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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Want to buy a home in the near future? Create your 1-year plan

You might think, "I don't want to buy a home until next year so let's worry about it when the time comes." However, this could be quite detrimental to your home buying experience if you find out a year from now that loan guidelines have changed and now you cannot qualify for program you wanted.  This is why we recommend planning ahead and creating a time line for when you want to buy a home to ensure it's an easy and hassle free process.

Generally speaking, one year is a good time frame to set for yourself when it comes to purchasing a home.  That way you have a good amount of time to save money and manage your finances and also build your credit score as much as possible so you can qualify for a lower interest rate and fees.  Below we have highlighted the main areas you should be researching and focusing on if you plan to buy a home within the next year:

What can you afford?

To start creating your home buying plan you will need to talk to a lender that can help you figure out why type of home loan is best for your needs and how much you can borrow for your mortgage and afford to pay back.

Every financial situation is different.  Just because two people make the same amount of money does not mean they will qualify for the same amount of house because there are lots of other factors that come into play when lenders decide how much to let you borrow.

Right away your lender should be able to tell you how much house you can afford.  Once you know your max purchase price is $400,000, you can then get an idea depending on the loan program your loan officer recommends of how much money you will be required to save and put down on the home.  If you need a 100% financing loan program, this is a good time to let your lender know.

Preparing your finances: how much house can you afford?

What city, town, and neighborhood do you want to live in?

This is sometimes the hardest part of the home buying process; choosing a home to live in.  By getting a head start you'll quickly be able to determine if you'd rather live in a big city, or maybe a rural are, and whether you want the convenience of a close grocery store, school, or your employer.  This is a good time to start putting together a list of must-have home qualities.

Don't get your heart set on just one area though because homes are on the market one day and sold the next so it's a possibility that you won't get the exact location that you want.  However, with careful planning and timing you should be able find a home in an ideal location within a year.

Find a top-notch Realtor

The next step in the home buying process is to find an Agent to help you throughout the process.  You might want to talk to a few different agents to see who is going to best fit your needs.  If you're working with someone who is pushy or bad about getting back to you, move on and find another agent.

Find out more about RANLife Real Estate Agents.

Look for your dream home

This is generally the longest part of the home buying process because let's be honest, we all want our dream home and to be 100% satisfied with it! Though your agent will help you in looking for homes, get a head start by searching online. 

Once you've found a home let your agent know right away that you want to make an offer.  Unless the home is bank-owned, generally the seller should get back to you within 48 to 72 hours with a response.  Once the offer is accepted and you are under contract it's time to call your lender and get the deal done!

Continue reading about the home buying process here:
I'm under contract....Now what? Steps to ensure a successful loan closing. 



Wednesday, April 16, 2014

RANLife Home Loans Celebrates 10 Years of Better Business Bureau Accreditation

RANLife Home Loans, a nationwide mortgage lender is celebrating their 10th year as a Better Business Bureau accredited business. Since 2003, RANLife has maintained an A+ standing and they look forward to continuing their accreditation for future years to come.

The BBB accepts businesses that meet accreditation standards and has determined that RANLife meets these requirements. These requirements are built on the BBB Standards for Trust, which summarizes important elements of creating and maintaining trust in business. All companies are monitored and must continue to demonstrate their commitment to retaining and creating trust.
“This is an honor for our company to be celebrating 10 years of BBB accreditation,” said Jaymie Tarshis, the Marketing Director for RANLife. “Over the last decade our team of professionals has been fully dedicated to building trust and respect with all of our clientele and it’s rewarding to see our efforts making a difference.”
RANLife Home Loans is a Utah based company offering mortgage and financial services throughout the United States. RANLife has also partnered up with RANLife Real Estate in order to create a full service brokerage for their clients, otherwise known as a “One Stop Shop.”
Unlike other private mortgage lenders, RANLife offers a wide variety of loan programs to fit every home buyer’s goals and needs. Users can go on their website where they can easily compare mortgage options to find the best and most affordable home loan. RANLife offers lending through FHA, VA, USDA and Conventional Loans as well as all types of refinances including streamlines, cash-out, and rate and term.
RANLife also provides one of the fastest loan turn times in the nation. Many of their clients choose RANLife over other lenders because of their ability to close loans three times faster than the competition. On top of fast and superior service they also offer low rates and closing costs.
RANLife wants to recognize their past and current clients that have put their trust and loyalty into the company over the years. “If it weren’t for our amazing clientele RANLife wouldn’t be where we are today,” commented Tarshis. RANLife looks forward to continue working with the BBB to provide the best possible experience to every client buying or refinancing their home.
About RANLife Home Loans
You're one step closer to home with your loan from RANLife. The road to finding your dream home can be a long one but with RANLife Home Loans, you can get there faster. NMLS# 3151
Follow RANLife Home Loans on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ranlifehomeloans.
And stay up to date on the Home Lending Life blog at http://blog.ranlife.com.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Tax Day Freebies & Deals 2014

Look for giveaways and special offers today from several restaurant and retail chains nationwide.


It's officially April 15th, otherwise known as Tax Day, so hopefully you can find relief from the stress of getting your return in on time by taking advantage of a bunch of freebies and special deals that businesses will be offering on or around the filing deadline.

Many businesses offer Tax Day deals and promotions so make sure to listen to your local radio and news stations.  As of this year, these are the deals we know about:

Arby's. The fast-food chain is offering a free value size order of curly fries again this year. You'll need a coupon that you can download from arbys.com a few days prior to April 15.

BLT Restaurants/ESquared Hospitality. All cocktails, beer, wines by the glass and bottles of wine will be 50 percent off all day April 15. Most of thischain's 15 locations start their name with BLT.

Boston Market. The fast-casual restaurant chain is offering two individual meals, each including a half rotisserie chicken with a choice of two home style sides and freshly baked cornbread, for $10.40 (as in IRS Form 1040). No coupon required. Take your accountant out to lunch?

Bruegger's Bagels. The bagel chain is reprising its "1040" special: 13 bagels and two tubs of cream cheese for $10.40 -- about a $3.50 deduction. You have to download and print a coupon from Bruegger's Facebook page or sign up for its email club by April 10. The deal is available April 12-15.

California Tortilla. Mention the secret password, "taxes shmaxes," when you place your order on Tax Day at the fast-casual Mexican chain and you'll be rewarded with free queso and chips. A purchase is required. The cheese-intolerant can substitute salsa for queso.

Great American Cookies. Get a free chocolate chip cookie from participating Great American Cookies locations; no purchase or proof of filing (or even of an extension) required. First come, first serve.

Hard Rock Cafe. Musically talented (or low on inhibition)? You can take the stage at Hard Rock Cafes across America and earn a free dinner entree by completing a whole song in front of the entire restaurant. The song is up to you -- how about The Beatles' "Tax Man"?

HydroMassage. HydroMassage is offering a free massage "experience" on its user-controlled massage beds. You have to download this coupon and call ahead for availability; calling ahead isn't required if you use a bed at a Planet Fitness location but there might be a wait. The freebie is good April 14-18.

Kona Ice. On April 16, Kona Ice will hand out free cups of shaved-ice from its trucks and other locations. "No taxation without relaxation" is the tagline.

Office Depot. Office Depot is letting customers shred up to 5 pounds of tax records (or anything else) for free through April 29. You'll need this coupon.

Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt. Customers can fill their cup with froyo and toppings for only $4.15 (as in April 15) via a coupon that will be posted on Orange Leaf's Facebook page. The chain says that amounts to approximately 50 percent off the regular price, depending on how much froyo and toppings a customer typically chooses.

Schlotzsky's. If you buy a 32-ounce fountain drink and a bag of chips, the deli-sandwich chain will give you a small "The Original" sandwich for free. No coupon required. This sandwich consists of ham, two kinds of salami, three types of cheese and an assortment of fixings.

Sonic Drive-In. The chain's drinks and slushes will be half price all day on Tax Day. No limit, and no coupon required.

Sonny's BBQ. Once you've given the government its pound of flesh, head on over to Sonny's BBQ to get half off on a plate of Sweet & Smokey or House Dry-Rubbed Ribs. It's the Irresistible Ribs Special (IRS, get it?). No coupon is required, and the chain estimates this tax break is worth about $6.25 to you.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Home Sellers: 5 popular colors to consider this spring

Have you been debating updating your home with a fresh coat of paint? Do you plan to sell your this year or sometime in the near future?

If so, you might want to consider popular trends in housing painting before you get dump money into a new look and feel that might not work.  After all, the average homeowner spends about $2,000 on paint when deciding to remodel.  That's why below we have highlighted some of the top trending colors in interior paint right now to help you make the best decision for your home:


  • Neutrals and Earth Tones - Greens, browns, beige; these are all colors that homeowners are infusing into their homes lately.  Similarly earthy tones are incorporated with eco-friendly alternatives such as LED lighting, double-paned windows and "green" flooring such as bamboo or vinyl.  Neutral and earthy tones are also quite a bit easier to match and decorate your home with.  
  • Grey: Grey is such a hot color right now, particularly because it's also neutral but can be paired with bright colors easily.  Because grey is such a versatile color you won't have to repaint over it before you sell your home or decide to redecorate.  
  • Pastels: With spring in the air its obvious that pastels are in right now.  Pastels are great for bedroom walls, nurseries, or dining areas.  You can match pastels with like colors or choose bright decor to go with it as well.  
  • Pantone Radiant Orchid: Pantone's radiant orchid shade was announced as the color of the year in 2014.  Many homeowners may choose to decorate their homes in this shade because it works well in my rooms of the house and can be paired with any neutral color.  Keep in mind, this is the hot color of 2014 but 2015 could be something completely different.  
  • Blue: The use of different shades of blue is very in right now.  The color blue is comforting to the human eye and often brings about thoughts of the ocean, the sky, and other recognizable symbols.  Often times it's used in living areas or bedrooms in a light robin egg's shade or a darker navy shade.  Lucky, blue matches with many colors such as green, brown, or purple when it comes to decorations.

Choosing paint colors is definitely the hardest part so once you have that accomplished, give yourself a high five.  From here, the next step is to buy the paint and start prepping the walls.  If you're not familiar with painting procedures, there are plenty of Youtube videos and other articles that explain the best approaches to painting your walls.

If you have to, consider hiring a housing painting company that is knowledgeable about various paints and colors and can help you make the right decision for your home.  Painting your home should be a fun and exciting project but just make sure to decide what colors you want to use and whether you want to do it yourself (DIY) or hire someone to help.




Friday, April 11, 2014

Fact Friday: Multiple Sclerosis

RANLife is gearing up for the annual Salt Lake City MS Walk on April 26th so we thought we would share some facts about Multiple Sclerosis (MS) to spread awareness and hopefully encourage others to participate in a MS Walk near you.


Facts About MS


  • MS is not contagious. 

  • The course of the disease is unpredictable and no two people will experience the same set of symptoms. 
  • There are four types of MS: relapsing-remitting, secondary-progressive, primary progressive, and progressive relapsing.  
  • MS is a progressive disease for which there is not a cure.  
  • Ms not does not significantly affect life span.
  • In countries further from the equator, the incidence of MS increases.  
  • Sclerosis is a Greek word meaning hardening of tissue or scars.  
  • MS is not inherited or genetically transmitted, although there does seem to be some genetic susceptibility to the disease.   

For anyone in the Salt Lake area on April 26th we invite you to walk on the RANLife team for the 2014 MS Walk!

Location: View with Google Maps
Address: 90 South 400 West, Salt Lake City, UT
Site Opens: 8 am - 12 pm
8:00 a.m.           Check-in Begins at the Union Pacific Depot Grand Hall
8:00-9:40 a.m.    Breakfast Snacks & Festivities at the Olympic Legacy Plaza including
                          -    Kids Zone
                          -    Connections Lounge
                          -    Team photos and Team t-shirt display
                          -    Team Village
                          -   Sponsor Tables
9:40 a.m.           Program Begins
10:00 a.m.         Walk MS Starts


You can donate online or sign up on our team by following this link: http://main.nationalmssociety.org/goto/ranlifeconnection

To find out more information on MS please visit here. 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Funding still available for USDA home loans in Rural Areas

How does a home loan with no down payment, no private mortgage insurance, and low interest rates sound? Almost too good to be true, right? Well if that's something that interests you than the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Guaranteed Loan Program just might be the right program for you. 

CLICK HERE TO COMPARE TODAY'S INTEREST RATES

USDA Rural Development’s mission is to increase economic opportunity and improve the quality of life in Rural America. The agency’s loan program supports this mission by offering direct and guaranteed home loans to help borrowers buy or build safe, decent and affordable homes. Home ownership is an economic foundation for communities and owning a home is an essential part of the American dream. The impact of housing development also provides a stimulus for manufacturing, trade industries and related professional services, benefiting the larger economy.

Rural Housing through the USDA program provides a number of homeownership opportunities to rural Americans, as well as programs for home renovation and repair. This is an excellent product that also offers 100% financing opportunities for those who qualify. Rural Housing loans are now easier to qualify and are a financially secure option for home financing regardless of your situation.


There are several advantages to using USDA’s Home Loan Program:
USDA 100% Financing
Low Monthly Mortgage Insurance(MI)
Low Mortgage Interest Rates
Low Closing Costs
Easy Credit Qualifying
Never a Pre-payment Penalty 


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT USDA LOANS

The guaranteed loan pogrom is administered in partnership with private lenders, such as RANLife Home Loans. To find out more information about USDA Loan or to apply online directly please click here or visit our website at www.ranlife.com

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

National Financial Literacy Month

I'm sure you've heard of monthly as well as daily observances that bring awareness to certain topics or causes, one of the most popular being October for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  Well, April also brings awareness and it's known as National Financial Literacy Month.  Basically, it's an entire month dedicated to promoting financial education across the country.

You'd be surprised how many Americans are unaware of their personal finances.  In 2012, it was said that 40% of adults admitted they had no clue about personal finance and would actually give themselves a C, D, or F on the topic, according to the Consumer Financial Literacy Survey.  Now with facts like that do you see why National Financial Literacy Month is so important?With that said, we are going to walk through the basics of your finances and what you can do this month to be more "aware."


  • Know where your finances stand
There are at least two numbers that anyone employed should know - your gross monthly income and your monthly debts.  In other words, how much money you have left at the end of the month after paying off bills.

  • Check your credit report

Experts suggest you regularly check and monitor your credit report.  The more you know about your finances the easier it will be for you to spot any mistakes or errors.  If you see any incorrect information, make sure to dispute it right away.  You are allowed one free credit report a year through annualcreditreport.com


  • Inquire about expert help
Throughout the month there will be a variety of free financial events to take advantage of it you choose to do so.  They will vary by location and time so make sure to look up events in your specific area.  This is a great opportunity to consult with an adviser to ensure you are on track to meet your financial goals, plus, they can provide further insight to the financial knowledge you already have.

  • Create a financial plan
Controlling your finances is a lot easier said than done and that's why we recommend creating a plan.  What is it that you want to save up for? Maybe it's a vacation or a new car or a new home.  Whatever it is, set aside a certain amount of each paycheck that you can save towards your goal.  Sometimes it's easier to save by the day, week, or month so decide what is going to be the most viable option for you.  Even if it's just $50 a week or $100 out of each paycheck, that's $200 a month and over $1,200 in a year that you will have saved!  

Monday, April 7, 2014

How long do I need to keep my financial documents?

2 years? 6 years? 10 years? Wondering how long you need to keep those towering piles of paper records? Here are tips on what you should shred and how to decide what to keep.



Chances are if you are like most people you hoard and pile away countless stacks of papers and records but don't really know what to do with them.  However, with tax season ending just around the corner, right now is a great time to get serious about reducing your financial clutter.  Here are some tips below to help you decide how long to keep your financial documents:

Important Documents to Keep

*7 years is the magic number and is typically how long the IRS has to audit your tax return.  For example, this year's 2014 return you will want to keep until April 2022.  

  • Documents that pertain to an asset you own outside a retirement fund -- confirmations showing the purchase price of a stock, for example, or improvements on a house -- should be kept for as long as you own the asset, plus seven years.
  • W-2 forms should be kept until you start drawing Social Security.
  • Three tax forms relating to retirement accounts should be kept until those accounts are drained. Those include Form 8606, which helps you calculate your tax basis for future retirement-plan withdrawals; Form 5498, which shows individual retirement account and Roth IRA contributions; and Form 1099-R, which shows IRA withdrawals.
  • For all loans, including mortgages, you can ditch monthly or quarterly statements once you get the year-end summaries, and you can destroy the year-end summaries when you've paid off the loans. However, you should keep indefinitely the final notice showing a loan has been paid off in case a disorganized lender or unscrupulous collector pretends the debt hasn't been paid and tries to dun you.
  • For insurance purposes, keep receipts and appraisals for big purchases as long as you own the items.
  • Certain documents -- including birth, marriage and death certificates, divorce papers and military discharge papers -- should be kept for life.
What to Backup 

Even if you insist on clinging to paper, you should consider scanning and storing copies of essential documents off-site in case your home is destroyed. You can back up important files to CDs, thumb drives or external hard drives and leave them in a safe-deposit box or with an out-of-state relative, or use online services such as Google Drive to store your date for free online.

Either Toss It or Shred It

  • TM and bank deposit receipts. Toss them after you reconcile them with your bank statements.
  • Credit card receipts. Once a purchase shows up on your credit card statement, you can ditch the slip -- unless you need it for tax purposes, in which case you can scan it and keep it with that year's tax records.
  • Pay stubs. Shred them once you get your year-end summary.
  • Receipts for minor purchases. After three months, the chances of you returning the item are slim. I have three folders labeled "this month," "last month" and "two months ago." New receipts are dropped into the "this month" folder. Each month I transfer the receipts to the next folder and dump the ones in the "two months ago" file. (I got this receipt-organizing tip from organizer Debbie Stanley's terrific book, "Organize Your Personal Finances in No Time.")
  • Utility bills. If you aren't writing off a home office -- and thus a portion of your utilities -- there's not much reason to hang on to last month's bill, let alone anything before that.
  • Phone and Internet bills. If you deduct a portion of these as a business expense, scan and keep them with that year's tax records. Otherwise, ditch them.
  • Old insurance claims. If the claim was paid, you can shred it after a year. If you wrote off medical costs or a casualty loss on your taxes, however, keep the information with that year's tax records.
  • Social Security statements. When you get a new one, ditch the old one.
  • Workplace retirement-plan statements. Keep the year-end statements for your 401k or 403b and trash the rest.
  • Traditional pension information. If you're lucky enough to have a traditional, defined-benefit pension, hang on to any correspondence you get about it. Employers do go out of business, and the information you receive could help you track down a much-needed benefit when you retire.
  • The dumb stuff. You know what I mean. Expired warranties. Owners manuals for appliances you no longer own. Repair receipts for the car you sold three years ago. Policies from the insurer you've since replaced.



Wednesday, April 2, 2014

RANLife Real Estate Discusses the Benefits of Home Staging When Trying To Sell a Home Fast

This article was originally published on PRWeb.

Many home owners fail to consult a Realtor or Home Stager before beginning the home selling process. RANLife Real Estate discusses the pros to planning ahead.

One of the biggest trends in real estate over the past few years has been Home Staging or Real Estate Staging, according to Bethany Poole, one of RANLife Real Estate’s expert home stagers.
Bethany began in Real Estate in 2005 and immediately saw the need for home staging. After over nine years now in the Real Estate industry, Bethany stages homes for her own listings as well as for other realtor’s listings.
“Your home is going to sell quicker and for more money when you stage it,” according to Bethany. Some homes require more or less amounts of work than others but this is also why she recommends planning an appointment with a Home Stager at least a few weeks ahead of time when beginning the process of selling your home.
Clients can stage their own homes but Bethany recommends hiring a professional. Not only does a professional have industry experience but a third party can provide an objective point of view. “With the help of a home stager I’ve seen clients get full price offers on their homes on the very first day it’s listed,” said Bethany.
The three main steps involved with staging a home are to clear the clutter, de-personalize, and make the home feel livable for someone else. “I encourage my clients to go visit model homes to get an idea of how a home should be presented for sale,” said Bethany.
Not every agent is familiar with home staging so make sure to do research beforehand. Bethany has done two extra certificate programs for home staging and also has a background in interior design to support her background in home staging.
“Home staging is so important because you could be leaving money on the table if you don’t stage your home correctly,” according to Bethany. Without home staging it’s much more difficult for the buyer to envision themselves living in your home, therefore you could be losing not only a potential buyer but potential profit as well.
About RANLife Real Estate
RANLife Real Estate knows that every transaction represents the most important purchase or sale a person can make. Whether buying or selling your home, RANLife Real Estate is here to advise you throughout the entire process. As a local expert, you can trust RANLife Real Estate to help you secure the home of your dreams.
Follow them on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ranliferealestate.
Follow their Blog and RSS Feed: http://blog.ranlife.com.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

5 numbers that every house hunter should know

As I'm sure you've come to discover, buying a home isn't a short and simple process.  It requires some research and the knowledge of a loan expert to fully understand all the mortgage mumbo jumbo and terminology that will be thrown at you.  

With that, there are a lot of figures you are required to know when purchasing a home like your down payment amount, closing costs, Debt-to-Income ratios (DTI), etc.  Basically, a lot of percentages and numbers that you don't know.  That's why we've put together a list of 5 important numbers and figures that every house hunter should know:


3% to 5%


This is how much you should plan for closing costs on the loan.  This includes any 3rd party fees, points, interest, taxes and insurance, etc.  A lot of the time the closing costs can be arranged and paid for by either the builder or seller of the home.  This is something you'll want to discuss with your Real Estate agent ahead of time before making an offer.  Typically loan closing costs amount from 3 to 5% of the loan amount so you'll want to plan for at least 3%.  Depending on the loan program you use, closing costs can also be lower than the 3%. 


3.5 % 


This is the lowest amount you'll be required to pay as a down payment on a home unless you use a 100% financing program such as a USDA or VA loan.  FHA Loans only require 3.5% of the loan amount down and Conventional loans start at 5% down.  Currently, FHA loans stand as the most affordable housing program for buyers.  


43%


This is a newer statistic under the new "Qualified Loan" mortgage rules.  The 43% rule states that the borrower's debt, including mortgage payments, can't total more than 43% of gross monthly income.  If you don't know your gross monthly income, you might want to start there first.  


5 to 7 years


Statistically, this is how long at least you should plan to live in your new home to make it worth the cost. Based upon the national rates of home appreciation and prices, home buyers purchasing a primary residence should only consider buying if they plan to live in the home for at least 5 years minimum.  If you plan to rent out your home or are buying solely for investment purposes, this rule need not apply.  


80%


Most home buyers put down the minimum down payment on a home, meaning that your payment will include Upfront or Monthly Mortgage Insurance (MI).  On most loan programs, once the loan amount drops below 80% you are eligible to refinance have your MI removed.  This could save a few hundred dollars on your monthly mortgage payment.  Currently, FHA is the only loan program that does not allow MI to be dropped after the loan hits the 80% mark.   














Monday, March 31, 2014

Join RANLife In Walk MS 2014!

Saturday April 26th at 10:00 a.m. take the opportunity to become a part of the Salt Lake City MS WALK with RANLife’s team.


Connect. Walk MS.

Walk MS connects people living with MS and those who care about them. It is an experience unlike any other - a day to come together, to celebrate the progress we've made and to show the power of our connections.
When you participate in Walk MS, the funds you raise give hope to the more than 6,000 people living with MS in our community. The dollars raised support life-changing programs and cutting-edge research. Every connection counts.
Register now, connect with others and start fundraising today.

Get Involved.

This is our 2nd year as a company we have been a part of the Multiple Sclerosis Walk  to raise money and awareness on this worthy cause.  So join our team and be a part of something great!
There are no registration fees and donations can be for any amount and you will collect your own. You control your own level of involvement.  You can donate and walk, just donate, or just support. RANLIfe will support with a RANLife table at the event and also with a cash donation.

Below is a link to both donate and register for the walk. The link will take you to the RANLife’s page and you’ll just need to click the orange markers on the right that read- Donate to the Walk-OR- Join Our Team, under the pic of last year’s awesome team.  
This is an inspiring, generous and FUN event!!! And you can bring your dog!

Event Details.


Location: View with Google Maps
Address: 90 South 400 West, Salt Lake City, UT
Site Opens: 8 am - 12 pm
8:00 a.m.           Check-in Begins at the Union Pacific Depot Grand Hall
8:00-9:40 a.m.    Breakfast Snacks & Festivities at the Olympic Legacy Plaza including
                          -    Kids Zone
                          -    Connections Lounge
                          -    Team photos and Team t-shirt display
                          -    Team Village
                          -   Sponsor Tables
9:40 a.m.           Program Begins
10:00 a.m.         Walk MS Starts
Route Length: Approximately 3 miles with a 1-mile route option.

More information can be found by visiting here:

Friday, March 28, 2014

How to get rid of mortgage insurance

This article is courtesy of FoxBusiness.com 
Home buyers unable to make a 20% down payment when buying their dream home can expect to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI) each month, but that doesn’t mean it has to live as long as the mortgage.
“The PMI is kind of a fact of life,” says Guy Cecala, publisher of Inside Mortgage Finance. “I wouldn’t struggle to try and avoid it…just make sure to monitor it.”
The premium is included in the mortgage bill and is calculated based on the size of the down payment, the type and size of the loan and the borrower’s credit score.
Before the 2007 housing crash, lenient lending practices made it easier to avoid PMI, but subsequent regulation has led to stricter standards that make the insurance harder to avoid.
Lenders are much more risk averse and want the insurance to protect themselves in the event the borrower can’t pay back the loan. There are some programs for first-time borrowers that reduce the down payment requirement, but those are the exceptions. Even with a Federal Housing Authority (FHA) loan, borrowers without a 20% down payment are required to pay insurance each month. With a FHA loan, the insurance requirement doesn’t go away once there is 20% equity in the home.
Home prices jumped double digits last year, and the average price is now hovering around $200,000, putting a 20% payment at $40,000.
For those that can’t afford to put 20% down and don’t want to pay PMI, Malcolm Hollensteiner, director of retail lending at TD Bank, suggests looking into a piggyback loan. With these loans, the borrower puts down 10%, takes out two loans with the first loan being at or below 80% of the value. The second loan covers the remaining 10%. 
“Typically with the second mortgage there are two options: either a fixed or a variable rate loan, or a home equity line of credit for the second mortgage,” he says.
In the second scenario, borrowers may initially get an interest rate on the second loan that is lower than the first, but if rates increase, this move might not make financial sense.
“In some cases, the payment on the piggy back option might be lower, but in other cases, one mortgage and the PMI might be cheaper, so it’s important for buyers to discuss options with their lender to see what makes the most sense for them,” he says.
According to Cecala, there are housing agencies in some states that provide mortgages without PMI so it’s important to shop around. “Some of the programs have income limits but they are fairly generous income limits. It’s worth checking on, particularly for first-time home buyers who don’t have a lot for the down payment.”
Making a one-time upfront purchase of mortgage insurance on a conventional loan or one not backed by the government, can avoid monthly PMI payments, says Tony Auffant, director of sales at Academy Mortgage Corp.
“The upfront mortgage insurance is a lump sum that can be either paid at closing, paid by the seller or even financed into the home loan,” says Auffant. In the perfect situation, she says, the buyer would get the seller to take care of that lump sum, effectively removing any PMI the home buyer ever has to pay.
For homeowners already in a mortgage with a PMI, the easiest way to get it off the payments is to increase the equity in the home and/or see the property increase in value.  According to mortgage experts, lenders are required by law to terminate the mortgage insurance when the loan balance is scheduled to reach 78% of the original value. The borrower also has to make at least 24 consecutive on-time monthly payments in a row, says Hollensteiner. 
Keep in mind that the home has to be reappraised on homeowners’ dime if they are citing a rise in the property value for getting rid of the PMI.  If the property value hasn’t gone up and the homeowner makes a big payment that brings the equity up, that’s also grounds for a lender to waive the PMI.
No matter their method of getting rid of PMI, Cecala stresses homeowners have to be their own advocate when it comes to PMI.
“Mortgage insurers are required to monitor the amount of equity and are supposed to eliminate it. But it’s one of those things you need to check on.”
Read the original article by clicking here.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Purple Day 2014

To honor Purple Day 2014, Epilepsy Awareness, we asked our employees at RANLife to wear purple into the office.  We are amazed by all the support that was shown today!


There are approximately 50 million people   around the world living with epilepsy.

It’s estimated that 1 in 100 people have epilepsy

Epilepsy is NOT contagious. Epilepsy is NOT a disease. Epilepsy is NOT a psychological disorder.

There are approximately 2.2 million Americans living with epilepsy.

There is currently no “cure” for epilepsy. However, for 10-15% of people with epilepsy, the surgical removal of the seizure focus – the part of brain where the person’s seizures start – can eliminate all seizure activity. For more than half of people with epilepsy, medication will control their seizures. Additionally, some children will outgrow their epilepsy and some adults may have a spontaneous remission.

Not everyone can identify specific events or circumstances that affect seizures, but some are able to recognize definite seizure triggers. Some common triggers include:

  • Forgetting to take prescribed seizure medication
  • Lack of sleep
  • Missing meals
  • Stress, excitement, emotional upset
  • Menstrual cycle / hormonal changes
  • Illness or fever
  • Low seizure medication levels
  • Medications other than prescribed seizure medication
  • Flickering lights of computers, television, videos, etc., and sometimes even bright sunlight
  • Street drugs

  • Famous People with Epilepsy

    Throughout history, many famous people are known or are suspected of having had epilepsy. These include:
    Julius Caesar
    Alexander the Great
    Agatha Christie
    Socrates
    Joan of Arc
    Harriet Tubman 
    Napoleon Bonaparte
    Vincent Van Gogh
    Charles Dickens
    Richard Burton
    Alfred Nobel
    Thomas Edison
    And more recently:
    Actor Margaux Hemingway (1955-1996)
    Actor Danny Glover
    Singer-songwriter Neil Young
    Adam Horovitz of the music group Beastie Boys
    Mike Skinner from band The Streets
    American Olympian Florence Griffith-Joyner, aka Flo Jo (1959-1998)
    American Football guard Alan Faneca (New York Jets)
    American Football cornerback Samari Rolle (Baltimore Ravens)
    2006 U.S. Olympic Women’s Hockey Team goalie Chanda Gunn
    For a longer list of famous people affected by epilepsy, visitWikipedia.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Late payments and how they affect your credit

This article is part of series of articles in honor of National Credit Awareness Month.


You may think that late payments aren't a huge deal until you start getting collection notices, however, a history of late payments can be much more detrimental to your credit score than you think.  Whether you have a bill that's 30 days late or 24 months late, it can cause a lot of negative factors on not only your credit score but your report too.  When it comes to late payments and your credit, there are a few things that consumers should be aware of: 

Late Payments are Factored Into Your Credit Score

As I'm sure you've probably heard, your credit score isn't just a random number.  It's calculated between various key factors on your credit report, late payments being one of them.  According to Statistic Brain, your payment history carries 35% of the weight of your credit score.  Therefore, a positive payment history will help boost your score and the longer you maintain a good record, the better your score will be.  

Quick Damage Isn't a Quick Fix

It only takes one missed payment to hurt your credit score, but it will take a lot more than one on time payment to repair it.  Since there are no overnight fixes for late payments, you should be more conscious about making them on time.  Quite a few credit repair companies out there might offer to fix it for you in a short amount of time with a fee, however most of these claims are a waste of your money and time.  The best thing that you can do on your own is to continue to make all future payments on time.  After two years, late payments hardly have an affect on your credit score.  

Don't Play the Blame Game, Take Charge

If you've recently had a late payment, be proactive about getting it taken care of.  A lot of the times, if you've had good payment history and only have missed one payment either the company or creditor will sympathize to that and remove the one late payment on your report.  Especially let them know about any extenuating circumstances that may have contributed to you missing a payment such as being laid off, illness, etc.  It's worth a shot to be proactive and negotiate with the creditor.  

Create a Plan to Stay on Track
From here on out, the best thing you can do is to keep your payment history in the positive.  Keep in mind that late payments only report after 30 days of a missed payment so even if you are a day late or 15 days late, pay the bill as soon as possible to avoid it reporting on your credit again.  You can obtain a free yearly credit report at www.annualcreditreport.com.  We recommend checking your report once year to make sure you know your score, you know what's reporting on your credit, and to ensure that everything is correct and satisfactory to you.  



Thursday, March 20, 2014

RANLife Competes in the Salt Lake County Corporate Games

Every year in Salt Lake County the Murray Sports Office holds what's known as the Corporate Games. Just like the Olympics there are Summer Games and Winter Games and the events are open companies of all sizes to compete in a collection of over 30 events.  Although the goal is to win the coveted Corporate Cup, it is the journey through participation that brings teamwork, morale, camaraderie and company pride to the forefront.

This year marked RANLife's first year participating in the games, which took place March 1st - 15th, 2014. These were the winter games and events consisted of basketball, volleyball, dodge ball, poker, bowling, and other indoor events.  Although we came in 8th place out of our division, the events were a lot of fun and now we know what to expect in the future.

Some highlights from the games:
  • RANLife took 3rd place in co-ed bowling.  (We weren't aware that we had some professional bowlers in the office.)
  • RANLife took 4th place in Men's Basketball. (After one team member rolled his ankle and was not able to play)
  • One of our owners, Scott Weilacher, killed it in the executive challenge.  (An event that involved wearing a pedometer and taking at least 10,000 steps a day for two weeks.)
So we didn't win, but in our minds we also didn't lose! Overall, the games brought our employees closer together and we had a lot of fun.  Some pictures from the events are below, you can also find them on our Facebook here.  











Annie taking her first bowl


Lookin' good...


Annie gets a strike for the team!


Our medal we won in Bowling. 

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