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buying your first home checklist

First-Time Homebuyer’s Guide

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Preparing to make the huge financial decision of purchasing your first home? While the process of mapping out your budget and acquiring a mortgage takes some careful planning, it will make all the difference in securing your dream home. 

But before you hit the ground running and start browsing those open houses, it’s crucial to evaluate your current financial situation and review financing options. Check out our “buying your first home checklist” in the following steps. 

Narrow Down Homes Based on Price and Style

Before shopping around, be sure to make a list of the home styles and budgets you are on the hunt for. Homeownership comes in many forms — and can range from the purchase of a condominium or townhouse to a beachfront bungalow. 

After reviewing your finances based on income, savings, and credit health, you’ll probably start to have a good idea of what can be considered in your price range. And remember, when taking out a mortgage to purchase your first home, your budget doesn’t have to equal the amount you’ve got stored in your savings. Instead, your price range should factor in how much a lender will give you, and how much you can comfortably spend on home payments while budgeting for other fees, bills, and expenses. 

To get an idea of “how much home you can afford”, check out Police FCU’s purchase calculator. There you can enter an upfront cost (down payment), then finish up your budgeting plan by allocating funds to any future payments such as taxes and other expenses that come with owning a home.

Learn more about planning for your down payment and other common costs of purchasing a house here

Choose the Mortgage That’s Right for You

With Police Federal Credit Union, you can take advantage of mortgage options including fixed and adjustable low-rate loans, conforming and jumbo mortgages, and even a first-time homebuyer option. What you choose depends on a variety of factors including down payment, rates, terms, and required credit score.

Need a little more direction on the type of mortgage that will best suit your needs? Check out Police FCU’s online rates calculator for a breakdown of mortgage rates we offer based on your specific financial situation. 

Get Pre-Approved … Then Make an Offer

Why get pre-approved on a mortgage? Well, for starters, you’ll be presented with a helpful overview of how much a lender will give you to purchase your home. In addition, pre-approval gives you the confidence to hit those open houses with a budget, rates, and terms in mind. 

Gear up for the pre-approval process by organizing a few important documents that reflect your financial health. This could include W-2s from the last few years, copies of your most recent pay stubs, and proof of assets (such as bank statements and retirement plan statements). Once you get pre-approved on a mortgage, it’s time to start visiting your top choices and making an offer or two — your realtors will appreciate the dedication! 

Ready to lock in your first house? Explore home financing options from Police Federal Credit Union today.

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