5 Hidden Costs of Homeownership

If you enter just the price of a house in a mortgage calculator, you might think that the cost of owning a home is less than renting. Well, not so fast. While the pros of being a homeowner include investment in generational wealth, a sense of stability, and predicable mortgage payments, keeping up a home takes a lot of work—and money.   Budgeting for your new house requires you to think about more than just loan principal and interest payments. Let’s go over the hidden costs of owning a home so that your dream home doesn’t become a financial nightmare.  Look Out for These 5 Hidden Costs of Owning a Home  Along with your monthly mortgage payments, include these easy-to-miss homeownership costs when budgeting:  Property Taxes: Property taxes vary by city, county, or even by the school district. If you can’t find the current property…

May 31, 2021Borrowing Basics No Comments

If you enter just the price of a house in a mortgage calculator, you might think that the cost of owning a home is less than renting. Well, not so fast. While the pros of being a homeowner include investment in generational wealth, a sense of stability, and predicable mortgage payments, keeping up a home takes a lot of work—and money.   Budgeting for your new house requires you to think about more than just loan principal and interest payments. Let’s go over the hidden costs of owning a home so that your dream home doesn’t become a financial nightmare.  Look Out for These 5 Hidden Costs of Owning a Home  Along with your monthly mortgage payments, include these easy-to-miss homeownership costs when budgeting:  Property Taxes: Property taxes vary by city, county, or even by the school district. If you can’t find the current property…

Steps to Take Before Applying for a Mortgage 

Buying a home is an exciting achievement, but it’s also a huge investment. Before you begin the home-buying process, you need to know what lenders will look for to approve your home loan. You should also get a sense of what the upfront home-buying costs will be. Here are some ways to make sure you’re ready to buy your dream home.   Check Your Credit Score.  Check your credit score so you’ll know where your creditworthiness stands. Most lenders would consider a credit score that’s 750 or higher very good. Still, even if your credit score isn’t that high, it doesn’t mean lenders won’t approve you for a home loan. But it’s still in your best interest to improve your score before applying for preapproval. A good credit score might save you thousands of dollars in interest over time. Here’s a list of things to do before applying for a home loan:  Visit www.AnnualCreditReport.com to get a copy of your credit report and check…

May 3, 2021Borrowing Basics No Comments

Buying a home is an exciting achievement, but it’s also a huge investment. Before you begin the home-buying process, you need to know what lenders will look for to approve your home loan. You should also get a sense of what the upfront home-buying costs will be. Here are some ways to make sure you’re ready to buy your dream home.   Check Your Credit Score.  Check your credit score so you’ll know where your creditworthiness stands. Most lenders would consider a credit score that’s 750 or higher very good. Still, even if your credit score isn’t that high, it doesn’t mean lenders won’t approve you for a home loan. But it’s still in your best interest to improve your score before applying for preapproval. A good credit score might save you thousands of dollars in interest over time. Here’s a list of things to do before applying for a home loan:  Visit www.AnnualCreditReport.com to get a copy of your credit report and check…

Understanding Closing Costs on Your New Home 

Are you searching for your first house? As a first-time homebuyer, you’ve got a lot of work ahead to find a “home sweet home.” You’ll need to find a realtor, hunt for the perfect house online by tearing apart the MLS and other property listing sites, go to showings, compare home values, and more. But the labor is worth the reward!   But before all of this happens, you should be preapproved for your home loan and have your down payment saved up so you can have the smoothest closing possible. And not only that, but you should also have money saved to pay the closing costs.  Fees for Services Associated with the House Sale  Closing costs are fees paid to third parties that facilitate the home closing and transfer of ownership. These third parties could include lenders, title companies, insurance companies, city/county public…

April 1, 2021Borrowing Basics No Comments

Are you searching for your first house? As a first-time homebuyer, you’ve got a lot of work ahead to find a “home sweet home.” You’ll need to find a realtor, hunt for the perfect house online by tearing apart the MLS and other property listing sites, go to showings, compare home values, and more. But the labor is worth the reward!   But before all of this happens, you should be preapproved for your home loan and have your down payment saved up so you can have the smoothest closing possible. And not only that, but you should also have money saved to pay the closing costs.  Fees for Services Associated with the House Sale  Closing costs are fees paid to third parties that facilitate the home closing and transfer of ownership. These third parties could include lenders, title companies, insurance companies, city/county public…

Is Leasing a Car a Smart Financial Move?

Having reliable transportation for work, recreation, and running daily errands is essential. If public transportation or riding a bike isn’t an option, you may be looking at a range of cars that fit into your lifestyle. From new cars to used cars, you have to decide on the make, model, and year and whether you plan to buy or lease a vehicle.   Leasing Options Making a Comeback Several years ago, leasing was a very popular financing solution. People could lease the newest vehicles on the lot for a lower initial cost and lower monthly payments versus getting a car…

March 26, 2021Borrowing Basics No Comments

Having reliable transportation for work, recreation, and running daily errands is essential. If public transportation or riding a bike isn’t an option, you may be looking at a range of cars that fit into your lifestyle. From new cars to used cars, you have to decide on the make, model, and year and whether you plan to buy or lease a vehicle.   Leasing Options Making a Comeback Several years ago, leasing was a very popular financing solution. People could lease the newest vehicles on the lot for a lower initial cost and lower monthly payments versus getting a car…

Are You Ready to Buy a Home?

Now is an excellent time to buy real estate. There are near-record low-rates, builders are building again, and current home values are on the rise. Wherever you look, someone is raving about the hot market.   It seems like it’s the right time to buy. But is it the right time for YOU to buy?  Purchasing a house is one of the biggest financial decisions you’ll ever make. To help answer that question, we’ve put together several tips to help you on your home-buying journey.   Get Pre-Approved.  While researching, you’ll often hear the terms “prequalified” and “preapproved.” They may seem to be the same, but they are as different as night and day when it comes to getting a mortgage.   Prequalified just means you gave your estimated living expenses and income to a lender. Based on these numbers, they give…

March 18, 2021Borrowing Basics 8 Comments

Now is an excellent time to buy real estate. There are near-record low-rates, builders are building again, and current home values are on the rise. Wherever you look, someone is raving about the hot market.   It seems like it’s the right time to buy. But is it the right time for YOU to buy?  Purchasing a house is one of the biggest financial decisions you’ll ever make. To help answer that question, we’ve put together several tips to help you on your home-buying journey.   Get Pre-Approved.  While researching, you’ll often hear the terms “prequalified” and “preapproved.” They may seem to be the same, but they are as different as night and day when it comes to getting a mortgage.   Prequalified just means you gave your estimated living expenses and income to a lender. Based on these numbers, they give…

4 Reasons Your Credit Score Changed

Your credit score carries a lot of weight in your ability to get credit. Not only that, it affects the interest rate you’re approved for, the cost of your insurance premiums—even your ability to be employed in certain occupations.    Many people don’t realize small actions cause ripple effects that can lower your credit score. If you monitor your credit score routinely, you may find these changes perplexing. These are four reasons why your credit score may have changed.  You made a large purchase on your credit card. If you make a big credit card purchase, it increases your Credit Utilization Ratio (CUR). The credit utilization ratio is the amount of credit you have available compared to the amount of credit you use. Ideally,…

February 22, 2021Borrowing Basics, Wallet Wins 2 Comments

Your credit score carries a lot of weight in your ability to get credit. Not only that, it affects the interest rate you’re approved for, the cost of your insurance premiums—even your ability to be employed in certain occupations.    Many people don’t realize small actions cause ripple effects that can lower your credit score. If you monitor your credit score routinely, you may find these changes perplexing. These are four reasons why your credit score may have changed.  You made a large purchase on your credit card. If you make a big credit card purchase, it increases your Credit Utilization Ratio (CUR). The credit utilization ratio is the amount of credit you have available compared to the amount of credit you use. Ideally,…

Why Personal Lines of Credit May Be the Best Choice

Many people turn to credit cards when financial fires need to be put out quickly. While credit cards can serve as a solid plan B, a Personal Line of Credit (PLOC) may be a better choice in certain situations.  A Personal Line of Credit lets you access the money you need when you need it. A PLOC can be used to make home improvements, pay off higher-interest debts—even help you with unplanned rainy days. With a PEFCU Personal Line of Credit, you can access your account through our Mobile Banking App or Online Banking. Making transfers between accounts easy. Understanding the opportunities PLOCs present can…

February 17, 2021Borrowing Basics No Comments

Many people turn to credit cards when financial fires need to be put out quickly. While credit cards can serve as a solid plan B, a Personal Line of Credit (PLOC) may be a better choice in certain situations.  A Personal Line of Credit lets you access the money you need when you need it. A PLOC can be used to make home improvements, pay off higher-interest debts—even help you with unplanned rainy days. With a PEFCU Personal Line of Credit, you can access your account through our Mobile Banking App or Online Banking. Making transfers between accounts easy. Understanding the opportunities PLOCs present can…

Does Closing a Credit Card Affect Your Credit Score? 

Your old credit card. It has plagued your thoughts and haunted your monthly bottom line for years—even decades. That exhilarating moment you FINALLY pay it off gives you such relief that you want to cut the card up and bid the credit card company good riddance forever.   But is this really the best move for your credit score? Starting off with a clean slate might feel good, but sometimes holding on to an “old friend” is better. Let’s dig a little deeper.  Anatomy of a Credit Score  Before we get too deep, it’s wise to explore the anatomy of a credit score and how closing a credit card may affect it.  Your credit score consists of five factors:  Payment history  Amount owed  Length of credit history (how long accounts…

February 15, 2021Borrowing Basics, Wallet Wins No Comments

Your old credit card. It has plagued your thoughts and haunted your monthly bottom line for years—even decades. That exhilarating moment you FINALLY pay it off gives you such relief that you want to cut the card up and bid the credit card company good riddance forever.   But is this really the best move for your credit score? Starting off with a clean slate might feel good, but sometimes holding on to an “old friend” is better. Let’s dig a little deeper.  Anatomy of a Credit Score  Before we get too deep, it’s wise to explore the anatomy of a credit score and how closing a credit card may affect it.  Your credit score consists of five factors:  Payment history  Amount owed  Length of credit history (how long accounts…

3 Strategies for Improving Your Credit Score

Your credit score is a number you need to know. Lenders, insurance companies, and even some employers use this score to decide how reliable you are. It pays to do your best to make sure it’s as high as can be.   There are many ways to find out your credit score. As a PEFCU member, you can access your score with the FICO feature in our mobile banking app. Your FICO score, the most widely used credit scoring tool, specifically details what affects your score. If you need more details, you can order a free copy of your credit report through www.AnnualCreditReport.com. From there, you can check to see if the information on your report is correct and file a complaint if necessary.   If you’re ready to boost your score, take these three steps to…

January 19, 2021Borrowing Basics, Wallet Wins 1 Comment

Your credit score is a number you need to know. Lenders, insurance companies, and even some employers use this score to decide how reliable you are. It pays to do your best to make sure it’s as high as can be.   There are many ways to find out your credit score. As a PEFCU member, you can access your score with the FICO feature in our mobile banking app. Your FICO score, the most widely used credit scoring tool, specifically details what affects your score. If you need more details, you can order a free copy of your credit report through www.AnnualCreditReport.com. From there, you can check to see if the information on your report is correct and file a complaint if necessary.   If you’re ready to boost your score, take these three steps to…

Building Good Financial Habits for Life 

Where do you see yourself a year from now? Hopefully, you see yourself better off financially. But resolutions and goals with no plan are bound to fail.   While it’s reported that around 73% of Americans plan to start the new year with resolutions, about 12% of them don’t even think their goals are possible. In fact, an average of 80% of us don’t meet our resolution goals.   But failing to meet your resolution doesn’t make you a failure. In fact, you’re an amazing person who might not have an amazing plan. We want to see you live your best financial life as much…

January 4, 2021Borrowing Basics, Future Planning, Wallet Wins 3 Comments

Where do you see yourself a year from now? Hopefully, you see yourself better off financially. But resolutions and goals with no plan are bound to fail.   While it’s reported that around 73% of Americans plan to start the new year with resolutions, about 12% of them don’t even think their goals are possible. In fact, an average of 80% of us don’t meet our resolution goals.   But failing to meet your resolution doesn’t make you a failure. In fact, you’re an amazing person who might not have an amazing plan. We want to see you live your best financial life as much…