A Guide to Buying a Home for Older Adults


Perhaps you thought you’d be settled into a paid-off home by the time you retired, but the truth is, many adults choose to buy a new home in their senior years. Whether purchasing your first home, downsizing to a smaller dwelling, or shopping for a home suited to aging in place, buying a house as a senior requires some special considerations. This guide will help you make a smart purchase that serves you for years to come.


Searching for a Home

Unless you plan to move again, you need a home that’s just as livable in 30 years as it is today. That means you must account for the ways your health and mobility will change with age. Even if you’re in great health now, be conservative and purchase a home you can live in even if you become disabled. If you unexpectedly become injured or seriously ill and you don’t have a safe place to live, you’re likely to end up in a nursing home.


A home that’s suitable for aging in place should have a master bedroom and bathroom on the first floor, with an exception for homes with elevators. There should be parking near a main entrance with no stairs between the parking space and the front door. Ample natural lighting is ideal, as are hard floors and low-pile carpeting. Plush floors pose trip and fall hazards to seniors with mobility challenges.


While it’s tempting to move to a more rural location to save on housing, consider that you may lose the ability to drive in old age. By opting for a centrally located home instead, you can walk and take public transit if you’re unable to drive, which can reduce the likelihood of social isolation.


It’s true that centrally located homes tend to be more expensive. Do your research so you understand average prices in your area and what you can afford. In the town of Lutz, Florida, the average sale price for a home is $280,000. However, buying in the heart of town doesn’t have to mean exceeding your budget. For a more affordable home, look into smaller houses as well as condos and townhomes. Not only is a downsized home more affordable, it’s also easier to upkeep as you age.

Financing a Home

If you’re selling a house and downsizing, you may be able to use the proceeds of your home sale to purchase a new home or put a large down payment on a home. However, that’s not possible — or the best option — for all seniors.


As the New York Times explains, “An increasing number of older Americans prefer to have a mortgage. They may have the means to buy with cash but choose instead to take advantage of prevailing low interest rates and tax breaks, while freeing up their savings for other uses.”


If you do apply for a mortgage, know you’ll need the stable monthly income to back it up. Social Security payments, pensions and investments can count toward your income. If you’ll have adult children or other family cohabiting with you, you can include their income when qualifying for a HomeReady mortgage with Fannie Mae.


If leaving a home to your children isn’t a priority, consider a reverse mortgage for purchase, or HECM. This program lets older adults purchase a home without monthly mortgage payments, but it requires a sizable down payment. Kiplinger explains the HECM program in detail.

Finding Help

Many seniors feel that purchasing a home late in life is more complicated than when they were younger. Thankfully, there are professionals trained specifically to assist senior homebuyers. For help finding a home, seek a real estate agent who specializes in working with seniors. You should also seek a mortgage originator experienced with mortgage programs like HECM and the mortgage approval process for seniors on a fixed income.


Doing your own research before buying a home is important. However, seniors shouldn’t underestimate the value of hiring the right experts to help them find and finance a home. Once you know what you want in your future home, reach out for help navigating this often-confusing process.


This post was written by our guest author Hazel Bridges of AgingWellness.org Ms. Bridges is the creator of AgingWellness.org, which aims to provide health and wellness resources for aging seniors.

Photo by Matthew Bennett on Unsplash

July 10, 2018 by · Leave a Comment

Framework – Buyer Education Made Easy

Framework Homebuyer Education Orlicki Group


Here at The Orlicki Group we believe that home ownership is one of the keys to long term financial stability and long term happiness. The US census bureau noted that almost 64% of US Citizens are home owners. With rent forecasting to increase once again in 2018 annually more and more people will be looking to buy and invest in their future or expand on their portfolio of existing homes.
Whether you are a first time home buyer or a long time home owner who hasn’t purchased a home in a long time Framework is an inexpensive online learning course that can be an important tool in your toolbox through the home buying process. The Framework course has a comprehensive curriculum that meets HUD guidelines and exceeds National Industry Standards for Homeownership Education and Counseling.

“Framework Homeownership LLC was founded in 2012 by two nonprofit leaders in homeownership – Housing Partnership Network and Minnesota Homeownership Center – both HUD-approved housing counseling intermediaries.

In 2012 we observed that while both the market and the homebuyers within it had changed, the way people approached buying (and owning) a home had not. Plus, the research was clear: informed homebuyers are more likely to be successful homeowners.

And so we did what needed to be done. We dedicated ourselves to making smart homeownership the new norm nationwide by leveraging technology to reach a new generation of homebuyers and homeowners. We’re doing this with a superior curriculum, the latest technology, dedication to our customers, and innovative relationships with lenders, brokers, and a network of nonprofit partners.”

Framework offers the following through their online education:

  • How much you can afford
  • How to fix or improve your credit
  • How to choose a real estate agent
  • How to shop for the best mortgage loan
  • The steps of the mortgage process
  • The roles of the 10 professionals involved in most home purchases
  • What to include in your offer
  • Home inspection basics
  • The steps of the closing process

Plus, downloadable guides, worksheets, checklists and more.

The course runs $75 in total and includes their Smart Start newsletter with important info provided to you monthly at no extra cost. Check out the video below for a great breakdown of the Framework platform.



March 20, 2018 by · Leave a Comment

5 Reasons a Pre-Approval Should be Your First Step as a Home Buyer

New Home Keys


The home buying process can be a long and confusing time for an individual.

Luckily here at The Orlicki Group we have a wealth of experience working with first time home buyers. Not only do we provide you with exceptional service but our in-process campaign will send you a wealth of information including simple videos to explain portions of the mortgage process. According to Zillow 77% of home buyers are getting approved prior to searching for their home. That number is up from prior generations.

Many people think that finding a house is the first step to buying only to be disappointed when they realize that either the home isn’t able to be financed or it’s not within their budget. Here are 5 great reasons why getting pre-approved is the best first step you can take when looking to buy a new home.


New home contract



1. Figure out your budget.

Most people when buying have some idea of what they want to spend monthly. Is it what you’re paying for rent now? Is your current housing expense too much? Are you trying to downsize? These are all great factors that we can take into consideration when we personalize your pre-approval. Many big box banks just send you out with the absolute MAXIMUM you can afford. The average DTI for a buyer in 2017 utilizing a conventional loan was 23% which is well below the max you are able to borrow. We’ll work with you to find a suitable approval number that fits your needs.


2. Get to know your Mortgage Professional.

Throughout the home buying process you’ll be in direct contact with your mortgage pros often. Every loan originator and team does things a bit differently so getting in touch early and working out the best way to communicate and the people you’ll be communicating with is a great way to make your home buying journey easier and stress free.

You’ll be working with these people for usually over a month (average contract to close for real estate is between 30-45 days). Getting to know them on a personal level is bound to happen. We make sure that you’re given proper guidance throughout as well as regular updates on what to expect next.


3. Answer any basic mortgage questions.

Whether you’re a first time home buyer or a veteran of home ownership you’re going to have questions about your mortgage needs. The mortgage process is extremely complex. When you get pre-approved first you can answer a lot of those basic questions like “What loan type is right for me?” or “How much do I need to put down for a down payment?”. the pre-approval process will help you iron out your mortgage and get answers for many of the initial questions that home buyers have.


4. Connect your team.

Most people have a friend or relative who works in real estate who’s given them advice over the years. 64% of people in 2016 used a realtor that was a referral from a friend or family member. Chances are you’ll be doing the same. Once you get approved your lender will forward your pre-approval to the realtor of your choosing. In our case if you are not working with a realtor we’re always happy to refer you to one of the top notch professionals that we work with regularly.

Before you start looking for homes it’s great to get everyone on your team assembled and on the same page. Once you have everyone in your corner connected and working toward the same goal the process and communication becomes seamless. The most common people you’ll want to connect with are your realtor, your mortgage professional and your insurance agent as they’ll have a good idea of your current insurance coverages and can easily get you a quote once you find a new place. Just in case you don’t, here at The Orlicki Group we always provide you with a free insurance quote to from our preferred vendor to get a better idea of what your monthly cost will be. Getting pre-approved first gives you the opportunity to get everyone involved in line and ahead of the curve.


5. Be aware of any roadblocks.

Many people think that a pre-qualification is the best and quickest way to start your home search. With the rise of app’s like Quicken’s Rocket Mortgage you’re able to get numbers back almost instantly. There’s only one problem with that… the lender hasn’t done its due diligence and looked at your individual scenario.

There are many different reasons why someone might not qualify for a home that are outside of your normal credit score and income. During the pre-approval we take a more in depth look and review your entire situation including your full credit report to assure there aren’t any roadblocks or red flags that might endanger your home purchase.


If you’re looking to buy and want to get approved now head over to our online mortgage application and we’ll get your pre-approval started!

January 18, 2018 by · Leave a Comment

5 Reasons to Refinance Your Home Now

Refinance your Tampa Florida Mortgage

Most Americans largest debt payment on a month to month basis is their mortgage. While it’s a large portion of their debt very few people have their mortgage reviewed on an annual basis by a mortgage professional. Roughly 56% of the country has a mortgage currently and most utilize fixed rates for 30 and 15 year terms.

Since there are several reasons a homeowner may choose to refinance, let’s look at 5 of the best reasons.


1. Restructure your existing mortgage.

Some people aren’t very pleased with their existing mortgage or mortgage servicer. In 2017 mortgage servicer satisfaction fell slightly. Restructuring your mortgage through a new company can not only reset your terms but can also get you out of an unhappy relationship with your current lender or servicing company.


2. Your credit score has improved since your purchase.

According to credit.com the average credit score of American’s in 2016 was a 673. Prime credit for a mortgage is considered to be 740 or higher. A 50 to 100 point difference can mean a difference of thousands of dollars over the life of a mortgage. With buyers being more credit conscious and great tools like Credit Karma and monitoring services offered it’s not difficult to see where your scores can improve and make those changes. If your credit has drastically improved since you’ve obtained your mortgage you are the perfect candidate for a refinance.


3. Home improvements are on the horizon.

If you’ve owned your home for a year or two and have built up equity you have a great opportunity to utilize that equity to improve your home. With interest rates still very low in relation to the past, more homeowners are utilizing refinances as a means to fund their home improvements. Nerdwallet notes that while a HELOC or home equity line of credit can be okay for small improvements you can potentially save a large chunk of money by utilizing a cash out refinance.


4. Lower your interest rate.

Depending on when you initially bought your home your rate could substantially decrease through a refinance saving you thousands over the life of your mortgage. With rates holding fairly steady right now at almost all time lows and an increase on the horizon due to the recent decision by the Fed now is an incredibly good time to refi and lock in a lower loan rate for the long haul. We often find a large amount of savings for buyers looking to refinance.


5. Remove your private mortgage insurance.

Unless you put 20% down on your existing home you likely have a PMI or private mortgage insurance amount included in your monthly mortgage payment. Normally to remove your PMI you need to have at least 20 percent equity in your home. Once a conventional loan is paid to 80% of the home’s value you may request that the PMI be removed. When the balance drops to 78 percent, the mortgage servicer is required to remove the PMI. FHA mortgages are not included in this scenario. Interest rates are set to rise again in 2018 so now is a great time to refinance and remove your PMI while locking in potential savings over the life of the loan.

Get in touch with us today to discuss your refinance and we’ll be happy to help! Call 813-302-1616 or contact us to get started.

December 20, 2017 by · Leave a Comment

FHFA Announces Loan Limit Increase for 2018

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Baseline Limit Will Increase to $453,100


“Washington, D.C.
 – The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) today announced the maximum conforming loan limits for mortgages to be acquired by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2018. In most of the U.S., the 2018 maximum conforming loan limit for one-unit properties will be $453,100, an increase from $424,100 in 2017.

Baseline limit

The Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA) requires that the baseline conforming loan limit be adjusted each year for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to reflect the change in the average U.S. home price.  Earlier today, FHFA published its third quarter 2017 House Price Index (HPI) report, which includes estimates for the increase in the average U.S. home value over the last four quarters.  According to FHFA’s seasonally adjusted, expanded-data HPI, house prices increased 6.8 percent, on average, between the third quarters of 2016 and 2017.  Therefore, the baseline maximum conforming loan limit in 2018 will increase by the same percentage. ”


What does this mean for you?

The increase in loan limits will ease lending standards across the board. For people looking to buy a bigger home this will make conventional rates more accessible. With home prices rising still buyers will need access to higher loan limits to afford the same house as they did the previous two years. This news may also effect rates and buying in general for the housing market in 2018.


If you’re looking for more information get in touch with us today or fill out your quick quote so we can get you approved.

November 28, 2017 by · Leave a Comment

5 Simple Steps for First Time Home Buyers

happy couple celebrate home ownership

Buying your first home can seem like a daunting task. It doesn’t have to be.

Spring is historically the busiest season for home purchases around the nation. In Florida, real estate purchases and mortgage applications especially increase while home buyers look to move or purchase before the summer heat hits. We already have some great info on our website regarding mortgage specific basics and a great guide on the home buying process. In this article though We’re going to focus on 5 simple steps you can take to improve your home buying process.

1. Get your finances in order with a well thought out budget

Throughout your mortgage qualification we’ll take into account not only what you can afford but what you actually want to spend. Many big box lenders will automatically max out your pre-qualification to get the most money out of you. It’s important to take a few moments and go through your finances to figure out what you want to pay monthly for your new home expense.

At The Orlicki Group we believe that staying within your budget is important to you enjoying your new home. We’ll talk with you about what you would like to spend and what your plans are for your down payment to get you a pre-qualification that meets your needs.

2. Gather all your paperwork

You know that big pile of taxes, bills, pay stubs, and paperwork you’ve been neglecting? Now is the time to get that in order. During the documentation of your mortgage we’re going to need a few things that you can prep to make your mortgage that much easier. Here’s a few things we’re going to ask for:

  • Two Years of tax returns (all pages and schedules)
  • Two years of W2 / 1099
  • Clear color copies of your Driver’s License and Social Security Card
  • 2 months of Bank records for all accounts
  • Two most recent pay stubs

There may be more that we’ll need but that’s a great place to start. Scanning everything in and digitizing it is the best way to prepare your documents. Most of your bank records and pay stubs are available online for download. If you use Turbo Tax or another online tax filing system you can download all your pertinent documents after you log in to your account. Don’t forget that we will need ALL the pages of your docs. Yes even the blank ones. We’ll guide you through every step of the process though so don’t worry. It’s easier than it sounds.

3.  Examine your credit report

During your mortgage process we’ll thoroughly review your credit report. It’s nice to know what’s coming down the pipe though. If you haven’t taken advantage within the past year now is a great time to review your annual credit report from Equifax, Experian and Trans Union. The FTC suggests that you review your credit report prior to any major purchase, like a mortgage. In a recent study the FTC noted that 1 in 5 Americans has errors on their credit report.

Another great reason to check your report annually is to safe guard yourself from identity theft. According to Credit.com

When you decide to pull your credit report the only site you should be pulling from is FreeCreditReport.com. This is the only site verified and authorized by the FTC.

“2016 will be remembered as a banner year for fraudsters, as numerous measures of identity fraud reached new heights.” Fraud losses totaled $16 billion, the report found. About 1 in every 16 U.S. adults were victims of ID theft last year (6.15%) — and the incidence rate jumped some 16% year over year.”

Taking simple steps such as reviewing your credit report annually can

4.  Slim down your baggage

Never will it be more apparent than when you are getting ready to move that you have entirely too much stuff. There’s a few ways that you can look at slimming down your belongings when moving into your new home. One simple trick is to get a large storage bin and start putting things in it as you go. See things you don’t use or have been meaning to get rid of? In the bin they go. Once the bin is full, mark that for donation and start again. You can also start by organizing your existing home regularly. Put that messy closet in order. Slim down your wardrobe.

The idea is that you want to move as little as possible into your new home to make way for things that you might need and limit the size of the moving truck or number of trips you will need to make.

5. Work with a reputable mortgage professional

Last but certainly not least you’re going to want to get pre-approved with a reputable mortgage professional. The Orlicki Group is a team of professionals with a very personal touch. Oliver has almost 200 5 Star Zillow reviews.

We can get you pre-approved and guide you through the mortgage process with ease. Don’t suffer through a disconnect with a big bank or think that a space ship mortgage on your phone is the way to go.


We’re always here to answer your mortgage questions and assist you with your needs. Working with first time home buyers is one of our favorite aspects of the mortgage business. Call us today at 813-302-1616 or CONTACT US to get started.

October 17, 2017 by · Leave a Comment

Tips and To Dos When Moving Into Your New Home

New Home Buyers



You just closed on your new home. Congratulations! Now what?


After going through the long and often arduous process of  buying your new home you might want to unpack and unwind. We get it. The Orlicki Group helps hundreds of buyers finance homes every year. We understand what the mortgage process and home buying experience is like. Before you kick your feet up, give yourself the best opportunity to enjoy your home and knock a few things off your to do list right away. We’ve broken the list up into a few categories so you can tackle them in stages.



When our buyers move into a home most of the time the house has been prepped and staged for sale which is a great start. Some of the areas that really need to be cleaned may have been overlooked so now is a great time to get personal with your new house.

First thing to look at is all the filters that might have been ignored. Get to know what sizes you need for any water or air filtration systems and order some new ones and make a list of the types and where to buy so you don’t have to scramble down the road. To start clean all your water spouts and check all water system filters and aeration filters. Next take a look at the air filters, ducts and kitchen hood if you have one. Dig into the dryer vent and clear out all the lint you can.

After the minor details are completed and you’ve kicked up all that dust give the house a deep cleaning. Before you stack in all the furniture it’s much easier to clean, scrub and dust all the nooks and crannies. You never know what might have been missed or ignored when the home was being polished for sale.



Moving into a new area can be difficult. You’re starting a new life including replacing all those contractors and services you were utilizing in your old town. If you’re lucky enough to have moved in the same area you can skip this step or take a few minutes and double check you have the best options available. Your realtor, mortgage professional, and local insurance agent are great places to ask for referrals. If you’re moving into a condo make sure you get the information for any on-site maintenance personnel should you need them.

Make a list of a services or contractor for anything you might need in case of an emergency or a quick fix. Plumbers, electricians, landscapers, and other handymen are usually much easier to get a hold of and get to your home if you know them ahead of time.

Find out who the best local businesses are while you’re at it. Get suggestions for your gym, dry cleaner, tailor, grocery store and niche places. It’s great to browse around online but better to get the inside scoop from someone who’s been living there for a while.



Your new home might already be in great shape, safe and secure but best not to leave anything to chance. Change all exterior locks and check to make sure all windows are secure when closed and locked. Update any security system passwords and access codes.

Change any smoke detectors if they appear to be more than 10 years old. If they are newer replace all the batteries. Double check the date on the fire extinguisher and if needed purchase a new one. If you upsized into a larger home pick up a set to place in key areas of access.



Now that you’re done getting your house clean, safe, secure and you know the best places to go now’s a great time to get settled in and meet your neighbors. Walk around your neighborhood in the evening and do some old fashioned door knocking. Even better, plan a party in your new house and have everyone come to you. Getting along with and knowing your neighbors is a key asset to enjoying your new home.


We’re always looking to help buyers who are looking for an easy, enjoyable and affordable mortgage experience. Our service doesn’t end when you close on your home though. The Orlicki Group prides itself in taking care of our clients. If you could benefit from an amazing mortgage experience contact us today to get started or fill out our quick quote form and we’ll get back to you right away.

August 24, 2017 by · Leave a Comment

Mortgage Pre-Approval 101 Infographic

The Mortgage pre-approval process can be lengthy and confusing. We break it down for you in a great infographic that shows what the pre-approval process contains. You can read more about pre-approvals here. Feel free to CONTACT US or give us a call at 813-302-1616.

Orlicki Group Mortgage Lender Pre-Approval


July 13, 2017 by · Leave a Comment

Student Loans & Loan Programs – What matters?



Student loans can have a great effect on your home purchase and can impact your decisions and mortgage differently depending on what type of loan program you chose.


According to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. College graduates who carry over $25,000 in total student loan debt are less likely to own a home than their counterparts with less financial burden. If you have any student loan debt whatsoever that can affect your choice in loan programs. My team and I can guide you through the process with a personal touch. Get in touch with us now to take a look at your options and get the process started. CLICK HERE to contact us and take your first steps toward pre-qualification.

Below is a quick guidline for individual loan programs:




For all student loans, whether deferred, in forbearance, or in repayment (not deferred), the lender must use the greater of the following to determine the monthly payment to be used as the borrower’s recurring monthly debt obligation:

  • 1% of the outstanding balance; or
  • The actual documented payment (documented in the credit report, in documentation obtained from the student loan lender, or in documentation supplied by the borrower).


If the payment currently being made cannot be documented or verified, 1% of the outstanding balance must be used.

Exception: If the actual documented payment is less than 1% of the outstanding balance and it will fully amortize the loan with no payment adjustments, the lender may use the lower, fully-amortizing monthly payment to qualify the borrower.


Use the following:

  • The payment on the credit report
  • 1% of the outstanding balance or
  • The actual documented fully amortizing payment.


If the actual monthly payment is 0 or is not available use 2% of the outstanding balance to establish the monthly payment.



May be excluded from the borrower’s total monthly obligations with evidence of a minimum of 12 months deferment from date of closing.


If there is no monthly payment reflected on the credit report, a copy of the borrower’s payment letter or promissory note should be used to determine what payment amount to use.


Fixed payment loans:  A fixed payment may be used in the debt ratio when the lender retains documentation to verify the payment is fixed, the interest rate is fixed, and the repayment term is fixed.  There must be no future adjustments to the terms of the student loan payments. 


Non-Fixed payment loans:  Payments for deferred loans, Income Based Repayment (IBR), Graduated, Adjustable, and other types of repayment agreements which are not fixed cannot be used in the total debt ratio calculation.  One percent of the loan balance reflected on the credit report must be used as the monthly payment.  No additional documentation is required.


April 4, 2016 by · Leave a Comment

Mortgage Rates Lowest Since April Ahead of Big Jobs Report



Mortgage rates can seemingly do no wrong this week.  They fell again today–this time making it firmly into territory not seen since late April.  At current levels, many lenders have moved on to quoting conventional 30yr mortgage rates well below what I was able to give most of my past clients.


Today’s improvements, and indeed some of the improvements earlier this week have NOT been captured by Freddie Mac’s weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey–the industry standard for mortgage rate tracking.  While the survey is highly accurate over the long haul, its methodology doesn’t allow it to capture all of the movement in any given week.  In fact, the only rate sheets that inform the survey response are those that come out on Friday afternoon through Wednesday morning.  Moreover, the survey responses tend to arrive more toward the beginning of the week.  That means if things are moving fairly quickly over the course of the week, Freddie’s survey will be a bit behind the curve.



There’s nothing good or bad about the lag in the Freddie Mac data.  It’s a valuable resource that just happens to be a bit too ‘wide-angle’ for the average borrower or originator seeking the most up-to-date information on rates.  I only bring it up because almost every major news outlet relies on the Freddie report for its official weekly article on mortgage rates.  Today, those articles will be saying there hasn’t been much of an improvement over last week, and it’s important you know that’s no longer the case.


This is a timely piece of information as well, because tomorrow brings the important Employment Situationreport (aka “jobs report, nonfarm payrolls, or NFP”).  This is the biggest piece of economic data that comes out each month and it has the greatest potential to cause movement in the bond markets that dictate mortgage rates.  With rates at 5-month lows and even a 50% risk of a big bounce higher, it’s even harder to make a caseagainst locking today.  Granted, risk-takers could be rewarded if the report is exceptionally weak, but even then, we have to consider that rates can sometimes bounce higher simply because they’ve gotten tired of moving consistently lower.  We’re not quite to the point where that’s an imminent risk regardless of the data, but certainly, an equivocal jobs report wouldn’t make any strong arguments for rates to continue lower.

October 2, 2015 by · Leave a Comment