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Money and Stuff

Stage Your Home For a Fast Sale

Today's real estate market is crowded with inventory, so if you want to sell your home, it has to stand out. Staging, or making it appeal to the broadest possible group of people, is one way to do just that.

That means depersonalizing your home so buyers can visualize themselves living in it. Basic staging steps include:

* Neutralize—Put away family photos, religious items, collections.
* De-clutter—Pack up knick-knacks, clear off countertops, remove up to half your furniture. Consider renting a storage locker until your home sells.
* Rearrange—Arrange furniture so buyers can move smoothly through the home. Highlight rooms' focal points, such as fireplaces, with furniture groupings.
* Let it shine—Clean or replace carpets, wash or paint walls, pressure-wash siding and decks, and scrub, scrub, scrub—especially in bathrooms and kitchens. Turn on all lights and open drapes for showings.
* Landscape—Mow and edge the lawn, trim the hedges, plant flowers. If your yard doesn't look well-maintained, buyers will assume your home isn't and drive on by.

If your funds are limited, spend money where it shows. Buyers form first impressions from your front door and foyer, so make sure they sparkle. Is the doorknob wobbly? The doorbell broken? The doormat shabby? If you're debating replacing carpeting in the entryway or a back hallway, choose the entryway.

Be sure your changes make economic sense, though. Do normal maintenance, such as replacing stained, chipped countertops, but don't install an expensive hot tub.

Consider hiring a professional stager. Realtors can recommend stagers, or you can consult the International Association of Home Staging Professionals' website at iahsp.com. Costs vary, but the National Association of Realtors reports that spending 1% to 3% of your home's asking price will generally yield an 8% to 10% return.

Whether you're fixing up your home for resale, or looking to buy a new home yourself, Ohio HealthCare can help. Stop by or call 866-254-4791 today.

Copyright 2017 Credit Union National Association Inc. Information subject to change without notice. For use with members of a single credit union. All other rights reserved.

Debt-To-Income Ratio

If you have applied for any type of loan, especially a mortgage, then you probably heard the your loan officer use the term “debt-to-income ratio.”

Your debt-to-income ratio is the sum of all your monthly debt payments divided by your gross monthly income. This number gives lenders a way to measure your ability to repay your loan, based on your income.

Basically, imagine that your monthly mortgage is $1,000 per month. If you also have a car payment of $300, a student loan payment of $350, and a credit card payment of $150, your total monthly payments are ($1,000 + $300 + $350 + $150) = $1,800. If you have a gross monthly income of $4,800 (gross means before taxes and adjustments), your debt-to-income ratio is computed as follows: $1,800 / $4,800 = .375 or 37.5%.

This means that 37.5% of your gross monthly income is devoted to servicing your debt. Lenders know that beyond this, you still have to afford to eat, insure your belongings, and buy cat food. These “other than debt” costs are actually why lenders pay attention to this ratio. If the amount of income being devoted to paying off debt gets too high, it’s likely you will either default or starve. Generally, defaulting is what more people opt for.

Your debt-to-income ratio will likely be evaluated before any [reputable] lender makes any kind of loan to you, but this ratio is especially important for a home loan. In order for a new mortgage to be considered a “Qualified Mortgage,” the borrower must have a debt-to-income ratio of less than 43%, including the new payment.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, a Qualified Mortgage is one that meets certain standards, ensuring that the lender did their due diligence to make sure you can afford the loan, and which gives the lender access to certain legal protections.

There may be circumstances where you could get a mortgage while having a debt-to-income ratio of more than 43%, but that loan may not be in your best interest. Before taking out any new loan, carefully consider for yourself if you can really afford the payment, and afford a comfortable, financially-savvy lifestyle.

How to Go Branchless with us

Totally branchless banking has increased lately, but many are still skeptical. 

In 2014, Bankrate released a study saying that more than 30% of Americans haven't visited a branch in the last six months. With the rise of mobile technology, financial security and digital communication, it's possible to never step foot in a branch again. But you don't have to use a fintech startup with an unproven track history to go branchless: Ohio HealthCare offers everything you need.

Simplify your checking and live easier with these tips on going branchless.

The Easy Stuff

1. Download our WebCU Mobile app. Available for Apple and Android devices, this app features include viewing your balance, making transfers and depositing checks. 

2. Follow Ohio HealthCare on Facebook. For important updates, like when to expect new, secure cards or tips on how to save money, social media is a great way to get connected and stay up-to-date. It's like going to see your favorite teller, just without much effort.

The Harder Stuff

3. Deposit cash through ATMs. Depositing cash is probably the hardest part of going mobile. Especially if you're traveling, it can be difficult finding a location to securely deposit cash in your checking account. But, we've partnered with two surcharge-free networks to provide you access to more than 29,000 free ATMs nationwide, many of which accept deposits.

4. Get member service through digital channels. Reach out on social media or submit a request via email or websites. You can also always use your smartphone for, gasp, making a phone call. 

5. Apply for loans online through your online banking account. It's as easy as it sounds! Just be sure to keep communication open once you've been approved.

Lastly, you don't have to go totally branchless. We are part of the Shared Branching network, offering you access to more than 5,000 branches nationwide!

How Are Credit Unions Different?

Your credit union is a different kind of financial institution. Here are four key factors that set us apart from other financial institutions:

1. You are an owner.

Members who belong to the credit union are its owners, not merely customers. That's because credit unions are set up as not-for-profit cooperatives.

2. You pay lower loan rates and earn higher dividends.

Because credit unions are not-for-profit businesses, they return income to members in lower loan rates and higher savings rates. Also, unpaid qualified volunteers serve on the credit unions' boards and committees. This means lower costs of doing business--no hefty payments to a corporate board. Credit unions pass along those savings to members in the form of better deals.

3. You pay lower fees.

At the credit union, you'll find no or lower ATM fees, lower service charges on checking accounts, and lower fees for overdrawn checks than fees at banks.

4. You get extra attention.

Credit union staff help members toward financial health. We are here to answer members' questions or offer one-to-one counseling. 

Copyright 2012 - Credit Union National Association Inc. Information subject to change without notice. For use with members of a single credit union. All other rights reserved.

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