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First-time Homebuyers Turn to SLFCU


Kristina Jones and Jacob Robinson-Brown turned to SLFCU when they were ready to buy their first home in 2019. They both grew up in Albuquerque and wanted to put down deeper roots in the Land of Enchantment, while gaining equity by purchasing a home. “We had been renting a townhouse in Albuquerque and our lease was coming up for renewal, so we were looking at our options. We really liked our little place, but we started thinking ‘what if we could buy a house?’” says Kristina.

Kristina has been an SLFCU member since childhood, and Jacob joined five years ago while interning at Sandia National Laboratories. Each have checking, savings, auto loans, and mobile banking through SLFCU, and agree that there was “no question” about choosing the Credit Union for their home loan, too. They loved the convenience of having all of their accounts in one place, and “SLFCU had the best rates,” says Jacob. “We also have a really strong history with SLFCU without any negative experiences,” adds Kristina.

The young couple signed up for HomeAdvantage®*, a free home buying service offered through SLFCU that referred them to a trusted real estate agent. They worked with their agent to find their perfect home in northeast Albuquerque – and they earned a cash back reward from HomeAdvantage in doing so. “The market was tight, but we knew what we wanted, including space for our dogs to play outside.”

They agree that SLFCU helped make their home buying journey easier. “We had lots of questions about the loan process,” notes Kristina. Their SLFCU loan officer, Ciara Pena Smith, explained their options and was with them at every step. They started by getting pre-qualified for a loan to determine what they could afford. “We talked with Ciara weekly, and loved the convenience of signing loan documents online,” notes Kristina. “Our closing went quickly. It was a great experience overall,” adds Jacob.

Their best advice for those who are thinking about buying a home? “You don’t have always have to have everything perfectly in place to be able to buy a house,” says Kristina. “Even if you think you can’t afford to buy, talk to SLFCU to see what’s possible. We made a 5% down payment, which made buying an option for us. And SLFCU doesn’t require private mortgage insurance, which helped us to save that additional expense.”

*Cash Rewards are awarded through the HomeAdvantage program to buyers and sellers who select and use a real estate agent in the HomeAdvantage network. Home buyers or sellers are not eligible for Cash Rewards if they use an agent outside this network. Cash Rewards amounts are dependent on the commissions paid to the HomeAdvantage network agent. Obtaining a mortgage or use of any specific lending institution is not a requirement to earn Cash Rewards. If you are obtaining a mortgage, your lender may have specific rules on how Cash Rewards can be paid out. Cash Rewards are available in most states; however, are void where prohibited by law or by the lender. Please consult with your lender for details that may affect you.

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