Skip to main content
Online Banking
Open Online Banking

Finance 101

First-Time Home Buyer Tips

Posted on February 28, 2019 by Brooke Keck – Mortgage Loan Originator


Buying a house is probably the biggest investment you’ll ever make. It can be scary—not just because you don’t want to have buyer’s remorse with such a huge purchase, but also because it’s a complex process with lots of terms you’ve never heard before. Suddenly people are talking about "points" and "closing costs" and "escrow." Worse—they’re looking at you like you know what they’re talking about! Here’s the good news: we have a great mortgage team at R.I.A. FCU and we want to help you. Let’s start with a few basic tips:

The importance of the right pre-approval


  • Look for a lender who has a variety of loan options. At R.I.A. FCU, we offer conventional and government loans so we have something for every homebuyer. When you’re ready to get pre-approved, we have a variety of ways for you to submit an application. Our online application is available 24/7 for your ease and convenience. If you’re nervous or have some questions, we offer the option to schedule a phone or in-person consultation with one of our loan experts. During the application process, it is important to be as open and honest as possible. We aren’t here to judge! We understand home ownership is your goal. If you provide accurate and thorough information, our loan originators will be able to provide the mortgage solution that best fits your unique situation and financial goals. Sellers will take your offer more seriously when they see you’ve taken the responsible steps to secure financing with a reputable mortgage lender. Our pre-approvals give you 90 days to shop around. Haven’t found your dream home yet? We only have to do a couple quick steps to extend your original approval for another 90 days! We can continue that process until you’ve found the place where you want to plant your roots.

Shop smarter not harder


  • Many borrowers think calling around and asking for today’s interest rate is the best way to score a great deal on a mortgage. Wrong! What should you ask for when comparing mortgages? Ask for the interest rate that will be assessed based on your best estimate of a credit score. Some lenders assess loan-level price adjustments to their interest rates. That means if you don’t have top-tier credit that lender is adding an additional percentage to your interest rate. At R.I.A., FCU, we pride ourselves on offering one low interest rate for all our conventional mortgages!

Fees, fees, and more fees!


  • It’s smart to start saving early! A down payment is just one portion of the total cash to close that you will need when purchasing a home. Be a smart shopper and request a loan estimate when comparing mortgage lenders. We value your hard earned dollars and keep our lender-based fees as low as possible! We don’t tack on high-priced origination or processing fees. You can call and ask one of our loan originators for a fee and total cash-to-close estimate today! We have a variety of options to explore how to get you into your new home without breaking the bank.

Phone a friend

  • We’ve connected ourselves with some phenomenal real-estate professionals in your area. Looking for a great realtor? Or maybe you’re not sure if you should hire your own attorney? What about finding a qualified pest inspector? Our home loan specialists have worked with tons of local professionals and only recommend the best for our members. Starting with a lender you trust is a solid way to end your home- buying process with ease.
Brooke Keck
Brooke Keck
Mortgage Originator

Don’t hesitate to reach out to us for help. And we’re offering a Home Buyer’s Workshop on April 11th at 5:30 pm at our Bettendorf Corporate Center. We’ll tell you about our various mortgage options and have area experts available to talk to you about the buying, appraising, inspecting, and closing process. We’ll answer any questions you have and we’d love to see you there! To RSVP, just email