ICBA - News - News Release - ICBA Offers Tips for Homebuyers
ICBA News Release Header


ICBA Offers Tips for Homebuyers

Despite Challenging Economic Environment, Now May Be a Good Time for Some to Buy

Washington, D.C. (June 1, 2009)—June is National Homeownership Month and the nearly 5,000 members of the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) continue to help Americans in communities throughout the country to become, and remain, homeowners each year through the personal attention that only a local community bank can provide.

“These are challenging economic times, but community bankers haven’t changed the way they do business. Community banks want to establish long-term relationships with their customers and take the extra steps necessary to give potential homebuyers the service and attention they need—and now may be an opportune time for some Americans to purchase a home,” said R. Michael Menzies, ICBA chairman and president and CEO of Easton Bank and Trust Co., Easton, Md. “Community banks are stable, common-sense lenders that continue to lend to their customers.  Now more than ever, they are an excellent and critical source for home financing.”

ICBA offers the following suggestions for homebuyers:

  1. Know your budget, including how much you spend on rent, utilities, entertainment, clothing, food and transportation.
  2. Organize paperwork, such as pay stubs, W-2 forms, tax returns and bank and investment statements.
  3. Check your credit report and bring it to your community banker. Credit reporting agencies must give you one free report annually. Access your credit at www.ftc.gov/freereports
  4. Work with your community banker to find out how much you can borrow and which mortgage is right for you.
  5. Get pre-approved. It helps you shop for a home that fits your budget and shows sellers you are a serious buyer who can close on a home quickly.
  6. Learn as much as you can about the home-buying process. Your community banker can explain it to you. Look for classes on home buying and home maintenance. There are free online educational tools at www.hud.gov, www.federalreserve.gov/consumers.htm and on the ICBA Web site at  www.icba.org/consumer/index.cfm?ItemNumber=11331.
  7. Investigate if there are special first-time homebuyer loan or grant programs available to assist with down payment and closing costs. Don’t forget that as part of the Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act that was passed earlier this year, there is an $8,000 first-time Homebuyer Tax Credit through Nov. 30, 2009.
  8. Ask your loan officer to carefully explain the mortgage options available, including rate adjustments and other loan features, so you aren’t surprised by payment increases down the road. Don’t be taken in by promises of low payments and 100 percent financing.
  9. Request a written good faith estimate to compare the real costs of your mortgage. It will tell you what your interest rate, monthly payment and closing costs will be.
  10. Attend real estate open houses to learn what you are getting for your money and what fits your budget.

“Potential homebuyers should visit their local community bank to learn what their mortgage options are,” Menzies said.  “Not only are community banks interested in helping a homebuyer purchase a home, they also want to help the borrower find a mortgage they can afford and afford to keep.”

For more information, visit www.icba.org.  To find a community bank near you, visit the ICBA community bank locator at www.icba.org/consumer/BankLocator.cfm?sn.ItemNumber=51757.