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How To Choose A Home Builder How To Choose A Home Builder 
National Association Of Home Builders

If you’re in the market for a new home, you should shop for your builder as carefully as you shop for your home. Whether you are buying a condo, a townhouse, a house in a subdivision or a custom-built house, you want to know that you are buying a good quality home from a reputable builder. Here are some tips to help you choose a builder.

Make A List Of Possible Builders

  • Once you have thought about the type of house you want, you can create a list of potential builders.
  • Contact your local home builders’ association to obtain a list of builders who construct homes in your area. You can find your local HBA here.  
  • Look in the real estate section of your local newspaper for builders and projects. Looking through the ads and reading the articles can help you to learn which builders are active in your area, the types of homes they are building and the prices you can expect to pay. Make a list of builders who build the type of home you’re looking for in your price range.
  • Local real estate agents may also be able to help you in your search.
  • Ask friends and relatives for recommendations. Ask about builders they have dealt with directly, or ask them for names of acquaintances who have recently had a good experience with a builder.

Do Your Homework
When you have a list of potential builders, it’s time to start asking lots of questions—of both the potential builders and the owners of their homes.

Interview potential home builders to get the answers to all the questions you have. Then, visit a builder’s recently built homes and subdivisions. Drive by on a Saturday morning when home owners may be outside doing chores or errands. Introduce yourself and say you are considering buying a home from the builder who built their home.

Talk to several owners, and try to get a random sample of opinions. The more people you talk with, the more accurate an impression of a builder you are likely to get.

  • Some questions to ask home owners include: Are you happy with your home? If you had any problems, were they fixed promptly and properly? Would you buy another home from this builder?
  • Usually, people tell you if they are pleased with their homes. And if they are not, they’ll probably want to tell you why.
  • At the very least, drive by and see if the homes are visually appealing.
  • When you talk to builders and home owners, take along a notebook to record the information you find and your personal impressions about specific builders and homes. Doing so will help you to make comparisons later.

Shop For Quality And Value
Look at new homes whenever you can. Home shows and open houses sponsored by builders are good opportunities to look at homes. Model homes and houses displayed in home shows are often furnished to give you ideas for using the space. You may also ask a builder to see unfurnished homes.

When examining a home, look at the quality of the construction features. Inspect the quality of the cabinetry, carpeting, trimwork and paint. Ask the builder or the builder’s representative a lot of questions. Get as many specifics as possible. If you receive the answers verbally rather than in writing, take notes. Never hesitate to ask a question. What seems like an insignificant question might yield an important answer.

For more articles like this, go to www.nahb.org.


Membership Guide Update 

Marine FCU’s Membership Guide has been updated. You can get a copy by clicking here, calling 800.325.3678, visiting a branch, or writing to Attn: Branch Operations, Marine FCU, PO Box 1551, Jacksonville, NC 28541-1551.


New Look To The Marine FCU Website 

The Marine FCU website has a new look. We have made some changes including a clearer structure and a more simplified navigation to quickly help you find what you are looking for. You will notice a new design but still familiar feel to each page of our website.

Some of the changes you will notice are: 

  • Easily determine the loan for you and apply online.
  • Restructuring of each product or service into a concise chart enabling you to scroll through and get a quick view of the descriptions and benefits.
  • Updated calculators.
  • A new Financial Tools section devoted to helping you  manage your money.
  • A new Who We Serve section to help you determine who can become a member.

Online Account Access has stayed exactly the same, so when you log into your account you will still have the same familiar experience you are used to.


Marine FCU Members Can Save With TurboTax Federal ProductsTurboTax

Why spend more to have someone else do your taxes for you? TurboTax puts the power in your hands to keep more of your hard earned money, with the peace-of-mind of knowing you have experts in your corner every step of the way.

Active duty military and reservists are walked through military-related tax situations, including state of residence and uniform deductions. Plus, you will get extra help and guidance from TurboTax experts that know the difference between  "basic pay" and "combat pay."

Get started now and save! Sign into MFCU@Home and choose the Additional Services tab and select My TurboTax!

*Click here to see TurboTax product guarantees and other important information.

Not intended as tax advice. Contact a tax professional.


MyFree Taxes Could Mean More Money In Your Pocket MyFree Taxes

Individuals and families meeting the following qualifications may be eligible to file free:

  • Have a combined household income of $60,000 or less in 2014. Income limits will determine if you can file your federal and/or state free.
  • Must have a valid Social Security Number or Individual Tax Identification Number
  • Must have a valid email address

Visit  www.myfreetaxes.com to Get Organized with a Tax Prep Checklist, or call the helpline at 855.698.9435 to get filing assistance and much more! 

Not intended as tax advice. Contact a tax professional.


Europay MasterCard Visa (EMV®) Chip Credit And Debit Cards  
Bob Dickerson, Executive Vice President

With never-ending financial data breaches and fraud losses occurring nationwide, Marine FCU is preparing to fight counterfeiters by soon introducing Europay MasterCard Visa (EMV®) chip technology in our credit and debit cards. EMV® technology is being used in Europe and Canada and has proven to significantly increase protection while transactions are conducted at merchant terminals. Marine FCU will be issuing EMV® chip cards to our members in 2015.

The majority of debit and credit cards in use today rely on data encoded on a magnetic stripe on the reverse side of the card where it is more readily accessible to skilled thieves. This data is clear, sequential, and easy to read, making it easy to steal, while the microprocessor chip embedded on the EMV® card data will be more complex and harder to capture. The data in the magnetic stripe is static and used over and over for every transaction tied to that specific card. It is significant from a fraud prevention standpoint that the EMV® chip supplies a different number with every transaction.

Conversion will be a slow process, particularly on the merchant end, which is why all EMV® cards will also carry the traditional magnetic stripes for the foreseeable future. Beginning October 1, 2015, liability for fraud will shift from the issuer to the “least secure entity,” the merchant. If a cardholder presents an EMV® card to a merchant that still uses a magnetic stripe reader, the merchant will be the least secure entity and will be liable for any fraud that occurs.

Keeping financial card data safe is everyone’s business, no matter who must bear the fraud losses. In the end, fraud costs everyone involved (members, financial institutions, and merchants) a great deal of time and money. Additionally, when merchants are hacked and card data is compromised, issuers like Marine FCU bear the cost of issuing new cards, thus increasing annual cost and ultimately reducing the amount of dividends members could receive.

The technical modifications needed to implement EMV® include the microprocessor chip and installing point-of-sale equipment that can read the chip. Cardholder behavior will also be affected. Consumers are used to swiping a card and putting it back into their wallets. With the EMV® card, you don’t swipe it, you insert it into the reader and leave it there for a few seconds while authorization occurs. Additionally, expect merchants to ask to see another form of picture ID to match up with the name on the EMV® card to further mitigate fraud (a practice merchants should have been using for years).

We expect to read and hear a lot more information about the EMV® cards as the October 1, 2015 implementation date approaches. Marine FCU will keep our members informed as this transition from magnetic stripe to EMV® chip cards occurs.


Managing Digital Assets  
Dawn Jones, Chief Information Officer

Living in a digital age, the majority of us have digital assets, and just like with physical assets some of us have more than others. We have online accounts with email providers, online service providers, and online music and video providers. We post our precious photos on social sites like Facebook and Instagram. We have online accounts with government agencies and financial institutions like Marine FCU. And so on, and so on, and so on.

Just think back over the last few years. How many sites have you registered with? Set up an online account with User Name and Password? Provided your email address? Do you even remember? Have you ever wondered what happens to this information if you stop using the product, begin using a new email address, change jobs and the inevitable, after you die?

You might not care what happens to some of this information, but sites that house your financial information, insurance information, and investment information are important. Taking a few steps now to manage your digital assets will help you in the long run.

  1. Create an inventory of your digital assets. Don’t forget important documents on your computer, information on your phone, data on thumb drives or backup drives, email accounts, online accounts, etc. Start with the most important, but don’t forget those you might not use anymore. Periodically review and update your inventory.
  2. Review your inventory. Take steps now to close out or shut down any accounts you don’t use anymore. For active accounts, review your profile information and make sure your contact email address is current. TIP: Use a personal email address, not a work email address for your personal online accounts. If you use a work email address and leave employment unexpectedly you might be locked out of security routines (like password resets) used by your online service.
  3. Prepare for the unexpected. If something should happen–an illness, death, or other event–who can access your information, who knows it exists? Your inventory is a great starting point; just make sure someone can get to it. Investigate the options available through the online accounts. A few allow for a designation of beneficiary to inherit access, but many do not. Think about adding “digital executors” to your will or power-of-attorney documents.

More and more of our lives are going digital. Take a few minutes today to think about your digital assets … and how to manage and protect them!


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"It's very refreshing to be appreciated by a credit union. We thank you for your help."
Jacksonville, NC

Marine FCU will never ask for personal information such as your online credentials, account numbers,
or card numbers via unsolicited telephone calls, emails, or text messaging. Security Center