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First-Time Homebuyers: Don't Be Overwhelmed, Be Prepared


When is the best time to buy a home? Whenever you are ready. Whether home prices are rising or dropping, supplies are tight or plentiful, you can be a successful house hunter.Young couple discussing mortgage options with SCU Mortgage Loan Officer

Buying a home is a big deal, and it pays to get your information and documentation gathered before you make an offer. Here are some important steps to take.

  1. Save for the down payment. If you can manage to save 20%, you'll have instant equity in your home, may be able to avoid mortgage insurance and will have a lower monthly payment. Options are available with smaller down payment amounts with Private Mortgage insurance.
  2. Check your credit score. Lenders will decide whether to give you a loan and determine your interest rate based on your credit score, among other things.
  3. Pay down your debt. Our mortgage loan officers can discuss options of paying down your debt or using those funds towards your down payment.
  4. Find out how large a loan you can get. Look at how much mortgage might I qualify for? Also, a mortgage loan officer can walk you through the process and explain the factors required to determine how much you can afford for housing.
  5. Develop your homebuyer profile. Make a list of what's important to you. Ask yourself:
    • How long do I see myself living in my new home?
    • What style of home would work best for me (single family, condo, townhome)?
    • What part of town would I like to live in?
    • Would I like something move-in ready or would a fixer-upper suffice?
  6. Find a reputable real estate agent. Ask people you trust if they would recommend someone, or if you're new to a city, check their reviews, and ask for references.
  7. Research homes and recent sales nearby. Find out the average price you could expect to pay, so you don't offer too much. Your real estate agent can help.
  8. Get a home inspection. When you have your preapproval for your financing, and are ready to make an offer, make sure your offer is contingent on a good home inspection.
  9. Factor in all costs. Make a list of other expenses such as insurance, utilities, furnishings, lawn upkeep, association dues, etc. These should be included in your monthly budget.

We help first-time homebuyers every day and offer a variety of mortgage products. Our job is to make the process as easy as possible for you and to help you find the loan that will work best for your situation.

To assist first-time buyers or those who have not owned property for three years realize their dream of owning a home, SCU Credit Union offers a $500 discount towards closing costs on our Fixed Rate and Adjustable Rate Mortgages.

Still undecided? Our mortgage loan officers can help you decide whether now is a good time for you to buy a home. We’ll explain options for making mortgage payments affordable and explore what fits into your budget. You can also stop in at one of our branch locations for assistance or reach out to our member service call center at 781-784-7725 or toll free at 1-877-661-3300.

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