Why LCEF?

Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) understands Lutheran
Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) ministries like no other lender. LCEF has served as the financial extension of the LCMS since 1978, offering funding and resources in support of the church and her workers.

LCEF offers home purchase and refinance loans to ordained and commissioned LCMS Rostered Church Workers (RCWs) on active or emeritus status. Let LCEF handle your mortgage, so you can focus on your ministry.

“Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) is doing a lot of great work.”

Chris Dehning, Principal at Trinity Lutheran School in Winfield, Kan. and first-time homebuyer

Chris Dehning and family
Reverend Matt Wietfield and family

“We never even looked at anyone else for a loan. LCEF came through with a great interest rate and took care of us completely. It was no surprise; I knew we’d be taken care of.”

-Rev. Matt Wietfield
Concordia Theological Seminary,
Ft. Wayne, Ind.

How much can you afford?

Knowledge is power! Get started with LCEF’s quick-and-easy mortgage calculators.

There are several factors that play into calculating how much mortgage you can afford. These factors include the borrower’s income, debt-to-income (DTI) ratio, credit score and employment history.

All of these aspects, combined with the interest rate, should be considered when determining how much mortgage you can afford.

Calculators

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have questions about the mortgage process or are you feeling overwhelmed? We know it can be intimidating, especially for first-time homebuyers. LCEF is here to help you.

LCEF hosted two informational webinars about our RCW mortgage program. We have curated some helpful tips from our team of experts and a realtor.

Home Buying Timeline

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1–2 weeks

It’s important to find the right real estate agent to work with you and your family. Do your research and come up with questions to ask potential agents (describe your process, what can I expect when working with you, etc.). Connect with people at your congregation and/or school to get recommendations and reviews of local agents.

1 week

Connect with LCEF’s mortgage team to learn what you need to get pre-approved. Some of the documents you may need include: call papers, pay stubs, tax returns, bank statements, and possibly more. The LCEF mortgage team can walk you through the process and provide a list of the documentation you will need. It takes anywhere from 1-5 business days to get pre-approved. Start by giving us a call at 800-843-5233.

3–5 days

This is the fun part! Think about the wants and needs you have for your new home (a certain number of bedrooms, location, etc). Discuss the list with your real estate agent and ask them to start sending you homes that fit your criteria and/or search for available homes on websites like Zillow. Be ready to adjust your list once you start seeing what types of homes are available in your price range.

Note that this step can happen at the same time as steps 1 and 2.

1 week–4 months

Ask your agent to see the homes you’re interested in. The timing for this process varies based on the location. In some markets, you might need to make an offer the same day you view the home, and in other markets, you might have a little more time. According to research from Zillow, the average time spent home shopping is around 4 and a half months.

3–5 days

Your agent will help you put in an offer when you find a home that might be “the one.” Then, your agent will connect with the seller’s agent and negotiate if necessary. The seller could accept, reject or counteroffer, which would start another round of negotiations.

From your first offer to an accepted offer, be sure to stay within your budget.

1–2 months

Once the negotiations are complete, it’s time for you and your agent to complete the mortgage loan with LCEF. We will complete the underwriting process and approve the loan (also known as the closing process). The average time to close on a house is around 50 days. Steps 7 and 8 can be completed as you await closing.

1–2 weeks

LCEF will hire a professional to perform an appraisal to determine the home’s value. You won’t need to do anything during this process other than wait to get the results. Depending on the results of the appraisal, there might be an additional round of negotiations with the seller.

1–3 weeks

You can hire a home inspector to go through the home and determine anything that might not work properly or need repair. Typically, you have 10 days after the offer is accepted to complete the inspection.

1 day

You’ll bring your down payment and closing costs and sign a lot of paperwork! Once that is done, you will receive the keys, and you are officially a homeowner!

Mortgage Checklist

Use these helpful tips as you prepare to purchase or refinance your home. The LCEF team is here to help our Rostered Church Workers through the process.

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Start reviewing your finances. Before applying, consider checking your credit report and correcting any errors. Debt-to-income ratios should be around 45% or less for the best loan terms.

Create a budget. A good rule of thumb is to spend 28% or less of your monthly income on your housing payment (including your principal, interest, taxes, mortgage insurance, homeowner’s insurance and any possible HOA fees).

Use our mortgage calculators to help you determine your budget. You might be approved for a higher amount based on your financial situation, but you will need to determine what you are comfortable paying for each month.

Make sure to have the following documents ready to get preapproved:

  • W-2 forms from the last two years.
  • Your most recent pay stubs.
  • Copies of your tax returns for the last two years.
  • Banking statement for the last two to three months.
  • Method of identification, such as your state-issued driver’s license.

LCEF will review all of these documents and your credit report to determine if you qualify for a home loan and if so, the amount. You will receive a preapproval letter valid for 60-90 days.

You’ll want to share this letter with your real estate agent.

Your real estate agent will guide you through this process. Once you find the right home, your agent will draft your offer which will include the price, a suggested time frame (usually 30 to 90 days) and conditions of the contract.

For example, it might be contingent on financing and inspections.

LCEF is pleased to offer home purchase and refinance loans to ordained and commissioned LCMS Rostered Church Workers (RCWs) on active or emeritus status. To get started, select the Apply Now button on this page.

As soon as you have a signed purchase agreement, you’ll work with LCEF’s team to finalize the mortgage.

LCEF’s team will review all of your documents and may ask for additional information. Our team will confirm that you meet requirements, make sure your income is stable and verify that you have the funds for the closing costs and down payment.

LCEF will order an appraisal to verify the home’s value as well as complete a title search which confirms the property’s owner and makes sure it is clear of any outstanding claims or liens.

Once underwriting has been completed, LCEF will send you a closing disclosure document which summarizes the term and what you will pay at closing. You’ll want to carefully review this document and discuss any concerns with our team.

You’ll work with LCEF to schedule a closing date and time to sign all necessary paperwork.

After closing, you’ll be moving and settling into your new home. You’ll then make payments for the life of the loan. Be sure to pay on time. Being late on a mortgage can affect your credit score for the long term.

Meanwhile, work on saving for a rainy day with LCEF’s Family Emergency StewardAccount.

Map of State Availability

Before applying for a Residential Loan, please check the map below to verify that you reside in a state where this program is available. The RCW Mortgage Loan Program offers adjustable and fixed rate options and is available for the purchase or refinance of a home. Applicants must be active or emeritus status and meet specific underwriting guidelines.

* Arizona– Specific state regulations apply. Please call and speak with a licensed loan originator today for details (800) 843-5233.
* Texas– Specific state regulations apply. All cash out refinances and straight refinances in excess of 80% loan-to-value are not available.
Please call (800) 843-5233 for details!

Downloadable Document

Looking for more tips and home-buying help, information about our loans and stories about church workers and their journeys to becoming homeowners? Receive our Our First-Time Home Buyers document and learn even more about the homebuyer experience.

Contact Us

Get in touch with an LCEF representative about our mortgage products, services, and rates.