For information on the Economic Impact Payments (stimulus checks), please view our FAQs.
Branch lobbies are open. Visit our locations page for the most up-to-date branch hours.
Advice for first-time home buyers
Buying a home for the first-time can be overwhelming if you aren’t prepared. We know this firsthand, so we asked some of Georgia’s Own to give advice to first-time homebuyers. What we wish we had known before buying a home:
You actually need more money than the cost of the house (earnest money, closing costs, etc.). I didn’t think they were actually going to cash the earnest money check. – Will M.
The most important thing about a home is not how it looks. If the size, space and location will be right for you five or ten years down the road, the rest can be fixed. – Laura S.
Be available at all times to do whatever’s asked of you, and quickly! The process can be stressful, so be prepared. – Eve Y.
I wish I had known I could add funds to our loan for renovations. It would have been helpful to know beforehand. – Kaye E.
Look in all of the cabinets and closets. Not to snoop out what they have, but to get a better idea of the condition of the home. – Rebecca M.
Purchase at a lower price than your budget so you can get the repairs done your way. Don’t trust the sellers to get the repairs done completely or the way you’d have them done. – Cassie W.
Set up bi-weekly payments from the very beginning! It’ll help so much in the long run and is not something anyone told us. – Kristin H.
I wish someone had let us know how property taxes can vary greatly by county! – Abby C.
Be sure to look beyond just your mortgage payment when considering whether you can afford it. Houses will need repairs. – Kaitlyn R.
Have an emergency fund! Our septic tank flooded not long after moving in. I wasn’t prepared for the headache or cost involved with fixing it. – Andy C.
With a house comes maintenance and upkeep. Budget for those extra expenses and stay on top of routine upkeep to prevent major issues down the road. – Becky B.
Get a home inspection during the due diligence time frame and request the sellers fix anything beforehand, especially anything major. – Alex Q.
There are lots of costs leading up to the purchase. Be prepared for those extra costs and fees. – Grace H.
Four reasons to consider a mortgage from a credit union
The housing market is booming, and as home sales continue to increase, so does the demand for housing. Pending home sales have climbed 27% year over year, and new listings of houses for sale have increased by 6% within the last year, according to Redfin. Choosing where to acquire a mortgage is a crucial decision—it’s vital to find a mortgage that works best for you and your needs, and where you’ll find the best rate, so you can save money in the long run. If you’re in the market for a home, consider these four reasons to obtain a mortgage from a credit union.
A credit union is a not-for-profit financial institution that is owned by its members rather than shareholders, so it’s able to return profits to and invest in members. That’s why credit unions can typically offer lower rates on loans. As of June 2020, a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage with a credit union has an average APR of 3.43%, according to the National Credit Union Association. However, a mortgage with the same terms but from a bank has an average APR of 3.52% higher. Even though the difference is small, it still helps you save money in the long run.
For example, if you purchased a home for $300,000 with an APR of 3.43%, your monthly payments would be $1,335. If you buy the same house but had an APR of 3.52%, your monthly payments would be $1,350. You would save more than $5,000 in interest throughout your mortgage period. Dozens of factors determine your APR and providing a loan, so the best way to know what rate you qualify for is to contact the financial institution directly for a quote.
There are dozens of costs and fees associated with acquiring a mortgage—closing costs, origination fees, vendor fees, and other processing costs. Credit unions prioritize helping people over turning a profit. So, when you obtain a mortgage with a credit union, origination fees and processing costs are often reduced. These reduced fees can save you thousands of dollars.
Less likely to sell your loan
Lenders typically sell a mortgage for two reasons: they need to open more lines of credit to lend money to other borrowers, and they make money from the sale. Usually, having your mortgage sold isn’t a big deal. However, when your mortgage is sold, this can sometimes result in confusion regarding where you should make your payment. If your payment is made to the wrong institution, you could incur late fees. Credit unions don’t typically sell their mortgages because their ultimate concern is to preserve the relationship between the institution and the member. Banks, however, are more likely to sell your loan. Even though credit unions don’t often sell their mortgages, it’s best to refer to your contract just to be sure.
Credit unions are often more attuned to their members’ necessities, so they tend to offer a personalized experience. They normally serve a select area, so they’re able to focus on what specifically will benefit its members or how they can help when members are in need. For example, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, many credit unions helped members alleviate financial burdens by providing mortgage forbearances or deferments. Credit unions are dedicated to preserving the relationship between its members and ensuring their best interest is served. Plus, it’s easier to receive services through an institution with which you have a relationship.
If you’re not a member, you can easily obtain membership to a credit union. At Georgia’s Own, there are a few simple ways you can become a member. If you meet the requirements and are approved, all you need is a $5 deposit to establish your membership, which represents your share in the Credit Union. Requirements at other institutions vary.
If you’re purchasing a home, consider Georgia’s Own for all of your financing needs. We offer low rates, up to 100% financing, a program for first-time home buyers, and more—we even provide refinancing. Ready to start making memories in your dream home? Click here to learn more about our mortgage options or apply today.
Six things to do if you’re preparing to sell your house
Selling a house is stressful. There just isn’t any way to sugarcoat it. But there are steps you can take to make the process a little easier – and a little more successful. Here are six things you need to do if you are about to put your house on the market.
1. Fix it up
That loose stair that you’re used to skipping every day or those holes in the wall behind the couch that resulted from an ill-fated indoor skateboarding incident are great examples of things you will want to address before you take any further steps to sell your home.
Even things that don’t pose a physical danger, like the peeling paint on your front door, still need to be worked on if you want your home to sell. Speaking of paint, now is the time to turn your neons into grays – if you have a lot of brightly painted rooms, consider painting them a more neutral color. Yes, people should look past things like paint color, but they often don’t, and it could make or break your success story with selling your house.
Okay, don’t literally try to become invisible – what we mean is that you and the personal touches in your home should not be the most obvious thing a potential buyer sees. It may sound a little harsh, but the goal is to help the buyer feel as though they can make their own home in your house, which is hard to do if you have monogrammed throw pillows covering every inch of the couch.
You don’t have to go through your hallways and take down every single photo, but, at least when you know there will be a showing, try to make your home more neutral all around.
3. Keep it Clean
If you have kids and/or pets, you know how difficult it can be to clean your home in a moment’s notice after a realtor contacts you about a showing. If possible, try to schedule showings in advance, rather than having people stop by anytime. However, since you don’t want to miss an opportunity to show off your house to a potential buyer, you should also try to keep your house “showing-worthy” as much as possible.
You can even practice with your family – assign everyone a specific job, and then give them a signal to start cleaning. See how quickly you can get it done, and soon you will all be pros.
4. Take a Walk on the Wild Side
And by “wild side,” we mean your yard. You may be so used to the out-of-control hedges by your mailbox that you don’t even notice them anymore. But a buyer will definitely notice. Ask a friend or neighbor to walk around your yard and point out some areas that may need a little TLC before you put your house on the market.
Addressing the details outside of your home is just as important as addressing the details inside of your home. Keep the yard mowed, pull the weeds, and give your house the royal treatment to help others see its full potential.
5. Practice Some Feng Shui
Your house is set up to perfectly suit you and your family, which makes sense. However, one size does not fit all when it comes to furniture preferences. Take a look at your current living room arrangement, for example – are there any “bottleneck” areas that disrupt the flow of movement through your home? What about the couch and chairs – do they allow for conversation and group gatherings?
Even if you don’t use your home for these things, interested buyers might, so showing them how they can make this house work for them as well as it has worked for you is important.
6. Be Flexible
Everyone has their own opinion about what looks good, right? So you may spend three hours painting a room a neutral color, only to be told the house looks too plain. You may pull up weeds all weekend and learn that someone thinks your yard is too bare. The truth is, you can’t please everyone, so don’t take every piece of feedback from potential buyers to heart.
If you receive the same feedback over and over again, it would be wise to give it serious consideration. But if one person thinks your kitchen is too small, too dated, too blue, or not blue enough, remember that sometimes your house just won’t be a fit for everyone.
The right buyer is out there – if you put the work in on the front end, you and your family can reap the rewards down the line. Give your house its best chance to be seen for all its beauty, and consult your realtor for any other ideas they have seen work for their clients.
If you’re in the market for a new home, consider Georgia’s Own for all your mortgage needs. With low rates and fees, plus a variety of mortgage products, we’re here to help you in your home buying process. Click here to learn more about how Georgia’s Own can help get you into the home of your dreams.
Mortgage loan process flow
What is the mortgage process? Georgia’s Own mortgage experts, discuss the mortgage loan process flow.
At Georgia’s Own Credit Union, we’re here to provide our members with an exceptional experience, that’s why we’ve constructed a smooth loan process just for you!
After you and your mortgage loan officer complete the initial application, your loan officer will be given a team to help speed it through to closing. The loan process has three main steps:
- Your loan processor will verify the data in the file and order required reviews, such as the appraisal, and submit the loan to underwriting.
- Underwriting will evaluate the information in your file to confirm you meet the guidelines of the loan product.
- Once approved, your loan will go to closing where they will prepare the necessary legal documents and coordinate with the closing attorney.
Our goal is to ensure that this process flows smoothly and that your closing is a time of celebration. Remember, your Georgia’s Own representative is ready to help you with your mortgage lending needs.
Three common misconceptions before applying for a mortgage loan
Georgia’s Own mortgage experts discuss three common misconceptions you should know about before applying for a mortgage loan.
At Georgia’s Own Credit Union, we’re here to provide our members with an exceptional experience. We know mortgage lending can be a little intimidating so we want to tackle three common misconceptions and telling you what you really need to know before applying for a mortgage loan.
- “I need a minimum of 20% for my down payment.” – This is actually false. There are loans available with 10% down, 5%, 3% and even 0% down payment requirements.
- “The details don’t really matter.” – Actually because mortgage lending uses what is called risk-based pricing, the details in a mortgage loan are your best friend. This means the mortgage loan that you qualify for and the rates associated with it are determined by your specific details.
- “I need perfect credit to qualify for a mortgage loan.” – Here’s the big secret, no one has perfect credit. Yes, some people have excellent payment records, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be a challenge. Always assume the best and work your mortgage loan officer so they can help you get what you need.
Don’t let the intimidation factor of the mortgage process get you down or stop you from achieving your dreams. Remember, your Georgia’s Own representative is ready to help you with your mortgage lending needs.
Why should I choose Georgia’s Own for my mortgage?
Why should I trust Georgia’s Own for my mortgage needs? Georgia’s Own mortgage experts tell you why.
At Georgia’s Own Credit Union, we’re here to provide our members with an exceptional experience, that means we want to focus on three things for you:
- Service – We go beyond a friendly smile and establish a set of clear service level commitments so that our members can depend on us to be there ally.
- Products – Our team has worked hard to develop a wide range of fixed and adjustable rate mortgage products that best suit your financial situation.
- Cost – In addition to offering low mortgage rates, we also work to reduce fees, including eliminating the State of Georgia Intangible Tax.
With a wide variety of mortgage products, Georgia’s Own can get you in the home of your dreams. Remember, your Georgia’s Own representative is ready to help you with your mortgage lending needs.