Brief History Of Patriotic Songs

american-flag-baseball-gameWith Royals season in full swing again, we cannot help but love the sights, smells and sounds of baseball. This sport, more than any other, embodies Americana – including the patriotic songs sung each game throughout ballparks across the U.S.

We wanted to briefly give tribute to some of the most popular patriotic songs and a refresher on where they came from:

National Anthem – The Star Spangled Banner

Written by Frances Scott Key in 1814 (and based off of his poem,) the lyrics are in response to watching Fort McHenry in the war of 1812. Congress made it our national anthem in 1931.

My Country ‘Tis of Thee

Anyone who’s heard England’s “God Save the Queen” knows where the catchy melody for this patriotic song comes from. Lyrics were written by Samuel Francis Smith, a seminary student. The song’s also been called “America” and was first published in 1832.

America, The Beautiful

Katharine Lee Bates wrote this patriotic song as a poem published in a church periodical in 1895 and Samuel Ward came up with the music. The song as we know it came out in 1910. A professor from Wellesley who traveled to Pike’s Peak in Colorado, Bates was taken by the ‘majestic’ landscape of The United States.

God Bless America

Irving Berlin wrote this iconic song in 1918 while serving in the Army. He revived it in 1938 in response to Hitler’s Germany. The song is played throughout many sports games across the U.S.

The Stars and Stripes Forever

This is one of the most patriotic melodies in the country. Many recognize the National March most often played when the troops come in and graduates walk down the aisle, but few know the lyrics to the song. The melody was composed by John Philip Sousa in 1896.

God Bless the USA

A more recent addition to the patriotic song list is this ole’ country tune by Lee Greenwood released in 1984. It’s been re-released by Greenwood himself and covered by famous singers for the past several decades. The song has been performed across the country, on television shows and following heroic events.

What’s Your Favorite Patriotic Song?

So there you have it – a brief recap of some of America’s most beloved songs. We like to recap them every once in a while as a tribute to all of the veterans we work with on their VA loans.

There’s something about each of these songs that reminds us why America is such a great country to live and work in!

What do you think – what is your favorite patriotic song?

Using Social Media To Buy a Home

social-media-for-home-buyersThe Internet… and more recently, social media…  have changed everything including the resources available when purchasing a home.

Not only can you search for homes for sale online, but you can also connect with the professionals who help you all along the way.

If you’re entering the home buying process, here are a few recommendations we have if you’re looking for ways to utilize technology in your house hunt:

1. Read the Reviews

Nearly everyone in business has an online review out there these days. Real estate agents, title companies, inspectors and yes, even mortgage lenders, are all reviewed by clients and other professionals who work with them. Read the reviews to get an idea of the professional’s style … if you come across a bad one, take it with a grain. That is, unless it’s consistent with the overall feedback.

2. Tweet or Send a Message on Facebook

Social media is a fantastic way to quickly get in front of someone you want to talk with. Sending a tweet, Facebook message or posting on a wall is a sure way to get someone’s attention. If you cannot reach a professional via phone, email or text, consider using social media.

3. Read blogs for advice

Many who work to provide the best service for their clients maintain blogs to assist homeowners. These blogs are full of advice for those on the house hunt.  Take advantage of this great way to not only gain knowledge but get a feel for the type of professional you’d be working with.

4. Watch YouTube videos

For same reasons as #3 – watch videos on the professional’s online video channels to gain information. Some offer advice. Agents may feature homes for sale. There’s a lot out there that can make your job of finding the right home fairly simple.

5. Use the real estate apps

There are tons of great apps out there that can assist you in the real estate process. Realtor Magazine recommended some apps for maintaining a mobile office and staying organized on the go.

For those searching for homes, this article about real estate apps from the Mercury News mentioned:

  • Zillow
  • Trulia
  • Refin
  • Realtor.com
  • Homes.com

Technology keeps us on our toes 24/7 but can also give us insight like never before. Use social media to your advantage if you’re looking for that perfect dream home.

If you’re looking for a technology-savvy mortgage lender specializing in VA loans, look no further. Our team provides info via our VA loans blog, VA loans YouTube channel, facebook and twitter. Connect with us today and let us know how we can can serve you.

 

Offensive and Defensive Financial Planning … And Where Your Mortgage Fits In

financial-planning-mortgage-advice-meetingHave you ever sat down with a financial planner? Boomers nearing retirement often jump at the opportunity, but many 20 and 30-year-olds may not have experienced the magic yet. Especially if you’re serving in the military.

What magic you say?

A financial planner doesn’t just sit down and dream with you… although looking up at the ceiling to picture yourself sailing on a yacht around the Caribbean is a fun moment. A financial planner also helps you know how to achieve your short-term and long-term financial goals.

They often go through something called the defensive and the offensive strategies.

Defensive Financial Planning

Many who look at defensive financial planning go for things like life insurance. Disability products. Long-term care. Things that ensure your family will be protected in the event something happens to you.

Offensive Financial Planning

Offensive planning isn’t as reactive – it takes your current situation and plans for growth. Offensive financial planning can involve strategies like building up emergency funds, opening retirement plans, investing in mutual funds and yes, even reviewing your mortgage!

Financial Planning and Mortgage

While you might think that financial planning and mortgage planning are two separate things – they actually go hand-in-hand. A financial planner will evaluate your “state of the household” and gather information like income, debts, mortgage payment and current rate.

Suggestions on how to save, invest more and pay less may come to the table. Mortgage included.

A planner might recognize that your mortgage rate is high and suggest trying to refinance. Or, if you’re eligible for a loan program like the VA loan, a planner can guide you to knowing how to take the steps to secure your benefits.

If you’re sitting down with a financial planner, make sure to review your mortgage and call our team if you need a second opinion, mortgage advice or would like to apply for a loan or refinance your house.

We love working with clients coming from financial planners. We know what you need and are ready to assist you.

Which Comes First – VA Lender or Realtor?

va-lender-and-real-estate-agentSo you want to buy a house with your VA loan.

We recommend working with a VA Lender FIRST – then finding a real estate agent to guide you to that perfect dream home.

The VA Loan process isn’t hard … but it does take a few steps to get pre-approved and have the loan secured. If you plan to use your VA benefit to buy a house (highly recommended if eligible), get your ducks in a row when it comes to financing first.

We’ll Help You With the Paperwork

When you work with our team, we’ll clearly outline all of the steps needed to process a VA loan. We’ll even help you obtain the documents you need. Some may include:

  • DD214 (retired/non-active) OR Statement of Service (active)
  • COE (Certificate of Eligibility)
  • Proof of VA disability (if applicable)
  • Copy of orders to base (if active)

(See the VA Loan Checklist for everything you’ll need.)

Is this not making sense? Don’t worry – call us and we’ll explain it:  816-875-6392.

Our Role as a VA Lender

As a VA lender, we will help you know what documents to get, outline the process of securing a VA loan for you, arrange pre-approval and then process your VA loan.

We recommend you go through these steps before you find a house and make an offer.

This will help your home buying process go smoother, especially since you want to use the VA loan.

What if I already have a real estate agent but want to use the VA loan?

There is no guide that says you HAVE TO secure your VA loan pre-approval before looking at houses or working with a real estate agent. Although we recommend it, we work with clients who’ve found a house and want to make an offer all of the time.

We will work with you and your agent to promptly get all of the papers and forms you’ll need.

Since we specialize in VA loans, we know the process like the back of our hands. We’ll make things simple for you to understand and easy for your real estate agents.

If you’d like our assistance with your VA Loan, regardless of the stage you’re in, please contact our team at Midwest VA Loans today!

Saluting Whiteman’s B-2 Crew in Korea

B-2-bomber-whitemanIt appears that some of our friends at Whiteman Air Force Base have shown off their strength (or should we say flying skills) over the past few weeks. The news is full of stories and information surrounding North Korea’s tension right now.

It looks like our guys and gals stationed in Missouri have been called in.

B-2 from Whiteman Used in Korea situation

Whiteman is home to the B-2 Stealth Bomber. This beautiful plane shows up not only at Chiefs and Royals games around here but it’s one of the most beautiful, powerful and strategic assets to the U.S. military. According to Airforce-technology.com,

The B-2 is a low-observable, strategic, long-range, heavy bomber capable of penetrating sophisticated and dense air-defense shields. It is capable of all-altitude attack missions up to 50,000ft, with a range of more than 6,000nm unrefuelled and over 10,000nm with one refuelling, giving it the ability to fly to any point in the world within hours.

We know that – and now, so does North Korea.

According to CNN’s report,

March 28: US flies nuclear-capable B-2 Spirit bombers over South Korea

The stealth bombers flew from Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri to drop inert munitions as part of annual joint US-South Korea military exercises. The US military said the mission demonstrated “the United States’ ability to conduct long range, precision strikes quickly and at will.”

The threats of “merciless” attacks by North Korea have spurred our Department of Defense to show our military strength while trying to reduce tension and prevent attacks.

The B-2 is one of the ways the DoD is showing our strength.

We Salute the Brave

We nod our head in confidence and comfort that our team out of Whiteman AFB is getting involved in the North Korea situation. We hope each serviceman and woman shows strength and returns home safely.

Our team is always here to support veterans, especially those out of Whiteman AFB. From helping military families with VA loans to getting you the resources you need – please let our team know if we can help in any way.

We’re here help with the home of the brave.