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First Time Homebuyers

A Guide to Home Buying

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Preparing to buy a home

If you’re reading this, you might be gearing up for homeownership. Congrats! We understand the home buying process can be an intimidating one—that’s why we’ve assembled all of the content you’ll need to understand everything from pre-approvals to debt-to-income ratios, down payments, and more.

Your first big piece of homework: Schedule an appointment with a mortgage lending officer.

Steps to Buying a Home

Connect with one of our trusted, personable pros.

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A pre-approval determines how much money you can borrow and your interest rate. Do this before house hunting––and falling in love with a home out of your budget.

Learn More about Pre-approvals
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Connect with the expert who will get you into that dream house. Need a referral?

Ask one of our MLOs
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Time for the fun part! Make that list of must-haves and scope out the neighborhoods.

Remember, getting a pre-approval first will determine your budget, so don’t miss that critical first step.

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With the help of your mortgage lender and real estate agent, you can submit an offer on a home. Most real estate agents require a pre-approval for this step.

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This step takes up to 30 days, but usually it’s less. Ask about our close-on-time guarantee.

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Lay down the welcome mat—you did it! Congratulations on your home sweet home!

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Things to Consider

Can I skip the pre-approval?

Short answer: No. Longer answer: Getting a pre-approval gives you the definitive borrowing amount and interest rate. Without it, you may end up shopping above (or below!) your actual price range. Most real estate agents will require pre-approval to submit an offer. Don’t wait until you’ve fallen in love with a home to then discover that it doesn’t fit your finances.

Credit Scores

You probably already know that with credit scores, the higher the better. Most loans require a minimum score of 620 or above.

Our blog sheds some light on how your credit score influences your home purchase, credit checks, and what impacts your credit score.

Debt-to-income ratio

When reviewing your loan application, a Mortgage Loan Officer will look at your debt-to-income ratio which is the amount of money that you spend on ongoing debts — like student loans and car payment — compared to the money coming in.

Chat with your mortgage loan officer about your debt-to-income ratio.

Everyone’s Favorite Part: Paperwork!

Before you apply for a mortgage or pre-approval, you’ll need to round up a few documents. We’ve compiled a documentation checklist to make it easy, so nothing gets forgotten. And with our digital resources offered, we’ve taken a whole lot of the physical paper out of the paperwork.

A path to buying your first home

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Down Payment

You may have heard that you need 20% down to buy a home. The truth is, there are many options for all kinds of first-time buyers, no matter what your savings account looks like. Have a call with your mortgage loan officer to chat through your unique down payment options and learn more about down payments here.

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Homebuyer Resources

Buying your first home can feel intimidating. Luckily, you’re not alone––check out our comprehensive list of handy first-time buyer resources here.

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Take a Look at Those Numbers

Our free calculators can help you reach your housing goals! Estimate your monthly mortgage payments - including your principal, interest payments insurance and taxes; compare two loan options; determine if buying vs. renting is the right choice for you, and more.

Schedule an appointment with a Mortgage Loan Officer

Our team of real human beings is ready to help you make your next move. 

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