up in 2016. CoreLogic, a provider of consumer, financial and property information, reported that home prices, including distressed sales, rose 7.1 percent from November 2015 to November 2016. The recent rise in home loan rates and the expectation of higher rates in 2017 could slow home price gains this year, CoreLogic reported.

Inflation Ticks Up

Consumer inflation was up 2.1 percent from December 2015 to December 2016, as reported in the Consumer Price Index. This 12-month increase marks the fastest pace of inflationary growth since the period ending June 2014.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported wholesale inflation also ticked up in December. The Producer Price Index climbed 1.6 percent from December 2015 to December 2016, which was the largest 12-month gain since 2014.

Rising inflation is worrisome for homebuyers because it reduces the value of fixed investments like Mortgage Bonds and hurts the home loan rates tied to them.

Home Loan Rates Still Attractive

Home loan rates were able to improve slightly in the first part of January, following the post-election volatility in Stock and Bond markets at the end of 2016. However, positive economic news, rising inflation and transitions under the new Trump administration may provide some headwinds for Mortgage Bonds and home loan rates in 2017. For now, home loan rates remain historically attractive.

If you have any questions about home loan rates or loan products, please don't hesitate to contact one of our Loan Originators.

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