Young family of four holding sold and home for sale signs in front of their new home
Home Buying, Mortgage & Home Buying

Will I Ever Be Able to Own a Home?

With rent averaging a mortgage payment these days, you might be even more interested in owning your own home and start building equity. Yet, in November 2023, the median price of an existing single-family home in Orange County reached $1,300,000.¹ Condos jumped to a record-high median of $660,000.¹ Don’t let these stats zap your confidence. You can make homeownership a reality. Here’s why:

Rates are still low

Despite elevated home prices, interest rates for home loans remain below historical average. To take advantage of the best rates, make sure your credit is in good shape and use our calculators to help you determine an affordable payment—you might be surprised to see it’s the same or less than your current rent.

You don’t necessarily need a huge down payment

One of the greatest challenges first-time buyers face is the ability to save up enough money for a down payment and closing costs. Since the housing crisis, there has been a stigma against any loan product that isn’t a standard, 30-year fixed option with 20 percent down. But if you don’t have $100,000+ saved up, what can you do?

Tightening your belt and saving longer is certainly one way to go. But, if you want to move into your home sooner, lenders may have down payment options including as little as 3% down.  And, Orange County’s Credit Union is pleased to offer a Zero Down Adjustable-Rate Mortgage (ARM)² which requires no down payment and gives you a low-fixed rate for as many as the first 10 years. These down payment options are possible because any down payment under 20% requires mortgage insurance.²

Adjustable rates can be good choice

ARMs (Adjustable-rate mortgage) are still a great choice in the right situation. After the housing bubble burst, ARMs and less than 20% down payment options got a bad wrap for putting people in a bind. Unfortunately, back then, dishonest lenders didn’t ensure people could actually afford the payment when the rate adjusted. Orange County’s Credit Union was not part of the problem – we’ve always helped people find a home loan that meets their financial needs.  Plus, there are stronger underwriting rules today to help protect consumers from getting in over their heads. But, it’s always best to meet with a trusted lending expert to review your individual financial picture and home-buying goals to help identify the right loan for your situation. That’s why we’re proud to offer a complimentary Mortgage Total Cost Analysis - a financial analysis that includes a side-by-side comparison of your loan options, costs, and savings.

A money-saving home buying program

Speaking of expertise, through our Home Connections program, we can pair you with an experienced First Team Real Estate Agent to guide you through your home buying process. When you find “the one,” you’ll receive a 20% commission rebate as a credit at closing —potentially saving you thousands of dollars.

Affordable homes do exist

You may find more for your money if you widen your home search area.  If you’re looking to buy in Southern California, our Home Connections program can link you with a real estate professional that knows the market. Just remember to identify your top priorities, set realistic home expectations, and keep away from the expensive coastal cities. The goal is to get in, build some equity, and move up when you can.

We’re here to help. Call at Mortgage Loan Consultant at (800) 506-5070.

¹Source: California Association of Realtors®
²Mortgage insurance (MI) adds additional protection for the Credit Union until you build enough equity, making it necessary to cancel the MI.

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