Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Home Improvement Projects for Aging in Place

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There’s a lovely, cozy term for staying in your current home and renovating it to fit your life as you get older—aging-in-place. Many baby boomers are facing the decision whether to remodel the home they’re in, upgrade to another house, or downgrade to something smaller. For many, the thought of a major move or leaving the home you’ve loved for many years and many memories doesn’t hold much appeal.

Do you have changes you’d like to make to your house or ways to improve it for how it’s being used now? Renovating or remodeling your home may be more accessible than you think. At Mid-Minnesota Federal Credit Union we offer several options in Home Equity loans to help you achieve the remodeling or renovation goals for your present home.

Let’s look at some of the trends for aging-in-place renovations.

A Safer Entry

Especially in frigid Minnesota, stairs or uneven walkways can be unsafe, difficult to maneuver, and prone to iciness. Make sure you have a railing along your stairs, good exterior lighting, and evenly laid concrete for you and your guests.

Replace Tubs with Showers

Not only are tubs harder to get in and out of, but they’re often a risk for slips and falls. If you don’t spend the time soaking in the tub, consider an easily accessible shower – perhaps with a bench installed.


shutterstock_85176691.jpgMany homeowners are requesting a full bathroom on the main floor of the house for accessibility. If you’re rethinking your main floor layout, consider expanding a powder room into a bathroom with shower. Bonus tip: replace your older toilet with a raised one for added ease of use.

Focus on the Kitchen

We spend a lot of our time in the kitchen, yet it is one room where things are often inaccessible. Your kitchen should be functional and easy-to-use. Consider installing pull-out drawers in your cabinets, and pull-down shelves in your upper cabinets to reach things without straining. Get a sink that is relatively shallow and consider having your dishwasher raised so you aren’t having to reach as far when you do dishes. Finally, small touches like a hands-free faucet, a pullout sprayer, and easy-to-grip handles can make living in your kitchen more comfortable.

Home Security

Security systems offer protection against senior-targeted break-ins and an immediate response to fires or alarms. In addition, the quick-response teams are often accessible at the touch of a button if there should be an accident in the home or someone needs fast medical attention.

Proper Lighting

As we age, good lighting can make a big difference in helping us avoid trips and keeping our eyes from strain. Install effective light fixtures where your lighting is low, replace low-light bulbs with brighter ones, and make sure the light switches are easy to find and operate.

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Home Loan Options from Mid-Minnesota

The Home Equity loans offered at Mid-Minnesota Federal Credit Union allow you to borrow against the equity in your home and are designed for projects like the ones above. We have many, many options to choose from. Below are a few:

Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC)

This type of loan allows your more flexibility. You have access when you need it and make payments based on your balance after advances. The HELOC loan has a variable rate.

Interest-Only Home Equity Line of Credit

The payments on an interest-only loan are smaller each month due to the fact that your payments are only paying off the interest due, not going toward the amount borrowed. You may pay more than the interest amount each month but are not required to do so. Read more details here.

Property Improvement Loan

For home renovations or improvements on your property, this is a great option. Make your yard more accessible, add in a garden, or remove elements you no longer use, like a pool or water feature and build up your landscaping.

We look forward to walking you through the differences in loan options available to you, and to help you stay in the home your love while aging-in-place. Find out how we can work together—either online or at any of our locations.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Four Factors to Consider When Purchasing a Car

Buying a new vehicle is often a time-consuming and stressful experience. With the proper preparation, however, you will be able to confidently find and finance the perfect vehicle. Take these four factors into consideration as you begin the process of a purchasing a new vehicle.


1. Make a Checklist

Take a moment to consider what car will best fit your lifestyle, budget, and needs. Will you need to consider passenger and cargo space for a big family, better fuel economy for long commutes, or certain safety factors for winter handling? Consider the factors of quality, safety, value, technologies, customer satisfaction, environmental friendliness, and design.

Despite expensive commercials that may tell you otherwise, brand recognition is not as important as how well the vehicle performs. Make the distinction between the necessary and unnecessary before you buy.

2. Take your Research Seriously

When done thoroughly, researching could potentially help you save thousands, help you negotiate more confidently, and allow you to drive away in the perfect new car. Research everything from make and model, safety performance, fuel economy, consumer reviews – anything and everything that you can learn.

Comparison shop and review information on sites like Motor Trend, Edmunds, and Car Gurus. Search for online reviews and customer testimonials of dealers, and talk to friends and family who have recently gone through the process of purchasing a vehicle. While you research, get quotes on your top choices before you even get to the dealership. This can benefit you when you negotiate prices.


3. Check your Budget, Credit Score, and Financing Options

A car is a big-ticket item, and many people will need a loan to help cover the cost. Knowing your credit score will help you determine your financing options and develop a budget. Work with your local credit union to get an auto loan and get the best interest rate.

Visit the Auto Loan page at Mid-Minnesota Federal Credit Union to finance your vehicle purchase. Remember to compare promotional rates, rebates, and incentives from manufacturers to get the most out of your budget. Know the invoice price—otherwise known as the price of what the dealer pays the manufacturer for the car. Knowing this will tell the dealer that you are prepared and will not be misled.


4. Be Prepared When you Visit a Dealership

With the proper research, a strict budget, and some determination, a visit to the car dealership shouldn’t be a terrifying experience. Be willing to make a few visits to the dealership to decide what you need, and call ahead to make sure that your choice car is available. With this checklist of information in hand, don’t be afraid to negotiate. There are always other dealerships to visit if you feel that you aren’t getting the best value.

For more information on borrowing and auto loans, visit Mid-Minnesota Federal Credit Union.