Your Crash Course
to First-Time Homebuying

Daydreaming about buying your first home? We’ve been there.
Let's make that dream a reality.

First off: let’s set the record straight.

There are plenty of homebuying myths out there. We’re here to put those to rest.

The Myth

Your down payment requires a huge chunk of change.

False. There are loans that require as little as 3% down.

The Myth

Getting a mortgage is complicated.

Wrong. It doesn’t have to be. A Home Loan Specialist can help you simplify the process.

The Myth

Renting is less expensive than buying.


Nope. You need to live in a property an average of 1.9 years to break even (to make it worth buying instead of renting and investing elsewhere).

Break-even points across the country

A break-even point is the point at which it's less expensive for the homeowner to own a home than to rent. See how your city stacks up against the average – and how you can start saving for that down payment.

The top 5 things first-time homebuyers need to know

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Education is your friend.

Get an understanding of homeownership through the use of helpful resources. You’ll be better for it, believe us. 

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Start using Pinterest. 

Look through different home styles on Pinterest so when it’s time to decide, you can narrow your choices.

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Get to know you.

Think about what you want for the future. A family? Short commute? Ask yourself these questions now.

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Your income matters.

Demonstrate 2-3 years of steady income before buying a home. This type of stability is a must-have. 

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There are different types of home loans.

We get into what they are later on.

Get your save on

You know you need to. It’s time to buckle down and start saving so you can actually buy that house one day.

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Create a breakdown of your expenses.

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Develop a weekly or monthly budget (and stick to it). 

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Create a fund that you contribute a set amount to each month and watch it grow.

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Cut down on indulgences. You know what we mean – coffee, eating out, happy hours. You’ll survive, we swear!   

The checklist you never knew you needed

It’s time to check these things off your to-do list before you begin your search. It’ll make your life MUCH easier.  

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Get organized.
Put important paperwork in one place so you can easily reference it. 

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Understand your finances.
Know what your current financial responsibilities mean for your future as a first-time homebuyer.  

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Do the research.
Get familiar with the jargon surrounding homebuying and finances.  

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Check your credit.
Start working on building this up if needed.

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Build your credit

Easier said than done, we know. But if you need to build this, the time to start was yesterday. Explore the different ways to build credit.

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Make monthly payments on time.

This might include utilities, student loans, and more.

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Take on new or existing car payments.

Remaining in good standing with your car payments is a solid way to build credit.

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Don’t let your debt balance get within 30% of your credit limit.

Any more than this could negatively impact your score. 

If you’re serious about improving your score, it’s time to explore more ways to give it a boost.
Start Now

Ready to start looking? You have options.

Are you more of a DIY-er or do you rely on professionals? These two options depend on how you want to approach the homebuying process.

While you figure out which path to take, you could also work on getting pre-approved.

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Contact a Realtor.
Get recommendations from friends and family so that you can choose one you trust. A realtor will help you navigate the homebuying process, helping lead you toward the home that’s right for you.

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Do it Yourself.
If you’ve been daydreaming about your first home, you’ve probably perused the resources available for homebuyers. It’s time to use those to their highest potential so you can start the search on your own.

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Unseen dollar signs

Sure, there are the big things you need to be ready for (like a down payment – obviously). But there are additional costs to be aware of, and preparing for these ahead of time is best.

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Inspection charges

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Appraisal fees

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Underwriting costs

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Escrow deposit
(This is often put into an account and managed by your mortgage servicer.)

A down payment savings plan can help you approach these additional costs responsibly.
We’ve got you covered.

Speaking of mortgages...

Let’s lay out the actual definition of what a mortgage loan is:

mort•gage

/ \'mȯr-gij\

noun

1. A loan to finance the purchase of, and is secured by, real estate.

Now it’s time to determine which type of mortgage might be right for you.

The Skinny
Why You Want It
The Perks
Fixed Rate:
The Skinny:The rate you set at the beginning won’t change over time.
Why You Want It:You plan on staying in that home for 7+ years.
The Perks:No surprises.
Adjustable Rate:
The Skinny:Pay less at first but the rates could go up or down over time.
Why You Want It:Changes are on the horizon: increased income, relocation, or refinance.
The Perks:Flexibility.
FHA Loan:
The Skinny:Backed by the government.
Why You Want It:Your savings aren’t down payment-ready but you sure want that house.
The Perks:Easy qualification. Low down payment. Credit-friendly.
VA Loan:
The Skinny:Specifically for our veterans and their families.
Why You Want It:You deserve it. It also allows for less-than-perfect credit.
The Perks:No down payment needed.

Now that you’ve got a better idea of what loan might be right for you, it’s time to learn more.