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Buying your first home

ACU works to make owning a home a reality

America’s Credit Union has the expertise and willingness to help its members with the purchase of their first home and the refinancing of an existing home. Photo credit: Courtesy photo

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Home is one of the most personal places people know. It's a mindset that provides for and shapes the thoughts of security, identity and comfort. And for those individuals thinking about taking the important step of purchasing their first home, America's Credit Union stands ready to help.

"It is an excellent time to buy a home as there is less competition, so the likelihood of a bidding war is lower, the ability to negotiate on price, concessions and repairs is higher," began Kaila Sweeney, an ACU home loan consultant.

"And with spring and summer being the typical ‘buying season,' there is more inventory available than what is usually available in the fall."

She added that ACU offers competitive interest rates as well as with its fees. "There are many factors (FICO - Fair Isaac Corporation credit score, LTV - Loan to Value, property type and occupancy) that have to be determined before an interest rate quote can be provided.

With seven decades of experience with the Joint Base Lewis-McChord community, ACU has consistently worked to offer its products, services and support to its members and remains committed to serving those who currently serve and to those who have served this country.

With over a decade-and-a-half of credit union experience, Sweeney understands and embraces this ethos.

"Mortgage lending was a natural next step from consumer lending which I did for many years prior," she continued, "and being a small piece in one of the biggest, most important transaction in someone's life is a privilege to experience."

Prospective home buyers can get started in the process by being preapproved, which requires a credit application. Sweeney explained that this step can be easily accomplished by visiting ACU's website (, by a personal visit or by phone. She added that there will also be a financial document review of a prospective buyer's current income, credit history and assets.

"Based on this information, we can determine how much prospective buyers can afford to purchase and then issue a preapproval letter," she continued. "If there are not in a place where they qualify, we can make recommendations so they can qualify for a home loan."

Sweeney added that should prospective home buyers have to negotiate with the seller over price, any needed repairs and concessions, they should work with a licensed real estate professional.

"Prospective buyers should interview a few and work with someone they like and who will represent them well," explained Sweeney.

While ACU stands ready and able to help buyers purchase their first home, it also provides expertise to current home owners looking to refinance their current loan with a lower interest rate.

"A refinance is doing a new loan on the same property to pay off the current loan with a new, better rate and term loan," she continued. "Typically, we recommend refinancing when the buyer can get a point (one percent) or better on their current rate of interest." 

Sweeney concluded by pointing out that ACU works with efficiency to help its members with their home purchase or refinance. "We are a small, local team," she said, "and all of our file processing and underwriting is done in-house because we want our members to make the Pacific Northwest their home."

Members are free to visit any of the following America's Credit Union's 13 branches: DuPont Branch, Lakewood Branch, Yelm Branch, Main/Fort Lewis Branch, Lacey Branch, Yelm Walmart Branch, North Fort Branch, University Place Branch, Proctor Branch, Madigan Branch, South Tacoma Branch, Graham Branch and the Spanaway Branch.

Now is a good time to consider purchasing that "home sweet home."

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