Tax season is coming to an end and by now, most of you have filed your tax return and you might be getting some money back.
What do you have planned to do with your tax return? Pay off debt? Vacation? Perhaps a little of both? "This year, rather than spend your tax refund on a vacation, buying a new TV or some other splurge, consider investing in your future and putting it towards the down payment on your home" suggests Certainty Home Loans . "With a sizable tax refund, the average American would have a decent down payment depending on which region or market you live in. The average tax refund was $2,860 for most Americans last year." states Economist Outlook .
They continue to say that, "[...] those between the ages of 18-34, six percent would use their tax refund to make a purchase of a car, home etc. Among those who are in the age range of 35-44, nine percent were likely to make an investment in a car or home etc. However, those ages 45-54 only planned to use one percent of their tax refund to make an investment of a car, home etc. That makes the 18-44 group the most likely to invest and possibly take advantage of using their tax refund to partake of the American dream." 
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You decide to apply your tax refund toward the purchase of a home. Now what?
I strongly encourage any potential home buyer to start the conversation with a local lender. By talking with a lender, you create a financial rapport with their institution. A lender can provide free credit and debt-relief advice and help you create a PLAN to get into a home. They can, most importantly, help you decide what loan programs are best for you. Such programs include:
USDA (Rural Development) – No down payment required
VA – Usually no down payment required. Depends on entitlement amount, purchase price, and parish limit
FHA – 3.5% down paymentDown Payment Assistance. Use to offset down payment or closing costs
Conventional – 3% or more down payment
First time buyers can even get up to an additional $2,000 tax credit each year! [Team Move Mortgage, 3]
So what if you qualify for a 100% loan financing program?
DO NOT blow your tax return! Here are a few ways to be financially savvy with this extra money:
Use the tax refund to pay additional closing costs, inspection costs, appraisal costs, etc
Pay off debts to help qualify for stronger loan programs (MUST talk to a lender before paying off a debt or collection! Paying off large sums of debt while trying to qualify for a loan program can do a lot more harm than good!)
Keep the refund in the bank as reserves. More reserves equals better chance of approval
Pay down credit card balances to raise credit scores
Have money for furniture, curtains, or an emergency fund as a homeowner 
I hope this information will help you make a more sound decision when you get your hands on this additional money. If you're ready to start the home buying process, please call, text, or shoot me an e-mail. I'd love to introduce you to my lending partners, and be your trusted, real estate partner!
Barden Realty is YOUR LOCAL real estate team here to help you fulfill for ALL of your real estate needs! Originally started in Mandeville, La., we specialize in assisting home buyers and sellers of all kinds. We look forward to helping you!
You have GOT to see the inside of this Lakeshore beauty!
"Ron helped us purchase a rental investment house in the Covington area. He was very knowledgeable about the area and exceptional when helping us find a house that fit our criteria. He let us know immediately when new homes came on the market. He found us the ideal property under fair market value with a great return on investment."