Let’s face it. There are few places better to live than in the Pacific Northwest. From the temperate climate to the great food, it comes as no surprise that many people want to buy the home of their dreams in the South Sound area. This creates an even more anxious segment of our community that wants to take advantage of purchasing homes in the neighborhood. However, for first-time home buyers, the home loan process can be especially daunting. Being in a “seller’s market” makes it even more so. There are a lot of mortgage options out there so it’s important that borrowers understand what they’re in for, but not all lenders are forthcoming with what a borrower can expect. Luckily for Western Washingtonians, TwinStar Credit Union understands the region, knows the ins and outs of the mortgage process, and has had an 80-year history of doing the right thing.
“Many people choose to purchase homes simply to live in; others as investments,” says Racardo McLaughlin, CMB, Assistant Vice President of the Mortgage Originations and Operations Team at TwinStar. “Real estate has proven to be an excellent investment. Homebuyers can look at 10-year historical property values and venture a bet that over the next 10 years that same property will prove to have been a good investment.”
However, these days first-time buyers are struggling to find homes in the area. The current seller’s market has driven real estate prices up. “The forces of supply and demand means sellers can command a higher price for their homes because there just aren’t many homes available to choose from,” explains McLaughlin. “Therefore the seller holds the cards. Inventory shortages and increased sales prices are not necessarily a good thing for all. Sellers are not typically motivated to sell. Therefore, they are less likely to negotiate with the buyer; property tax rates tend to increase forcing long-time residence to relocate.”
Crunch or not, it seems like McLaughlin and team still love this time of year. “The homebuying season is an exciting time for TwinStar,” he says. “TwinStar adds to the excitement by offering varying programs and products that allow the member to remain ready by being pre-qualified from the beginning. Through our Home Advantage program, we offer preferred real estate agents to help with the home search, education websites, information on the housing markets and sales prices, schools, crime, neighborhoods, etc.”
TwinStar also has an option that can help some buyers avoid the current housing shortage. “As a means to counter the inventory shortage and to provide options to the member, TwinStar offers a world-class all-in-one custom construction home loan program. If the member simply cannot find a home to their liking, build one! We will help you with that. You get one loan that includes acquisition of the lot and construction of your home all in one loan and all at one interest rate. Our program allows you to build your dream home on your land, or provide the funds to acquire the land and the funds to build your home. It’s a wonderful program!”
Members have up to nine months to construct their custom home while the locked low rate remains the same from the beginning until the end. This loan option can put the buyer in the driver’s seat.
So what separates TwinStar from their competition? McLaughlin thinks it’s because of the 4 Core Values that are instilled in every employee all the way up to CEO Jeff Kennedy.
“[The Core Values have] aided us in becoming one of the top performing and well-managed credit unions in the country. This is carried forward to our membership. Integrity, open two-way communication, rewarding work environment and service excellence are our Core Values that we live by every day. We offer across-the-board financial services, from investment mediums to checking and savings accounts. We offer a full range of mortgage programs from conventions and government (FHA/VA/USDA), fixed rate and adjustable programs. We also offer first-time homebuyer programs that allow for little to no down payments.”
So for anyone looking to get a difficult real estate market, it’s always a solid bet to check out Twinstar Credit Union. Their brand promise is “Realizing Financial Dreams Together,” so be rest assured they’ll be with you every step of the way.
For more information about TwinStar’s mortgage services, check out their website or contact them at 1-800-258-3115.