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Becoming a First-time Homebuyer

What you should know before buying your first home.

Making the leap from "renter" to "owner" can be more complicated than it seems. Before you're handed the keys to your new home, there are several options to consider, such as saving for your down paymentgetting a loan pre-approvalcalculating your monthly payments, and researching loan rates and terms, for starters.

Thankfully, you've got experts on your side who can get you headed in the right direction, no matter what your homeownership dreams might be. Before you fill out a mortgage application, make sure you're on-track with our suite of mortgage calculatorsapply for your mortgage pre-approval, or get to know a Mortgage Loan Officer in your area.

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Rent vs. Buy Calculator

Should you rent or should you buy your home? It takes more than looking at your mortgage payment to answer this question. This calculator helps you weed through the fees, taxes and monthly payments to help you make a decision between these two options. This report is based on the original purchase price, fees and taxes payable at that time. Insurance and tax costs can fluctuate from year to year. Take a closer look at our Rent vs. Buy Calculator

When it comes to your first mortgage, you have options.

  • Fixed Rate Mortgage Find peace of mind knowing that your principal and interest payments will stay the same because the rate and term are locked for the life of your loan.
  • Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARM) - Reduce your monthly principal and interest payment for the initial period of the loan (1, 2, 3, or 5 years) with an Adjustable Rate Mortgage. Often more flexible, an ARM can be a good option if you have unique income or asset situations when it comes to loan approval.
  • Home One - Low down payment option for purchase or refinance of single family property. No income or geographic restrictions.
  • Home Possible - Perfect for the entry level homebuyer for a 1-4 unit property, with low down payment and closing costs. Benefit from the security of fixed rate financing and while utilizing grant funds. Income limits do apply.
  • Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority​ (WHEDA) - If qualified, this state agency may be able to help you as a first time homebuyer purchase your first home with options for a lower down payment, reduced closing costs, as well as expanded underwriting guidelines. Income limits do apply.
  • Grants for down payment - Grant funds from local, federal, public, and private agencies can often be a significant help to purchase a new home if you qualify. In many cases, grant funds do not need to be repaid. Income limits do apply.
Podcast - Accumulating a Down Payment for Your First Home Unlike interest rates, property taxes and insurance rates, you decide how much you borrow and therefore how large your monthly mortgage payments will be. Find Out More
Stay on track: Mortgage Application Checklist

What is Escrow?

If you are in the process of buying a home, you will probably hear the term “escrow” multiple times throughout the transaction—both before and after the real estate settlement itself.

Watch the video to learn more.
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Still have questions?

Contact us with additional questions: Email | 877-672-2265