The Affordable Housing Challenge in Northeast Florida

For many homebuyers, today’s real estate environment is unlike anything they’ve ever experienced.

Demand exceeds supply, causing prices to spike. Interest rates have already risen, and further rises are expected. And big business continues to buy up properties, forcing individuals and families to act quickly on any opportunity.

Naturally, this can lead to more questions than answers. Is it the right time to buy? Should I wait? What does all this mean for my family?

As VyStar Credit Union’s Director of Loans, one of my most important responsibilities is to ensure that our team has solutions for our members. That’s why we continue to upgrade and improve our range of rugged products, designed to meet the specific needs of each individual.

Here are some options to keep in mind as you navigate today’s real estate marketing:

Consider an adjustable rate mortgage

Gone are the days of chills when considering an adjustable rate mortgage, also known as an ARM. In fact, many VyStar ARMs can lend you the help you need in this economy. At VyStar, we offer a unique 5/5 arm. Here’s how it works: The first five years are at a fixed rate, then the rate adjusts every five years according to an index. This can be a particularly attractive option for people who plan to stay in their home for up to 10 years. We also offer more traditional 7-year and 10-year ARMs.

Lock in your rate first

The home buying process can be much easier when you know exactly what to expect. A great option for this is a permanent home loan. This type of loan allows you to lock in your rate even before construction begins. From groundbreaking to final closing, you can make decisions knowing exactly what rate you have with a single loan closing.

Consider an FHA Loan

An FHA loan is a government guaranteed loan with less restrictive financial requirements. This can be a great option for people who are rebuilding their credit or still paying off debt. We approve FHA loans with as little as 3.5% down payment, easing the financial burden. And contrary to popular belief, this option is available to more than just first-time home buyers.

Home equity loans, line of credit

If you need a cash influx for any reason, you can consider a home equity loan (HEL) or a home equity line of credit (HELOC). A HELOC or HEL can be used to consolidate debt at a lower interest rate or for home improvements. This option lets you protect your low interest rate on your first mortgage while getting the cash you need.

Innovative products and grants

At VyStar, we work hard to find a solution for every member. But some programs are designed specifically to meet the needs of our community. Our Military Heroes mortgage program does just that and was developed in partnership with veteran VyStar members.

Qualified members include those on active duty, veterans, and surviving spouses. Those who apply can take advantage of 100% funding, up to a $10,000 grant to be used for a down payment and/or closing costs (restrictions apply, based on availability and application process). approval), plus rebates of up to $7,500 available from top national and local retailers.

Likewise, our Everyday Heroes Mortgage Program was created with the goal of giving back to those who make our communities a better place to live and to give back selflessly. This new program offers affordable terms, including a loan-to-value ratio of 98%, to more than 100 professions.

Eligible professions include law enforcement officers, medical/healthcare workers, educators, essential workers and more. Because we are behind you 100%. Be sure to research the options that might be available to you.

Jenny Vipperman is Director of Loans at VyStar Credit Union.

This guest column is the opinion of the author and does not necessarily represent the views of The Times-Union. We welcome a diversity of opinions.