Thinking about buying a home in Clackamas? You’re not alone

Houses in Clackamas
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When you’re shopping for a home in a booming area like Clackamas County, choosing the right lender makes a difference.

As prices in the Rose City continue to rise, more buyers are seeking homes in outlying communities such as Canby, Happy Valley and Oregon City, fueling intense competition. That can be challenging for potential buyers, who may be tempted to exceed their budget to get into their dream home.

But just because you can qualify for a $500,000 home doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best choice. That’s why it’s important to find a lender you can trust, says OCCU Mortgage Loan Officer Deb Small, who helps homebuyers in the Clackamas-area navigate the mortgage process.

In a sizzling market, buyers may be tempted to exceed their budget to get into their dream home. But just because you can qualify for a $500,000 home doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best choice.

“How happy will you be if your entire budget is consumed by a house payment, leaving no room for vacations or family fun? You need to know the person you’re working with is going to tell you the truth and help you find a home that checks every box and fits within your budget,” says Small, who has worked for both banks and credit unions during her 38-year career.

So how can you tell if a mortgage lender is right for you? Here are some signs to look for:


Nonprofit credit union

To find out whether your lender really has your best interests at heart, just ask where their profits go. OCCU reinvests into keeping interest rates low, minimizing fees and taking exceptional care of its members’ needs and the communities it serves.

When you take out a credit union mortgage, you’re buying more than just a house—you’re also becoming part owner of your community credit union. Since OCCU’s financial health depends on yours, you know it’s motivated to help you find the right mortgage.


Local loan officers

When you’re buying a home in Clackamas, it helps to partner with a loan officer who lives and works in the area. With local expertise and a finger on the market’s pulse, they’re in the best position to help you make important decisions about your home loan. According to The Wall Street Journal, working with a local mortgage officer can even make your offer more attractive to sellers.


A mortgage that fits your needs

Competitive interest rates aren’t the only advantage credit unions offer. We’re often able to pair homebuyers with mortgages they can’t find anywhere else. Our jumbo loans, for example, can finance a pricier home in Clackamas County with as little as 5 percent down—compared to the 20 to 30 percent most lenders require. On a $500,000 loan, that could mean a $75,000 smaller down payment.

“I don’t know anybody else who has that,” Small says.


People who listen

Your loan officer’s first priority should be to sit down with you and listen to your story. You are more than numbers on a balance sheet, and the mortgage you choose should reflect that.

“Everybody’s story is different,” Small says. “My job is being able to really listen to what they’re trying to accomplish.”

She encourages would-be homeowners to sit down with a loan officer even if they don’t think they can afford a home yet.

“Some people are ready and just don’t know it. They envision their credit as worse than it is—and usually those are the people who are most qualified.”

Want to find out whether you’re ready to buy a home in Clackamas County? Contact Deb Small today to share your story and assess your financial landscape.