Tag Archives: USAgencies

All You Need To Know About Home Loans

Here at USAgencies Credit Union, we provide a variety of products and services to meet your specific financial needs and in the most ideal ways possible. One such example is home loans. Let’s take a closer look at how its application process works.

What is a home loan?

A home loan, or a mortgage, enables you to purchase a home without having to foot all the cash out of your pocket when purchasing. You will, however, need to make a down payment, which is typically between 3.5-20% of the home’s appraised value, along with closing costs and some other fees. The lender then finances the rest of the purchase. You’ll repay the loan, along with interest, over the course of (generally) 15 to 30 years.

Are all home loans alike?

Before you get started, you’ll need to choose a mortgage type. A conventional loan will necessitate a 5-20% down payment on the home. There’s also an FHA loan, which only requires a down payment of 3.5%, but necessitates mortgage insurance. If you’re a military veteran, consider obtaining a VA loan, which lets you buy a home with zero down payment.

Once you’ve chosen the kind of loan which is best for your scenario, you may be given a choice of repayment arrangements for that loan. Here are the three common types of mortgages:

  1. 30-year fixed-rate mortgage. The interest rate on this 30-year mortgage will remain fixed no matter the changes to the national rate.
  2. 15-year fixed-rate mortgage. This mortgage will also have a fixed interest rate, but the term lasts just 15 years. The monthly payments will be higher, but the overall interest paid over the course of the loan will be significantly lower.
  3. Adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM). An ARM gives the borrower a lower interest rate in the early years of the loan, and then a gradual increase (adjustment) in rate over the rest of the life of the mortgage.

What do I need to know before applying for a home loan?

A home is likely to be the largest purchase you will ever make. To qualify for one, you will need to prove that you are living a financially responsible life and that you can afford the monthly payments.

The primary way lenders gauge your financial responsibility is through your credit score. This number is like a grade that tells lenders how you’ve handled your past credit card accounts and other debts. It will include the length of time you’ve had your credit cards and loans open, the timeliness with which you’ve made your payments, the trajectory of your debt and the amount of available credit you might use. Most lenders will only grant a home loan to borrowers with a credit score of 650 or higher. You can check your score for free with My Credit Score in our Online and Mobile Banking. You might also consider ordering a free credit report from all three major credit bureaus once a year at AnnualCreditReport.com.

During the time leading to your mortgage applications, make sure to pay all your bills on time, don’t open new credit cards and work on paying down overall debt. A higher credit score will help you get approved quicker and it will net you a lower interest rate on your loan.

Another crucial factor in determining your eligibility for a mortgage is your debt-to-income ratio, or your DTI. Lenders want to know how big your collective outstanding debt will be in relation to your income if you receive the home loan. Most lenders will only allow a maximum DTI of 36%.

When should I apply for a home loan?

While you won’t need the loan until you are ready to close on a house, it’s a good idea to start the process before you begin house-hunting. Your lender will let you know whether you can expect to be approved for a loan and will provide you with an estimate of how much house you can afford so you don’t face disappointment later.

When initially applying for a home loan, ask your lender for a letter of pre-approval. This letter confirms you are preapproved for a home loan up to a specific amount. Having this letter in hand shows real estate agents and sellers that you are serious about buying. Most pre-approvals are only good for 60-90 days, so make sure you’re ready to start house hunting before you get yours.

How do I apply for a home loan?

To apply for a home loan at USAgencies Credit Union, connect with us to help you get started. Make sure all of your financial paperwork is in order and hold onto all important financial documents in the months leading up to your application.

To make it easier, we’ve created a list of the information and documents you’ll need:

  • Name of current employer, phone and street address
  • Length of time at current employer
  • Official position/title
  • Salary including overtime, bonuses or commissions
  • Two years’ worth of W-2s
  • Profit & loss statement if self-employed
  • Pensions and Social Security check stubs
  • Proof of child support payments
  • Copies of alimony checks
  • Statements for all checking and savings accounts
  • Investments (stocks, bonds, retirement accounts)
  • Proof of any gifted funds from relatives
  • Car loan information

You will also need to explain any blemishes on your financial record; including bankruptcies, collections, foreclosures and delinquencies.


Have more questions about Buying or Refinancing, or ready to get your application started? Connect with us at 503.275.0300 or visit our website. 

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USAgencies Credit Union
NMLS#: 441193

Letter from the CEO: Enhancements coming your way

At USAgencies we are constantly looking for ways to improve our financial cooperative in order to better live out our mission to provide solutions to improve each member’s financial life. We find ourselves in a time where people are busier than ever, so as your credit union, we have come up with some great solutions to make it as easy as possible for you to connect with us.

In February, we are excited to have rolled out an improved secure messaging system within our online and mobile banking. This updated platform allows us to securely and safely communicate with any member, no matter the need. We can safely pass information and provide prompt service to you. In addition, you can quickly locate frequently asked questions in our updated knowledge base.

The second communication enhancement is our text solution. We will soon have the capability to serve our members via text messaging. This is a great solution if you are out and about or too busy to hop on a phone call, you will be able to text us during business hours to get your banking needs taken care of, from balance transfers to finalizing an application, convenience is just a few text messages away.

The last solution I want to mention is our free Credit Score service within online and mobile banking. You now can monitor the all-important credit score, which is more critical to your finances than ever! Having a strong score not only helps you get better interest rates on loans, but also helps you get discounted insurance rates as well as get approved to rent an apartment. If you ever have questions on how to improve your score, connect with us and we would be more than happy to walk you through steps to improve your score.

Thank you for choosing USAgencies Credit Union for your financial needs, and we look forward to hearing from you!

Justin Olson, President/CEO, USACU
Justin Olson
President/CEO
USAgencies Credit Union

7 Wonders of Oregon – USAgencies version

Did you know March 8 is National Oregon Day? Oregon, also known as The Beaver State, became the 33rd state to join the union on February 14, 1859. Oregon is known for its diverse landscape of mixed forests, volcanoes, mountains, beaches and more!

To celebrate our beautiful state in the Pacific Northwest, our team would love to share some of their favorite places (and photos) with you!

Wreck of the Peter Iredale

Peter Iredale Ft Steven
Photo by Cindy, Director of Member Services at USAgencies

A landmark on the North Oregon Coast, Peter Iredale Shipwreck, located within Fort Stevens State Park, the wreckage is considered one of the most accessible and long-lasting in the world.¹

The remains of the sailing ship became one of the popular attractions on the Oregon Coast. Just a few miles south of Astoria, you will see this impressive view of the wreck, including the rusted bow of the ship, which occurred more than a century ago.

Seaside Oregon

20200217_074113_HDR_edited_sm
Photo by Callie, Lending Supervisor at USAgencies

Seaside has been one of Oregon’s most visited resort cities located about 80 miles northwest of Portland. The city bursts with shops, great restaurants and tons of outdoor activities; you will never get bored exploring the town, from hiking to kayaking to Jazz Festival — this oceanfront resort has a lot to offer.

Lost Lake

Mt Hood from Lost Lake Viewpoint_edited_sm
Photo by Kathy, Vice President/CFO at USAgencies

Located in Mount Hood National Forest, which is about 10 miles northwest of Hood River County, it is known for its breathtaking view of Mount Hood. Lost Lake is also a popular campground with 125 primitive campsites, the facility is open between May through October with peak season from July to August. One of the many attractions at Lost Lake Campground is the old growth boardwalk, which is a short hike that takes you through the giant cedars and hemlocks.

Timothy Lake

Timothy Lake Hike
Photo by USAgencies hiking group

Timothy Lake is about 50 miles southeast of Portland. It has seven campgrounds which provides about 200 campsites and a few picnic areas along the lake. The hiking trail around the lake is about 13 miles which is perfect for a day hike. This 1,500-acre lake is very popular for visitors as it has a lot of recreational activities to offer — camping, hiking, paddling, horseback riding and more!

Painted Hills

Painted Hills panorama view
Photo by Andrew, Director of IT at USAgencies

Painted Hills is one of the three units of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, located 9 miles northwest of Mitchell, Oregon. The painted hills got its name after the colorful layers of its hills which correlating to different geological eras. The colors may appear to change from one visit to another, as the claystones differ with ever-changing light and moisture levels.²

Laurelhurst Park

Firwood Lake
Photo by Courtney, Support Services at USAgencies

Laurelhurst Park is a city park located in the Laurelhurst neighborhood in Portland, Oregon. The park was named the most beautiful park on the West Coast by Pacific Coast Parks Association in 1919. In 2001, Laurelhurst park was the first city park ever listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The 26-acre park includes a basketball court, picnic site, playground, soccer field, tennis court, volleyball court, and dog off-leash area.

Crater Lake

Crater Lake
Photo by Yuki, Marketing Specialist at USAgencies

Crater Lake was formed from a violent eruption triggered the collapse of the volcano Mount Mazama about 7,700 years ago. Its deep blue color water and the many recreational activities it has to offer made Crater Lake one of Oregon’s most popular tourist attractions.

Visitors will find endless recreational activities all year round, including fishing, skiing, hiking, camping and more!


Spring is right around the corner, now it’s a great time to plan your trips to explore the great outdoors of Oregon!

Resources:

  1. Peter Iredale Shipwreck
  2. Painted Hills, Oregon

Guide to Fall in Portland

For most people, the ideal times to visit Portland are late spring and throughout the summer.  However, for those of us that live here,  we’d argue that there’s something simply magical about fall in Portland.  It’s certainly worthy of making the time to explore your city this October and November.  As the weather cools and settles into it’s typical fall pattern, Portland’s calendar fills up with a wonderful variety of cultural, wine, and holiday events worthy of your time.  Whether your ideal fall outing means time spent outdoors amidst the beautiful hues of fall, or whether you’d rather focus on fall events and activities around the area, there’s something for everyone in Portland this fall.

Hiking

Enjoy a little solitude on the Maple-Wildwood  Loop Hike in Forest Park

Take in the stunning colors at Hoyt Arboretum, in Washington Park.

View wildlife and migrating birds along the Oaks to Wetlands Trail at Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge.

Take in the incredible beauty of the Columbia River Gorge, on the Hamilton Mountain Trail.  It’s a bit farther outside of Portland, but worth every second.  You’ll enjoy 3 waterfalls along the way, along with a beautiful grove of bright yellow maples.

Meander the 21 mile stretch of former railroad-turned multi-use Banks-Vernonia Trail. Each path is lined with deciduous trees, all reaching their peak of fall foliage.

There’s never a bad season when it comes to visiting Oregon’s stunning Multnomah Falls.

Events

Now is the perfect time to experience Portland’s gastronomical delights.  Coming up on November 9, 2019, is the annual Northwest Food & Wine Festival at the Oregon Convention Center.

Also on November 9th, will be Portland’s annual Portland Book Festival at the Portland Art Museum.  It’s the largest book festival in the Pacific Northwest, and a great chance to hear from over 100 authors, 90+ vendors, 14 writing workshops and more.

Portland is a great home base for adventuring through Oregon’s premiere wine country.  November is a wonderful time to experience Willamette Valley, as wineries open their cellars and tasting rooms for special events throughout Thanksgiving Weekend.


Questions? We would love to hear from you. Connect with us at 503-275-0300 Option 4, or stop into our branch on the corner of 1st and Taylor in Downtown Portland!