Deciding to buy your first home is an exciting time. Maybe you can see it now: sleeping in a room filled with your own hand-picked artwork, making breakfast in the kitchen that you organized just to your specifications, and finally sitting on your front porch with a cup of coffee on a bright summer morning.
This dream can certainly become a reality, but first there is work to be done. Any worthwhile goal deserves a strong plan of attack. Diamond is here to help with our First Time Home Buyer Program.
When you’re ready to start the home buying process, you can stop into any Diamond branch and receive our Step-by-Step Resource Guide, developed by our Mortgage Experts.
Long before house-hunting, you should ask yourself this question: When is the right time for me to buy a home? You’ll know if it’s the right time when you:
- Plan to stay in the same house for at least 5 years
- Have money to cover emergency costs
- Have your finances in order
How do I make sure my finances are in order?
Check your credit report.
You can request your credit report at annualcreditreport.com or sit down with a Diamond Credit Expert for a Loan Health Check-Up. Once you understand your credit standing you’ll know if you should concentrate on paying down debt, resolving previous problems, or simply keeping your score in good health.
Save, save, SAVE!
A big part of the home-buying process is the down-payment. A good rule of thumb is to have 20% of the value of the home as a down-payment. There are several ways to reach that total:
- Diamond’s First Time Home Buyer Share Savings Account*
This exclusive account is a perfect tool to help your savings grow as fast as you’re daydreaming about that new house! This account is designed for the dreamer who plans to buy within two years. The account has no minimum balance and currently earns a market leading rate of 1.25% APY on balances up to $10,000.
- First Front Door Program**
The First Front Door Program is a grant program administered and controlled by the Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB). Qualifying members can apply to this program for the opportunity to have their down payment matched. This program is only available while grant funds last. Please check with a Diamond Mortgage Expert to see if funds are still available for this calendar year.
- Managing Your Savings
We can set up sub-savings accounts for your various budgeting needs including a house fund and an emergency fund. Then, you can set-up automatic distribution of your direct deposit, so part of your paycheck goes directly into savings. You’ll be able to keep track of your savings through Alerts, NetBranch Online Banking and the Diamond Mobile App.
Once your finances are in order and you have a down payment saved up, then the fun begins!
Steps to buying your first home:
- Get pre-qualified: Provide Diamond’s Mortgage Originator with paystubs, W-2s, and any other requested information.
- Start house hunting: Now that you know how much you are pre-qualified for, you can go house hunting with confidence. You’ll likely want to work with a Realtor to start the search. Ask about Diamond’s preferred realtors, if you don’t already have one in mind.
- Make an offer: This is it! You found the house you really want. Now your realtor will help you put in an offer. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get the first house you make an offer on. It’s just part of the process, and often the second house you “love” is actually better than the first one.
- Sign the contract: Once your offer is accepted, you’ll sign a sales agreement and your closing date will typically occur within 60 days of the agreement being received.
- Complete these essential parts of the process: Home appraisal and inspection, providing updated income documentation, shopping for home owners insurance, and consider getting life insurance.
- Move into your new home and enjoy that cup of coffee on your front porch!
Buying your first home is a big deal, but don’t worry; we’re in this together! Our Mortgage Experts will start with a review of your current financial situation then show you how to save for that down payment with special products. Finally, it’ll be time to get pre-qualified so you can start house hunting!
Get the Guide!
Fill out this 5-Second Form to receive your free First Time Home Buyer Resource Guide by mail or stop by a Diamond branch today to get yours.
*There is a closing fee of $49 if the account is closed and funds withdrawn for a purpose other than mortgage closing through Diamond CU. The listed premium rate is subject to change without notice. The Annual Percentage Yield (APY) is a prospective rate which is accurate as of the last dividend declaration date. If balances remain at 25 months, the account will be closed and funds transferred to an S1 savings account and the closing fee will be charged. The First Time Homebuyer Program includes a premium rate for balances up to $10,000. If savings should exceed $10,000, the portion over $10,000 will receive the standard S1 savings account rate.
**First Front Door funding is a program of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh.