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Sometimes called direct loans, Stafford loans are federal student loans available to undergraduate and graduate students and offer low, fixed interest rates and subsidized interest to eligible undergraduates.
Experts recommend checking your credit report regularly with the major bureaus, following up immediately with creditors if bills don’t arrive on time, and destroying unsolicited credit applications. Most importantly, never share personal information, such as account information or social security numbers, over the telephone, through the mail, or over the Internet, unless you initiated the contact and know precisely with whom you are dealing with.
Identity theft occurs when someone uses any of your personal information to commit fraud, open accounts, or make purchases in your name. Recovering from identity theft can take years, and the damage inflicted isn’t limited to financial debt. An imposter could provide false identification to police, creating a criminal record or leaving outstanding arrest warrants in your name.
A standard homeowners policy (HO-3 policy) will protect you in the event of fires, theft, accidents, or other disasters (flood and earthquake coverage requires additional coverage). Homeowners are often required by their lender to carry a standard policy to protect the mortgage company’s investment. It’s important to note that a standard policy is not a blank check—there’s a limit to how much you’ll be compensated.
One important choice regarding your mortgage is whether to go with a fixed-rate or an adjustable-rate loan.
A fixed-rate mortgage, as it sounds, has the same interest rate and payment amount for the entire repayment term. Due to its predictability, this is considered the best option for people who plan to stay in a home (and keep the same mortgage) for many years to come.
The adjustable-rate mortgage loans (ARMs) have an interest rate that will change at pre-determined intervals, over the life of the loan. Most ARM loans have a fixed rate for the first few years, after which the rate begins adjusting (hybrid ARM).
Securing a mortgage can seem complicated because of the number of people involved. Each person you'll work with provides a specific service that will help you become a homeowner. Let's review them now.
Mortgage Loan Officer: An MLO for short, these experts will guide you through the entire loan process. They will also work with you to evaluate your needs and apply for a mortgage that aligns with your financial capacity.
Real Estate Agent: Real estate agents help you find the home you seek within your budget, examine comparable homes, and compare different neighborhoods. Agents often also present your offer to the seller and can handle negotiations for you.
Loan Processor: The loan processor prepares your mortgage loan information and application for presentation to the underwriter. The loan processor will ask you for many documents, including information regarding your income, your job, your monthly bills, and how much you currently have in the bank.
Mortgage Underwriter: The mortgage underwriter is the final assessor of your eligibility for the mortgage loan. The underwriter will approve or reject your application based on your credit history, assets, debts and other factors.
Appraiser: The real estate appraiser's job is to look at the property you are purchasing and determine how much it's worth.
Home Inspector: An authorized home inspector is usually hired by a purchasing party to ensure your potential new home is in good condition.
Closing Representative: A closing rep oversees and coordinates the closing, records the closing documents and disperses any money to the appropriate individuals.
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