08 Nov

First-Time Homebuyer Mistakes to Avoid

First-Time Homebuyer Mistakes to Avoid

Buying your first home can be exciting and stressful. You are finally going to be able to call a home your own, but must also pay the price that comes with that ownership – the mortgage. While there are many things to consider before and during your home buying journey, RMLEFCU is here to make the whole process a bit easier with these first-time homebuyer mistakes to avoid.

Ignoring or Not Knowing Your Credit Score

Before you even begin planning to buy a home, you must first know if you are financially able to do so. Do you have enough money to pay for the house in cash? If not, how good of a loan will your credit score allow you to get? These are the hard, but important, questions to ask yourself when determining if you are ready to own your own home.

The first, and most basic, step to determine your financial ability, is knowing your credit score. This is the score that banks will look at when determining which home loans you qualify for and, ultimately, which houses you will be able to afford. By being aware of your credit score before meeting with a mortgage consultant, you will be able to more easily communicate your concerns and desires with them and are more likely to be happy with the result.

Looking for a Home Before a Loan

Being realistic about what you can afford is just one of the harsh truths that you must face while buying a home. By looking for houses before you know what kind of loan you qualify for, you may be setting unrealistic expectations for yourself. Instead, know where you stand before you start shopping. Visit our website or come into a RMLEFCU branch and have a financial discussion with one of our mortgage specialists to get pre-qualified for a home loan amount before you start looking.

Being Too Picky

Finding your dream house in your price range is really only a thing of fairytales. Make a list of what’s important to you in a home and decide what you need and what you can sacrifice on. For example, a great school district and large yard might be deal breakers if a home doesn’t have them, but you could maybe live without the dual master bathroom sinks and extra-large walk-in closet. It’s all about finding the happy medium between price and features.

Assuming Your Mortgage is the Only Expense

A common mistake some people make when budgeting for buying a home, is assuming that the mortgage payment will be their only expense. There are many other costs to take into account, such as property insurance, property taxes, maintenance costs, and homeowners association dues (if your residence has them). All these smaller, less significant costs can add up quickly when it comes to home budgeting and affordability. It’s best to over-budget and anticipate for more expenses early on so you’re not left blindsided and broke if anything changes in your financial situation.

The bottom line is that there more first-time home buying mistakes to avoid than you might have originally thought. It’s always better to be over-prepared, and that’s why we’re here! RMLEFCU is ready to help you finance your first home when the time comes and we have the experts here to get it done right. Visit our website or give us a call to get started and see how easy your first-time home buying process can be!

18 Sep

Car Buying Process Made Simple

Car Buying Process Made Simple

Have you been thinking about getting a new car recently? Don’t know where to start? Allow us to help. Here at RMLEFCU, we have partnered with AutoTrek® to bring you plenty of resources to simplify the car buying process.

Use an Auto Broker

When making a new or used car buying decision, many people utilize auto brokers to help them with the tedious process of finding the exact car they want at an affordable price point. Simply put, auto brokers streamline the process significantly and do all the heavy lifting for you. Just tell them what you’re looking for in a vehicle and a set price range, and they take care of the rest. From scouring the country locating a vehicle fitting your description to negotiating prices with the dealer; they take care of all the time consuming busy-work so you don’t have to.

RMLEFCU Member Deals and Discounts

By being a member of RMLEFCU, you receive the best deals and discounts in AutoTrek’s inventory. AutoTrek provides RMLEFCU members with the most current and accurate vehicle information on the market, so you can make the most informed car buying decision possible. They also offer members a complimentary vehicle report, so you are able to check the history and information on any vehicle as long as you have the VIN.

What’s the Value of Your Current Vehicle?

How much you will get for your current vehicle will probably effect which car you’ll set your sights on buying next. If the value of your current vehicle is more than expected, then suddenly you might be able to afford a slightly nicer make or newer model! Utilize the NADA appraisal tool to find the approximate trade in value of your vehicle and compare similar models side by side to ensure you’re getting the best deal.

Get Your Dream Car

By utilizing the New Vehicle Builder Tool, you’ll be able to research and build your dream car equipped with any and all the bells and whistles you’d like. You can then submit this vehicle to AutoTrek who will search high and low for your exact specifications. Once found, AutoTrek will take care of all the negotiations and deliver the vehicle to you at the best price possible.

RMLEFCU Auto Loans

So now you’ve got your dream car at the best price possible, but how are you going to pay for it? At RMLEFCU, we’re all about making the car buying process as simple as possible, so we offer competitive auto loans only available to members with no payments for the first 90 days! We’re making it easier than ever to get you into a brand-new ride at the lowest possible price, so what are you waiting for? Check out our website for more information and apply online today!

23 Aug

Get Rid of High Interest Student Debt with a HELOC

Student Loans with a HELOC

Nowadays, it’s incredibly expensive to attend college or a university. Most of us don’t have the cash to pay for higher education up front and wind up taking out high interest student loans. You don’t have to live with that high interest debt though. By using a HELOC, you can save money in the long term by paying it off with a great, lower interest option.

What is a HELOC?

First things first, what is a HELOC? A HELOC, or home equity line of credit, is a loan that is taken out by a homeowner and paid off over a certain period of time. It is similar to a credit card, but uses your home as collateral. With such a valuable asset as leverage, you are able to get a lower interest rate than a traditional loan.

There are usually two periods included in a HELOC loan process; the draw period and the repayment period. The draw period is the amount of time that the line of credit can be withdrawn from and only requires interest payments to be made. The repayment period is, you guessed it, when the total amount borrowed must be repaid over a set time period. Draw periods typically range from 5-10 years while repayment periods are closer to 10-20 years, depending on the loan.

Why Using a HELOC to Pay Off Student Debt is a Good Idea

 Taking out student loans through a bank or government program may seem like the easiest option, but with a 6-8% interest rate, you will realize soon after graduation just how much interest that adds up to. HELOCs typically have much lower interest rates (RMLEFCU rates can be as low as 4.25%), making the monthly payments much more affordable.

How Can RMLEFCU Help?

If you think paying off your student loan debt with a HELOC is the right move for you, make sure to use a reputable institution like RMLEFCU. We are currently offering amazingly low rates and even offer a convenient and easy way of accessing your Home Equity Line of Credit by giving you a HELOC Visa card.

Learn more by calling 303-458-6660 or clicking here. Whether you’re a recent graduate with piles of student loan debt or a parent paying for your child’s education, RMLEFCU is here to help you pay your debts off in the easiest way possible!

19 Jul

Colorado First Time Home Buyer Tips

colorado first time home buyer

Getting ready to buy your first home can feel a bit like a trip into the unknown – one with pretty high stakes too. By taking the process in stages, you can be sure that you are prepared to take the plunge and properly prepare your finances before the big purchase. Read our Colorado first time home buyer tips to get you started on your path to homeownership.

Get Your Credit Score Up

Buying a home is likely going to be the biggest purchase of your life, so getting a good interest rate will make a huge difference in how much you pay over the life of the loan. Your interest rate is largely determined based on your income and your credit history.

Get your credit score up as high as you possibly can before applying for a mortgage. If your score is low, it is worth it to take some time to work on it. Your score will have a big impact on your interest rate. Check out our credit builder loan to help improve your credit.

A good place to start if you want to get your credit score up is to get a full credit report. This will tell any about any outstanding debts, how long you have had all of your accounts, what your total debt amount is, and will even tell you what’s hurting your score and what’s helping. Take the advice seriously and fix the things you can, like paying off outstanding debt and cutting back your credit card spending. In the months before you apply don’t make any changes to your credit, such as take out a new credit card or apply for anything that might run a hard credit inquiry, this can cause dips in your score.

Get Pre-Approved for a Loan Before You Look

Don’t fall in love with a house you can’t afford! Before you even start to look, meet with a loan officer and get pre-approved for a mortgage amount. Have the loan officer show you what your monthly payment would be at different loan amounts and settle on an amount that is comfortable for you to pay back. Remember – you don’t have to use the total loan amount you are approved for!

Once you start looking, save yourself some pain and don’t go see houses you can’t afford or that would be at the top of your budget. If you are using a realtor, be firm on what your ceiling is. Trying to afford a house out of your reach won’t end well. With enough patience, everyone can find a home that will work for them in their price range.

Pick an Area or Neighborhood & Don’t Settle

You know how they say location, location, location? Well, it’s true how important it is – location is everything. Pick a town or neighborhood you want to live in and stick to it. Weigh your commute to work, proximity to amenities and hobbies, and even the crime rate and school districts.

Is there a part of town you would hate to be in every day? Avoid looking at houses in that area. Is there a neighborhood you would love to live in but are worried you can’t afford it? Just stick with the hunt and go see houses right when they come on the market. With a little luck and patience, you might be the one to snag that rare deal.

Colorado First Time Home Buyer

The Colorado landscape changes quickly and can be intimidating for seasoned investors, let alone first time home buyers. Prepare for your first mortgage as early in your financial life as you can and find a few trusted professionals like us to help along the way.

19 Jun

Paying for College Without Going Broke

Paying for College Without Going Broke

One of the first thoughts after being accepted to college is usually, “Now how do I pay for this?!” The current costs of tuition are staggering, but there are several options for paying for college without going broke. It is worth the research and effort to explore all options, in particular assistance that does not need to be repaid like grants and scholarships.

Paying for Tuition

Financial Aid

The first step in beginning your quest for financial aid should be to fill out your FAFSA at https://fafsa.ed.gov/. Filling out this document will tell you what government aid you qualify for, including grants, loans, and other programs like work-study.

It is a good idea to always accept all grants first, and then figure out what additional funding you may need after that amount is deducted from your tuition. Grants do not need to be re-paid if you graduate, but beware, dropping out of school can mean you have to repay the full amount you accepted.

Scholarships

The next best form of funding for college expenses after grants are scholarships. Scholarships do not need to be re-paid (under most types) and can be awarded for a variety of reasons. There are scholarships for all sorts of interests and activities. Some are based on merit, some are based on sports performance, and some are based on where you live.

The William Threlkeld Scholarship

RMLEFCU members that are in high school or college are eligible to apply for the William Threlkeld Scholarship. Four deserving members/students will be awarded the scholarship based on academic performance (a 3.0 GPA or higher), community involvement, and the potential to succeed at the college level. 2017 applications are due by July 31, to apply, fill out this application and mail to:

Rocky Mountain Law Enforcement Federal Credit Union
attn: Threlkeld Scholarship
10025 Park Meadow Drive
Lone Tree, CO 80135

Loans

Loans for college expenses come in two forms: government and private; both of which must be paid back plus interest. Through your FAFSA you will find out if you qualify for any government loans. Subsidized government loans are better than unsubsidized or private loans because you will not accrue interest while in school.

If after receiving grants, scholarships, and subsidized loans you still need cash for school, your next step is to decide between an unsubsidized government loan or a private loan. Choose whichever has a lower interest rate (hint: this won’t always be the government loan!). Another option is to use your parent’s home as collateral for a low interest loan. This could be in the form of a home equity loan or home equity line of credit.

Personal Expenses

As far as personal expenses while you are a student, some grants or scholarships allow for personal expenses. Only use these though if you have all school expenses (like tuition and books) covered first.

The ideal way to pay for personal expenses while in school is with a part time job or work study program. You want to minimize student debt as much as possible, so going into more debt for living expenses can put you into a bad cycle of increasing your debt each year.

College costs are intimidating for every student, but there are a large number of ways to pay for these expenses without graduating completely broke. Research your options, apply for every scholarship under the sun, and only accrue debt when necessary.

17 May

Getting Your First Mortgage Through a Credit Union- Lower Rates and No Mortgage Insurance

Mortgage Through a Credit Union

When it comes to buying your first home and applying for a mortgage loan, finding your dream home is only half of the battle. There is the task of making sure you understand all the requirements of applying for a loan, figuring out what type of mortgage is best for you, and making sure that your lender has your best interests in mind. Buying a home is probably the biggest purchase you will ever make, so there is a lot at stake when choosing a lender.

All of these reasons are why getting a first mortgage through a Credit Union like RMLEFCU is becoming more and more popular. Credit Unions operate very differently than big, private banks and in turn can offer you better service, lower rates, lower origination fees, and NO mortgage insurance if you’re putting down less than 20%.

Yes, you heard correctly! NO mortgage insurance required.

No Mortgage Insurance (PMI)

For many first time home buyers, the biggest obstacle to getting the ball rolling is the intimidating task of saving up 20% of the home cost or facing a monthly charge of $100-$300 for mortgage insurance. At RMLEFCU, you can have your cake and eat it too!

Is it up to the lender whether to charge mortgage insurance on loans with less than 20% down, and at Rocky Mountain Law Enforcement Federal Credit Union, there is none required. You can put less than 20% of the total home cost down and still avoid a monthly PMI fee.

Low Interest Rates and Origination Fees

Credit unions are able to offer lower than average interest rates and origination fees because of how their business models differ from that of a traditional bank. Credit Unions (like RMLEFCU) are owned by the members and run as close to cost as possible. Any profits earned don’t go into the executives’ pockets, members democratically decide where they go, which is usually to lowering rates and fees.

On a huge, long term loan like a mortgage, small fractional increases in interest rates can have an enormous impact on how much you will pay out over the life of the loan. Getting as low an interest rate as possible is a vital part of getting the best mortgage.

Better Service

Credit Unions are known for their great service. It all ties back to the business model; a Credit Union is owned by its members and decisions are made democratically. This involvement by members in the innerworkings of the business eliminates the divide between bank employees and you.

In addition, RMLEFCU is a local, Colorado credit union made up exclusively of law enforcement officers, support staff, and their families. Our loan officers understand the Denver real estate climate, your situation, and know you by name. Your experience applying for a loan will be much more personal and specific to you, not just how you add up on a piece of paper.

Make your dream of being a home owner happen sooner than you thought possible by getting a mortgage through a credit union. With no PMI and low rates and fees, you can’t afford not to!