For many homebuyers, the current real estate environment is unlike anything they have experienced.
Demand is outpacing supply, causing prices to skyrocket. Interest rates have already risen, with additional hikes expected. And large corporations continue to buy properties, forcing individuals and families to act fast on any opportunity.
Naturally, that can lead to more questions than answers. Is now the right time to buy? Would I be better off waiting? What does all of this mean for my family?
As VyStar Credit Union’s chief lending officer, one of my most important responsibilities is to ensure our team has solutions for our members. That’s why we continue to upgrade and enhance our robust slate of products, which are designed to meet the specific needs of every individual.
Here are some options to keep in mind when navigating today’s housing marketing:
Consider an adjustable-rate mortgage
Gone are the days of shuddering when considering an adjustable-rate mortgage, also known as an ARM. In fact, many of VyStar’s ARMs can lend you the helping hand you need in this economy. At VyStar, we offer a unique 5/5 ARM. Here’s how it works: The first five years are a fixed rate, then the rate adjusts every five years according to an index. This can be an especially good option for individuals who plan to be in their home for up to 10 years. We also offer more traditional 7-year and 10-year ARMs.
Lock in your rate first
The homebuying process can be much easier when you know exactly what to expect. A great option for that is a construction-to-permanent home loan. This type of loan allows you to lock in your rate before construction even begins. From groundbreaking to final closing, you can make decisions knowing exactly what rate you have with a single-loan close.
Consider an FHA loan
An FHA loan is a government-backed loan with less restrictive financial requirements. This can be a great option for individuals who are rebuilding their credit or are still paying off debt. We approve FHA loans with as little as 3.5 percent down, easing the financial burden. And contrary to popular belief, this option is available to more than just first-time homebuyers.
Home equity loans, line of credit
If you need an influx of cash for any reason, you may want to consider a home equity loan (HEL) or home equity line of credit (HELOC). A HELOC or HEL can be used to consolidate debt to a lower interest rate or for home improvements. This option allows you to protect your low interest rate on your first mortgage while still getting the liquidity you need.
Innovative products and grants
At VyStar, we work hard to find a solution for every member. But some programs are built specifically to meet the needs of our community. Our Military Heroes mortgage program does just that and was developed in partnership with veterans who are VyStar members.
Qualified members include those in active duty, veterans and surviving spouses. Those who apply can take advantage of 100 percent financing, up to a $10,000 grant to be used toward a down payment and/or closing costs (restrictions apply, based on availability and approval process), as well as discounts up to $7,500 available from top national and local retailers.
Similarly, our Everyday Heroes mortgage program was created in an effort to give back to those who make our communities a better place to live and selflessly give back. This new program offers affordable terms, including 98 percent loan-to-value, to more than 100 professions.
Eligible professions include law enforcement officers, medical/health care workers, educators, essential workers and more. Because we’re behind you 100 percent. Be sure to research options that may be available to you.
Jenny Vipperman is the chief lending officer at VyStar Credit Union.
This guest column is the opinion of the author and does not necessarily represent the views of the Times-Union. We welcome a diversity of opinions.