First Time Home Buyer Programs, Loans & Grants
At GMFS Mortgage we understand you have lots of questions about how to finance and buy a house for the first time. We are here to help and have assisted thousands of first-time home buyers like you to buy their first home and achieve the American dream of homeownership!
- Wondering if you’re qualified to become a homeowner?
- Concerned about saving for your down payment?
- Concerned about your credit score?
- How does student loan debt affect your ability to become a homeowner?
Read answers to these concerns (opens new window)
Often, the monthly expense of owning your first home is not very different from the cost of renting and we can show you how to get great mortgage rates based on your credit and goals.
First Home Buyer Resources
- Download: First Time Homebuyer Budget Worksheet & Tips
- Calculator: How much mortgage can I afford?
- Calculator: How much mortgage can I qualify for?
- Other Mortgage Calculators
- Home Buying Education Articles (independent 3rd party)
- Home Loan Process
- Providing Requested Documents
- First-Time Home Buyer Articles & Videos
Swipe left to see more reviews
Jackie and her team were wonderful to work with. I’m a first home buyer and she made the process smooth. Thanks for being patient and making my dream of owning my home come true.
Debra T. GMFS Mortgage Customer
Tuesday December 10, 2019
I’m a first time home buyer. I had tried other lenders but the told me no. I meet with Doug Bickley one day the next day I went under contract for a new construction home. Doug and his team made the process as easy as possible. They answered all of my questions. I would recommend Doug Bickley and his team to anyone.
Whitney J. GMFS Mortgage Customer
Wednesday November 27, 2019
Being a first time homebuyer can be scary, but GMFS Mortgage did a phenomenal job in turning my stress into confidence during this process. We worked with Paul, and he broke down everything for me to help me better understand my mortgage. I cannot sing enough praises about his diligence in helping me find the best rates and literally being only a phone call away. I highly recommend GMFS Mortgage!
Kayla B. GMFS Mortgage Customer
Wednesday November 27, 2019
The GMFS Mortgage team was thorough, responsive, and honest throughout my entire homebuying process. I highly recommend them to first-time home buyers.
Samantha F. GMFS Mortgage Customer
Thursday March 28, 2019
Brad is straight forward, professional, and extremely knowledgeable. The process was fast but I did not feel rushed. Brad is definitely a cut above the rest. I had a great experience with Brad and would recommend him to anyone looking purchase a home. [Zillow reviews]
Lindsey S. GMFS Mortgage Customer
Thursday March 28, 2019
First Time Home Buyer Loans:
- We offer 100% Financing mortgage programs for purchase or to refinance. These “No Down Payment” mortgages can also provide options to qualified first-time homebuyers.
- A Conforming Fixed Rate loan with a 3o year or 15 year term can be used to purchase a home (max. loan amount is $510,400)
- A FHA loan is typically the best option for 1st time home buyers if not a military veteran or the house is not in an eligible rural area designated by USDA
- HomeOne is a Freddie Mac mortgage program for First Time Homebuyers. The main difference between HomeOne and Home Possible is that HomeOne does not have any income or geographic limits.
- The HomeReady loan product from Fannie Mae is designed for creditworthy, low-to moderate-income borrowers, with expanded eligibility for financing homes in designated low-income, minority, and disaster-impacted communities.
- The Home Possible loan product from Freddie Mac is designed for creditworthy, low-to moderate-income borrowers, with expanded eligibility for financing homes in designated low-income, minority, and disaster-impacted communities
- Purchase Advantage powered by CAFA is a unique program to jump-start Louisiana homeownership through the benefit of a non-repayable home buyerbgrant of up to 4% of the original mortgage amount to eligible homebuyer families in eligible Louisiana parishes.
- USDA Rural Development loan is typically the best home loan option for first time buyers if not a military veteran and the house is in an eligible rural area designated by USDA
- VA home loans are typically the best option for first time home buyers if one of the borrowers is a military veteran
- See more Loan Options
Tips for First Home Buyers
1. Start saving for your down payment as early as possibleEven though there are many options that allow as low as a 5% down payment, it is significantly better to have more money up front than less. Be sure to know how much home you can afford before determining how much money you have to save. If you plan to only save 5% of your down payment, keep in mind that 5% of $200,000 is $10,000. In addition, Putting down less than 20% may mean higher costs and paying for private mortgage insurance (PMI). Know how much down payment you need, set a goal, and work hard to reach that goal.
2. Check your credit scoreYour credit score is one of the key factors in determining what type of mortgage and the interest rate for which you qualify. As soon as you know you may want to buy a home, begin work on your credit score. Dispute any errors on your credit report and get them resolved as quickly as possible. Also, do NOT open nor close any accounts within at least six months of applying for a mortgage.
3. Budget for closing costsWhether you plan to pay for the closing costs up front or are planning to roll them into your mortgage, you need to have an idea of how much your closing costs will be. Be sure to do some research yourself and shop around and compare prices for certain closing expenses, such as homeowners insurance, home inspections and title searches. Also, never be afraid to ask the seller to pay for a portion of your closing costs or negotiating your real estate agent’s commission. Closing costs typically run between 2%-5% of the total loan amount.
4. Budget for move-in costsIn addition to insurance, inspections, home title, real estate agent’s commission, and all of the other costs involved in buying a home, many people forget that the actual moving process costs money. Be sure to save enough money for things such as cleaning supplies, food to restock your cabinets and refrigerator, new rugs, paint, and anything that you would like to change cosmetically to the home.
5. Know what type of property you want to buyNow that you have your budget, it’s time to consider what type of property you want to purchase. If you already have your heart set on a single-family home, then you know you’ll be getting a lot more room with more maintenance. On the flip side of that, you may want to have less work and more amenities, which would steer you toward a condo or town-home.
6. Research mortgage optionsDid you know that a 30-year, fixed rate mortgage isn’t the only option for purchasing a home? If you can afford larger monthly payments, you can get a lower interest rate with a 20-year or 15-year fixed loan. Or you may prefer an adjustable-rate mortgage, which is riskier but guarantees a low interest rate for the first few years of your mortgage. Speak with a GMFS Mortgage Loan Officer to determine what is best for you and your future. Loan Options
7. Know the difference between mortgage preapproval and mortgage prequalificationPre-Approval: Getting preapproved for a home loan requires more documentation, verification and time than a mortgage prequalification process.
- Requires complete mortgage application (excluding property address)
- Credit report pulled
- Information submitted to automated underwriting system
- Borrower provides documentation of income and assets (e.g. paystubs, tax returns, bank statements, etc.)
- Lender reviews and verifies all information
- Lender issues a Preapproval Letter subject only to:
- a satisfactory property appraisal
- general closing conditions (e.g. evidence of hazard insurance)
- No material change in information used to issue pre-approval (e.g. new debt, job loss, etc.)
Pre-Qualification: Getting a mortgage prequalification is a simpler process than getting a home loan preapproval and yet still demonstrates you are serious about buying a home to both realtors and sellers.
- Requires discussion with mortgage lender about your monthly income and liabilities
- Credit report may be pulled
- Does NOT include submitting a full mortgage application, income documentation nor any verification
- Lender issues a Prequalification Letter based on what you have told them
At GMFS Mortgage, we find that the vast majority of our borrowers opt for getting prequalified for a mortgage because it is a faster process than getting pre-approved for a mortgage and therefore allows you to begin shopping sooner for your dream home knowing your prequalification letter allows them to make purchase offers with confidence.
8. Hire the right realtorBuying a home is stressful enough without having to do your realtor’s job. You need to hire someone who you can get along with and who will work for you! The right realtor should know exactly what you’re looking for, take you to open houses, and schedule home viewings around your schedule.
9. Stay under your preapproved or prequalified approval limit for your home loanUnderstand that while you can technically buy a home for your maximum pre-approved or prequalification amount, it is the ceiling of your mortgage limit. Instead of maxing out that amount, leave some room for unexpected expenses.
10. Consider more than the obviousHow long will this home and location meet your family’s needs?
Is the property in a flood zone?
Is there any pending new construction or zoning changes that may effect your property value or view?
Is there any pending new construction or zoning changes that may effect your commute time?
What is the area like after dark, after a heavy rain and during other seasons?
Have you researched crime reports and statistics for the area?
How important is the quality of local schools to you and to potential future buyers?
If new construction, have you properly budgeted for window treatments, furniture needs, fencing, yard care, landscaping, etc.?
If there is a Home Owner’s Association have you considered the cost of dues and understand the community rules & restrictions?
If the home is more than 9 years old, are you prepared for potential major maintenance costs (e.g. appliances, AC, pool, roof, etc.)?
11. Be prepared to compromiseDon’t get caught up in the paint color, the blind choices, or the terrible wall paper choice. These things are easily and inexpensively changed after buying a home. Think carefully about what is a need and what is a want when negotiating. You NEED to make sure the seller replaces the broken air conditioner, you WANT the color in the living room to be almond instead of yellow.
12. Make a strong offer, but prepared to negotiateYour realtor should be experienced and will guide you through the negotiation process. A lot can be up for negotiation in the homebuying process, which can result in major savings. Are there any major repairs you can get the seller to cover, either by fully handling them or by giving you a credit adjustment at closing? Is the seller willing to pay for any of the closing costs? Will it be mutually beneficial to you and the seller to either close sooner or later than normal? If you’re in a buyers market, you may find the seller will bargain with you to get the house off the market. During negotiations try to keep your emotions in check and not take things personally, keeping in mind that at some time in the future your role may be opposite and as a seller you will want to maximize the price you can get for your home.
13. Don't forget homeowners and flood insuranceBefore you close on your new house, your lender will require you to buy homeowners insurance. Shop around to compare for the best price offering the most coverage with a deductible that makes sense for you. Keep in mind that homeowners insurance is not the same as flood insurance. Even if flood insurance is not required for your property, consider the peace of mind offered for the low annual cost. Note that most flood insurance policies only cover your main home structure (not detached buildings) and that contents coverage is typically an optional add-on.
14. Know what is included on your home inspectionAfter your offer is accepted, you will need a home inspection. However, not all inspections test for mold, radon, pests, etc. Be sure to know what’s included. Don’t be afraid to ask your inspector to take a look — or a closer look — at something and ask questions. In addition to a professional home inspection, conduct your own inspection. Is the water pressure adequate upstairs? Will you need to replace some flooring? Are there any leaky faucets? Any electrical issues with lots of appliances running at the same time? Any evidence of termite damage or treatment? Any evidence of water damage to the interior/attic ceilings, walls or floors?
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GMFS staff has an avg. of 14+ years of mortgage industry experience