Top five tips for first-time homebuyers


There are benefits to owning a home, of course, from providing housing security for you and your family to creating equity instead of paying rent to someone else. There are also tax benefits, and let’s not forget that there’s a sense of pride in homeownership.

So, how do you go about getting a mortgage? Well, here are our top five tips for doing so!

First and foremost, calculate how much home you can afford. This is the best way to set yourself up for homeownership success.

You’ll likely struggle to get a mortgage if your monthly costs exceed a percentage of your income. In addition to your income, if you have recurring debt, the total monthly payments on your existing debt - plus new payments for your mortgage – must not exceed a certain threshold.

Speak with one of our mortgage lenders about these limits.

Second, nearly all mortgage lenders require a down payment. The amount could determine the kind of mortgage you qualify for. It may also impact how much you can afford to borrow from your bank.

Our third tip is now that you know how much you can afford and how much you’ll need to save for a down payment, you’re ready to start searching for a home. You need to ask yourself the following questions: how big is your family, where do you want to live, do you need to be close to a highway, do you want to live near amenities, are you looking for a fixer-upper or move-in ready home, what sort of neighborhood do you want to live in, do you want a garden or to avoid maintenance work, and do you need to find a good school nearby? Make sure you know the answers to all these questions – and more – before you start looking for your home.

Tip four is to find the right mortgage lender for you! And don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Now it’s time to seek pre-approval! Give us a call or stop by one of our four branches in New Berlin, Springfield, Modesto, or Palmyra and speak with a member of our mortgage team. In the meantime, take a look at our mortgage calculator, and where you’ll find our supporting document checklist.