Expert Advice Helps Buyers Navigate Local Process
FAIRFAX, Va.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–With the spring market around the corner, Apple
Federal Credit Union today released its 2017 list of Top Tips for
Homebuyers to help new homebuyers prepare for the experience. Typically,
the spring market between March and Memorial Day is the busiest of the
“We expect a robust spring market in the Northern Virginia region.
Despite the headlines touting rising interest rates above 4 percent,
they are still well below 2013 levels, and we fully expect home sales to
be brisk. Being prepared will help homebuyers get a home they want at a
price they can afford,” says Jeffery A. Long, Vice President of Lending,
Apple Federal Credit Union.
Nationally, the Mortgage
Bankers Association predicts mortgage purchases to rise to $1.1
trillion in 2017, up 10 percent from 2016. Early indicators from Apple
FCU support this trend and reveal a strong local housing market. In
data shows the median home value in Washington, DC is $535,000, and is
predicted to rise 4.5 percent this year. In Fairfax, VA, the median home
value is $521,200 and expected to rise 3 percent within the next year.
In all, home values in Northern Virginia are expected to grow between
2.5 and 4 percent.
To capitalize on these strong market conditions, Apple FCU, which has 22
branches throughout Northern Virginia, has compiled this list of
consumer tips to help make the process easier and better for homebuyers
in the DC metro region—especially first-timers.
Be Pre-Approved Rather Than Pre-Qualified. A pre-approved loan
means that a lender has reviewed your mortgage application, credit,
and other paperwork and has approved you for a loan of a specific
amount. This helps guide your home search, since you know what loan
amount you qualify for and allows your lender to pre-approve you in up
to three days. In contrast, if you are pre-qualified, your lender has
not done a complete application process so you may or may not qualify
for the loan in question.
Know What You Can Afford. What is your comfort level? Your
lender will tell you what they think you can afford according to your
pay stubs and debt-to-loan ratio, but that often is not your total
financial picture. Do you pay for daycare, for instance? That can be
substantial, so be sure to take things like that into consideration
when you decide how much of a loan burden you want to carry.
Save for a New Home. The money you save for your loan down
payment should have two purposes. First, of course, is to secure your
mortgage loan and lower your monthly payments. But in addition, it’s a
good idea to put some of that money aside for unexpected problems.
Understand Your Credit Score. Check your credit score and
balances on your credit cards to ensure your debt is 50 percent below
the amount of your credit line. For example, if you have a line of
$10,000 on your credit card, ensure that your debt is no more than
$5,000 or your credit score goes down. The lower your credit score,
the more difficult it will be to get a mortgage loan. Ensure your
credit card has been open a minimum of 12 months and you have a
reliable payment record.
Identify Your Lending Options. In addition to banks, check out
credit unions and other non-profit lenders, as they often have rates
that are lower because they do not have shareholders to pay. Other
things to consider: is your loan going to be sold to another
institution in another part of the country where you will never see a
live representative over the 30 years of your loan? Will the lender
take your character, personal history and other non-financial things
into consideration when determining if they will qualify you for a
Realize that Lenders are Not Created Equally. Find out if loan
decisions at your lender are made locally where the decision makers
understand the local landscape, economy, and other issues that
influence the market. Ask if your lender will help you if you are
turned down for a loan. At Apple, for instance, loan experts sit down
with potential homebuyers and explain why they didn’t qualify and
counsel them on what to do over the next 6-12 months to improve their
chances for a loan.
Shop with a Professional Real Estate Agent. Working with an
agent will save you time and frustration. These professionals are
wired into expansive databases of inventory and can hone in on the
location you choose. Some institutions can help connect you with
trusted agents. For instance, Apple offers Home
Advantage, a program which partners with real estate agents who
are experienced, vetted, and rated by a national company. Buyers also
receive a cash reward equal to 20 percent of the agent’s commission.
To learn more, visit www.AppleFCU.org.
About Apple Federal Credit Union
As an organization, Apple FCU strives to improve lives and fulfill the
dreams of our members. We believe this mission applies to the financial
success of our members, as well as our efforts to increase opportunities
for those within the community.
Sandra Remey, 301-929-3554 (o)