It looks like you're using an outdated browser.
For a better experience, we recommend switching to a more modern browser like Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge. Learn more.
Online Banking Login

News & Tips

Navigating the Home Loan Journey

February 10, 2021 by Space Coast Credit Union



With today’s record-low mortgage rates, it’s no wonder renters are considering becoming first-time homebuyers! Or, depending on where they are in life, homeowners might be ready to take that next step of moving up or downsizing. Throw in seasoned homeowners considering refinancing their mortgages to save money or cash in on equity, and the mortgage mix can seem quite confusing. What’s best for you? Understanding today’s mortgage landscape will help you become a more informed decision maker and put you on the path to successfully reaching your goal — moving into your new home, or enjoying the spoils of your growing equity. So what do you need to know? Read the "Time to Buy" or "Refinancing a Current Mortgage" sections below for expert tips!

 

TIME TO BUY?

Preapproval and House Hunting

Before you begin your home search, it’s important to know how much you can afford. A mortgage preapproval will give you a good idea of how much mortgage a lender is likely to approve. To obtain a preapproval, you will start by submitting a mortgage application. A loan officer will take a look at your credit history, employment, income, assets, and debt. The lender will run a credit check and verify other documentation prior to providing a preapproved letter with a loan amount. If you’re shopping several lenders, don’t worry too much about the credit check. Suppose several mortgage lender requests show up on your credit report within a relatively short time (usually 45 days). In that case, they are viewed as one shopping experience and won’t count as individual credit inquiries. Most preapprovals expire after 60-90 days, but you can provide updated information if you need a new preapproval.

Keep in mind a preapproval is not a final loan decision. Once you’ve found a property, the lending team will request a property appraisal to ensure the property value is in line with the loan amount.

If you’ve been home shopping, you know homes sell quickly in today’s market! A preapproval gives you a distinct advantage as a buyer. When you include a lender preapproval letter with your purchase offer, a buyer understands you are a serious buyer, have done your homework, and are prepared to purchase. In addition, many realtors will not consider an offer without a preapproval letter.

 

Making the Offer: Processing and Underwriting

When you’ve found a home and made an offer, the mortgage team will request updated paperwork to confirm your current application information. It’s very important not to incur any new debt after you’ve been preapproved. Making a large purchase on a payment plan or running up credit cards can affect your final ability to qualify for a mortgage or get the best rate.

As mentioned earlier, the home will be appraised to ensure its value aligns with the seller’s asking price. Don’t be alarmed if you get requests from processors or underwriters for additional information or clarification—it’s a normal part of the approval process.

 

Closing and Getting the Keys

With your final approval in hand, you’re ready to close on financing your new home! A few days before the closing, you’ll receive a closing disclosure. The disclosure will detail the final terms of your loan, as well as costs associated with the closing and who will pay them. This will give you a chance to review all terms and closing costs to ensure that everything is in order and you know how much money to bring to closing. Your lender will finalize the loan and provide funds to the seller. The lender is named as a lienholder on the property.


 

REFINANCING A CURRENT MORTGAGE?

Resetting Your Home Loan

Because you already own the home, the refinancing process is simpler than buying. You will start with completing an application and providing the supporting documents for employment, income, assets, and debt. The lender will run a credit check and verify your documentation. An appraisal will be ordered to determine the current value of the property. Your lender will verify the application information documents and review the appraisal before approving the final loan amount and terms. As with a purchase application, it’s very important not to incur any new debt when you’re applying for a refinance. Making a large purchase on a payment plan or running up credit cards can affect your final ability to qualify for a mortgage or get the best rate.

 

Why refinance?

There are several main reasons homeowners refinance their mortgage:
 
  1. Lower rate and payment: Refinancing the amount currently owed to take advantage of a lower rate and lower monthly payments.
  2. Change of term: Refinancing at a new lower rate over a shorter number of years to pay the loan off quicker. Some borrowers refinance to lower their rate but stretch the current amount owed over an extended-term to lower their monthly payments.
  3. Cash out: Refinancing the amount currently owed, plus taking out some equity as cash. This will increase the amount owed, but the owner may want to use the funds for home repairs, to pay off other debts with high-interest rates, or toward another large purchase. If the rate and/or term is lower, a cash-out refi often provides a good alternative to other loan solutions or dipping into savings.


Whether you’re buying or refinancing, Space Coast Credit Union makes the home loan process more straightforward for our members. Our mortgage experts guide you from start to finish. We will continue to service your mortgage for the life of the loan, meaning you’ll have our expert member service support any time you need it.

Whatever stage your home-buying journey is in, we’ll be glad to discuss your financing needs and review your options. If you are looking for more information, check out our Ultimate Guide to Mortgages article and other tools at our Home Buying Center. Want to get a quick idea of what your payment might look like? Try out our Mortgage Rate and Payment Estimator tool!

 
Was this helpful?
Is it Hard to Get a Construction Loan? Your Questions Answered
December 1, 2021 by Space Coast Credit Union
You may have lots of questions when it comes to getting a construction loan, and we’d like to help lessen your stress. With some knowledge under your belt, you’ll be well on your way to breaking ground.
30-year Fixed-rate vs. 15-year Fixed-rate (+ How to Decide Between the Two)
November 4, 2021 by Space Coast Credit Union
Today in the ring: 30-year fixed-rate mortgage vs. 15-year fixed-rate mortgage. In this article, we’re going to cover the pros and cons of each mortgage term to help you make a more informed decision. And along the way, we’ll provide some helpful tips to keep in mind.
HELOC Loan vs. Cash-Out Refinancing: Everything You Need to Know
October 12, 2021 by Space Coast Credit Union
Whether you’re looking to transform your home renovation dreams into reality, plant seeds for investments, or cover unforeseen expenses, you have a variety of options when it comes to how you can tap into your wellspring of home equity. But which option is best for you? In this article, we’ll explore the pros and cons of HELOC loans vs cash-out refinancing.
The Ultimate Guide to FHA Loans
August 27, 2021 by Space Coast Credit Union
Home loans are the key to turning a house you love into a home that belongs to you. As you’re exploring your options, you may stumble across FHA loans and wonder what they entail and if one’s right for you. FHA loans have many different benefits and are targeted at helping both new home buyers achieve the dream of home ownership and those looking to refinance. 
How Mortgage Refinancing Works (+The Best Time to Do It)
August 12, 2021 by Space Coast Credit Union
Refinancing your mortgage can help you save money with a lower interest rate and get you to the home ownership finish line faster than your current one. Or, it could be a good way for you to cash out on some of your home’s equity for other projects. To determine if it’s the right path for your goals, it’s best to understand how mortgage refinancing works more in depth.
5 Top Tips to Getting the Best HELOC Rates
July 29, 2021 by Space Coast Credit Union
Whether you’re getting your feet wet or diving in the world of loans, a HELOC is often a prime choice for borrowers. And the crown molding on top? You can often get a lower interest rate with a HELOC than with other types of loans and credit cards! See our 5 top tips to getting the best HELOC rates...
How Does a Home Equity Line of Credit Work? A Guide to HELOC Loans
July 9, 2021 by Space Coast Credit Union
Most people have heard of a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC), but you may not be as familiar with how they work. In today’s deep dive, we’re going to explore all the ins and outs of this fantastic loan vehicle for homeowners to get the cash they need to do repairs, renovations, and more—all based on the equity they already have in their home.
FHA Loans: What to Know Before You Apply
July 7, 2021 by Space Coast Credit Union
It’s not always easy to save up for the large down payments that some types of mortgages require. The good news? There are other loan options that can help you reach your homeownership goals.
Are You Ready for Hurricane Season?
May 12, 2021 by Space Coast Credit Union
While many of us are still weathering the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, we now have to be prepared for hurricane season as well.
How to Make Your Loan Payment
April 1, 2021 by Space Coast Credit Union
SCCU’s loan payment process is designed to be as quick and convenient as possible, saving you two of the things you care about most – time and money.
Five Tips to Building Your Dream Home
April 1, 2021 by Space Coast Credit Union
Here are 5 tips to building your dream home, from creating a prioritized list of wants and needs to choosing the best lender for your home construction loan.
A Beginner's Guide to Construction Loans
April 1, 2021 by Space Coast Credit Union
This construction loan guide is to help you understand everything you need to know about how construction loans work and how these unique instruments can benefit you during construction.
Navigating the Home Loan Journey
February 10, 2021 by Space Coast Credit Union
Understanding today’s mortgage landscape will help you become a more informed decision maker and put you on the path to successfully reaching your goal — moving into your new home, or enjoying the spoils of your growing equity.
The Ultimate Guide to Mortgage Loans
January 25, 2021 by Space Coast Credit Union
Learn the differences between fixed-rate, ARM and other mortgages in our guide to mortgage loans. Find out how to choose the lender that's right for you.
Which Type of Mortgage is Best for Me?
October 22, 2020 by Space Coast Credit Union
By the end of this guide, you will have a clearer understanding of the different types of mortgages and be able to narrow down which mortgage type may be best suited for you.
5 Tips for Buying a House During the Pandemic
June 30, 2020 by Space Coast Credit Union
Although you should move forward carefully in the homebuying journey, you do not have to put your dream home on hold.
SCCU Member Hurricane Checklist
August 28, 2019 by Timothy M. Antonition
Overall we have been relatively lucky in the last several years; however, we always need to be prepared.
How to Tackle Your New Home Search
August 27, 2018 by Gary Prager
If you’re just starting your new home search, you’ll be quick to find it’s no longer a “buyer’s market.”
Mortgage Rates are Rising, is it Better to Buy or Wait?
April 5, 2018 by Gary Prager
If you’ve been on the fence, now might be the time to act. 
Spring into Home Buying
February 7, 2018 by Space Coast Credit Union
Spring is a busy season in the housing market, with more homes available than any other time of year. 
Home Improvement Tips and Strategies
December 8, 2017 by Space Coast Credit Union
Ready to remodel? Here are three important home improvement tips.
3 Important Mortgage Loan Questions to Ask
July 14, 2017 by Space Coast Credit Union
If you’re buying your first home or haven’t applied for a mortgage in a while, ask your lender these questions.
Home Loan Process: Pre-Approval to Closing
June 1, 2017 by Space Coast Credit Union
If you're new to home buying, it's natural to wonder how the mortgage loan process works.
How Much House Can I Afford?
May 18, 2017 by Space Coast Credit Union
It's a question we get asked frequently, and there are many factors that go into answering it...
Down Payments: How Much is Enough?
April 20, 2017 by Space Coast Credit Union
Making a down payment is an investment and, as with any investment, it's important to weigh the pros and cons.
What is a Mortgage Pre-Approval?
April 20, 2017 by Space Coast Credit Union
Is a mortgage pre-approval something you need before you can start house shopping?
How Interest Rates Affect Your Mortgage
May 13, 2016 by Space Coast Credit Union
The interest rate on your mortgage can affect your monthly payment by thousands of dollars each month.
The SCCU HomeAdvantage
March 1, 2015 by Gary Prager
Space Coast Credit Union aims to be the one-stop-shop for members purchasing a home.