Home Loans

There’s no place like your own.

Home Loans 101

From a traditional home loan (aka mortgage) to a loan for buying land or building a house on land you own, we can fund your adventure — from here to your front doorstep.

How we can help

When you’re ready to make home happen, we are too. Here’s how we can help.

Solid, friendly guidance
Getting a mortgage is a big step with plenty of moving parts and decisions to make. We’ll be here to answer your questions and guide you as little or as much as you need.

Low (some of the lowest) rates
Interest rates are never more important than when you’re investing in a big purchase like a home. Tell us a little more about what you’re looking for and we’ll share a detailed rate report in minutes. Compare a 20-year fixed-rate and 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, see projected closing costs, and more.

Creativity and flexible underwriting
Sounds technical, but this just means we’re open to different forms of collateral to back your loan. Plus, we’ll always go the extra mile to find programs that can help get your foot in the door. Your own front door, that is.

Low closing costs
Closing costs can make or break whether you move forward with a home, land, or construction mortgage. That’s why we keep our closing costs low, giving you one less thing to worry about.

Home Loan Calculators

We are known for offering competitive, affordable loan options. It's what Credit Unions do best, in addition to our member service. Use these calculators to see your own personalized rate report, determine your spending budget or calculate your payment. Stop dreaming and start planning.

First things first

Whether you’re building or buying, it’s helpful to decide on the type of loan you want before you apply. We offer both Conventional loans (for non-Veterans) and VA loans that include specific benefits honoring those who have served our country.

Either way, you can choose a Fixed or Adjustable Rate for the life of your loan — both have their advantages.

*Both have a Flexible term: 15 - 30 years

Fixed Rate

Lock-in your interest rate for the life of your loan and enjoy consistent monthly payments you can always plan for.
Consider for: Forever homes, longer-term mortgages.
Available for VA Loans or Conventional Loans.

Adjustable Rate

Enjoy the possibility of paying the lowest rates during some months, while paying more during others.
Consider for: Short-term home buys or if buying while rates are unusually high.
Available for VA Loans or Conventional Loans.

More ways we’ll work to get you home.

Here for first-time homebuyers
First of all, congratulations — deciding to buy is an exciting step. Luckily, our First-Time Homebuyers Programs are here to help you get started. Choose from fixed or adjustable interest rates, and unlock the possibility of a low down payment, or even no down payment at all. Feel free to start dreaming up move-in dates.

Helping you earn while you borrow

Through our Pledge Program, a savings certificate can act as collateral to back up your home loan — and we’ll loan you 100% of your home’s purchase price. You or a family member (or dear friend) can pledge any Fortera Credit Union certificate account (aka long-term savings account) as additional collateral for your loan. That’s right — someone else’s certificate can be pledged as a gift to you. Either way, a pledge means better loan terms for you, plus you or the pledge account owner will continue earning interest on the savings certificate. That’s almost too many wins to count.

The beauty of built-in closing costs

Instead of paying your closing costs as a lump sum up front, we can roll those fees into your mortgage payments so you’ll barely know they’re there. When it comes to budgeting for homeownership, there’s nothing like a little breathing room.

Here for you from the ground up. Whether you’re ready to build or looking for just the right spot, we have a loan that can be the foundation of it all.

Construction Loans

Term - 12 Months

Rate: Interest-Only Fixed Rate

A loan for building your own primary residence.

We finance up to 90% of the cost to build as long as you own the land, free and clear.

Available for pole-barn style homes (pretty neat, look them up.)

Land Loans

Term - Up to 10 years

Rate: Fixed or Adjustable

Up to 15 acres

A loan to buy and refinance land. Low closing costs and flexible payment options are available.

We finance up to 80% of the price and require no appraisal if an existing tax assessment supports the land's value. The land cannot be a designated flood zone.

Should I get pre-qualified for a home loan before I start house shopping?
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Yes, yes, and yes! Getting pre-qualified helps put the purchasing power in your hands. When you get pre-qualified, you learn exactly how much house you can afford and you know that amount before falling in love with a place that is out of your budget. It's our number one recommendation to avoid home heartbreak.

What do I need to bring with me to my first appointment with a Fortera Home Loans Advisor?
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You may bring anything with you that you wish. We will not be able to give you a specific list of required documentation until after you apply for a home loan.

Am I able to open a credit card or purchase a car while I apply for a home loan?
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We recommend waiting to do anything that may impact your credit or would require a hard credit pull. Make sure you do not co-sign a loan or freeze your credit. We also recommend not making any changes to your employment during the application process. All of these actions can impact the outcome of your loan in a negative way. So press pause for now, and know that the wait is worth it.

How much can I afford?
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The first step in buying a house is determining your budget. This calculator steps you through the process of finding out how much you can borrow. Fill in the entry fields and click on the 'View Report' button to see a complete amortization schedule of your mortgage payments.

What would my mortgage payment be?
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Use this calculator to generate an estimated amortization schedule for your current mortgage. Quickly see how much interest you could pay and your estimated principal balances. You can even determine the impact of any principal prepayments! Press the "Report" button for a full yearly or monthly amortization schedule.

What is an adjustable rate mortgage?
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With most ARMs, the interest rate and monthly payment are fixed for an initial period such as three years, five years or seven years. After the initial fixed period, the interest rate can change every year. For example, one of our most popular adjustable mortgages is a five-year ARM. The interest rate will not change for the first five years (the initial adjustment period), but can change every year after the first five years.

An interest-rate cap places a limit on the amount your interest rate can increase or decrease. There are two types of caps:

  1. Periodic or adjustment caps, which limit the interest rate increase or decrease from one adjustment period to the next.
  2. Overall or lifetime caps, which limit the interest rate increase over the life of the loan.

As you can imagine, interest rate caps are very important since no one knows what can happen in the future. All of the ARMs we offer have both adjustment and lifetime caps. Please see each product description for full details.

What is mortgage insurance and when is it required?
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Mortgage insurance should not be confused with mortgage life insurance, which is designed to pay off a mortgage in the event of a borrower's death. Mortgage insurance makes it possible for you to buy a home with less than a 20% down payment by protecting the lender against additional risk associated with low down payment lending. Low down payment mortgages are becoming more and more popular, and by purchasing mortgage insurance, lenders are comfortable with down payments as low as 3-5% of the home's value. It also provides you with the ability to buy a more expensive home than might be possible if a 20% down payment were required.

The mortgage insurance premium is based on loan to value ratio, type of loan, and amount of coverage required by the lender. Usually, the premium is included ink our monthly payment and one to two months of the premium is collected as a required advance at closing.

It will be possible to cancel private mortgage insurance at some point, such as when you loan balance is reduced to a certain amount - below 75% to 80% of the property value. Recent Federal Legislation requires automatic termination of mortgage insurance for many borrowers when their loan balance has been amortized down two 78% of the original property value. If you have any questions about when your mortgage insurance could be cancelled, please contact your Loan Advisor.

Are there any prepayment penalties charged for these loan programs?
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None of the loans programs we offer have penalties for prepayment. You can pay off your mortgage any time with no additional charges.

Can I apply for a loan before I find a property to purchase?
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Applying for a mortgage loan before you find a home may be the best thing you could do! If you apply now, we'll issue a pre-qualification approval subject to you finding the perfect home. You can use the pre-qualification letter to assure real estate brokers and sellers that you are a qualified buyer. Having a pre-qualification for a mortgage may give more weight to any purchase offer that you make.

Tell me more about closing fees and how they are determined.
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A home loan often involves many fees, such as the appraisal fee, title charges, closing fees, and state and local taxes. These fees vary from state to state and also from lender to lender. Any lender or broker should be able to give you an estimate of their fees, but it is more difficult to tell which lenders have done their homework and are providing a complete and accurate estimate. We've completed the research necessary to make sure that our fee quotes are accurate to the city level.

To assist you in evaluating our fees, we've grouped them as follows:

Third Party Fees
Fees that we consider third party fees include the appraisal fee, the credit report fee, the settlement or closing fee, the survey fee, tax service fees, title insurance fees, flood certification fees and courier / mailing fees.

Third party fees that we'll collect and pass on to the person who actually performed the service. For example, an appraiser is paid the appraisal fee, a credit bureau is paid the credit report fee and a title company or an attorney is paid the title insurance fee.

Typically, you'll see some minor variances in third party fees from lender to lender since a lender may have negotiated a special charge from a provider they use often or chooses a provider that offers nationwide coverage at a flat rate. You may also see that some lenders absorb minor third party fees such as the flood certification fee, the tax service fee or courier / mailing fees.

Taxes and other "unavoidables"
Fees that we consider to be taxes and other "unavoidables" include: State/Local Taxes and recording fees. These fees will most likely have to be paid regardless of the lender you choose. If some lenders don't quote you fees that included taxes and other unavoidable fees, don't assume that you won't have to pay them. It probably means that the lender who doesn't tell you about the fee hasn't done the research necessary to provide accurate closing costs.

Lender Fees
Fees such as origination and discount points are retained by the lender and are used to provide you with the lowest rates possible. NOTE: We do NOT charge a processing fee or an underwriting fee.

This is the category of fees that you should compare very closely from lender to lender before making a decision.

Prepaid Items
You may be asked to prepay some items at closing that will actually be due in the future. These fees are sometimes referred to as prepaid items.

One of the more common required prepaid items is called "per diem interest" or "interest due at closing." All of our mortgages have payment due dates of the 1st of the month. If your loan is closed on any day other than the first of the month, you'll pay interest, from the date of closing through the end of the month. For example, if the loan is closed on June 15, we'll collect interest from June 15 through June 30 at closing. This also means that you won't make your first mortgage payment until August 1. This type of charge should not vary from lender to lender, and does not need to be considered when comparing lenders. All lenders will charge you interest beginning one the day the loan funds are disbursed. It is a simple matter of when it will be collected.

If an escrow or impound account will be established, you will make an initial deposit into the escrow account at closing so that sufficient funds are available to pay the bills when they become due.

If your loan requires mortgage insurance, up to two months of the mortgage insurance will be collected at closing. Whether or not you must purchase mortgage insurance depends on the size of the down payment you make.

If your loan is a purchase, you'll also need to pay for your first year's homeowner's insurance premium prior to closing. We consider this to be a required advance.

What is title insurance and why do I need it?
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If you've ever purchased a home before, you may already be familiar with the benefits and terms of title insurance. But if this is your first hoe loan or you are refinancing, you may be wondering why you need another insurance policy.

The answer is simple: The purchase of a home is most likely one of the most expensive and important purchases you will ever make. You, and especially your mortgage lender, want to make sure the property is indeed yours: That no individual or government entity has any right, lien, claim or encumbrance on your property.

The function of a title insurance company is to make sure your rights and interests to the property are clear, that transfer of title takes place efficiently and correctly, and that your interests as a homebuyer are fully protected.

Title insurance companies provide services to buyers, sellers, real estate developers, builders, mortgage lenders, and others who have an interest in real estate transfer. Title companies typically issue two types of title policies:

  1. Owner's Policy: This policy covers you, the homebuyer.
  2. Lender's Policy: This policy covers the lending institution over the life of the loan.

Both types of policies are issued at the time of closing for a one-time premium, if the loan is a purchase. If you are refinancing your home, you probably already have an owner's policy that was issued when you purchased the property, so we'll only require that a lender's policy be issued.

Before issuing a policy, the title company performs an in-depth search of the public records to determine if anyone other than you has an interest in the property. The search may be performed by title company personnel using either public records or, more likely, the information contained in the company's own title plant.

Once a title is issued, if any claim covered under your policy is ever filed against your property, the title company will pay the legal fees involved in the defense our your rights. They are also responsible to cover losses arising from a valid claim. This protection remains in effect as long as you or your heirs own the property.

The fact that title companies try to eliminate risks before they develop makes title insurance significantly different from other types of insurance. Most forms of insurance assume risks by providing financial protection through a pooling of risks for losses arising from an unforeseen future event, say a fire, accident or theft. One the other hand, the purpose of title insurance is to eliminate risks and prevent losses caused by defects in title that may have happened in the past.

This risk elimination has benefits to both the homebuyer and the title company. it minimizes the chances that adverse claims might be raised, thereby reducing the number of claims that have to be defended or satisfied. This keeps costs down for the title company and the premiums low for the homebuyer.

How will a past bankruptcy or foreclosure affect my ability to obtain a new mortgage?
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Bankruptcy (Chapter 7 or Chapter 11):
A four-year waiting period is required, measured from the discharge or dismissal date of the bankruptcy action.

Bankruptcy (Chapter 13):
A distinction is made between Chapter 13 bankruptcies that were discharged and those that were dismissed. The waiting period required for Chapter 13 bankruptcy actions is measured as follows: two years from the discharge date, or four years from the dismissal date. The shorter waiting period based on the discharge date recognizes that borrowers have already met a portion of the waiting period within the time needed for the successful completion of a Chapter 13 plan and subsequent discharge. A borrower who was unable to complete the Chapter 13 plan and received a dismissal will be held to a four-year waiting period.

Foreclosure:
A seven-year waiting period is required, and is measured from the completion date of the foreclosure action as reported on the credit report or other foreclosure documents provided by the borrower.

I’ve had a few employers in the last few years. Will that affect my ability to get a new mortgage?
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One year of job history with the current employer is typically required unless the employment change is within the same employment field and if applicable outside any probationary employment period requirements.

Do I have to provide information about my child support, alimony or separate maintenance income?
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Information about child support, alimony, or separate maintenance income does not need to be provided unless you wish to have it considered for repaying this mortgage loan.

If I have income that's not reported on my tax return, can it be considered?
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Generally, only income that is reported on your tax return can be considered when applying for a mortgage. Unless, of course, the income is legally tax-free and isn't required to be reported.

You may be able to take advantage of our bank statement program. This program may require a larger down payment and have a higher interest rate than our regular mortgage rates.

I’ve co-signed a loan for another person. Should I include that debt here?
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A co-signed debt is considered when determining your qualification for a mortgage. If the co-signed debt doesn’t affect your ability to obtain a new mortgage we’ll leave it at that. However, if it does make a difference, we can omit the monthly payment of the co-signed debt if you can verify that the other person responsible for the debt has made the required payments, by obtaining copies of their canceled checks for the last twelve months.

I am selling my current home to purchase this home. What type of documentation will be required?
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If you're selling your current home to purchase your new home, we'll ask you to provide a copy of settlement or closing statement you'll receive at the closing to verify that your current mortgage has been paid in full and that you'll have sufficient funds for our closing. Often the closing of your current home is scheduled for the same day as the closing of your new home. If that's the case, we'll just ask you to bring your settlement statement with you to your new mortgage closing.

Can I get advanced copies of the documents I will be signing at closing?
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The most important documents you will sign at closing are the note and mortgage, sometimes called the deed of trust. Unless there are special circumstances, these documents are usually prepared one to two days before your closing. Other documents are prepared by the closing agent the day before or the day of your closing. If you would like copies of the completed documents to be sent to your after they are prepared, please contact your loan advisor.

I have student loans that aren't in repayment yet. Should I show them as installment debts?
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Any outstanding student loan should be included in the application. If you are not sure exactly what the monthly payment will be at this time, enter an estimated amount.

I am relocating because I have accepted a new job that I haven’t started yet. How should I complete the application?
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If you will be working for the same employer, complete the application as such, but enter the income you anticipate you be receiving at your new location. If your employment is with a new employer, complete the application as if this were your current employer and indicate that you have been there for one month. The information about the employment you’ll be leaving should be entered as your previous employer.

Who will be at the closing?
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At this time those only required to sign will be at closing.

I've heard that some lenders require flood insurance on properties. Will you?
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If the home is located in a flood area, then yes flood insurance would be required.

Does Fortera provide financing for manufactured homes?
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No, we do not currently offer this service.

How are interest rates determined?
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Interest rates are determined by a combination of your credit scores, loan to value ratio and product type.

How much money will I save by choosing a 15-year loan rather than a 30-year loan?
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This number can be found by using a Loan Calculator. Click here to access one from our partner GreenPath.

When can I lock in my interest rate and points?
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You can lock in as soon as you have an approved and signed contract.

Is there a fee charged or any other obligation if I complete the online application?
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There is no fee required to get pre-qualified, but be aware we will be obtaining a credit report.

I'm purchasing a home, do I need a home inspection and an appraisal?
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A home inspection is not required. You may obtain a home inspection, but it would be at your own discretion and the expense would be out of your own pocket.

Will I get a copy of the appraisal?
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As soon as we receive your appraisal, we'll update your loan with the estimated value of the home. We will promptly provide you a copy of any appraisal, even if your loan does not close.

What is the maximum percentage of my home's value that I can borrow?
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The maximum percentage of your home's value depends on the purpose of your loan, how you use the property, and the loan type you choose, so the best way to determine what loan amount we can offer is to complete an online application.

I'm self-employed. How will you verify my income?
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Generally, the income of self-employed borrowers is verified by obtaining copies of personal (and business, if applicable) federal tax returns for the most recent two-year period.

We'll review and average the net income from self-employment that's reported on your tax returns to determine the income that can be used to qualify. We won't be able to consider any income that hasn't been reported as such on your tax returns. We'll need a full two-year history of self-employment to verify that your self-employment income is stable.

I won't be able to attend the closing. What other options are there?
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If you won't be able to attend the loan closing, contact your loan advisor to discuss other options. If someone you trust is able to attend on your behalf, you can execute a Power of Attorney so that this person can sign documents on your behalf. In other cases, we're able to mail you the documents in advance so that you can sign them and forward them to the closing event. We're sure to have a solution that will work in your circumstances.

I’m getting a gift from someone else. Is this an acceptable source of my down payment?
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If gift giver is related to you. We will ask you for the name, address, phone number, and donor’s relationship to you.

If my property’s appraised value is more than the purchase price can I use the difference towards my down payment?
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No, if you are purchasing a home we’ll have to use the lower of the appraised value or the sales price to determine your down payment requirement.

If I apply, where will the closing take place?
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Our loan closings normally take place at the title company's office. We will work with you and the title company to schedule your closing for a time and date that is most convenient for you.

I was in school before obtaining my current job. How do I complete the application?
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If you were in school before your current job, enter the name of the school you attended and the length of time you were in school in the "length of employment" fields. You can enter a position of "student" and income of "0."

I am retired and my income is from pension or Social security. What will I need to provide?
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We will ask for copies of your recent Pension letter; Retirement Award Statement; Social Security Benefit letter. Sometimes it will also be necessary to verify that this income with continue for at least three years since some pension or retirement plans do not provide income for life.

Will my second job income be considered?
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Typically, income from a second job will be considered if a one-year history of secondary employment can be verified.

How will rental income be verified?
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Most recent two year’s federal tax returns to include all schedules to verify your rental income after all expenses.

Can I make my monthly payments with an automated debit from my checking account?
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Automated monthly payments are available. At the loan closing an automated payment application will be provided.

You may also like...

Home Equity Loan

Our home equity loan offers fixed interest rates and fixed payment amounts for up to a 20-year term.

Home Equity Line of Credit

A loan designed to help you balance big expenses with a lot of flexibility.

Homeowner Advantage Loan

If you own your home but don’t have a ton of equity just yet, check out this option.

What's New

Nitty, gritty, and super important.

Fine print is your friend. When you have a minute, give these a good read:
Member Service Agreement
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Privacy Policy
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