The First Financial Credit Union Blog

Buying a Home When You're Self Employed

Posted by Jen Laud on Oct 19, 2017 11:11:28 AM

Entrepreneurship and side jobs are especially popular right now. There are 15 million self-employed workers in the US and Chicago alone is home to tens of thousands of small businesses.

While self-employment can give you more freedom and great satisfaction, it can also add some real challenges when trying to buy a home. Luckily, some lenders - including FFCU - have more flexibility and can help you jump the hurdles.

Let's walk through some of the common challenges that self-employed workers, freelancers and contractors face when trying to buy a home; a member's recent home buying story; and some tips you can use to get ready for your home purchase.

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Topics: Home Financing

Choosing the Right Realtor and Mortgage Partner

Posted by Jen Laud on Apr 28, 2017 10:57:22 AM

Home is where the heart is, but the process of buying a home can be far from a lovely experience. Choosing the right partners really sets the tone for your home buying and selling journey. We've broken down some key things to look for, ask about or consider when you're trying to choose a real estate agent and a mortgage lender. 


The very first thing to do, even before jumping into property searching, is to check your credit score. Once you know your score, you'll know if you need to do a little work or if you can continue what you're doing to maintain it. When you're financing a major expense like a home, even a small change in your interest rate can have major consequences over time. And with just a little tweaking, you can adjust your score for the better. Want more tips on building credit? Take a look at our previous post on boosting your credit score. 


Choosing a Real Estate Agent.

Phone a Friend

When you're looking for an agent, testimonials are a goldmine of information. If you have friends or family in the area that have recently purchased or sold a home, ask them who they worked with and if they had a good experience. Online reviews are another great source to check out. Look on reputable sites like Google reviews, Yelp or even the business page on Facebook to see what clients have to say. The agent may also have some testimonials on their site or can give you a list, but keep in mind that they have more control over those resources. 

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Topics: Home Financing

Using Equity Loans to Winterize Your Home

Posted by FFCU Partner on Nov 1, 2016 9:00:00 AM

There are all sorts of ways to guard your home from the winter elements. Some are cheap and may even fall in the do-it-yourself category, like adding weather stripping and caulking.

Other endeavors, such as swapping out single-pane windows for energy-efficient double panes, or replacing a furnace, are beyond the skill set of most homeowners — and often beyond the balances in many savings accounts as well.

In that case, taking out a home equity loan or line of credit may be the answer. Here's what you should know before you do.

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Topics: Home Financing

Is Fall the Best Time to Buy a House?

Posted by Jen Laud on Oct 25, 2016 9:00:00 AM

Sometimes it’s smarter to buy certain items according to the season, like sweaters near the end of winter and swimsuits in late summer. But what’s the best season for buying a house?

The answer: the fall. As temperatures cool and trees shed their leaves, enough factors break in the buyer’s favor to make it the No. 1 season for homebuying. Here’s why.

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Topics: Home Financing

Best Ways to Fund Spring Home Repairs

Posted by Gabby Boyce on Mar 17, 2016 4:24:00 PM

Now that spring has blossomed into full-on allergy mode, the time we spend outside is even more appreciated — especially with the help of a good antihistamine. The next time you venture out, take a moment to do a walk-around inspection of the old homestead. See some room for improvements? Maintaining, repairing and upgrading a home can range in cost from a minor trickle to a major cash drain.

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Topics: Borrowing Advice & How to Build Credit, Home Financing

Completing the Home Buying Process

Posted by Gabby Boyce on Oct 29, 2015 10:18:57 AM
As a member of First Financial Credit Union, you have the support of our Lending Team, Mortgage Specialist and Member Service Representatives available to accomodate your home financing needs.

First Mortgages: our Mortgage Specialist, Larry Levine. In addition to his years of experience in the Chicago area, he is also a source for information and assistance with current government programs and refinancing options.
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Topics: Home Financing

Ways to Save in the Home Buying Process

Posted by Gabby Boyce on Oct 29, 2015 10:04:56 AM

You've probably learned that financing your home costs a LOT of dough. Luckily, there are ways to cut costs, or at least get some of them reduced. Like we said in Home Financing 101, investing in a home will be one of the biggest decisions of your life. Be informed on the best ways to maximize the value of your loans and lines of credit by being knowledgeable of opportunities to save.

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Topics: Home Financing

What to Know About Appraisals

Posted by Gabby Boyce on Oct 29, 2015 9:56:01 AM

When you are buying or selling a home the property must be appraised to determine the value of the home for the seller and allow the buyer to decide if the property is within their price range. Whether you are the buyer or the seller in the appraisal situation, there are several factors to consider regarding the value of your home or the home you are trying to buy. Recently, there have been a rising number of under appraisals.

Here's an increasingly common scenario: The seller lists the house for $325,000, the buyer offers $275,000 and they settle on a $300,000 sales price. A week before closing, the appraisal comes in at $265,000, the maximum upon which the financial institution is willing to lend. (

So, which party covers the shortfall?


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Topics: Home Financing

Home Loan and Line of Credit Application Checklist

Posted by Gabby Boyce on Oct 29, 2015 9:45:45 AM

There are a number of important steps involved with the lending application process. Before applying for a mortgage or line of credit with your fianncial institution, there are several materials to have in order.

Mortgage Applications for the New and Experienced Home Buyer

A loan application includes several sections that capture information about you and your finances that help outline your potential mortgage.

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Topics: Home Financing

Home Financing 101

Posted by Gabby Boyce on Oct 29, 2015 9:31:09 AM

Buying a home is one of the biggest decisions you'll make in your life. A great first step to buying a home is doing some preliminary research. There are many phases and parties involved in the home financing process, make sure you are familiar with all of them to make financing your home as simple and cost effective as possible.  

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Topics: Home Financing

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