Is Now a Good Time to Buy?

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Research is showing that housing prices are still on the rise. Although the local market is considered a “seller’s market”, is it actually a good time to buy? The simple answer is yes!

As your financial partner, we want to always make sure to steer you in the right direction and ensure that we are providing the best rates, service, and advice. If you are curious about your options we have mortgage experts available to help with all of your home buying needs.

The biggest benefit of buying a home in the current market is that interest rates are still low. You can buy a home from us with a 30 year fixed conventional loan, and receive a rate as low as 3.125%*. Before the market crash in 2008, interest rates were sitting around 6.00%. The difference between the two rates is thousands of dollars when paid back over a 30 year period.

However, there is currently no guarantee that the rates will remain low. The government is currently helping influence the lower rate, but there have been rumors for some time now indicating that this “influence” will stop sooner than later and allow the market to adjust accordingly (meaning the rates will rise).

On top of great interest rates for home loans, tax benefits of homeownership are great too! Don’t wait too long to decide to buy. Visit https://uccu.mortgagewebcenter.com/ to be pre-qualified today or call us at 801-223-7640 to speak to a home loan specialist today!

*Please note that the interest rate shown here are available based on a 740+ credit score. The actual interest rate and fees available to you will be based on your credit history and may be different than the rates displayed here.
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Simple Steps to Buying Your First Home

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Buying your first home doesn’t have to be intimidating. Follow these simple steps designed to help you through the home buying process.

  1. Get pre-qualified – Meet with a qualified home loan specialist to find out exactly how much you qualify for, and what documentation you will need to provide. A credit check will usually be completed by this part of the process.Documentation Needed for Pre-qualification:

    A. 2 recent pay-stubs
    B. 2 months of bank statements to verify funds that will be used
    C. Government issued ID
    D. Most recent year’s tax returns

  2. Find a home – Now that you’re pre-qualified, it’s easier to find the right home. A realtor can help you find the right home for you and, when ready, help with the purchase contract. They are a great resource, but aren’t required for the home-buying process.
  1. Begin loan application – Pre-qualification was just a preliminary step. Once you find a home, and have an accepted offer, we can begin the loan application. If anything has changed since your pre-qualification, updated documentation may be necessary along with a copy of the purchase contract for the home.

4. Complete Due Diligence – A buyer’s due diligence are the things the buyer needs to complete to finish the home purchase. These include:

A. Home inspection
B. Final loan approval

5. Closing – Once all the above steps are completed, you’re ready to close. This is the big day! All parties involved will schedule times to sign the necessary documents to transfer home ownership to you.

 

 

 

The home buying process can seem daunting, but don’t let that overwhelm you. Any Mortgage Loan Professional at Utah Community Credit Union can help walk you through the process. Speak to our mortgage professionals today at 801.223.7640.

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Now is the Time to Refinance

HomeLoanRates@HistoricLows_1If you’ve been thinking about refinancing or buying a home, now may be the time to move on it. Rising home prices are being offset by home loan rates that remain near historic lows.

Home Prices on the Up and Up
Home prices, including distressed sales, rose by 6.8 percent from February 2015 to February 2016, according to housing data analytics firm CoreLogic. Month-over-month prices also were up 1.1 percent from January to February. Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic, said this trend will continue, noting the “economic forces” of lower home loan rates and strong job creation will support the 5.2 percent home price increase CoreLogic projected for 2016.

Loan Rates Hovered Near Historic Lows in April
While home prices continue to rise throughout much of the country, homebuyers are benefitting from attractive home loan rates. In fact, monthly payments have been tempered by home loan rates hovering near historic lows.

Home loan rates can improve when there is mixed or weak economic data, as well as uncertainty overseas like the recent global economic slowdown. That’s because these factors typically cause investors to move their money into “safer” investments like Bonds, and home loan rates are tied to Mortgage Bonds. When Mortgage Bonds improve, so do home loan rates.

However, strong job growth in the first part of this year signals continued improvement in our economy. If other economic indicators gain traction and also show improvement, investors could move their money from Bonds and into Stocks, to take advantage of gains. Though many factors impact the markets, strong economic news could cause home loan rates to increase.

Finding the Home of Your Dreams
As the spring buying season continues to heat up, more families may be rushing to cash in on historically low home loan rates. That means finding the right property—and landing it—may be a mad dash for limited inventory. March Existing Home Sales were up 1.5 percent from a year ago, and March Existing Home Sales jumped 5.1 percent from February’s sharp decline to an annual rate of 5.33 million units. While sales are good, the National Association of REALTORS® reported that March’s existing housing inventory showed 4.5 months’ worth of supply; a six-month supply is viewed as normal.

Housing Starts, which measures the number of residential units on which construction has begun, also were up in March over a year ago by 14.2 percent. Building Permits, which are a sign of future construction, declined 7.7 percent from February to March 2016, hitting a 12-month low of 1.09 million units.

If you are in the market for a home, or if you’re considering a refinance, home loan rates remain in historically low territory. Please don’t hesitate to contact UCCU if you have any questions about rates, home loan products or refinancing.

 

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Home Maintenance Tips

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Spring is the time for home improvements and repairs. According to some experts, home repairs usually cost approximately $1,700 each year*.  That is a large amount of money, and without a plan, that amount could be devastating in the future.  Here are some reasons why you should make home improvements.

Home Maintenance = Home Equity

Buying a home is a great investment.  You buy a home, and most likely you eventually sell that home.  Putting a certain sum of money into your home each year improves the value, but also makes it more livable as time goes on.

“Be Prepared”

Disasters will happen whether it’s a leaking roof, water drainage, plumbing problems or termite damage etc.  How can you be prepared?  The rule of thumb for home improvement is putting away 1% of your home’s value each year.  For example, if your home is worth $175,000, you would put away $1,750 each year or $145 a month for home maintenance**. By doing so, you can plan accordingly for those incidentals that so often come with owning a home.

Home Upgrades

There are many ways you can improve and increase the value of your home. Home additions can make a space more functional while adding value. Another great spot in the house that offers the best return on investment is the Kitchen. Upgrading appliances, installing fresh tile, and upgrading your counter tops are some great ways to improve the value.

Funding Home Maintenance

Obviously home improvements are essential and cost money.  Planning a budget for home maintenance is not as difficult as it sounds.  In fact, there are many ways to create a budget like obtaining a home equity loan, taking out from a personal budget, or making a home maintenance savings plan every month.  Your home is a great investment, so take care of that investment, and make financial plans to make it better!

If you have any questions, or want to look into a Home Equity Loan, click HERE to visit our website for details.

Sources
*http://balancepro.net/education/publications/fixhomerepairmaintenanceplan.html
**http://go.hfcu.org/blog/bid/138553/Should-I-use-home-equity-for-maintenance-and-upkeep-of-my-house

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Home Buying With An Expert

 

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How a UCCU home buying expert helped George West of North Carolina buy a home without the stress.

George West was ready to come home. “I was born and raised in Provo,” said George. “I met my future wife in junior high school, was a proud Bulldog at Provo High, and received my degrees from BYU. I even bought the house I grew up in from my parents.”

After college, George’s career took him all over the world, including New York, Beijing, and Hong Kong. Finally, after living and working in North Carolina, George and his wife were ready to move back to Utah Valley to retire. “By that time, my kids were living in my house,” George said. “So we needed to find a new home. I just didn’t know we’d find one so fast.” After only three days of searching, the Wests found a house that had just arrived on the market… a house that was perfect for them.

George needed help and he needed it fast. Fortunately, he knew that UCCU had Home Buying Experts at work in every branch. “I just picked the closest branch, in Pleasant Grove, and walked in,” he said. “Actually, the branch was already closed. Fortunately, Brandon Searle, one of UCCU’s home buying experts working in Pleasant Grove, opened the door and let me in.  He didn’t mind staying after hours, just to help me.”

From there, Brandon began the process of helping the Wests into their home. “Brandon was wonderful,” George recalls. “He was very knowledgeable, not only with mortgages but with the whole buying process. He even gave us guidance that helped us save thousands of dollars. I would never have saved all of that money otherwise.”

For many, the home-buying process can be filled with obstacles, and Brandon helped the Wests navigate easily through them all. “We had to deal with our bank in North Carolina and Brandon made that so easy,” said George. “In the case of this home, there were also issues with the city and non-standard documentation needs, and Brandon took care of everything. He went out of his way to make it a smooth process for us. We’ve now closed on our home and we’re very, very happy.”

To read more stories, click here to read more articles from our BeMoneySmart Magazine.

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Meet your Mortgage Loan Officer

Here at UCCU, we have been helping people buy their homes in our community for decades.  We have experienced home buying experts that will help you every step of the way through the home buying process.  When it comes to real estate, most people have a lot of questions, your mortgage loan officer can help with any question, big or small.

With over 50 mortgage programs offered through UCCU, it’s important to have a mortgage loan officer you can trust.  Our loan officers view each client as a unique individual, along with the value of understanding regulatory changes to ensure each client gets the best financial plan for them.  While everyone’s situation is different, your mortgage loan officer can help you find the perfect solutions to your mortgage loan needs.

We provide 3 easy steps to follow as you prepare to purchase your home:

Finding your price range

The key to finding the perfect home is to find the right price that fits your budget.  A home buying expert will help you determine your price range.  Online calculators may be convenient, but they may not tell the whole story.  Other questions may arise such as property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, etc.  Getting help from a home buying expert is a quick and easy process.

Shopping for your home

You’ve been looking for months for your dream home, but having some complications along the way?  Your home buying expert will help you find the home you’ve been dreaming of.  We have the right information that makes searching for you home simple and stress free.

Closing your loan 

Finally, you have found the right home for the right price!  But now gathering all your documents and getting your loan ready for final approval can feel overwhelming.  That’s why your home buying expert will be right by your side every step of the way.  From ordering a home appraisal to locking the lowest possible interest rate and seeking approval from an underwriter.  UCCU has full time underwriters, which is a huge advantage for home buyers.  Your home buying expert will even be there when you close your loan.

So relax!  Our home buying experts make the home buying process easy, simple, and stress free.  We have all the tools you need to purchase your home from start to finish.  So make your home buying experience a fun and pleasant one with your UCCU home buying expert!

Ready to get started?  Visit our UCCU Buyer Relax page to take your first step!

Ready to apply? Visit our Home Loan Center page to get started!

Click here to search for a Home Buying Expert near you!

For questions, please call 801-223-7640

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Get Ready for Spring With a Home Equity Loan

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Spring is just around the corner, which means warmer weather, a different wardrobe, and home improvement.  Are you planning on a spring filled with a list of projects for your home?  A home equity loan is a perfect place to start! UCCU’s home equity loan experts are here to assist you with all of your needs.  There are no fees to worry about, and home equity lines of credit always have fixed-rates.  UCCU’s home equity professionals are trained and ready to assist and answer any questions you have about your home equity loans.

Home Equity Line of Credit

A line of credit is often used to cover expenses that you may incur over a period of time; used similar to a credit card. UCCU has fixed rate home equity lines of credit for 5, 7, & 10 year terms and even a Flex Pay option where you can pay the interest only for 7 years.  Variable APR can be as low as 3.74%-4.24%.

Home Equity Loans and Mini Mortgages 

Home Equity Loans and our Mini Mortgages are often used for one-time expenses. You receive the funds in a lump sum (as opposed to a line of credit that is revolving). Also a great solution if you’re looking to pay off your home in the near future. UCCU has low fixed rates and excellent terms.  Mini Mortgages can range between 5-10 years for the 1st mortgage.  Home Equity Loan or a 2nd mortgage will be up to 10 years.  These fixed APR options are also as low as 3.24%-4.25%.

So even if you are you looking to repair or remodel your home, to pay for your child’s education, or need assistance to pay off high interest credit card debit, our home equity loans are a perfect way to help your upcoming financial projects.

So put your home to work and receive financial assistance from a home equity loan.  Applying for your home equity is simple and can be done in as little as 20 minutes. Complete the form online and we will create customized quotes based on your loan details.

For any questions or if you are ready to apply please call one of our home equity professionals today at 801-223-7650 or email us at homeequity@uccu.com.  You can also visit one of our local branches and speak to a professional in person!

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5 Mortgage Shopping Tips

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Buying a home is exciting but also stressful.  It requires research, patience, and time to find that perfect home you’ve been dreaming of.  What most people do not understand are the many options they can choose from when it comes to their mortgage loan.  Did you know there are just as many options for a mortgage loan as the houses you will be looking at? Here are 5 mortgage shopping tips you should consider before settling on your mortgage payment:

1. Talk to a mortgage professional

A mortgage professional can help you find the right price for the right home.  Here at Utah Community Credit Union, our mortgage loan officers will determine your price range and see if your credit score is ready for a mortgage and if not, we can help you improve your score and get you in the house that is right for you. Sure, online payment calculators are convenient, but do they tell the whole story?  Often times they leave out property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, HOA fees and other missing expenses.  At UCCU we have home buying experts at all 18 of our branches around Utah, Wasatch, and Juab counties ready to assist and answer all of your home buying questions.  So please come and visit us–it’s a quick and painless process!

2. Find which type of loan is best for you

There are dozens of different mortgage loan options to choose from. That’s why our mortgage professionals are available to help you find the right loan for you.  The three most common types of mortgage loans are:

  • Fixed Rate- Conventional

A fixed rate is exactly what it sounds like – a set interest rate that will not change over the life of the loan, which is usually 15, 20, or – most commonly – 30 years.

  • Adjustable-Rate (ARM) or Variable Rate:

Usually offers a lower initial interest rate that will fluctuate over the life of the loan, rising as interest rates rise. Hybrid adjustable-rate programs include fixed rate features  (i.e. 3/1, 5/1,  etc).

  • Federal Housing

Insured by the federal government, FHA loans often qualify buyers more flexibly than traditional fixed loans and only require a 3.5% down payment. Mortgage Insurance is required for all FHA loans.

3. Looking for the right home

Many questions arise when looking for the right home.  Do I need a real estate agent?  What kind of home am I looking for? Single family home? Condominium? Townhouse?  Having the right information is essential when purchasing your new home. That’s why at UCCU we can answer all of your questions and get you the help you need.

4. Avoid timing the market

You have finally found the right home, at the right price, in the right location.  Don’t hesitate, go for it! Many people often feel they need to chase a mortgage rate that is just a little better.  Mortgage rates are unpredictable, so if it’s the right place at the right time, why wait?

5. Closing your loan

So you have finally found the right home at the right price with the right loan.  Great!  The last step is closing your loan. Gathering all of your loan documents for final approval can be overwhelming, but don’t worry, our home buying experts will be there every step of the way. Our experts will guide you through everything from ordering a home appraisal, to locking your interest rate, and getting final approval for your underwriter.

Now you are ready to buy a home, congratulations!  It may seem like a complicated process, but at Utah Community Credit Union we can help you relax.

Visit our website UCCUrelax.com for videos, mortgage information, and steps to follow for the ideal home buying experience.

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Mortgage Rates Have Dropped in 2015

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2015 is a new year for everyone. Amid all of the New Year’s resolutions, many people are trying to save money and get more financially sound.

At UCCU we want to help you reach your goals. If you thought you missed the refinance windowthink again. Mortgage Rates have dropped! Call UCCU for a free mortgage analysis to see if a refinance might make sense for you. Any of our qualified Mortgage Loan professionals can help you calculate a mortgage rate that keeps your goals in mind while benefiting you the most. 

Visit any one of our 18 branch locations or call us at 801-223-7640 to find out how you can meet your financial goals this year

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Lower Your Home Equity Payment Today

Consolidate your debt into one loan with one low payment.

With UCCU’s new Low Payment Calculation, you can consolidate your debt into one loan and one really low payment! No-fee home equity lines of credit–with Low Payment Calculation–available right now at UCCU. Only 1.99% Fixed APR for nine months, then 3.74% Variable APR thereafter.

For more information visit uccu.com or call us at 801.223.7650

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