Guide to Buying & Protecting Your Home Investment

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1 Guide to Buying & Protecting Your Home Investment Presented by:

2 Guide to Buying & Protecting Your Home Investment 1 In the current market and economy, when it comes to your home and its value, it seems that everything we hear is negative. Some families have lost thousands of dollars. Others have been through a short sale or a foreclosure. For many of us, we ll be under water in our homes for a long time. But what about those homeowners who plan on being in their home for many years and will still be living in it when home values eventually go back up? And how about those who are buying a home for the first time and need some advice? We thought it would be a good idea to provide you with some solid information about both buying a home and then protecting it once you have it. First Step - Selecting the Right Mortgage The most important step in buying a home is choosing the best type of mortgage loan. Analyzing your particular financial situation and future goals are important factors to consider when selecting a mortgage. There are many types of mortgages available that will fit your needs. people nearing retirement age. A 15-year loan pays the mortgage off quicker, and the interest rate is typically lower than on a 30-year mortgage. There are also adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) loans, where the interest rate is fixed for a certain length of time. After the term expires (say, 3, 5 or 7 years) then the interest rate becomes adjustable in increments each year. These loans give homeowners the chance to have a lower interest rate with time to gain equity before the interest rate adjusts. With ARMs, rate locks can be as long as 7 years, giving buyers stability along with extra cash each month. You ll have lower monthly mortgage payments because of the low initial rate. ARMs are perfect for buyers who plan to move, relocate, or expand their family in the future, or expect income to rise in less time than the ARM term. Those who are interested in a longer mortgage will likely get a conventional mortgage loan. These loans have a fixed interest rate for as long as 30 years. Once the loan is active, the rate will not change until the loan has been paid off. If interest rates decline, the homeowner can refinance to a lower rate. However, if interest rates increase, the homeowner has a protected lower interest rate. For homeowners who can afford a higher payment, want to gain equity faster, and pay less overall interest during the term of the loan, a 15 year fixed mortgage rate is recommended. They are also better for

3 Guide to Buying & Protecting Your Home Investment 2 Avoid Paying Closing Costs Once you believe that you have found the right home and have provided your down payment, you are likely to deal with closing costs. These fees usually include house appraisals, loan processing fees, and title searches. There are some ways that you can avoid paying these closing costs. First off, ask the seller to pay the closing costs. Most sellers will not object to paying these fees, especially if there is an urgency to sell the house. Check local HUDs too, they can help you get assistance in covering closing costs. Finally, talk to one of the mortgage experts at TDECU. Credit unions, like TDECU, have several creative products that minimize or eliminate closing costs. The first issue is dealing with a home that s typically in bad or neglected shape. As a buyer, you could encounter scarred walls, carpets or appliances that were damaged or removed by the former owner and more. Sometimes, it s because of time and neglect. Turned-off utilities, coupled with the house sitting empty for months, can pose mechanical issues with the home. If you buy a foreclosure at auction, you won t know if the carpet is damaged or if the living room wall has a big hole in it -- or if there s a lien against the property. You ll be responsible for these cosmetic and legal issues; so many investors research the property s history before the auction. Buying a Short Sale or Foreclosed Home In this buyer s market, some homebuyers look at homes that are in a short sale or foreclosure. But is it a good idea? And which type is best: a short sale or foreclosure? The answer is that it really depends on the buyer and what the buyer s priorities are. Benefits to Buying a Foreclosed Home The big benefit, of course, is the price you ll pay. On average, they sell for about 30%-40% less than a nondistressed property. Such deals are possible because homebuyers can negotiate closing costs and price in foreclosure sales. Buying a foreclosure typically is faster than buying a short sale and an investor can buy a home for rock-bottom dollar. Drawbacks of Buying a Foreclosed Home

4 Guide to Buying & Protecting Your Home Investment 3 Benefits of Buying a Short Sale Looking for a foreclosure-home price but in better condition? Sift through short sales in your local market. A short sale is still owned by the homeowner, who owes more on the mortgage than the home is worth. But short sales often take a long time to close. The federal Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives program, or HAFA, helps the buyer and seller by speeding up the short sale process. Drawbacks of Buying a Short Sale The name short sale can be deceiving -- these deals can drag on for months. And you have to qualify for a short sale. After the seller is approved, the first question a buyer should ask is whether there are two mortgages on the house. Every one that has a financial stake in the house has to agree to the short sale. If the sale price of the home won t pay off the second mortgage, that lien holder may not get paid, so the lender can block the sale. In the meantime, the buyer is stuck waiting for the answer. Patience is the virtue here. Buying a Short Sale or Foreclosed Home - Summary Nothing in real estate is a sure thing, but you can bet on getting a good deal if you know what you re looking for in a home. If your family needs a house within one or two months, a foreclosure may be a good option. If you have more time to work with, short sales could be within your realm of possibility. What If I Have Bad Credit? For those who have bad credit, it may become difficult trying to find a lender to approve you, but there are loans specifically for people who do not have good credit. Almost all of these loans have very high interest rates. Mortgage loans sponsored by the Federal Housing Administration are an option for people with poor credit. A credit score in the high 500s will get you approved for this loan. The down payment is only 3.5% of the home s purchase price. If your credit score is really low, you may still be approved for this loan, but you will have to pay a larger down payment. It may be as high as 10% or 20% of the home s purchase price. FAQ s About Mortgages What s The Total Cost of a Mortgage? The cost of a mortgage is determined by calculating the principal, interest rate, and term. The principal is the amount of money borrowed from the lender to buy the house. The interest rate is based on the current state of the housing market. The term is the length of the mortgage. What is a Mortgage Lock? Mortgage interest rate locks are agreements between

5 Guide to Buying & Protecting Your Home Investment 4 the lender and borrower that guarantee the borrower a specific interest rate on a mortgage. This is important because of the frequent changes in interest rates, plus the time consuming nature of the application process. There are different rate locks. Anything over 45 days usually requires a fee. If the loan fails to close before the end of the lock up period, you will be subject to the current interest rate at the new time. What Happens if I am Turned Down For a Mortgage? You may have to reapply at a higher interest rate. Try looking at other options. Talk to your mortgage specialist. Credit unions, like TDECU, can often work with you to meet your special needs. Also, TDECU has products that help you avoid closing costs, eliminate PMI, refinance when homes are underwater and provide custom approaches, such as a retirement refinance loan that customizes the term/years so the house is paid off by the year they retire. Insurance Protection/PMI Are you currently looking for insurance to cover your home? Let s face it; your home is your biggest investment. With quality homeowner s insurance you can protect that investment against unexpected loss due to fire, theft or other covered disasters. A good homeowner s policy will not only cover the house you live in, but many of the big ticket items on the inside your home such as your furniture, televisions, computers, other electronics, kitchen and laundry appliances and clothing. What Does Homeowners Insurance Protect? Standard policies typically provide: Secure messages which allow you to securely communicate with us electronically. Customizable account alerts which notify you by phone and of important changes to your account. Online wire transfers* which allow you to transfer funds to other businesses or individuals who are not TDECU members. Mobile banking so you can access your accounts on the go from web-enabled mobile devices. Ensure that your home is protected so you can have the peace of mind you deserve. How to Handle an Underwater Mortgage There are some homeowners who are caught in an awful situation; owning an underwater home, one that is worth less than the amount of money that is still owed on it. There are many different options available for these types of homeowners. You may decide to stay in your home and try to work it out. You could receive financial help to catch up with payments if you are in trouble. The Emergency Homeowners Loan Program provides interest free loans to homeowners who have fallen behind on their payments due to unforeseen circumstances. You could try to refinance into a lower interest rate using the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP). There is no damage done to your credit rating, though you could still lose your home. You could work with your lender and ask for your loan to be modified. By going through loan modification, the lenders lower the interest rate and payments. Many homeowners use the government sponsored Home

6 Guide to Buying & Protecting Your Home Investment Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). This program has saved homeowners hundreds of thousands of dollars on their mortgages. Retirement & Refinancing For many homeowners who are near retirement, it seems like a simple plan to just refinance their mortgage. However, many homeowners should take a closer look at their financial plans. If you refinance, you may retire with debt, and that could be dangerous, unless you have a steady source of income. Relying entirely on the market to provide income is not good. Retirees should have their pensions. Credit Unions vs. Banks conforming, non-conforming and government loan programs. Get Started with TDECU Today! TDECU offers you the lowest mortgage rates possible. We have the right option to meet your new home purchase or refinancing needs. Find one lower and we ll pay you $250! Discover more about TDECU mortgage options at or talk to a Mortgage Specialist us at We look forward to working with you! Loretta Williams, Your Home Investment Expert 5 A credit union provides the same services at banks, but is not-for-profit. Our member - owners are shareholders of TDECU and all profits are redistributed to our members in the form of no fee checking, competitive loan rates and higher deposit rates. New products and services offered by TDECU are created with the best interests of our member-owners in mind. Banks answer to shareholders and make decisions based on what is most profitable for them. A TDECU mortgage means competitive rates, fewer fees, and home loan options to fit your unique needs. Whether you re building, buying or remodeling, we strive to meet your needs with quality service and individual attention. We pride ourselves in giving you the mortgage information, loan options and convenient assistance you re looking for. We offer a variety of loan programs and we will help you find the right loan that best suits your needs. At TDECU, we offer competitive rates, best in class service, in addition to

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