Home-Buying Basics Courtesy of Credit Union Seminars
By Cyndi Cohen Credit Unions Online
Shopping for a new home? Interest rates and home prices are still low for qualified buyers; while many mortgage financing options are still available. And, as a credit union member, you have a trusted home-buying partner by your side.
Credit union know that while the home-buying experience can be an exciting and enjoyable one, it can also be stressful. Therefore many offer FREE seminars to take the fear out of buying a new home. Whether you’re a first-time buyer or a seasoned veteran, with some insider information and guidance from your credit union, you’ll be armed with the knowledge and tools to successfully prepare for the purchase of your new home.
House-Hunting Members Become Home-Buying Experts
Credit union-sponsored home-buyer workshops are conveniently located and scheduled in order to easily bring house-hunting members the valuable tools, tips, and tricks they’re seeking. Learn how credit unions are turning apprehensive house-hunters into happy home-buying experts.
DuPage Credit Union’s (Naperville, IL) home-buying seminars, conducted by their Mortgage Team, are held several times a year at their Operations Center.
Topics covered by the credit union include:
First steps to financing a home in today's market
What DuPage Mortgage considers during the approval process
Other expenses you can expect with owning a home
What happens after you’ve been pre-approved for financing and have found a home
What to expect at closing
The benefits of financing through DuPage Mortgage versus other Mortgage Lenders
The Credit Union's Residential Rebate Program
For the March 9 seminar, DuPage plans to waive the $295 mortgage application fee if the member closes within 12 months of the seminar. A DuPage spokesperson said that members love the seminars and appreciate the information on buying a home, especially first-time buyers.
Harvard University Employees Credit Union (Cambridge, MA), in partnership with Harvard Real Estate Services, has six spring seminars scheduled at various locations throughout Harvard and the Harvard affiliated teaching hospitals.
According to Marilyn Gambardella, HUECU Member Outreach Coordinator, Harvard Real Estate Services provides the employees with home buying and selling services, relocation services, as well as individual guidance in community profiles. They also review the Home Buying Time Line from beginning a home search to closing on a mortgage. “The Credit Union facilitates the Navigating Mortgage Products and Services piece -- getting pre-approved, what lenders look for, what is PMI, types of mortgages, & rate locks,” she explains.
In terms of incentives, HUECU offers first-time buyers free Pre-Approval, .125% rate discount, $300.00 towards closing costs, and discounted attorney fees. Plus, Harvard Real Estate Services offers cash back with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage services on home purchases and sales.
“We believe that buying a home is the single most exciting purchase many people make in their lifetime,” says Gambardella. “The process can feel long and overwhelming at times, and our seminars provide potential homebuyers a wealth of information to assist them in making their home ownership dreams a reality.”
Meriwest Credit Union (San Jose, CA) offers home-buying seminars on a monthly basis in their main office training center, branches, and at locations with their partner organizations such as the Housing Trust.
According to Gregory Meyer, Community Relations Manager, the credit union generally likes to partner with local realtors, non-profit housing orgs, and others involved in the buying process like home inspectors or insurers who each present in their area of expertise. “The realtor reviews the buying process and title, we will go into the loan documentation and underwriting process, we may have a presentation on down payment assistance programs, and a presentation by an appraiser on his role in the process, or an insurance agent to discuss the insurance needs of new homeowners,” he adds.
Meriwest also works closely with the HEART of San Mateo (Housing Endowment and Regional Trust). They provide a down payment assistance program that Meriwest Mortgage manages. The program can provide up to $75,000 in down payment assistance and allows for qualified income up to $150,000 annually. “Our seminars with HEART have been sell outs!” reports Meyer.
Meyer feels that home-buying seminars are a great way to gage the economy of a credit union’s community. For example, during the recession, Meriwest’s first-time homebuyer classes were not well attended, while their “Buying a Foreclosure” classes were full. “Now, we can see the positive change in the economy as our first-time homebuyer classes are filling up with young families getting ready to buy,” explains Meyer.
Likewise, SCE Federal Credit Union (El Monte, CA) holds several seminars a year at various branch locations, offering attendees a voucher to save $250 off closing costs. SCE’s goal is to provide attendees with the knowledge they’ll need to feel confident and comfortable throughout the home-buying process, including information on current housing market conditions, types of home financing available, home inspections, appraisals, selecting a realtor, common pitfalls to avoid, and more.
According to Shannon Furiani, VP of Lending, financial education for their members and the community is incredibly important to SCE Federal Credit Union, including ensuring their members are knowledgeable about and comfortable with what will likely be the biggest purchase they’ll ever make – the purchase of a house. “When it’s time to sign a mortgage loan document, you get the full realization you’re trusting that financial institution to be upfront and honest with you -- SCE wants to be sure our members and the community know they can trust us to look out for their best interests and be there for them to assist in the process.”
How Can I Learn More?
Looking to get the home-buying basics, plus current information about the local real estate market, and from mortgage professionals you can trust? Look no further than your credit union. Join a local credit union in your area that offers these helpful seminars, and become a home buying expert in no time.