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.



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!

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.

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.

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.


Seven Things Your Agent Should Know About Your Mortgage Approval

While many experienced real estate agents have a general understanding of the mortgage approval process, there are a few important details that frequently get overlooked which may cause a purchase to be delayed or denied.

New regulation, updated disclosures, appraisal guidelines, mortgage rate pricing premiums, credit score, secondary approval layering, rescission deadlines, property type, HOA insurance requirements, title and property flip rules are just a few of the daily changes that can have a serious impact on a borrower’s home loan financing.

With today’s volatile lending environment, it’s obviously important for home buyers to get a full loan approval which clearly defines all contingencies that pertain to each unique home buyer’s scenario prior to spending any time looking at new homes with an agent.

Either way, we’ve listed a few of the top things your agent should keep in mind while showing you new properties:

Caution – Agents Beware:

Property Type –

High-Rise, Condo, Town House, Single Family Residence, Dome Home or Shoe House… all have specific lending guidelines that can influence down payment, credit score and mortgage insurance requirements.

Residence Type

Need to sell one home before moving into another? Is a property considered a second home if it’s in the same city?  What if I’m buying a home for my children to live in, it is still considered an investment property?

These are just a few of several possible residence related questions that should be addressed by your agent and loan officer at the initial loan application.

Rates / Locks

Mortgage Rates are typically locked for a 30 day period, and one of the only ways to get a new rate is to switch mortgage lenders.  Rates also have certain adjustments for property / residence type, credit score and down payment which could have a big impact on monthly payments and therefore approvals.

A 1% increase in rate could literally mean the difference between an approval or denial.

Headline News / Employment

Underwriters watch the news as well.  Borrowers who work in a volatile industry during hard economic times may have to jump through a few extra hoops to prove that their employment and income is secure.

Job changes, periods of unemployment or property location in relation to the subject property are other things to consider that may cause a speed bump in the approval process.

Title / Property Flip –

A Flip is considered a property that has been purchased by an investor and quickly sold to a new buyer within a 30-90 day period.  Generally, an investor will do a little rehab work, fresh paint, landscaping…. and try to re-sell the property for a significant profit margin.

While it seems like a perfectly fair transaction, many lenders have strict guidelines in place that prevent borrowers from obtaining financing on properties that have a previous owner with less than 90 days of documented ownership.

These rules change frequently, and are specific to particular property types, so make sure your agent is aware of all the boundaries associated with your approval letter.

Homeowner’s Association Insurance

Some lenders require Condos and Town House communities to have sufficient insurance and reserves coverage pertaining to specific ratios on units that are owner occupied vs rented.

It may also take a few weeks and cost up to $300 to receive an HOA Certification, so make sure your Due-Diligence period is set accordingly in the purchase contract.

Appraisal Ordering Procedures

Appraisal ordering guidelines are changing quite frequently as regulators implement many new consumer protection laws created to prevent future foreclosure epidemics.

Unfortunately, some of the new appraisal regulations have proven to slow the home buying process down, as well as confuse lenders about the true estimate of neighborhood values.

VA, FHA and Conventional loan programs all have separate appraisal ordering policies, so make sure your agent is aware of which loan you’re approved for so that they document any anticipated delays in the purchase contract.

For example, if an appraisal takes three weeks and the average time for an approval is two weeks, then it probably isn’t smart to write a purchase contract with a four week close of escrow.


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Renting vs Buying A Home

Buying a home versus renting is a big decision that takes careful consideration.

While there are several biased sources that can make arguments for or against owning a home, we’ve found that most home buyers base their ultimate decision on emotion.

Yes, there are some tax advantages of owning real estate, as well as the potential to earn equity or pay a mortgage note off after several years.

However, let’s address some of the more obvious topics of discussion first.

Benefits Of Renting:

Lower Acquisition Cost –

Unless you’re able to qualify for a mortgage loan with zero down and have your closing costs paid for by the seller, a typical investment to purchase a home is around 3.5% – 7% of the purchase price for down payment and closing costs on an FHA mortgage, and an average of 13% – 23% for a home secured by conventional financing.

Compared to the cost of about 1-3 month’s rent payment, it’s obvious that renting a home makes financial sense in the short-term.

Lower Qualifying Standards –

While the FHA and other government insured mortgage programs have more flexible credit / qualifying guidelines than most traditional home loan programs, there is certainly a lot less paperwork and personally invasive probing required by most landlords and property management companies.

Generally proof of employment / income and a decent credit history (or a good explanation) is needed to rent a home.

Freedom To Move –

It’s easy to find a home through a reputable property management company, move in that weekend and then leave a year later when the rental contract expires.  Not being tied down by a long-term mortgage liability is ideal for people new to a community, in a career that keeps them on the go or for parents with children that prefer a certain school district.

Plus, if you’re planning on moving in the next 3-5 years, then it may become cost-prohibitive due to the amount of equity you’ll have to gain in the short-run just to cover the cost of paying an agent, buyer closing costs, transfer taxes…. so that you can at least break even at closing.

Less Maintenance and Cost –

If something breaks, a simple call to the property management company will generally solve the issue in 48 hours or less.  Plus, renters don’t have to carry expensive homeowners insurance, pay property taxes or worry about interest rates adjusting.

Benefits of Owning:

Pets Are Allowed –

Well, according to the rules and regulations of your county or neighborhood HOA, you can pretty much have as many domestic and exotic pets without having to pay extra deposits.

It may seem like a funny benefit to mention first, but the millions of dog and cat lovers would definitely rank this towards the top of their list.

Pink and Purple Walls –

Yep, you can paint the inside of your house any color you choose.  And depending on whether or not there is an HOA in place, you could probably do the same thing on the home’s exterior.  Landscaping, flooring, built-in shelving… it’s your property to renovate and grow in.

Peace-of-Mind and Security –

The only way you would be forced to move is if the bank forecloses on your property due to a default in mortgage payments.

So basically, you don’t have to worry about a landlord’s financial ability to make mortgage payments on time. Plus, you can stay in your own property as long as you wish.

Tax Benefits -

The US government has created certain tax incentives making it possible for many homeowners to exceed the standard yearly deduction.

*Disclosure – Check with your CPA or Tax Attorney to verify your own unique filing scenario*

The following three components of your home mortgage may be tax deductible:

a) Interest on your home mortgage
b) Property Taxes
c) Origination / Discount Points

Stability -

Remaining in one neighborhood for several years lets you and your family establish lasting friendships, as well as offers your children the benefit of educational continuity.

Appreciation of Property -

Historically, even with other periods of declining value, home prices have exceeded consumer inflation. From 1972 through 2005, home prices increased on average 6.5%, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

Forced Saving -

The monthly payment helps in repayment of the principal amount. Also when you sell you can generally take up to $250,000 ($500,000 for married couple) as gain without owing any federal income tax.

*Disclosure – Check with your CPA or Tax Attorney to verify your own unique filing scenario*

Increased Net Worth

Few things have a greater impact on net worth than owning a home. In a comparison of renters versus homeowners, the Federal Reserve Board of Consumer Finance found that the average net worth of renters was just $4,000 compared to homeowners at $184,400.

While the available tax advantages and potential for earned equity are generally highlighted by most industry professionals as the top reasons to own real estate, it’s important to remember that markets go through cycles.

However, owning real estate that appreciates more than the rate of inflation may help contribute towards your overall investment portfolio, provided your maintenance and mortgage costs are kept low.


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First-Time Home Buyer Credit Checklist

Getting a new mortgage for a First-Time Home Buyer can be a little overwhelming with all of the important details, guidelines and potential speed bumps.

Since there are so many rules and steps to follow, here is a simple list of Do’s and Don’ts to keep in mind throughout the mortgage approval process:


  • Continue working at your current job
  • Stay current on all your accounts
  • Keep making your house or rent payments
  • Keep your insurance payments current
  • Continue to maintain your credit as usual
  • Call us if you have any questions


  • Make any major purchases (Car, Boat, Jet Ski, Home Theater…)
  • Apply for new credit
  • Open new credit cards
  • Transfer any balances from one credit or bank acct to another
  • Pay off any charge-off accts or collections
  • Take out furniture loans
  • Close any credit cards
  • Max out your credit cards
  • Consolidate credit debt

Basically, while you are in the process of getting a new mortgage, keep your financial status as stable as possible until the loan is funded and recorded.

Any number of minor changes could easily raise a red flag or cause a negative impact on a credit score that may result in a denied loan.

Most importantly, check with your loan officer on even the simplest questions to make sure your loan approval is successful.


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HOA Hurdles to be Aware of When Looking at New Properties

A Home Owner Association (HOA) can have a huge impact on your life when you buy a home in a PUD (Planned Unit Development) or Condominium Project.

According to Wikipedia:

A homeowners’ association (abbrev. HOA) is an organization created by a real estate developer for the purpose of developing, managing and selling a development of homes.

It allows the developer to exit financial and legal responsibility of the community, typically by transferring ownership of the association to the homeowners after selling off a predetermined number of lots.

It allows the municipality to increase its tax base, but reduce the amount of services it would ordinarily have to provide to non-homeowner association developments.

Most homeowner associations are incorporated, and are subject to state statutes that govern non-profit corporations and homeowner associations.

State oversight of homeowner associations is minimal, and mainly takes the form of laws, which are inconsistent from state to state.

The Pros and Cons of HOA’s:

A Home Owner Association may have the power to determine the color of your home, the number of pets you have and the type of grass you have to plant.

They also may have the power to levy assessments, dues and fines.

Or, they may be as simple as collecting a few dollars per year to make sure the grass is cut in the common areas.

HOAs are set up by CC&Rs (Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions) and become part of your deed.

The CC&Rs dictate how the HOA operates and what rules the owners, tenants and guests must obey.

You should take the time to review the CC&R for any prospective purchase to make sure that the home you are buying will be right for your lifestyle.

For instance, if you operate an Amway business from your home, it is possible the CC&Rs prohibit this type of activity. Or, if you have two dogs and three cats, the CC&Rs may limit you to one pet.

The CC&Rs are only a portion of the HOA.

Bylaws are another component of HOA’s that reflect the intention of the association.

Each HOA either has a managing Board of Directors, or a third-party property management company.

One issue to be sure you check on is potential assessments.

For instance, recently a Condo Association had a foundation problem and was assessing the members over $10,000 per unit.

Another PUD had a pool that required routine maintenance and certification.

Subdivisions are commonly set up as PUDs with an additional HOA.

Until the subdivision is complete, the builder is generally in charge of the HOA.

When complete, the management of the PUD is typically turned over to the homeowners at a special membership meeting.


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