• Why You Should Use Your Tax Refund to Purchase a Home

    February 08, 2017, 1:04 PM

    For many prospective homebuyers, saving up a down payment is the biggest hurdle to reaching their dream of homeownership. According to statistics from IRS.gov, the average tax refund in 2015 was $2,797. If you’re in the market for a home and you will be receiving a hefty refund, don’t waste it – use those dollars to help you get in that home faster!

    Now is the Time to Buy

    With a stable job market and rates that are still low – but rising – now is a great time to purchase a home. Even if you don’t have much money in reserves, there are many home mortgage loans designed for first-time buyers with limited funds for a down payment. In fact, some loan programs require no down payment at all, so you can use your funds to cover closing costs and other expenses.

    • USDA loans: No down payment required
    • VA loans: Typically no down payment required for veterans and active military
    • FHA mortgages: Minimal down payment
    • Conventional mortgages: Higher down payment than FHA mortgages

    If you are unsure whether you will qualify for one of these loan programs, talk to a City Bank mortgage professional about your options.

    You Can Apply for a Mortgage Loan Even If You Don’t Have the Refund Yet

    If you know you will be receiving a refund but it has not been issued yet, you can still apply for a mortgage loan. The refund amount will be assumed on the application. However, the funds must be in your account at the time of final underwriting.

    Save Your Refund, Even If No Down Payment is Needed

    Even if you are using a loan that finances 100% of your home purchase, it’s important to hold onto that tax refund for the time being. Lenders will look more favorably on your mortgage loan application if you have less debt and more money in savings. Depending on your situation, it may be wise to pay down debt to raise your credit score, or land it in the bank to improve your chances for approval. Your City Bank mortgage loan officer can help you make the right decisions for you.

    Come to City Bank Mortgage for Friendly Hometown Service

    City Bank offers a full line of mortgage options to help you turn your dream home into a reality. Use our secure online application process to submit your application, 24 hours a day. Apply online today!

    NMLS: # 439822 . Equal Housing Lender

  • 6 Steps to Create an Effective Budget

    January 12, 2017, 1:11 PM

    Some people consider “budget” a bad word, but this tool is anything but. Budgeting can truly make your financial goals a reality – from paying off debt and managing your household wisely to saving for a dream vacation. Follow these steps to set up a realistic budget that gets you where you want to go!

    Getting Started

    1. Determine your after-tax income. This is the amount that lands in your checking account after expenses such as health and life insurance and 401(k) contributions are deducted. You should never spend more than this amount or you will find yourself running up debt to cover your expenses. 
    2. Calculate expenses. Next, track exactly how much you’re spending each month and where the money is spent. You can do this by looking at bank statements or recording all expenditures in a checkbook. Remember that underestimating your spending will ruin a budget, so record every purchase you make without exception.
    3. Add some wiggle room. When calculating your expenses, also figure in a cushion for unexpected bills such as car repairs or family emergencies. A good guideline is to add 10-15% of your budget.
    4. Crunch the numbers. Now it’s time to determine if you have a budget overage or shortfall. Do this by subtracting your monthly expenses from your income. If you are making more than you are spending, congratulations! Put that extra money in a savings account or pay off debt. If your budget is in the red, you must cut expenses or increase income until the numbers are balanced.
    5. Set savings and debt reduction goals. Don’t forget to pay yourself by putting money aside for the future. Having a savings fund will give you peace of mind and something to fall back on in the event of financial emergencies. Find out how much money you should save. 
    6. Be flexible. Your budget may need to change from month to month as life happens. Be flexible but always strive to live within your means to reach your financial goals.

    Get More for Your Money at City Bank

    City Bank features a full range of services to help you reach your financial goals faster. From Reward Checking to construction loans and auto loans, we have you covered with friendly, professional service from a local community bank. To get started, please call (800) OUR-BANK, stop by your local City Bank branch location or contact us.

     
  • How the Housing Market is Reacting to a Trump Presidency

    December 15, 2016, 2:01 PM

    For all the hype and big promises that happen during a presidential election, the President usually does not have a significant long-term effect on mortgage interest rates. However, this year an unusual election victory has brought surprise and uncertainty to the market, which reacted with wild fluctuations in mortgage rates in the days following November 8.  

    What’s Happening Now

    Immediately following the election, interest rates for home loans dipped and then soared to nearly 4% – almost a half-percentage point higher than the previous week. Although this rate is still low, it’s back to where we began in 2016. Mortgage experts expect home loan rates to continue to be volatile for a few weeks. A rise in rates is also imminent, although there is disagreement on when and how quickly the rise will happen.

    What Will Happen in 2017

    In late November, the Federal Reserve renewed its pledge to begin gradually raising short-term interest rates after it meets in December. The move will cause long-term rates, including those for mortgages, to rise also.

     

    Another factor that might encourage a rise in rates is if President Trump decides to increase spending on national infrastructure while cutting taxes. Trump has vowed to rebuild highways, airports, bridges, in addition to building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border – all of which will increase the deficit and drive interest rates up.

    Time is Running Out on Low Mortgage Rates

    If you’ve been waiting for the best time to refinance or purchase a home, don’t wait any longer. Rates have nowhere to go but up. The City Bank lending team can assist with refinancing a mortgage or help you apply for a mortgage loan. You can count on our friendly and professional service to make the process hassle-free. Apply online today!

     
  • 4 Signs You’re About to Go Broke

    November 14, 2016, 2:38 PM

    In 2015, nearly 800,000 Americans filed for personal bankruptcy, largely due to consumer debt such as credit card balances, car loans and mortgages. Before you swipe that credit card again, take note of these warning signs you could be on your way to going broke.

    You ignore your finances. The worst thing you can do about debt is ignore it. Troubled finances won’t fix themselves, so start doing something today. If you’re struggling to make the payments on your car, mortgage or credit card, take a hard look at your expenses with apps like Mint.com to see exactly where you are spending your money.

    You live paycheck to paycheck. Lack of an emergency fund and anxiously waiting for your next paycheck are big signs you could go broke at any time. An emergency fund can cover a financial shortfall when unexpected expenses crop up. Experts recommend stashing away a minimum of $1,000 while working toward the ultimate goal of saving a minimum of six months in living expenses.

    You pay down credit cards with credit. Paying down credit with other credit cards or payday loans can lead to financial ruin. On average, credit card interest rates range from 10% to more than 25%. A payday loan can cost from $10 to $30 for every $100 borrowed. Instead, shave unnecessary expenses from your budget and use the extra to pay down high-interest debt.

    You buy too much house. Don’t let your dream house send you to the poorhouse. Carefully evaluate your finances before you begin shopping for home mortgage loans so you know exactly how much you can afford for house-related expenses including the mortgage payment, taxes, insurance, repairs and homeowner’s association fees. Avoid looking at houses that are out of your price range when shopping for a home.

    Reach Your Goals with City Bank

    City Bank is here to help you manage your finances responsibly with flexible, low-rate personal loans and competitive home mortgage loans. We can even arrange to have your loan payments automatically deducted from your checking or savings account each month. Call us today at (800) OUR-BANK or contact us.
  • When It’s Time to Sell, Overpricing Your Home Could Cost You

    October 14, 2016, 9:40 AM

    Setting a listing price for your home is easier said than done. While a good real estate agent can give you guidance about the price range in which your home falls, the final decision on price is yours to make. However, keep in mind that your listing price can have a major impact on the price you ultimately get for your home. Here’s how to determine the right listing price and get top dollar when selling.

    How to Avoid Pricing Mistakes

    Listen to your agent. You have first-hand knowledge of your home, while successful agents have first-hand knowledge of your local market. They understand current market conditions and know what’s moving and for how much. Get an experienced agent and don’t assume that because he wants to price your home lower than you do, he’s only trying to make a quick sale. He knows that if your home is priced competitively from the start, it will likely sell at the higher end of its value range.

    Make a great first impression. The first few weeks after a home hits the market are a crucial time. Prospective buyers will be waiting to see your house, so make sure you create a great first impression right off the bat. Ensure all necessary repairs are done before showing the house. Clean the interior of the home from top to bottom, remove excess clutter, and depersonalize your spaces by storing family photos and knickknacks. List at the wrong price or with the home not in its best showing condition, and interest in your home will soon fall flat.

    Think twice about price reductions. You can price high, but you should agree with your agent to drop the price after a set amount of time. However, if the next reduction is too small, buyers won’t take it seriously and will wait around for the next reduction – or will come in with an offer lower than they would have if the home had been priced right from the start. Remember, once your home is no longer new to the market, you lose negotiating power.

    Avoid changes in the market. Another risk of poor pricing is that the market will change while you wait for a sale. The inventory of homes in your area may increase, interest rates for College Station mortgage loans may rise, the economy may slow or countless other factors could arise. By pricing too high, you might lose the window of opportunity for a sale.

    Take pricing seriously. Pricing is all about supply and demand. Price competitively and be serious about selling, and the market will respond positively.

    Apply for a Mortgage Loan Now

    When it’s time to buy your next home, City Bank can make the process easy. With mortgage loan processing and decision-making made locally, we can help you find the right loan to accomplish your goals. Apply for a mortgage loan online or call us today at (800) 687-2265.

  • 5 Great Things About Buying a Home in the Fall

    September 22, 2016, 2:22 PM

    Many locals are surprised to hear that real estate lending in Lubbock and surrounding areas heats up in the fall. The fact is spring and summer aren’t the only good times to buy a house, and for certain buyers, there are a number of big advantages to buying late in the season.

    1. There’s less competition. During peak selling season, you’re likely to come up against other buyers competing for the same house – which means you have to act fast. With fewer buyers looking in the fall, you can take more time to comparison shop and be sure you’re comfortable with your purchase.
    2. Sellers are tired. Sellers who priced their homes too high at the start of the real estate season will often be ready to deal after months of not seeing any action. Rather than wait for spring to roll around, they may be inclined to take a lower offer now.
    3. Sellers are feeling the pressure. Not all homes on the market in the fall are leftovers. Sellers who list in the fall likely have good motivation to sell, such as a job change or the completion of new construction. These buyers could be more open to a reduced price so they can move on.
    4. More attention from agents. With the pace of the market slowing in the fall and winter months, real estate agents will be more eager to show you homes and help you craft the best deal. You’ll probably get a faster response from other service providers too, such as a mortgage loan company, title company and movers.
    5. More bargains for your new house. From appliances to textiles, if you move into your new home closer to the holidays, you can take advantage of seasonal specials and end-of-year sales to outfit it.

    Fall into a Great Home Mortgage from City Bank

    When you’re ready to buy a home, there are many important things to consider throughout the process, especially if you’re a first-time homebuyer. City Bank makes home mortgage loans easy. Start your free pre-qualification today!

     

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