Buying a House

With mortgage rates at historic lows and housing prices still reasonable, purchasing a home is more affordable than it has been in years, and credit unions offer you the best rates and service in this important process. Below are some things to consider when buying a home.

  • You Should Stay Put: If you don’t think you’re going to remain in one location for at least three to five years, owning a house is most likely not for you at this point in time. If you do, you might lose money given the costs of buying and selling a home.

  • Shore up Your Credit. Make sure your credit history is as clean as possible. A few months before you start house hunting, get copies of your credit report. Make sure the facts are correct, and fix any problems you discover.

  • What Kind of House Can You Afford? Experts have long said you should buy a house that’s two-and-a-half times your annual salary. But if you’re interested in knowing whether you can buy that house you’ve had your heart set on, use our mortgage calculator to get a better idea on how your income, debts, and expenses affect what you can afford.

  • Start Saving. At one point, 20-percent down payments were the norm for most homebuyers. Then during the boom years of the early 2000s, zero-down payments become quite popular. Today, experts say, people have to have a least some form of down payment. If you don’t have 20 percent, or close to it, you might end up with a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan. FHA’s required down payment can be as low as 3.5 percent. If you have more—like 5 percent—you might qualify for a conventional loan. There are a number of lenders—like many credit unions—who may offer low-interest mortgages that don’t require a large down payment.

  • Should I Get Pre-Approved? Yes. Getting pre-approved will save you the grief of looking at houses you can't afford and put you in a better position to make a serious offer when you do find the right house. This is different from pre-qualification, which is based on a cursory review of your finances. Getting pre-approved by a lender is based on your income, debt, and credit history.

  • Get Professional Help. Even with information on the Internet, you can definitely benefit from professional help and knowledge. Your credit union stands by; ready and able to help you achieve your dream of home ownership. As a member-owner of your credit union, you can trust your credit union to put your interests first.

  • Consider the Area’s Schools. Even if you are single or don’t have school-age children, it pays to consider the school district in your area. The main reason: If you sell, you'll learn that strong school districts are a top priority for many home buyers, thus helping to boost property values.

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