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Buying A Home

July 9, 2020

Couple reviewing their finances so they can buy a home.The Cost of Buying

Buying a home can be a big step, and an important one. You want a home you and your family will be happy in for as long as you own it. 

We can help you figure out how much you can realistically afford.

Begin by defining your goals. Consider where you want to live, the features you're looking for, and what you feel is a comfortable monthly payment. We’ll work with you to ensure you factor in all of the variables like down payment, closing costs, etc.

Check out this quick tool to help give a rough idea of what you may be able to afford today.

There are other financial and personal factors that could determine what kind of mortgage loan you might be eligible for. For example, if you are a Veteran, new home buyer, have certain income thresholds, etc.

First Source has a systematic process we’ve developed over the years to make your experience as easy and as smooth as possible. This is an important milestone in your life and we want to make sure you can reach it with financial stability. That is why we will communicate with you through every step along the way.

Learn more about our mortgage loans and programs today. 

Mortgage: Learn More


Article adapted from Banzai.

Posted in: Mortgage

Should You Buy Used, New, or Lease?

July 23, 2020

Cars in a dealership lot.Pros And Cons To Paying For Your Next Car

Looking for your next car can be exciting! Before getting behind the wheel for a test drive, or even beginning your search, knowing the varying factors of purchasing one is helpful to keep in mind, as that can greatly influence your financial position.

When it's time to purchase your next vehicle, there are generally three options: buy used, buy new, or lease. Here are some pros and cons for each.


Used Cars

Pros: 

  • Used cars are generally less expensive up-front and they have the added benefit of not drastically depreciating when they leave the lot. 

  • Buying a used car, offers a pretty good-sized savings percentage compared to purchasing that same car brand new. Therefore, it may be easier to afford a higher class of car than you normally could have. 

  • Also, car insurance rates and registration renewals are typically lower for used cars. This can save you hundreds of dollars, or more, over the life of the car.

Cons: 

  • While today’s cars are much more efficient and can go longer between scheduled maintenance visits, if you choose to buy used, there are some additional costs to consider. For example, you’ll want to have the car checked out by a trusted mechanic to determine when maintenance work or repairs would be necessary.

  • You may have to pay additional money to have the car certified.

  • Depending on the age of the vehicle, you may possess it for less time, which means spending more on a another vehicle sooner.


New Cars

Pros: 

  • Buying a new car may present you with more financing options from a seller, as well as new-car incentives such as cash rebates and great interest rates. You may also be able to spend less than the first-market price after negotiations, incentives and rebates. 

  • New cars are also likely to provide the latest in tech features for performance, safety and comfort. 

  • A brand new car offers peace of mind without the need to take it to a mechanic before buying. If issues arise, most warranties will cover the cost of repairs for the first few years.

Cons: 

  • New cars are expensive and you may have to put a large amount down up front. They also depreciate as soon as you leave the lot. In some cases, the value of the car drops as much as 20 percent right when you pull away! That means a $25,000 car will lose $5,000 within the first few minutes of ownership.


Leasing A Car

Pros: 

  • When you lease, you don’t pay the full purchase price of the car, rather, you pay the depreciation of the car. This means if you lease a $25,000 car for 3 years, and the anticipated value of the car at the end of the 3 years is $15,000, you only make payments on that $10,000 difference. If you had purchased the car, you would make payments on $25,000.

  • Leasing is also often available with no money down or a much smaller amount than when buying the car outright.

  • A major benefit of leasing is that you get to drive a brand new car every few years. This means the latest in safety and technology.

Cons: 

  • A drawback of leasing, is that the money you're spending isn’t investing in an asset, it’s simply spending money. Like renting instead of buying, you are not purchasing any equity in an asset you can later sell.

  • Other considerations are mileage fees and potential damage to the vehicle. If the car is damaged or you drive it over the mileage limit, you may end up with hefty fees.

  • Leasing often costs more than buying in the long run, as you typically drive a purchased car for longer than 3 years.


Drive Smarter

When buying your next car, consider the various financial choices, your driving habits, and your personal preferences of owning a car. Before deciding, visit our Car Loan page to learn how we can help you get on the road with a car that's right for you. 

If you‘re ready to start the application, click “Apply Now.” If you have more questions, we’re happy to help. Give us a call at 315-735-8571 to discuss your options.

Apply Now


Article adapted from Banzai.

Posted in: Car Loan

A Shift In Savings Strategies

July 29, 2020

A woman reviews her finances from her home.Forming New Spending and Saving Habits

COVID-19 has caused shifts in many of the things we do that make up our daily lives. One major shift has been with money management. 

What have you noticed about your spending habits in the past few months? With stores, restaurants, venues, attractions and so many other places closed during lockdown and beyond, the options to spend money outside of our home, other than online shopping, or for essentials, were few and far between. In that time at home, away from our usual daily stops, we were given the opportunity to reflect upon our past spending habits.

We’ve been able to look at that daily cup of coffee we used to get on the way to work, the places we’d go to on our lunch breaks, and meeting friends out on the weekends with a different view. All of a sudden that money wasn’t being spent. It was being, more or less, saved. People are now spending less, saving more, and planning ahead. 

Statistics show that over the past 5 months, including both during quarantine and post quarantine, entertainment, social activities, traveling (even gasoline) and impulse buying are all down. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. According to CUNA Mutual Group’s Trends Report, indicating COVID-19 impacts, personal spending fell 13.6% while savings balances in credit unions rose 4.7% in April. Consumers, it seems, have been sticking to purchasing essentials only- and only when needed.

This shift in spending, along with stimulus checks and relief loans, have helped to ease the financial burden of furlough and layoffs, enabling many of us to get by. Even for those that may have been fortunate enough to continue working in an essential industry, we still see those consumers driving less, eating out less, traveling less, shopping less, etc. This has helped increase the balance of their savings. 

If you have been able to create some pockets of extra funds, now is the perfect time to consider looking at your budget and deciding more strategically on what it is you really need. It is a time to scrutinize your own past habits and channel those funds to what is really important. Use our Budget Calculator to find out your net monthly and yearly income.

Paying owed bills is certainly a great start. Paying off loans is yet another. Once loan payments are more manageable, or possibly gone quicker than you were expecting, you can take the money you were using to make those payments and use it for something else- like building up your savings again. 

If this experience has taught us anything about our spending habits, it’s to consider planning ahead with serious, realistic goals of saving. 

To help you get going on starting a new savings strategy, try a Term Share Certificate or Money Market Account. These are great places to save that can earn higher dividends.

Can you refinance and consolidate your debt? Rates are very low right now on car loansmortgageshome equities and more.

Use this helpful Savings Goal Calculator to find out how long it will take you to reach your savings goal.

If you have questions, we are here to help. 

5 Ways To Help Increase Your Home’s Value

July 30, 2020

Suburban home backyard view with solar panels.Your home’s worth is determined by multiple factors, such as the local market, neighborhood 'comps' and its geographical location. Circumstances like that can be out of your control. However, there are other elements, which you can have a hand in that may increase your home’s value.


1. First Impressions Are Everything

An unkempt exterior can be more than just an eyesore to the neighbors. It can also affect the home owner’s equity and resale value. The exterior is the first thing a potential buyer sees on site, so it’s important to make it look appealing.

To start, step back and really take a good look at the house. Does it need a fresh coat of paint? Maybe just the shutters, or how about the front door? How’s the lawn? Does it need more than just a good mow? Possibly some grass enhancing nutrients and water. Add some flowers for pops of welcoming color. And lastly, how is the drive or walkway? Is it time to replace or maintain?


2. Make It Comfortable and Move-In Ready

Some people enjoy the idea of 'flipping' a house. But the majority of home buyers are looking for a place which is livable right away.

To entice the latter group of buyers, it’s important to take the time to fix things like the roof, basement, garage, plumbing, etc. where needed.

If a buyer feels like they can move in without needing to repair or update right away, it is generally a much easier sell. Not only will this help the sell-ability of your home, if you’re not moving and just want to increase the value, these are good options.


3. Update for Energy Efficiency

Energy efficient home products can have a big impact on your utility bills and a buyer’s decision. Energy efficient appliances, light bulbs, windows and doors not only help to save money but also make your home more comfortable to live in.

To help with these specific upgrades, First Source offers Home Energy Loans, with a low, fixed interest rate.


4. More Space, Can Mean More Value

If you’re looking to add value to your home, sometimes adding square footage can help.

Creating extra space with an addition can be just what you need to give your house that extra lift. Think new rooms, a shed, patio or perhaps an added floor. There are other ways to add living space that do not require creating brand new additions. Finishing an attic or garage can create new rooms and additional space without erecting new walls and roofs.


5. Consider a Smart Home

Smart Homes allow the homeowner the opportunity to have multiple needs connected in one place, usually controlled from one device like your phone. Lights, water, security alarms, door openers, locks, central air, entertainment systems, appliances, windows and even heated floor tiles can all be connected and controlled as long as there is internet/WiFi connection.


Improve Smarter

Whether you’re getting ready to sell or just looking to increase the value of your current home, we're here to help with Home Equity Loan Options. If you have any questions, call 315-735-8571 to discuss your options. If you are ready to get started click below.

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Posted in: Home Equity Loan

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