Tag Archives: Spring

Home Buying 101: The Housing Market

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!

 

Spring is in the air. Flowers are blooming, birds are chirping, and skies are clearing. Spring is also a time when potential homebuyers start to peek out of their doors and more actively pursue a new home. With the typical springtime bump in inventory, better weather for those heading from open house to open house, and kids heading towards summer break soon, this time of year can be the ideal time to buy for some. With all of the changes we’ve seen in the housing market over the last several years, you may have questions about whether or not this is the “right time” for you…

Should You Try to “Time the Market”?
One problem with attempting to time your home purchase to the business cycle is that no one can accurately predict the future. Another challenge is that interest rates are generally higher during a depressed market and income may not be keeping up. For that reason, fewer people can qualify for a home purchase than in more prosperous times.

The “wait-and-see” strategy generally works best for first-time buyers. People who already have a home usually need to sell it in order to buy their next one. If a “move-up” buyer wants to buy a home during a depressed market, that means they usually have to sell one during the slow market, too. If a seller wants to sell his home to take advantage of a hot market when prices are fairly high, they generally have to buy their next home during that same hot market, so it tends to equal out.

How Do Changes in the Market Affect Supply & Demand?
There are times when the economy is brisk and everyone feels confident about his or her prospects for the future. As a result, they spend money. People eat out more, buy new cars, and…they buy new homes.

Then, for one reason or another, the economy slows. Companies lay off employees and consumers are more careful about where they spend money, perhaps saving more than usual. As a result, the economy decelerates even further. If it slows enough, we have a recession.

During such a time, fewer people are buying homes. When the supply of available houses is greater than the supply of buyers, appreciation may slow and prices may even fall, as happened in the early eighties and the early to mid-nineties.

If you are lucky enough to purchase a home during a slow period, you can be reasonably certain the economy will begin to show strength again. At times, real estate values may even surge drastically. In many regions of the country, this is precisely what occurred in the late eighties and nineties.

What’s the Current Market Temperature?
The past few years have seen a major boom in housing sales. And it appears things aren’t changing anytime soon. Low rates and a relatively low amount of inventory make it a prime seller’s market. Sellers are oftentimes seeing multiple offers for over asking price. What’s the best thing someone can do to buy in the current market? “Get preapproved. Get all of your ducks in a row ahead of time so you know how much house you can afford and are ready to make a quick decision on a home,” says Steven Raymond, Vice President of Residential Lending at USAgencies Credit Union. “The market is very hot. And we’re just heading into spring, which can be prime home shopping time, so it can be pretty competitive out there. Getting preapproved ahead of time ups the chances of a closed sale for buyers.”

The Take Away
Markets slow and surge, as does housing inventory and buyer confidence. No matter what the situation in the market, or in your own family, it pays to be prepared. Knowledge is power. Knowing ahead of time what you’re pre-qualified and/or pre-approved for can help put you in a better position and allows you to make the best decision for you and your family.

 

Questions?
Steven Raymond, VP or Residential Lending at USAgencies Credit Union, has over 30 years of experience in the mortgage industry. Steven’s just about seen it all, as far as mortgages go. If you have questions—about the current market, 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

Freshen Up Those Finances for Spring

Give Your Finances a Checkup This Spring
Spring brings showers, flowers and an urge to tidy up. When you dive into spring cleaning this year, don’t forget your finances. Here’s how to give your money a thorough checkup to prepare for a great summer and beyond.

Check the health of your credit report
By monitoring your credit regularly, you can identify problems early. Go to AnnualCreditReport.com to get your free annual report from each of the three national credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Your credit score is not on your credit report, but what’s on your report influences what your score is. You can pay to see your score for a small fee.

Some financial institutions, like USAgencies Credit Union, will connect members with free financial counseling. They can discuss things that may be affecting your credit standing, as well as look at whether options such as consolidating debt or refinancing your home might be worthwhile.

Bolstering an anemic credit score
To bolster credit, take steps to clear demerits on your reports. Dispute errors and contact creditors to see whether they’d be willing to make “goodwill adjustments” to remove legitimate blemishes in return for paying a balance in full.

Another strategy for rebuilding credit is taking out a secured credit card. With a secured card, you deposit enough money to cover the limit you’re applying for, and your financial institution keeps that amount on hold for as long as you have the card. A secured card lets you establish a record of responsible credit use — boosting your credit standing in the process.

Tackling costly debt
High-interest debt from credit cards and loans can spiral out of control. To lower interest rates and reduce monthly payments, look into debt consolidation, which combines debt from multiple sources into a single loan. Choose from several solutions including home equity loans and lines of credit as well as personal loans.

With mortgage rates still near historic lows, those holding older mortgages might also benefit from refinancing to get a lower-interest loan.

Tuning up your credit score and tidying up your debts can refresh your finances. Before you know it, your budget will be in healthier shape, and you’ll be able to afford more summer fun.

Roberta Pescow, NerdWallet
© Copyright 2016 NerdWallet, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Questions about how USACU can help you freshen up your finances for spring? Contact us.

 

Drive Into Reading Spring Car Sale

 Get 1.00% APR off already low rates*

From March 1st – April 30th, get 1.00% APR off already low rates* with USAgencies when you purchase a vehicle from Enterprise Car Sales. As a bonus, we’ll donate $70 to SMART (Start Making a Reader Today). This will buy 1 year of SMART books for 2 children in their program!

 

To learn more about this sale and other ways to give to SMART, visit USACU.ORG/CARSALE.

07_CarSales_rbgVector_Centered

 

 

 


 

*APR = Annual Percentage Rate. 1.00% off current rate offer is offered to qualified USAgencies Credit Union members by USAgencies Credit Union. Offer valid for terms up to 72 months. Current rate will vary based on credit worthiness and terms. Financing for qualified USAgencies Credit Union members. Offer valid only on Enterprise Car Sales vehicles purchased from 03/01/2015 – 04/30/2015. This offer cannot be combined with any other offer.

Save the Date : 79th Annual Meeting

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

Calling all members – join us as we celebrate another year of serving you. We’ve reserved space at the World Trade Center, Building 2 (121 SW Salmon Street in Portland). Registration begins at 11:30am and the meeting will begin at 12pm. RSVP information will be provided as the date nears.

Online Highlight : MoneyMark

Worried about having more month at the end of your money? Take control, with MoneyMark.

What is MoneyMark?
MoneyMark is a Personal Financial Management tool inside Online Banking and in our Mobile App. It has the power to aggregate data from all your financial accounts (from USAgencies and other accounts too!) so you can see everything in one place.

 

3 Ways MoneyMark Can Help:
  • Spending Targets: track where your money goes. Once you know where exactly you’re spending, you can set goals to spend less and save more.
  • Cashflow Calendar: input your income and expenses so you can monitor cash availability from paycheck to paycheck.
  • Alerts: set alerts for when bills are due, how much you’ve spent in a certain areas, and more.
LEARN MORE ABOUT ONLINE AND MOBILE BANKING AT USACU. ORG/ONLINEBANKING.

Financial Literacy Month

April Seminars & Webinars

Increase your financial knowledge by joining us for our Financial Literacy Month of Feast&Forum financial seminars and webinars.

When:
  • Every Wednesday in April from noon – 1pm
Where:
  • Brown Bag Lunch at the Credit Union: 95 SW Taylor Street | Portland, OR 97204
  • Webinar: join us remotely, wherever you are!

Want to Sign Up?
RSVP by clicking the link below for the seminar or webinar you’d like to attend – just follow the steps when prompted and you’ll be all set! Or, you can RSVP to Kasey Rockwell at (503) 275-0346 – or – events@usacu.org.


 

April 1 – Investing Concerns in a Fragile Market
Take a deep dive into common investing mistakes and discuss the importance of asset allocation.

April 8 – Roth IRA
Learn the benefits of Roth IRAs and how they are different from Traditional IRAs; plus learn about the TSP option with a Roth.

April 15 – Understanding Retirement Plan Rollovers
We’ll cover rolling over 401(k)s, IRAs, TSP accounts, and others.

April 22 – Asset Allocation
Discussion on how to utilize asset allocation to work toward your short, mid, and long-term goals; plus we’ll look at TSP L-Funds.

April 29 – Transition to Retirement
Learn ten critical factors to help you plan for your retirement.

Mortgage Moment : Waylon Bowers & Family

Members since 2009. Residents of Bend, Oregon. Completed mortgage loan with USAgencies in 2014.

With relocation from North Carolina to Bend, Oregon on the horizon, Waylon reached out to Steven Raymond, our VP of Residential Lending.

 

“I thought this would be complicated from across the country, but with scanning and sending documents electronically, plus all the closing cost credits Steven secured, it was professional, cost-effective, and very smooth. I plan to use USAgencies for a mortgage again, should I need one.”

 

START HERE FOR YOUR NEXT HOME:
STEVEN J. RAYMOND | NMLS ID: 234025 SRAYMOND@USACU.ORG | (503) 275-0329 USACU.ORG/MORTGAGE