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Credit Unions Pay You to Find Your Dream Home

Credit Unions Pay You to Find Your Dream Home

If receiving a $1,545 check from your lender after closing on your dream home seems far-fetched, think again.

For thousands of credit union members whose mortgage lender participates in CU Realty Services real estate CUSO’s HomeAdvantage, receiving a rebate like this is quite a reality. The soup-to-nuts CUSO-based service provides access to leading local, pre-screened Realtors who scour the market in search of the ideal home. In the meantime, the member’s credit union is working on a suitable mortgage loan package to partner financing with the deal, with a happy additional surprise following closing--a nice rebate.

“(CU Realty) offers our members everything they might need during their home-buying process,” said Janet Corrigan, Director of Lending at of Bank-Fund Staff Federal Credit Union (Washington, DC) in a press release. “By connecting with members early on, and assisting them along each step, we are doing more than growing mortgage volumes. We are strengthening relationships.” According to CU Realty, Bank-Fund Staff delivered a collective $465,161.45 in rebates to its members in 2013.

In August, Credit Unions Online spoke with Sandy Fyfe, loan officer at Tropical Financial Credit Union (Miramar, FL) who said that the credit union’s approach to lending coupled with its partnership with CU Realty supported a, “kinder, gentler and more honest experience.”

Tropical Financial partnered with CU Realty in 2012 with the goal of providing an easy home buying and selling experience for its members. “Offering the CU Realty program supported our commitment to work as advocates for our members,” said Rich Helber, President/CEO in a press release. “It’s an excellent tool for our members, especially when it comes to one of the biggest financial decisions they will ever make.”

$2.85 Million in 2013 Member Rebates

CU Realty reports record member rebates in 2013, awarding a record $2.85 million to those at partner credit unions. In fact within the past year, member credit unions have expanded, adding 20 new credit unions. According to CU Realty, this represents a 360% increase over 2012.

“The housing market is signaling a rebound, with more home buyers and sellers jumping back in,” said CU Realty Services’ president/CEO, Mike Corn with regard to this year’s impressive start. “As the competition heats up, CU Realty is here to help credit unions connect with these buyers and sellers right from the start, as their First Point of Contact, long before they need a mortgage. As a result, we’re seeing a large number of members start their search with their credit union, and stay for financing.”

Home Buying on an Upswing

Despite a few lagging winter storms, spring seems to have sprung more interest in a number of home buying communities throughout the country.

Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac told The Christian Science Monitor, "2014 will be the year where we need to see the first-time home buyers step up to the plate in greater numbers.”

Although prices have been slowing increasing, experts believe the pace is measured enough to attract new buyers. Urban Institute's Housing Finance Policy Center in Washington reports that the average US home prices have increased by 22% from when the market bottomed out, however prices won’t be reaching the height the market saw prior to 2008. "The monthly cost of owning a home is still less than renting in the majority of markets," Blomquist said in a release.

In fact, sellers are now more of the minority in some markets. The days of bidding wars are back, especially on the best-priced properties. The Christian Science Monitor talked to buyer Joyce Wang who sought a condominium in the Boston area and found herself amid her own bidding war. “They say on the listing, we're going to be examining offers Tuesday afternoon," Wang said in reference to the condo going on the market the prior weekend.

This led to Wang and her husband re-thinking their strategy and expanding their search to an outlying area. Eventually, the couple purchased a condo and said that owning a home ultimately saved them money in the long run.

"Our rent next year would have been higher than the cost of mortgage and condo fees," Wang said.

If this Boston-area couple saved money just by owning versus renting, consider how much money could be you saved when you partner with a local credit union. Ask about CU Realty services for even deeper savings.

By Gina Ragusa
Published March 24, 2014
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