- Owning vs. Renting
Is it better to own or rent? There's no right answer for everyone, but you can answer some questions about your lifestyle to help make a decision.
- Does your career require you to move frequently or suddenly?
- Do you prefer having a set monthly budget and not having unforeseen home-maintenance expenses?
- Do you plan on downsizing your living space or retiring in the near future?
- Have you recently experienced a financial setback or are you rebuilding your credit?
If you answered yes to more than one of these questions, renting might suit your needs better.
- Have a steady income and documentation showing that you have savings?
- Can you afford a down payment and closing costs?
- Do you have savings to last you through an emergency?
- Can you keep up with home maintenance and eventual improvements?
- Are you planning on staying put for at least four years?
If you answered yes to more than one of these questions you might be ready to buy.
Owning and renting offer different benefits for different lifestyles. Deciding to buy a home is an important step in your financial life and GECU is here to help. If you have questions or want to learn more, contact us!
CHOOSE YOUR HOME
- What To Look For In A Home
We all have our idea of a dream home, but when you picture your dream home, where do you picture it? You probably know all the amenities your home needs to have; the exact number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the kind of kitchen that will fit your family and a backyard big enough to for a breath of fresh air. While your lifestyle and budget will be big factors in deciding what home you will buy, you'll also want to consider things like:
- nearby schools
- proximity to major roads and highways
- distance to shopping centers
Finding a home that fits your lifestyle with a neighborhood that meets your needs is important. A little patience and the help of a real estate professional can help you move into both the house and the neighborhood of your dreams.
- What You Need To Know About Home Inspection
- Home inspections are a very important part of the home buying experience. This lets both the buyer and seller know exactly what shape the house is in before you continue the process. The home inspector is a neutral third-party, so you can attend the inspection and ask questions. If you are working with a real estate professional, they should be able to provide you with a list of home inspectors to choose from, or you can choose one yourself.
- A home inspector will examine the interior and exterior of the home, including the walls, plumbing fixtures, roof, and foundation. Home inspections usually take between one and three hours depending on the size of the house. They won't poke holes in walls, rip up floors or do anything else that would damage a house, but you will get a thorough description of the home. As with every part of the homebuying process, you'll want to be patient and keep an open mind.
MAKE AN OFFER
- More Than Just A Mortgage Payment
Buying a home is one of the biggest purchases most people will ever make. When you purchase a home, there's more than just the monthly mortgage payment to consider. When you are trying to figure out how much you can afford, be sure to budget for additional expenditures that come with homeownership. Utilities, up-keep, and repairs need to be factored into your budget to make sure your home and your finances stay in good shape.
Another important thing to consider when you're budgeting to buy a new house is savings for a rainy day. Sometimes life happens, and it's important to have money set aside for the unexpected. Home repairs, financial setbacks or even major life events like the birth of a child can affect your monthly budget and having a few months of expenses in savings can give you the cushion you need. If you'd like to learn more about estimating expenses, saving up a down payment, and budgeting, GECU has free resources to help you get started.
- What Is A Counter Offer?
You've found a house that fits your life perfectly, and it's in a great neighborhood. You make an offer based on the condition of the house, the price of homes in the area, and what you can afford hoping for the best. The seller comes back with a counteroffer. What do you do?
Many times the seller's counteroffer will include changes to the sale price, closing date, contributions towards closing costs, or earnest money. The sale price and closing date are the most commonly requested parts of a counter-offer. It's important to consider things like the housing market you're in, how much you are willing to spend, and how soon you want to close.
The important thing to remember is that you can negotiate, accept or walk away from a counteroffer. A counter offer is an opportunity to negotiate a deal that both the buyer and seller feel is fair. This is also a situation where an experienced real estate professional can help you make a good decision that will meet your needs without breaking your budget.
- What Do I Need To Take To Closing?
You're in the home stretch and closing day is coming up. This is the final step of the home buying process where you'll take possession of the keys to your new home. To make this last part of the process go smoothly, you'll want to bring the following.
- A government issued ID for each buyer, such as a driver's license.
- A certified or cashier's check for the closing costs and down payment that you'll owe made out to the closing or title company.
- Any documents or paperwork that you have not yet provided to the title company or mortgage loan officer such as an approval letter or originals of the copied documents you've provided.
Make sure to confirm the date, time and location of the closing. A closing agent and the seller will probably also be there. This is your chance to make sure the documents are in order and accurately reflect everything you have agreed on. Take your time to look over every document before you sign it and don't hesitate to ask any questions you may have. This is your big day and you are the star, so make sure everything looks right before you sign the contracts, hand over the checks and take the keys. Congratulations!
LOAN ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS
At GECU, we have programs to help you achieve your dreams of homeownership. Our friendly, knowledgeable professionals know what it means to buy a home and can help you find ways to help you open the door on your very own home.
Home Assist Program1:
GECU Community Development can help you qualify for up to $26,500 in home purchase assistance1 towards a beautiful home. The cost of the homes is $119,500 and you can choose options like floorplan, tile, appliances and more. Learn More
Welcome Home El Paso2:
Make homeownership a reality with this program that offers up to 5% of the amount of your home loan in down payment assistance(2) that you don't have to repay! GECU is the only lender in El Paso offering this program, ask us about it today!
(1) The Home Purchase Assistance Program is on a first-come, first served basis, and is subject to credit qualification, income criteria and period of affordability. The program is part of an NSPII grant from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. To be eligible for the program, household income must be at or below 120 percent of area median. (For example, in 2017 to receive up to $26,500 in home-purchase assistance and up to 3% of purchase price in settlement costs, a family of four could have a gross income of $62,900 to be eligible at 120% of median income.) The homeownership assistance also includes a minimum period of affordability determined by the amount of assistance a borrower receives: five years for up to $15,000, 10 years for more than $15k to $40k, and 15 years for more than $40k. To be eligible, the borrower must attend a four-day Homeowner Workshop (FEH) from HUD-approved housing-counseling agency, attend an NSPII orientation at EPAH, and pay a minimum of 3% of purchase price for down payment. Other conditions apply.
(2) This assistance program is brought to you by the El Paso Housing Finance Corporation, and is subject to qualification, income criteria and home-purchase price. The residence must be located within the El Paso city limits. Other conditions apply.