Home Ownership as a part of your Financial Plan
It's often said that a home is the largest investment that most of us will ever make. How effectively you manage home ownership will have a strong influence on the rest of your financial picture. Whatever your stage of home ownership, there are things you should know in order to maximize the benefits of this investment.
Generally, there are two areas where home ownership will have a positive influence on your finances:
Homeowners build equity with each payment and through appreciation in the value of the property. Equity is a powerful asset that helps you develop financial security. You can apply this equity in a number of ways:
- As a down payment on your next home
- To finance a child's education, make home improvements, purchase a vacation home or maintain it as a reserve against unexpected emergencies
Mortgage interest and real estate taxes are generally tax-deductible. Paying rent has no such benefit. It's a good idea to discuss the potential tax benefits with your tax consultant prior to making any decisions regarding home purchase or refinancing. Don't make any assumptions based on what your friends and family may have experienced.
SCCU has the products and information to help you maximize your investment
Purchasing your first home
There are many new mortgage programs available that put home ownership within the reach of more people than ever before. “Zero down” programs are available to those with good credit and adequate income, but little cash. Your mortgage representative or SCCU's online Loan Consultant can assist you in finding the right mortgage at the right price.
If you don't have stellar credit, you have options. It is still possible to be approved for a mortgage or you can make a decision to begin preparing for approval by repairing your credit starting today. For a start, visit the Educational Articles page at SCCU.com and read “Improve Your Credit Score” and “How Lenders Evaluate Your Application.”
Refinancing your current mortgage
By refinancing, you may be able to lower your interest rate and reduce your monthly payments, shorten your loan term or consolidate debt. This can allow you to improve your cash flow, build equity faster or strengthen your overall financial picture.
It is important to take the time to decide if refinancing will provide the benefit you seek. You will find a “Refinance Payback Calculator” in the 1st mortgage area of SCCU.com.
Tapping into your home's equity
Most of us are familiar with the term “home equity loan,” but are not aware of all the options available. There are a wide variety of fixed-rate programs and home equity lines of credit (HELOC) that can be matched to your specific needs. For example, have you considered opening a HELOC that you can draw on in case of emergencies? SCCU's Express Services Associates can discuss your needs and direct you to a loan program that will best meet them.
Whatever your needs regarding home financing, it is important to work with a lender that offers a complete selection of first mortgages and home equity loans. This helps to ensure that you will get the product that meets your needs. You don't want your decision to be influenced by a lender's limited offering.
The information on this page is for educational purposes only. SCCU is not engaged in providing estate planning or other advice. Please consult with a competent estate planning professional regarding any specific estate planning questions.