find tools and resources for first time home buyers
PENFED MORTGAGES
FIRST TIME HOMEBUYER
Find the information, resources, and answers you're looking for
before buying your first home.

4 Stages of Buying Your First Home

STAGE 1

Thinking About Buying A Home

STAGE 2

Looking for a Home

STAGE 3

Getting a Mortgage

STAGE 4

Closing & Moving In

1. THINKING ABOUT BUYING A HOME?

The first stage of buying a new home is considering your options and making the decision to take the next step.
Here are some resources to help you get started.



Transitioning From Renting to Home Ownership

Buying Your First Home

Buying a home takes time, but the transition from renter to owner doesn’t have to be intimidating, especially when you know what to expect up front.

[Are Your Ready? These Videos Can Help]

This article will help you understand the process and what to expect along the way.

Should I Rent or Buy?

Compare Costs Between Renting and Buying

Do you know how the costs of a new home might compare to what you're paying now? After all, buying a home is one of the most important financial decisions that you will make.

The New York Times created an online calculator that helps you compare the costs of renting to the cost of ownership, depending on your individual situation. It's one of the best we've found to help you determine what option is right for you.

Making Homeownership More Affordable

HomeReady® Is Here to Help

HomeReady is a program offering solutions to future homeowners needing help with mortgage approval, whether due to income or down payment requirements. HomeReady also offers assistance for homes purchased in select redevelopment regions within the United States.

[Determine Eligibility]

Interested in your options? Our Mortgage Center is here to help.

Understanding Mortgage Costs

6 Considerations You Need To Know

The cost of buying your own home includes more than just the sales price. From points to loan terms and closing costs, many factors affect the total cost you end up paying.

[Learn more about mortgage costs (video)]

These six factors should be taken into consideration before signing on the dotted line.

Related Articles

Interested In Learning More?

Buying Your First Home

Buying a home takes time, but the transition from renter to owner doesn’t have to be intimidating, especially when you know what to expect up front.

[Are Your Ready? These Videos Can Help]

This article will help you understand the process and what to expect along the way.

2. Looking For A Home?

Are you trying to find that "just right" home but don't know where to start? Or maybe you've seen hundreds of properties online but you aren't sure which ones are right for you?  

PenFed Realty can help. As a trusted partner of PenFed Credit Union, PenFed Realty is available to give you the personalized service you deserve. 

 

How Much Can I Afford?

Simplify your home search by knowing your price range to look for. 

Our Affordability Calculator can help you estimate the price based on income, monthly debts, down payment, and the length of the loan term. 

Follow these steps to see your results:

Step 1: Enter your annual income. 
(If more than one person will own the home, include his or her income as well.)

Step 2: Input your monthly debts - and the debts of any co-owners.

 

Step 3: Input a down payment amount.

Step 4: Select a loan term. (Many people start with a 30-year term.)

Step 5: Calculate and view your results!

 

Mortgage Affordability Calculator

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Apply before becoming a member.

After your application, we’ll help you:

1. Discover you’re eligible to become a PenFed member

2. Open a Savings/Share Account and deposit at least $5

The calculator above is for educational purposes only. Your actual rate, payment, and costs could be higher. Get an official Loan Estimate before choosing a loan.

 

 

3. GETTING A MORTGAGE

Once you have an idea of how much you can afford and what you're looking for in a new home, it's time to get a mortgage. 

 We'll walk you through the process and let you know what you need and what to expect when prequalifying or applying for a mortgage loan.

 

 

applying for a mortgage

Applying For A Mortgage

Mortgage applications can be confusing and often require documents that aren't easily available. Find out what you'll need here.

[Show Me More]

terms to know

Mortgage Terms

Navigating a mortgage application or reviewing a new home listing can be confusing, especially when everyone seems to be speaking a different language.

[Confused by these mortgage terms? Find help here.]

types of mortgages

Mortgage Types

What mortgage type is best for you? It depends! Take a look at your options, compare rates and features, and find the mortgage right for you.

[Explore Mortgage Options]

 

GREAT MORTGAGES FOR FIRST TIME HOMEBUYERS

 

Below are common types of mortgages to choose from. 

Want to explore specific product options and current rates?  Explore your options here.

 

 

Mortgage Types Benefits Great For:
First Time Home Buyer Advantage 3% Down Payment

$500 Reward for 60th-on-time mortgage payment1

No income limits

No origination fee
Buyers wanting a low down payment of 3%
Conventional Fixed Rate Options Multiple term options available

Stable payments over the life of the loan
Buyers wanting a down payment of 5% or more
Low Down Payment Options HomeReady and First Time Home Buyer options available

Down payment & closing costs OK from multiple sources (including gifts and grants)

A wide range of income sources accepted for qualification

Online Homebuyer Education for First Time Homebuyers required for select programs
Buyers wanting a down payment as low as 3%
VA Loan Options2 Fixed and adjustable options available

For qualified military, veterans, and family members
VA qualified buyers wanting a down payment as low as 0%
Adjustable Rate Options Multiple term options available

Low initial rates
Buyers planning to move within the next 5 to 7 years
 

 

How Much Will My Mortgage Cost?

Many factors can determine the monthly payment amount of your mortgage, including the price of the home, amount and type of the loan, and the loan interest rate.


Use our Monthly Mortgage Payment Calculator below to help you estimate your potential monthly payment.

 

 

Mortgage Payment Calculator

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Down payments less than 20% of property value may require Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI).
*PenFed Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMs) are calculated using 30 year Loan Terms
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$1538.00

Apply before becoming a member.

After your application, we’ll help you:

1. Discover you’re eligible to become a PenFed member

2. Open a Savings/Share Account and deposit at least $5

The calculator above is for educational purposes only. Your actual rate, payment, and costs could be higher. Get an official Loan Estimate before choosing a loan.

4. Closing and Moving In

Once you've closed on your home, its time to move in.  

Check out these moving tips now. 

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

 

When you apply for a mortgage, the lender will "pull" (request) your FICO® credit score to determine your creditworthiness. In some cases, applying for credit may affect your score.

[More about FICO® Scores (MyFICO.com)]

No. There are many options for homeowners who do not want to put down 20%, including VA loans, HomeReady® options, and many others. Contact PenFed mortgage to see what options are right for you.

Closing costs are fees and expenses you pay when closing your mortgage loan.  All loans have them.

According Freddie Mac, average closing costs can vary between 2 to 5% of the total purchase price and include items such as title fees, appraisal fees, inspection fees, and other fees. The good news? You may be able to negotiate with the seller and have them cover a portion of the costs.   

An escrow account usually refers to an account created by a neutral party to hold funds before closing or as part of your monthly mortgage payments. Before closing, escrow accounts may be used for items such as earnest money, home inspections, and other pre-closing expenses.

After closing, escrow accounts can be included in mortgage payments and used to pay for homeowners insurance, property tax, and more.

When a sale falls through, you may or may not get your good faith deposit back. 

Before entering into a contract to buy a home, be sure to verify in what situations your money will be returned to you.

[What To Know About Your Earnest Money Deposit]