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First Time Homebuyer:
Things to Know

Congratulations on taking the first step towards one of life’s most significant milestones – purchasing your first home! At UCCU, we understand that taking on this journey can be both exciting and hard. As part of our commitment to our members, we’ve put together this guide to help you navigate the process of becoming a confident first time home buyer.

Understanding the Basics

Buying your first home involves numerous steps and considerations, and it’s crucial to start with a strong foundation of knowledge. Here are some key aspects to understand including budgeting, down payment options, credit score, and pre-approval


Before you start house-hunting, it’s essential to determine how much you can afford. Budgeting is a vital step for first time home buyers as it establishes realistic expectations, prevents financial strain, and allows for accurate pre-approval. By creating a budget, you gain a comprehensive understanding of monthly costs beyond the mortgage, enabling you to balance homeownership goals with other financial objectives. UCCU’s online mortgage calculator is an invaluable resource for estimating monthly payments and making informed decisions aligned with your budget. UCCU’s online mortgage calculator can assist you in estimating your monthly payments based on your down payment, loan amount, and interest rate.

What will my payment be?
What can I afford?
Financing is subject to UCCU membership and underwriting criteria, not every applicant will qualify. Calculator results are hypothetical and are for illustrative purposes; your actual rate, payment and costs could be higher. Rate, loan to value, and terms differ based on loan type. Some limitations on loan amounts may apply based on county limits and/or loan product. Get an official loan estimate prior to choosing a loan. FHA county loan limits apply for FHA loans. Federally insured by NCUA. Equal housing lender. NMLS # 407653.

Down Payment Options

Many first time buyers are concerned about the down payment. At UCCU, we offer various mortgage options with down payment requirements. Our UCCU Loan Officers can help you explore the best options for your financial situation.

Credit Score

Your credit score plays a significant role in securing a favorable mortgage rate. When you want to buy a house, banks check this score to see how responsible you are with money. If your score is high, banks think you’re trustworthy and give you a better deal on your home loan, with lower interest rates. UCCU understands how important this is, and they can help you understand and improve your score before you apply for a home loan. This way, you can save money on your loan and have an easier time buying a home.


Getting pre approved for a mortgage is a smart move. It gives you a clear idea of your budget, shows your serious to sellers, and speeds up the buying process. UCCU’s mortgage experts can guide you through the pre-approval process.

Finding the Right Home

With a solid understanding of the home buying basics under your belt, you’re now ready to embark on the thrilling journey of finding your dream home. UCCU stands by your side, providing a wealth of resources to guide you at every step:

  1. Realtor Partners: UCCU has cultivated strong partnerships with experienced real estate agents who possess an in-depth understanding of the local market dynamics. These professionals are equipped to assist you in navigating the vast array of homes available, ensuring that you discover properties that perfectly align with both your preferences and budgetary considerations.
  2. Home Listings: Our user friendly website boasts a comprehensive platform that allows you to effortlessly explore homes within your desired location. This platform simplifies the task of sifting through numerous options, making it easier for you to see potential homes that warrant further consideration.
  3. Home Inspections: The importance of a thorough home inspection cannot be overstated. UCCU’s resources provide invaluable insights into the significance of home inspections. Moreover, we offer practical advice on selecting reliable home inspectors who can meticulously assess the condition of a property. Let UCCU enable you to make informed decisions.

Navigating the Mortgage Process

Securing the ideal mortgage is a pivotal stage of the home buying process, and UCCU is committed to offering a diverse range of mortgage products tailored to your specific needs:

  1. Fixed-Rate Mortgages: Fixed-rate mortgages remain a preferred choice for first time buyers due to their predictable monthly payments. UCCU’s fixed rate mortgage options not only feature competitive rates but also come with favorable terms that accommodate your financial circumstances.
  2. Adjustable-Rate Mortgages (ARMs): If you’re considering an Adjustable-Rate Mortgage (ARM). UCCU provides comprehensive information on both the advantages and potential risks associated with these mortgages. This knowledge empowers you to make a well-informed decision that aligns with your long-term financial goals.
  3. Government Loans: UCCU extends a helping hand to first time buyers through government backed loan options such as FHA and VA loans. These loans cater to individuals seeking lower down payment alternatives or who meet specific eligibility criteria, ensuring that home ownership remains attainable.
  4. Mortgage Resources: Our website serves as a hub of valuable information pertaining to the mortgage process. From practical tips for a seamless application process to gaining a clear understanding of closing costs, our resources serve as your guiding light, helping you navigate the complexities with ease.

Understanding Closing Costs

The process of closing on your new home has various fees and costs beyond the down payment. UCCU is committed to helping you with being open and understanding:

  1. Closing Costs Breakdown: UCCU’s resources offer an insightful breakdown of the typical closing costs that you may encounter. These costs include items such as fees, title insurance, attorney fees, and more. Armed with this breakdown, you can proactively budget for these expenses, ensuring an easier transaction.
  2. Negotiation Strategies: UCCU’s experts share valuable insights on effective negotiation strategies. This advice includes tips on talking with sellers to sellers have them cover a portion of the closing costs or include these costs within the purchase agreement. This guidance empowers you to optimize the financial aspects of the home purchase.

Ongoing Homeownership Support

As you progress through the home buying process, UCCU remains your partner, offering continued support and resources throughout your home journey:

  1. Home Equity Options: Your growing home equity opens doors to financial flexibility. UCCU extends a range of options, including home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) and home equity loans. These resources can be used for various purposes, such a lowering debt and further helping the value of your investment.
  2. Financial Wellness: UCCU’s push to your financial well being extends beyond the mortgage buying. Our resources are designed to empower you with financial management tools. This enables you to plan for the future, manage your money, and realize your long-term goals.
  3. Member Benefits: You gain access to a host of benefits and discounts that help your overall financial well being. These advantages help in various aspects of your financial journey, reinforcing our commitment to your success.

Becoming a first time home buyer can be a good experience with the right support. Our resources, expert advice, and range of home buying options make us the ideal partner. Let us guide you through every step of the process. Take advantage of our experts and embark on your journey towards confident home buying today!