It’s Rose Fest time again!

The Portland Rose Festival is celebrating over 100 years this year, and their theme is “Excessive Celebration.” USACU will be celebrating right along with the Rose Fest (especially since this year we celebrate our 80th year!) with our Fleet Week booth at Tom McCall Waterfront Park. We’ll have a free photo booth, and we’ll be giving away some fun stuff too… so stop on by, snap a pic and say ‘hi’. We’d love to see you!

We’ll be there:

June 10th & 11th
10am – 4pm
(near the ship tour entrance)

View pics from Fleet Week 2015
More info about Fleet Week

Questions? Contact us.

 

Our First Two Winners!

We’re excited to congratulate USACU’s first two Save to Win monthly winners — Spencer C. & Jonathan C. Spencer and Jonathan each received prizes of $25 for their participation in the Save to Win program. For every $25 deposited into their Save to Win account, they earned one entry into the monthly, quarterly and annual prize drawings. They’re both looking forward to saving for more entries into next month’s drawings!

Save to Win, which has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and on PBS and NPR, was developed by the Doorways to Dreams Fund, the Filene Research Institute and the Michigan Credit Union league. Michigan was the first state to offer the Save to Win program in 2009. Since then, several other states joined this prize-linked savings program, which include Connecticut, Indiana, Illinois, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Virginia and Washington & last month- Oregon. To date, the program has awarded more than $17 million in prizes and has helped credit union members save more than $100 million nationwide.

To learn more about Save to Win at USAgencies Credit Union, visit https://www.usacu.org/savetowin.

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Homebuying 101: Refinancing – What to Consider

Throughout the next several weeks we’ll be posting articles and info on various aspects of the home buying process. Topics will cover everything from saving for a down payment, to refinancing, to purchasing investment properties, and more. We encourage you to connect with us on any questions you might have, and to share this information with friends and family.

Summer is just around the corner and it’s prime home-buying time. However, not everyone is in the market to buy. If you’re happy with your current home, you can still take advantage of some of the lowest mortgage rates we’ve seen by refinancing your mortgage. There are three main reasons to refinance your home: to save money, to borrow cash against your equity, or to do a combination of the two.

 

Refinance to Save

If you’re trying to save money by reducing your monthly payments, you need to divide cost of getting the loan by the monthly payment savings. This will tell you how many months it will take for you to “break even” and start saving money. If you plan on staying in the home past the time frame shown, you should refinance. Here’s a good rule to follow:

If the “break even” point is…

Under 3 years: Good time to refinance

3 to 5 years: Consider options carefully

5 years or more: Best to wait and refinance later

If your overall goal is to refinance to a shorter term loan (for instance going from 30 to a 15-year mortgage) to pay your house off faster, be sure the rate is dropping enough to recover the costs as if the refinance was a 30-year loan. If it doesn’t, you should just start pre-paying principle on your current loan at the 15-year payment amount instead of refinancing and paying costs.

 

Refinance for Cash

You can get cash for any purpose you want: home improvements, pay off debts, family needs – there are no restrictions based upon how the cash will be used. The common 30-year fixed first mortgage allows you to borrow up to 80% of the appraised value for the refinance loan amount.

The two other ways people choose to borrow cash are with a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) or a Home Equity Loan.

 

Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC)

A HELOC is a revolving line of credit that allows borrowers to obtain a predetermined amount of money drawn against the equity of their home. (Think of it as a “credit card” secured by a mortgage or deed of trust on the property). Borrowers will be approved for a specific amount of credit (their credit limit), which is the maximum amount of money they can borrow at one time. The credit limit is normally set by the lender based on a percentage of the home’s appraised value and subtracting that from the balance still owed on the first mortgage. Additional factors will also be used to determine a credit limit such as: income, debts, credit history and ability to make payments. HELOC funds can be accessed by special checks or a credit card.

Many HELOC plans have fixed periods known as “draw” and “repayment” periods – which can vary in length. During the draw period the borrower is able to borrow money and may have smaller monthly payments or interest-only payments. Some plans call for payment in full by the end of the draw period; other plans that use a repayment period ask that the money be paid over that fixed amount of time, or may have a repayment period and balloon payment at the end.

A HELOC is good for borrowers who desire a lower up-front rate and access to money at unpredictable times. Borrowers will only need to pay back the amount of money that is actually used from the line of credit and they only face credit reviews on a 1 to 3 year basis. Competition among lenders has encouraged the growth of introductory “teaser” rates and other incentives.

 

Home Equity Loan

A Home Equity Loan is an example of a second mortgage. Borrowers receive a check for the entire loan amount and will need to make payments on the loan until it’s paid off.

Home Equity Loans are a good choice for borrowers who need a specific amount of money and payment stability. These are fixed rate loans which allow borrowers to lock-in the interest rate for the entire life of the loan. Unlike a HELOC, there are no annual (or “maintenance”) fees associated with this type of loan.

Note: The combined mortgage along with either the HELOC or Home Equity Loan typically cannot exceed 80% of the current value of the home. 

 

Your Choice Home Equity Options

If a Home Equity Loan or Line of Credit is the right option for you, USACU has a special promotion running during the month of May: Your Choice Home Equity Options. Click here for more info or to apply (limited time only).

 

Next Steps…

For more detailed information about the refinancing process and different financing options, please contact an experienced mortgage loan officer, like Steven Raymond, VP of Residential Lending at USACU. Steven can help you evaluate your current financial situation, your long term goals and help you make the best decision possible.

For more info on our Home Equity Loans or Lines of Credit, including our ‘Your Choice Home Equity‘ promotion, please contact Lending Services (503.275.0300, opt. 2).

Questions?

Steven Raymond, VP or Residential Lending at USAgencies Credit Union, has over 30 years of experience in the mortgage industry. Steven’s seen it all, as far as mortgages go. If you have questions—about refinancing, getting pre-approved, or anything else mortgage-related—talk to Steven!

Steven Raymond 
Vice President of Residential Lending, NMLS#: 234025
Direct: (503) 275-0329
Toll-free: (800) 452-0915 x329
Email: sraymond@usacu.org

Ready to go?
Apply for a mortgage online now.

Equal Housing Lender Logo blog

USAgencies Credit Union
NMLS#: 441193

 

 

Homebuying 101: Investment Properties

Throughout the next several weeks we’ll be posting articles and info on various aspects of the home buying process. Topics will cover everything from saving for a down payment, to refinancing, to purchasing investment properties, and more. We encourage you to connect with us on any questions you might have, and to share this information with friends and family.

With mortgage rates near all-time lows, now might be a good time to consider purchasing a rental property. The process of purchasing a rental home will vary depending on your circumstances, but here are a few considerations involved with the process:

What type of down payment will you have for the property?

Your down payment will impact how much home you can afford and can influence your rate, depending on the loan-to-value (LTV) of the property. Typically, one can get a better rate with a 75% LTV ratio, compared to one of 85% (loans greater than 80% LTV will also require mortgage insurance). The interest rate will vary based on the percentage of down payment (25, 20, 15). In addition to your required down payment you will need to have the equivalent of six months of PITI (principal, interest, taxes, and insurance), based on the property, in savings as a reserve.

Is this your first rental property?

Borrowers who have demonstrated income from other rental properties in their past two years’ tax returns are treated differently than those who are purchasing their first rental property. A soon-to-be new landlord will need to qualify for the new loan using their existing resources (assets, income, etc.) and will not be able to use anticipated rental income from the new property. Those with past rental income, as demonstrated in their past two years’ tax returns, will be able to claim a portion of the   income derived from the new rental property to qualify for the new loan.

I want to purchase a different home and want to rent out my current home. What do I need to know?

As mentioned in the previous question, you will need to have a certain amount for the down payment for the new primary home and that will depend in part on the purchase price of the home. Additionally, you will need to qualify for both the old payment (PITI) and the new payment (PITI) unless you have a documented landlord history. With landlord history you can use a portion of the estimated rental income from the new rental property to assist in qualifying for the new loan.

What if I am looking at a Vacation Home that I will be using as a Second Home?

There is different treatment for vacation or second homes that are not used as rental properties. Treatment for second or vacation homes tends to be more favorable and is typically treated the same as your primary residence.

I’ve heard that if I buy a home with all-cash, I can get a better deal. Is that true?

Maybe, but that is not guaranteed. Keep in mind that if you pay cash up front, you will need to wait a minimum of six months before you can potentially qualify for a loan on that property. You will need a new appraisal on the property if you choose to explore refinancing that property after you purchase it with all cash.

What is the process for getting a pre-approval for a Rental Home?

You will need to go through the same process as you would for purchasing any home. Documentation needed includes:

  • Paystubs dated within the last 30 days
  • W2s for two years. If you are self-employed or if you have rental income from existing rental properties, you will need to submit your tax returns for the past two years. If you are retired, you will need to submit any award letters from Social Security and/or your Government Annuity Letter
  • Bank statements (savings/checking) for two months
  • TSP, 403B, 401k, IRA and any other retirement account statements (last quarter)


Next Steps…

Whether you’re considering your first investment property, or your 10th, one of the best ways to understand your lending options is for you to speak with an experienced mortgage loan officer, like Steven Raymond, VP of Residential Lending at USACU. Steven can help guide you through the process and present you with the best options for your individual needs.

 

Questions?

Steven Raymond, VP or Residential Lending at USAgencies Credit Union, has over 30 years of experience in the mortgage industry. Steven’s seen it all, as far as mortgages go. If you have questions—about purchasing costs, getting pre-approved, or anything else mortgage-related—talk to Steven!

Steven Raymond 
Vice President of Residential Lending, NMLS#: 234025
Direct: (503) 275-0329
Toll-free: (800) 452-0915 x329
Email: sraymond@usacu.org

Ready to go?
Apply for a mortgage online now.

Equal Housing Lender Logo blog

USAgencies Credit Union
NMLS#: 441193