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Federal Housing Administration Loans

October 9, 2020

Couple reviewing paperwork while sitting with their laptopAre They Right For You?

If you're looking to purchase a home, but are nervous about your credit score, or debt obligations, an FHA (Federal Housing Administration) loan may be a good choice.


Advantages of an FHA Loan

  • There are minimal credit requirements which can help ease your mind and the mortgage qualifying process. According to the FHA, loans may currently be granted with little or no credit history, and/or less-than-perfect credit.

  • The initial down payment on the home will be less than those of conventional mortgage loans. With other loans, you may be required to put down 5-10% of the purchasing price, but with an FHA loan, you may only have to make a down payment as low as 3.5%.  

  • Qualifying for an FHA loan may still be possible, even with a substantial amount of debt. Most mortgage loans limit a buyer’s monthly home and debt spending to a certain percentage of their income. While FHA loans have the same stipulations, they generally allow home and debt spending up to higher ratios of the buyer’s income, which can be helpful.

  • FHA loan interest rates are fixed and often lower than those of other mortgage loan types. This could help you save a lot over time on your interest payments.

  • Sellers have a higher percentage option for concessions than they normally would, if the buyer is using an FHA loan to purchase the home. Sellers may contribute up to 6% of the closing costs.


Potential Disadvantages of an FHA Loan

  • If you have good to great credit, the low, fixed interest rate of an FHA loan may actually not be as low as you could otherwise get from another mortgage loan option. This could cost you thousands of dollars over the long run.

  • Private mortgage insurance (PMI) is more expensive for those who get FHA loans. The initial low down payment on the home can result in higher-priced insurance payments. There is an upfront mortgage insurance fee along with a monthly premium to be paid over the life of the loan.

  • FHA loans will not allow you to flip a house. They require the property to be inspected and to qualify as FHA-eligible. This standard inspection generally prevents ‘fixer-uppers’ from qualifying, so if you're looking to find a house to flip, the FHA loan would not be an option.

  • The total amount allowed for you to borrow with an FHA loan changes from county-to-county. If you live in a county with a high demand for, but low supply of, homes, your FHA loan may not allow you to buy the home you were hoping for because its price does not land within the parameters of the loan’s allowable amount.


Borrow Smarter

We understand that every situation and every home is unique. Mortgages can be complicated, but we make it easy. We look forward to working with you on your specific need to find the best possible solution. If you have questions about what type of mortgage is right for you give us a call at 315-735-8571. If you‘re ready to start the application, click “Apply Now.” 

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Article adapted from BALANCE Financial Fitness Program.

Posted in: FHA loan

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

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.


Save Smarter

We are here to help you plan for the future with our Savings Account Options. If you have any questions, give us a call at 315-735-8571. If you are ready to get started click below.

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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.


Live Smarter

We look forward to working with you on your specific need for affordable home ownership. Learn more about our mortgage loans and programs or call 315-735-8571 to talk with our Mortgage Team about which solution is best for you. If you‘re ready to start the application process, click “Apply Now.”

Apply Now


Article adapted from Banzai.

Posted in: Mortgage

Home Equity Loan vs. Line of Credit

March 2, 2020

Finding the solution that works for you

Both a Home Equity Loan and Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) involve borrowing money against the equity you’ve built up in your home. Each has its own benefits, depending on how, and when, you plan to spend the money, as well as how you’ll pay it down. While often this type of loan is used for major home improvements and renovations, you can actually use it for many different purposes: college expenses, traveling, paying for a wedding, paying down debt, and more.


What is Home Equity?

Home equity is the difference between your home’s fair market value and the outstanding (remaining) balance of all liens on your home. As you make payments on your mortgage, or if your home’s value increases, your equity grows. We can help you determine your home’s equity. Since these two home equity solutions mean borrowing against the value of your home, they’re considered secure loans, with your home as the collateral. Each option is essentially a second mortgage. 


What Are The Benefits of a Home Equity Loan?

A home equity loan has a fixed amount, with a specific payment schedule, so repayment is predictable. It can often be combined with your original mortgage to simplify monthly payments at a fixed interest rate. If you’re approved, you receive the entire amount up front. This can make a Home Equity Loan preferable for a large purchase like a new pool, or to pay off a one-time expense like a wedding. The interest can also offer potential tax benefits (consult your tax advisor).


What Is A Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC)?

A HELOC is a revolving line of credit, with a maximum amount from which you can pull from up to a certain number of years, with a variable interest rate, similar to how a credit card works. It also provides for draw period extensions, meaning you can continue to borrow from the line.


What Are The Benefits of a Home Equity Line of Credit?

If you receive approval for a HELOC, you can decide when to use the available funds. As you need money over a longer period of time, you can draw as you need it. After you withdraw funds, you’ll have a minimum repayment due, though you can usually pay off more. While a Home Equity Loan provides immediate funds for a one-time larger purchase, a HELOC is generally recommended for purchases made in smaller amounts, such as home renovations spread out over weeks or months. The interest on a HELOC may also offer you tax benefits (consult your tax advisor), depending on what you use it for.


Not Sure What’s Right For You?

A number of factors go into deciding which home equity solution will work for your needs, budget, and lifestyle. We can help you decide which Home Equity Option is best for you. If you have any questions, give us a call at 315-735-8571 or if you are ready to get started click below.

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