New Hampshire Business Review included us in their recent write up!
People and Property: NH Real Estate and Construction News Roundup:
National Mortgage Professional included a great write-up about us and our financial contribution that provided more than 30,000 meals to local foodbanks accross our footprint!
SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine, May 26, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Residential Mortgage Services, Inc. (RMS), a leading independent, purchase-focused mortgage lender, serving primarily the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Eastern Seaboard markets, has made financial contributions to 14 local food banks across the Company's footprint that will provide over 30,000 meals to those in need.
RMS's financial support was directed to various food banks in the local communities the Company serves, including Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, Maryland, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and South Carolina. The donations represent RMS's commitment to the regions in which the Company operates, as COVID-19 has led to record-breaking unemployment, economic disruption and food insecurity, and food banks across the nation are combatting rising food insecurity by increasing their distribution.
"RMS has always been committed to giving back to the communities that we serve," said James Seely, President and Chief Executive Officer of RMS. "It is an honor for us to be able to help support those financially affected by the health crisis – we are all in this together."
The recipients of RMS's donations include:
- Maryland Food Bank – Baltimore, MD – A non-profit organization leading the movement to end hunger in Maryland. (mdfoodbank.org)
- New Hampshire Food Bank – Manchester, NH – Providing non-perishable food items, fresh produce, and meats to more than 425 non-profit food agencies in all corners of NH. (nhfoodbank.org)
- Greater Boston Food Bank – Boston, MA – Striving, through compassion and action, to create a hunger free Eastern Massachusetts. (gbfb.org)
- Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina – Charlotte, NC – Striving through education, advocacy, and partnerships to eliminate hunger by the solicitation and distribution of food. (secondharvestmetrolina.org)
- Foodshare – Bloomfield, CT – Collaborates with anti-hunger organizations, policy makers, and the broader community to build effective solutions to end hunger. (site.foodshare.org)
- Central Pennsylvania Food Bank – Harrisburg, PA – A non-profit organization committed to reducing hunger in 27 counties across central Pennsylvania. (centralpafoodbank.org)
- Community Kitchen of Myrtle Beach – Myrtle Beach, SC – Striving to provide encouragement, direction, and nutritional assistance, to promote growth and wholesome independence with dignity and respect. (communitykitchenmb.org)
- Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank – Pittsburgh, PA – The mission of Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank is to feed people in need and mobilize the community to eliminate hunger. (pittsburghfoodbank.org)
- Good Shepherd Food Bank – Auburn, ME – Eliminating hunger in Maine by improving access to nutritious food for people in need, building strong community partnerships, and mobilizing the public in the fight to end hunger. (gsfb.org)
- Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina – Raleigh, NC – A non-profit organization that has provided food for friends and neighbors facing hunger in 34 counties in central and eastern North Carolina for 40 years. (foodbankcenc.org)
- Foodlink – Rochester, NY – The Foodlink mission is to leverage the power of food to end hunger and build healthier communities. (foodlinkny.org)
- South Portland Food Cupboard – Portland, ME – Committed to supporting, serving and feeding neighbors in need. (southportlandfoodcupboard.org)
- Rhode Island Community Food Bank – Providence, RI – Improving the quality of life for all Rhode Islanders by advancing solutions to the problem of hunger. (rifoodbank.org)
- Worcester County Food Bank – Shrewsbury, MA – Dedicated to engaging, educating, and leading Worcester County, Massachusetts in creating a hunger-free community – through partnership and advocacy. (foodbank.org)
Due to cutting edge technology and a high level of adaptability, RMS has remained fully operational and set record efficiency levels over the past two months even with 95% of employees working from home during the health crisis. Giving back to the local communities and doing its part to support those in need is a high priority for the Company during these unprecedented times.
About Residential Mortgage Services
Residential Mortgage Services, headquartered in South Portland, Maine, was founded in 1991. Currently, RMS employs more than 750 employees companywide, with approximately 275 loan officers and is a licensed lender in 23 states and the District of Columbia. RMS offers a wide range of mortgage products including conventional purchase and refinance home loans, as well as VA, FHA, USDA-RD and many state-sponsored loan programs. For more information on RMS visit the company's website at www.rmsmortgage.com.
What You Should Know About HOAs
When you buy a house - whether for the first, second or third time - you don't just become a homeowner. You are also part of a community, composed of neighbors, schools, small businesses and the like.
Increasingly, communities throughout the U.S. have new members on the block. They're called homeowners associations, or HOAs, and according to the Community Associations Institute, an estimated 25% of the U.S. population is part of one. HOAs are particularly common in Florida, totaling 48,250, followed closely by California (48,150), with Texas in a distant third (20,050), Illinois (18,700) and North Carolina (14,000) rounding out the top five.
Not only that, but as many as 3,000 HOAs are poised to be created in 2020 alone, putting the total number overall at between 352,000 and 354,000.
Given their ubiquity, it raises a central question: What are homeowners associations? More to the point, what is it that HOAs do?
What are HOAs all about?
Otherwise known as "property owners associations" or "community associations," HOAs are essentially groups of ordinary individuals that make various common-interest decisions for other people or families who live within the same general vicinity. Members typically live in similarly styled houses, apartments, buildings or condominiums. HOA board members - who are typically elected by homeowners within the organization - schedule meetings on a regular basis (usually once or twice a month) to discuss any number of issues owners may be experiencing, and how to go about addressing them. They also traditionally maintain budgets, make plans for upcoming events or projects and put together announcements that are relevant to other owners within an HOA.
A classic example of something a homeowners association makes decisions about is maintenance of a shared-use property. Say you live in a part of the country where heavy snow is common during the winter. An HOA may decide to hire an outside contractor to plow driveways and parking lots. Board members determine what provider to select and prepare the money needed to pay for snow removal services. They may also be responsible for landscape work or trash pickup.
Where does HOA funding come from?
Of course, none of these services are possible without money, which comes in the form of dues paid by all the members of the HOA on a recurring basis, be it monthly, quarterly or annually, as noted by Nerdwallet. These fees can run the gamut in terms of dollar amount. They can cost a few hundred a month to several thousand, but according to the most recent figures available from Realtor.com, HOA fees for a single-family home average between $200 to $300 per month.
In terms of what other things HOA fees pay for, this also can be wide ranging. Some take care of certain utilities, such as heating, central air conditioning or water; others may address the costs of maintenance for a shared-use fitness facility, pool or tennis court.
What are CC&Rs?
One of the primary roles HOA boards play is putting together certain bylaws everyone within the organization is expected to follow. These rules and regulations are called CC&Rs, or covenants, conditions and restrictions.
CC&Rs serve as guidelines everyone within an HOA is made aware of as to what decisions must go through the board before proceeding. For example, perhaps your windows are in need of replacement. Depending on the HOA's CC&R's, moving forward with this project may first need clearance from HOA representatives. Generally speaking, any decisions that affect the exterior of houses or condos requires the go-ahead from HOAs.
CC&Rs frequently also include rules regarding pets. For example, while an increasing number of HOAs allow homeowners to have a dog or cat, they may not permit households to have more than one of each or prohibit them from being larger than a given size or weight.
As noted by Realtor.com, just because certain rules are in place does not necessarily mean that they're hard and fast. While it is true that board members serve as the ultimate authority in terms of what is and is not allowable, each HOA member has a voice and their opinions matter.
As a result, you may want to consider speaking with someone on the board to discuss your concerns and see what, if anything, can be done to address the situation. There could be some wiggle room depending on the issue in question.
If you're thinking about buying a house where an HOA is in place, do as much research as possible. The more you know about it, the more informed you will be regarding whether the HOA's services, amenities and rules are in keeping with your lifestyle and budget.
What is the Truth in Lending Act?
Trust is a foundational element to virtually every relationship, whether it's personal or business-related. Trust is what enables people to make decisions and provides a sense of security that when someone says they're going to do something, they'll follow through.
At the same time, though, trust isn't something that's easily given; it's earned. So if you're looking to buy or refinance a home, seeking out a lender that can provide you with the financing you need, how can you know they'll live up to their word?
The Truth in Lending Act is one such reason. Enacted under the Consumer Credit Protection Act over 50 years ago, the TILA is likely something you've heard of but might not know much about. However, this particular law is worth understanding because it can help provide a better perspective on the homebuying process and assurance that the lender you select has your best interests in mind.
Here's more information about a fairly little known statute that can give you added guidance and security on your mortgage shopping journey:
What is it?
Signed into law on May 29, 1968, by President Lyndon B. Johnson and going into effect approximately a year later, the TILA is a sweeping regulation that requires both credit card providers and lenders, in general, to provide certain protections for you as a consumer. For example, you've probably heard of why it's important to "read the fine print" before selecting a credit card, because it often contains language detailing various fees and costs that come with signing up. The TILA requires lenders to specify exactly what those terms and rates include - in a language you can clearly understand - so you can make a more informed decision.
As noted by Credit Karma, full disclosure hasn't always been a part of the financial product selection process for consumers. It is, of course, in lenders' best interest to be as fully transparent as possible with their customers about the particulars of a product or service, but it's not something that they were necessarily required to do. The TILA, in effect, mandated transparency so consumers have more authority over how they spend their money.
How has the TILA changed over the years?
Any law that's been in place for more than half a century is bound to go through some alterations; the TILA is no different. Its first amendment, for example, occurred shortly after its effective date, when Congress decided to prohibit unsolicited credit cards, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Other significant updates followed suit, including the Fair Credit Billing Act of 1974, the Consumer Leasing Act of 1976 and the Home Equity Loan Consumer Protection Act of 1988.
One of the more recent updates to the TILA occurred during the Great Recession. The then-new stipulation to an existing statute, dubbed Regulation Z, barred lenders from "unfair, abusive or deceptive lending and serving practices," according to the CFPB.
Installed in 2008, the update required lenders to cease and desist in supporting or producing any advertisements that could be construed as misleading. It also required that they provide disclosures regarding interest rates, for example, several days prior to customers making a decision on whether to take out a loan or other financial product.
In short, the TILA has been amended numerous times over the years, and will likely continue to be - to ensure you're always the one who is in control of your financial affairs.
How you can use the law to your advantage when buying a home
You know the home shopping process entails a lot of paperwork, but much of these documents are for your benefit and stem from the TILA.
For example, say you're interested in a home equity line of credit, or HELOC. Even though you may have already signed on the dotted line for a deal, you have three days from when you did so to back out if you choose. The right of rescission enables you to walk away from certain loan offers without worrying about losing money due to penalties.
Additionally, the aforementioned Regulation Z required that other aspects of a mortgage deal be put in writing. This includes need-to-know aspects like the amount of money that is being borrowed, the agreed-upon interest rate, charges and life of the loan.
It's worth noting that the principles and particulars governing the TILA don't apply to all mortgages. In fact, they more often relate to home equity loans and HELOCs. Other home loans fall under the auspices of the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act.
The TILA is not there to confuse you, but to work for you. If you have additional questions about it, please don't hesitate to ask us here at Residential Mortgage Services - a lender you can trust.