Monthly Archives: May 2016

Renting vs. Buying A Home

Renting vs. Buying A Home

Jumping into the ring of home ownership is an exciting milestone! There are many ways owning a home can impact you and your family. How do you know when to rent and when to make the move to purchasing your home? Heartland Bank is here to help with our handy guide to the pros and cons of renting or owning a home.



  1. No wealth creation. As your payments go directly to your landlord and not the specific property, you are unable to build equity and reap the return on investments from the home’s growing value.
  2. No tax benefits. While homeowners can deduct property taxes and mortgage interest payments from their federal income tax, renters can’t claim deductions for housing costs.
  3. Dependent on the landlord. For everything ranging from utilities, to paint, to the rent dollars themselves, your landlord makes the majority of the decisions when it comes to renting a home. Depending on your lease, your landlord can increase the rent increase each year, or month!


  1. Accommodates flexible lifestyles. If you travel frequently for work, leisure, or medical care, you may not have the time or availability to take care of a home. Renting allows an affordable accommodation without any hassle of renovations or repairs.
  2. Freedom in allocating finances. For renters, expenses such as mortgage insurance, real estate taxes, and home maintenance costs, can instead be funneled into savings, stocks or discretionary funds after the monthly rent and utilities are paid.
  3. Reduced insurance costs. Apart from renters insurance that covers the interior of a home, costly homeowners insurance and unexpected repairs belongs to the landlord, not the tenant.



  1. Unexpected costs. Leaky roofs, backed-up pipes, and cracking foundations create thousands of dollars worth of unplanned repairs that stretch your budget to accommodate.
  2. You’re locked in. Once you sign on the dotted line the house is yours, and so are the payments.
  3. Fluctuating home value. Despite your best efforts, your home can become less marketable based on circumstances out of your control. A declining neighborhood, housing surplus, or unstable market can decrease the value of your home despite well done renovations.


  1. Fixed monthly payments. Homeowners with fixed-rate mortgages can trust that their mortgage payment will stay consistent each month, enabling the creation of a stable monthly budget.
  2. Financial gains. From tax credits to equity building, home ownership offers buyers a number of monetary perks and freedoms they wouldn’t receive as tenants.
  3. Freedom in expression. A kitchen remodel, a four-season porch addition, and other decorative transformations are all up to a homeowner’s discretion with no strings attached to a lease agreement.

Still on the fence? Our experts at Heartland Bank can sit down with you to help make a guided decision that suits both your lifestyle and your financials. Call and set up an appointment with us today!

The Top 10 Changes That Can Add Value To Your Home

Top 10 Tweaks That Add Value to Your Home

Just like purchasing your home, selling it is a journey all its own. Whether you’re aiming to sell your home in one year or five, you can make a number of small changes that offer a big return on your home’s value. Try these key improvements and see the effect on your next home assessment.

  1. An eye-catching entrance. As the gateway into your home, your front door will set the tone for what’s within. Update your door bell, paint the front door, and hang a spring wreath to tie it all together.
  2. Energy-efficient updates: Updating appliances, windows, and fixtures, to their more green counterparts can set your home apart with the attractive promise of future savings.
  3. Low-maintenance landscaping: While flowers are eye-catching, shrubs and drought-resistant greenery make great visual impact with the promise of less hassle.
  4. A thorough clean. A deep clean of carpets, curtains, and corners will make your home sparkle and create a positive first impression. Hiring a professional cleaning service may also help to remove hard-to-clean grime and overlooked areas.
  5. De-cluttered rooms. A tidy house doesn’t always feel open. Heavy curtains, overstuffed couches, and rooms devoid of sunlight can make buyers cautious of square footage. Rid the room of nothing but bare essentials and simplistic furniture to maximize the area of the space.
  6. Extra mirrors. To double the feel of any room, strategically place mirrors to create an illusion of extra space.
  7. Small updates to big places. Kitchens and bathrooms are focal points in the selling process. Without the time and cost of a major remodel, small updates like new lighting, fresh paint, or modern accessories can add value to your home on a budget.
  8. Revamped flooring: Thin or threadbare carpets can raise alarms for buyers as they visualize the daunting need to replace the tired flooring. As your budget allows, replace your home’s carpet beginning high-traffic areas and working outwards.
  9. Modern lighting. Updating light fixtures to a timeless and simple feel, help to elevate a home’s design and gives the potential buyer a blank canvas to imagine life in their new home.
  10. A professional opinion. In under an hour, a trained interior designer can provide suggestions for small tweaks, such as furniture arrangement or paint color adjustments, which can increase your home’s value with limited investment.

While improvements are not a guarantee of improved value, they can make all the difference when drawing in interested buyers. If some of your home-improvement projects require a bigger investment than your budget expected, our lending officers at Heartland Bank can work to help you secure the HELOC you need.

5 Financial Tips for Farmers

Growing Your Agricultural Financial Future

Feeding America isn’t the job for everyone, but for the select few, a career in agriculture is the epitome of making a difference in the world. Getting up at dawn, and getting in at dusk, many rural farmers have daily tasks which keep them running 24/7. At Heartland Bank we’d like to help make one of those endless tasks just a little bit easier. We’ll show you how to maximize your operation’s cash flow and build a better financial future – just follow these five steps!

  1. Choose Your Agriculture Strategy

There are three types of agricultural operations, highly efficient, low-cost, and extended value. These types of operations vary drastically, but come down to one single component – what is your agricultural brand? Is your operation synonymous with high quality production, high quantity production, or is it in a unique form of production all its own? Once you determine what you want to be known for, you can begin to shape your operation around the principles of which that drives.

  1. Utilize State and Federal Programs

With programs backed by the USDA and various State organizations, there are endless solutions available to farmers today. From helping you secure a place to all home, to offering various land subsidies to supplement your income, there are a large variety of ways to maximize these programs tailored to help deserving farmers.

  1. Evaluate Your Investments and Profitability

By creating a continual plan with your equipment purchases and other investments you can add some much needed structure to your operation’s money management. Keep track of your loans and your timeline to repay them. By being aware of the revenue needed to continue these repayments, in addition to making profit, you can set attainable goals to help keep your operation on target.

  1. Review Hazard and Fire Insurance Coverage

When examining your current policy you may find you’re paying for coverage that your operation doesn’t need. Work with your agent to determine if a new policy could help you decrease costs, while still maintaining the coverage you need.

  1. Keep Your Operation on Budget

Recording a detailed account for your income and expenditures can help you ensure that you continue a healthy cash flow. By keeping continuous records, and detailed reports, you may find that you have been missing out on previously unused tax benefits. Staying organized and understanding your current financial state can also help you to make more knowledgeable decisions when seeking additional funds for future expenditures.

No matter if you’ve been farming for fifteen years or fifty, there are always new things to learn! Take a fresh look at your operation’s finances today, and let Heartland Bank help get your operation where you want it to be. Stop by this morning and speak with one of our knowledgeable lenders – we’ll get the coffee!