When selecting the right house for you and your family takes up so much of your energy and focus, it can be easy to neglect the research you should do to shop for the right mortgage. Here are some tips to help you determine which mortgage is right for you. 

Ask Yourself Important Questions 
Your first step in shopping for a mortgage should be to determine what your needs and desires are. Start by asking yourself relevant questions like, “How long do I plan on living in this home?” and “How much am I willing to spend for a down payment or a monthly payment?” Having the answer to these questions will help your Loan Originator provide you with the best options for your situation. 

Get an Idea of What You Can Afford 
Check your credit score to get an idea of your current situation. Lenders will be very interested in your credit score as it can be a larger factor in what mortgage products you qualify for and what your interest rate will be. Consult a mortgage calculator that allows you to plug in your own information and get an idea of what your ideal mortgage payments might look like. 

Decide on the Length of the Mortgage Loan 
While many people opt for the 30-year mortgage, there are shorter term options like 10 and 15-year loans, too. Typically, a short-term loan will require a higher monthly payment and a lower interest rate than a long-term loan. Consider your financial situation to determine which option works best for you. 

Learn About Interest Rate Options 
The interest rate is the price you pay to borrow money. Since mortgage rates change with the market all the time, there are two ways you can choose to have the interest work in your loan. Either lock your interest rate so it stays the same throughout the life of the loan and get a fixed-rate mortgage, or let it change as the market changes and get an adjustable-rate mortgage. Both fixed and adjustable rate mortgage have pros and cons.  It is good to understand how they work, and your Loan Originator can assist you when it comes time to making a decision about what is right for you. 

You will want to consider what your goals are with the mortgage and the house you are getting. If you plan on being in the home and paying on the mortgage for a longer term – say, 5 years or more – then you may want a fixed-rate. However, if you see yourself moving, refinancing, or paying off your mortgage very quickly, you might want to go for an adjustable-rate mortgage which can have a lower rate in the beginning. 

Types of Mortgage Loans 
Conventional loans are great for first-time or repeat buyers.  They are ideal if you have a strong credit history with a good credit score, and money to put down.Typical down payments vary from 3% to 20% depending on first-time home buyer status and allows gifts. 

FHA Loan 
FHA loans are ideal for first-time or repeat buyers. If you are looking for lower down payment options, an FHA loan could be a good choice for you. FHA programs allow as little as 3.5% down payments. These types of loans don’t have first-time homebuyer restrictions, allow for co-signers and gifts, and have liberal qualifying ratios. 

VA Loan 
This program is for qualifying military veterans and active servicemen and women, it offers no down payment, no monthly mortgage insurance, and liberal qualifying requirements. Gift funds may be used for down payment, closing costs, and prepaid expenses. 

USDA Loan 
Anyone looking to finance a home in eligible rural areas and benefit from no down payment options might be interested in a USDA loan. This is a great option for anyone financing in eligible rural areas who is looking for no down payment options and liberal qualifying requirements.  

Jumbo Loan 
Jumbo loans are ideal for those who are looking to finance a home for more than what a typical conforming loan allows. You can think of a jumbo loan as being similar to a conventional loan except that it exceeds loan limits. These are good for someone looking to purchase a higher value property, including second homes and vacation homes. Jumbo loans typically require a 20% down payment. 

When comparing lenders, you will find that Homestead focuses on each of our borrowers' unique needs. You will receive the best service and we will help you achieve your individual home financing goals. Contact us today to speak to find out find out how we can make getting a mortgage simple. 


As a small business owner or someone who is self-employed, you may find yourself in unchartered territory with the current pandemic that’s affecting so many small businesses. Luckily, as of March 27th, the CARES Act – or Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic was signed into law to provide relief and economic aid to individuals and businesses facing financial struggles and instability. 

You’ve probably got a lot on your plate and don’t have a lot of time to decipher these loan programs and figure out how they can help you, so we’ve compiled everything you need to know right here so you can figure out which program is right for you.  

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) 
The Paycheck Protection Program is a federally guaranteed loan program that helps businesses and nonprofits cover up to 8 weeks of payroll and some other expenses up to $100,000/year per employee. Businesses can apply for 2.5 times their average monthly payroll costs up to $10 million. This number is based off the payroll costs for the previous year. 

What Can I Use the Funds For? 

  • Payroll 

  • Rent 

  • Utilities 

  • Interest on mortgage payments 

As long as a business doesn’t lay off any employees or it rehires by June 30, 2020, these loans can be forgiven. Note that loan forgiveness may be decreased if a reduction in the number of employees or a reduction of greater than 25% in wages paid to employees occurs. Loans may not be forgiven if funds are used for other expenses not as outlined above. Whatever amount may not be forgiven will convert to a fixed two-year repayment. 

How do I Know if I'm Eligible? 
You are eligible to apply for the PPP if you are one of the following: 

  • A small business or nonprofit with less than 500 employees 

  • Self-employed 

  • A sole proprietor  

  • An independent contractor 

  • A gig worker 

How Do I Apply? 
Applications are just beginning to be accepted. Loans can be applied for by calling your current bank or lender. Here is an example of what you might be able to expect from the application.

Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) 
The EIDL offers both grants and loans, including a $10,000 emergency grant that doesn’t have to be repaid that both business and nonprofits can apply for. This grant will most likely be the fastest way to obtain funds as the SBA states funds will be received within three days of approval. The EIDL also offers low-interest loans that will have to be repaid. Businesses can apply for these loans of up to $2 million in order to cover operating expenses while they experience a lack of revenue. When it comes to repaying the EIDL, the terms are 3.75% for business and 2.75% for nonprofits for up to a 30-year term. 

What Can I Use the Funds For? 
Unlike the PPP which specifically requires funds to be spent on specific expenses in order to be forgiven, there is more flexibility around what the EIDL funds can be used for. These include expenses such as rent and mortgage, salaries, employee paid leave, and operational expenses. A business cannot, however, use both the PPP and the EIDL for the same purpose. 

How Do I Know if I’m Eligible? 
The same eligibility for the PPP applies to the EIDL. The applicant also needs to have been in operation on January 31, 2020 and been negatively economically impacted due to COVID-19. 

How Do I Apply? 
The application for the EIDL is now live and can be found here. While the application is for the loan, there is a spot for you to indicate you also want the $10,000 emergency grant. 

How Do I Know Which Program is Right for Me? 
First, assess the eligibility requirements described above to determine which program you are eligible for. Bear in mind that the PPP can be entirely forgiven as long as the requirements are met, while the EIDL must be paid back in its entirety except for the $10,000 emergency grant. 

You may apply for both programs but remember not to use the funds for the same purpose. 

Important Note: Homestead does not grant or finance any of these loans and we have no control over qualification guidelines.  This information is merely provided as a guide, as we may feel this could help many of our borrowers and referral partners at this critical time.  This information and the details and/or loan availability may change at any time.  Please visit to find a lender and for up to date information. 


Since the CDC recommends social distancing and self-quarantining to slow the spread of COVID-19, children find themselves at home and no longer physically around the friends and teachers they’re used to having around all the time. Here’s how to keep your kid stimulated, challenged, and having fun while quarantined. 

1. Virtually Tour Museums and National Parks 
Just because you’re staying inside doesn’t mean you can’t explore the exciting and interesting places the world has to offer. From museums to national parks, virtual tours are a great way to experience these places without leaving your home. The National Museum of Natural History is offering virtual tours of their current and past exhibits which you can find here. Many national parks are also offering online tours. Find Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park’s tour here

2. Reading and Family Story Time 
Reading is always a great pastime, but now is an even better time for kids to crack open some books. For younger kids, read to them and talk about the pictures by encouraging your child to describe what they notice about the illustrations. Ask them what they think characters are feeling and have them predict what will happen next. 

3. Turn a Walk into an Adventure 
Take a walk in your neighborhood and bring with you a check list of different objects you want your child to point out. Name and talk about the things that catch the kid’s attention. Describe the object and what the child thinks about the object. 

4. Video Chat with Friends 
A good way to help your child continue social interaction while quarantined is to have them video chat with their friends. Even simply coloring together while video chatting is great for helping children feel closer. 

5. Online Yoga Classes for the Family 
It’s important to stay active all the time but especially now that we’re spending more time at home. YouTube has lots of free kids’ yoga classes to choose from to keep your kid busy, active, and having fun. 

Take this time as an opportunity to try new activities and encourage creativity with your kids. Whatever you decide to do with your family as you’re all home, remember to have fun and cherish this time spent together. 


Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, many small businesses are faced with the challenge of staying afloat while people self-quarantine. Here are some ways you can support the businesses you care about while staying healthy. 

Buy Gift Cards 

Purchasing a gift card from your favorite small businesses is a great way to help get them through this time. Plus, you can use it later or give it to someone as a gift! 

Get Takeout or Delivery 
Many restaurants are still open for takeout, delivery or curbside pick-up. Consider helping them out and enjoying some of your favorite foods by ordering one of these options. 

Give Larger Tips 
Now is the time to be generous, if you can. Giving a larger tip to that delivery person will go a long way in helping them out. 

Take Online Classes 

Many small businesses are offering alternatives to their in-person services. From gyms starting up online fitness classes to music instructors giving vocal and instrument lessons online. There are plenty of options for you to continue your routine from home while supporting the businesses you care about. 

Say No to the Refund 
If a concert or other event you were planning on going to has been cancelled, consider refusing the refund and offering it as a donation instead. This will help performers and venues get by as their events get cancelled. 

Shop Local Businesses Online 
Online shopping is a great option, and more small businesses are embracing it, now that physical shopping is no longer possible. Check to see if your favorite local businesses are now offering online shopping and, if so, go ahead and order something. 

Write Reviews 
Your favorite small businesses could benefit from some good reviews. I’m sure you’ve visited a restaurant in the past, had a great experience, and forgot to write a review about it. Take the time now to go online to their Facebook pages, websites, and even review sites like Yelp, and leave that positive review!  

Give Social Media Support 
Along with leaving reviews, try heading over to a business’s social media profile and leave comments, like, and share their content. Giving them this engagement will help their social media profiles grow. Try sharing their posts with people you know who might like what they do. 

Now is a great time for all of us to come together to support each other. Small acts such as liking a local business’s post or even just reaching out and saying thank you for what they do can make a difference. Try out some of these ideas and see what a huge impact they can have on others. 


9 Fun Activities to Do From Home

Mar 24
Category | General

Many of us find ourselves confined to our homes due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus. While this situation is challenging, there are lots of things we can do to occupy out time from the comfort of our homes. Take this time to accomplish things you usually don’t have time for. Here are some ideas for things you can do while you’re at home. 

1. Stay in Contact with Family and Friends 

Social distancing doesn’t mean you can’t find other ways to interact with loved ones. There’s always video chatting or even good old phone calls. Reach out to people you haven’t spoken with in a long time as well.  

2. Write Them Letters, Too! 
With all this time at home you suddenly have, it’s a great chance to practice the sacred art of handwritten letters. A thoughtful card would brighten your friends’ and family’s day while they’re stuck at home. 

3. Meditate 
Now is finally your chance to do all the self-care you’ve been saying you’ve been wanting to do but haven’t had time for. Meditation helps reduce stress and anxiety, increase self-awareness, and promote emotional health. Look up some videos, podcasts, or apps to help you get started. 

4. Read the Books You’ve Been Meaning to Read  

Do you have a pile of books somewhere, waiting to be read? Well, now’s the time to finally crack those open. Dedicate some time to curl up with books you’ve been wanting to read. 

5. Start a Journal 
Set aside a specific time each day to write a journal entry. Jotting down a few thoughts can help reduce stress and organize your thoughts. Journaling is also known to help inspire creativity which is something you’ll need to make the most of this time. 

6. Clean Out Your Inbox 
Is your email inbox overflowing with old emails? What better time to devote to cleaning that out than now when you’re stuck at home? Devote a half an hour to deleting emails that are just causing inbox clutter. You’ll feel so much better once it’s done. 

7. Use Coloring Books 

 Coloring books aren’t just for kids. It’s a great tool for relieving stress and anxiety for everyone. Plus, if you have little ones at home with you, this is a great activity you can all do together. 

8. Learn a New Skill 
There are plenty of new skills you can learn without having to buy any supplies. From learning a new language or improving your handwriting to becoming a better dancer, learning to code, or teaching your cat tricks, the internet is ripe with helpful content for learning something new.

9. Enjoy Music 
Speaking of playing an instrument, this is a good opportunity to enjoy some music. If there’s a new album that came out that you haven’t had the chance to listen to yet or there’s that one artist you love that never gets old, turn on some music and relax. 

No matter what you do, try to develop a routine. Routine and structure will help keep you from going completely stir-crazy. Keep in touch with loved ones and keep washing those hands. For more information on how to stay safe during this crisis, visit 

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