The Ins and Outs of Choosing a Mortgage

At Garden State Federal Credit Union, our approach to home financing is different from other financial institutions. First, we’ll sit down to discuss your needs and answer questions so you can make an informed decision. We’ll also be upfront about any costs.

Whether you’re a first-time buyer, building your dream home or buying a second vacation home, we have a mortgage solution to make it happen.

Buying Your First Home

If you’re not sure where to start, stop in and see us. We can help you to compare your dream features and must-haves. Next is matching your needs with a realistic budget. Experts recommend that your monthly payment not exceed 28% of your gross monthly income. You’ll also need to budget for maintenance expenses, homeowners’ insurance and property taxes. When you understand the financial impact of owning a home, you can prepare accordingly.

Ask us about our first-time home buyer programs. They can help you get started on the road to home ownership.

Securing Your Dream Home

Maybe your family is growing, and you need the space. Perhaps you’ve reached a professional pinnacle and are ready to build a fabulous home – or buy that vacation home in Jersey Shore. No matter your dream, we have the options to make it happen.

Determining Your Best Mortgage Option

Much depends on how long you plan to be in your home. If you’re certain you won’t be in your home for long, an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) might be okay. But if you’re payment-driven and want the lowest payment possible, a longer term is probably your best bet. Fixed rate mortgage options typically range from 10 to 30 years. The longer the term, the lower your monthly payment, but you’ll pay more in total interest over the life of the loan.

Your payment is comprised of the principal amount (the amount you borrow) and interest, and often, escrow funds to pay for taxes and insurance. As a convenience, Garden State can manage your escrow account, and many individuals prefer this option for added peace of mind.

Most lenders will require a 20% down payment, but some have designed programs with as little as 5% down. In other cases, a lender may ask you to purchase private mortgage insurance (PMI) which protects the lender against possible default. At Garden State, our programs vary, but we’ll work with you to obtain a mortgage with either a low or no down payment option.

Shopping For A Mortgage

Try making comparisons online and viewing current mortgage rates. Rates and payments quoted online are approximations only, and trustworthy lenders will need to see your credit report and process your application to give an accurate idea of your rate and payment. It also pays to compare several lenders and get quotes in writing (including rate, payment amount and fees). Try asking friends and family for their experiences and who they might recommend.

The rate is a critical component of your mortgage, impacting both your monthly payment and how much interest you pay over the life of the loan. Ask if the rate is fixed or variable. A variable rate can fluctuate and may not be the best choice if you plan to stay in your home a long time or your financial situation isn’t strong.

While rates vary, so do mortgage costs. These can include loan origination or underwriting fees and closing costs. According to, some fees are paid upfront (such as application and appraisal fees) and others at closing. If you’re unsure about the costs, bring in any quotes to Garden State. We can help you to compare all items, including rates, terms, closing costs and other fees.

Service Matters

Doing business with a lender that puts you first is essential. Consider these points from when deciding on a lender:


We’re Ready To Help

Whether you’re shopping for your first home, dream home or beautiful vacation home, see us first. We’ll make the mortgage experience convenient and stress-free. Contact our mortgage expert Michael Cesarano at 856-340-8272 or Or learn more at


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