Whether you’re a first-time home buyer or jumping into the market after owning a home for several years, our Real Estate Lending Team is here to answer any questions you may have! Tender Blue, KCU Real Estate Lender, and Mortgage Loan Consultant, holds regular Q&A sessions at our Highlands branch to do just that. “The branch Q&A’s were something that I started in an effort to offer a benefit to our members,” said Tender. “I thought that having a stronger presence in the branch would give the members access to information about real estate in a comfortable, non-committed setting.” 

We asked Tender what the most frequently asked questions at her session were. Here’s what she found:

Question: Where can someone find information about Home Loans if they are nervous about getting started?

Answer: Our members can go to our webpage Mortgages With Low Rates | Kitsap Credit Union (kitsapcu.org), and it gives them some of the basic information. They can also book time with one of our Mortgage Loan Consultants here Kitsap Credit Union Loan Consulting Scheduler (office365.com). There is an option for general questions, and our loan officers can help them gauge where they are at in the process or guide them through the whole thing.

Question: Where do I start when it comes to applying for a home loan/buying a home?

Answer: The first step to getting started is by putting in an application at Lion App (memberfirst.com). Once you have applied, you will be assigned a Mortgage Loan Officer. They will contact you and help advise you on the next steps. Putting in the application helps us in our initial conversation with you as it shows us ideally what you are looking for. It also allows us to get a lot of preliminary information so that we can run numbers for you and let you know what you would likely qualify for.

Question: What should my credit score look like when applying for a home loan?

Answer: There are some loan programs where your FICO score can be as low as 580. However, I always recommend that you monitor your credit frequently, which you can do by going to myfreecreditreport.com

Question: How much money is recommended for a down payment?

Answer: There are actually several different options for a down payment. Here at Kitsap Credit Union we are proud to offer a First-Time Home Buyer program that allows you to come in with no down payment if you qualify. However, I always recommend that you have some funds to go toward the transaction as there is more to buying a home than just the down payment. There are also closing costs that will vary depending on the county that you shop in and the value of the house you settle on. There are ways that you as a borrower can offset some of these closing costs!

Question: Why should I buy a home now if rates are high? When will rates go down?

Answer: The only constant in the real estate market is change. That being said, there are pro and cons to each market, when the rates are low, the cost of a home is high. When the rates are high, the prices of homes tend to be a bit lower. This is why the rate is just one factor of buying, and it shouldn’t be the only thing taken into account. Our Mortgage Loan Officers can help you to look at the numbers and what you are comfortable with as a mortgage payment and then help guide you from there so that you make a choice that you are comfortable with.  

Question: Why should I buy a home when housing prices are so high? 

Answer: One of the biggest benefits to owning a home is that if you maintain it, the value should consistently go up. You are also investing in your own asset every time you make a mortgage payment versus investing in someone else’s while renting. There are many ways to get into the market even with the prices of homes where they are, it would all start with a conversation on what you are comfortable with and then looking at the options that fit your parameters.

Question: How do I combat burnout in a highly competitive market?

Answer: This is a tough one, honestly, it takes a strong team in order to combat burnout or to battle the loss of hope. If we are all on the same page, then it makes it easier when the market is challenging to capitalize on the houses that come up that do fit your needs. Buying a home is never an “easy” process, but if you can stick with it then it can be a very rewarding process.

For more information, please reach out to Tender at tblue@kitsapcu.org.

Insured by NCUA and Equal Housing Opportunity.