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Best Mortgage Loans for First-Time Home Buyers


Purchasing your first home is an exciting milestone in life. After years of renting or living with family, you finally have a place to call your own. However, it can be daunting to secure the right mortgage loan. With so many options available, how do you know which type of mortgage best fits your financial situation?

At OUCU Financial, we understand the challenges facing first-time homebuyers. Our goal is to guide you through the mortgage process from start to finish. Read on to learn more about how to find the best first-time home buyer loan.

Demystifying Mortgages for First-Time Buyers

Understanding the basics can mean the difference between saving money or overpaying. Let's delve into essential mortgage concepts and how they impact your first mortgage loan.

Key Mortgage Concepts Explained

Important mortgage terms to know include:

  • Interest rates - The ongoing percentage fee charged on the principal loan amount. Rates vary based on market conditions and personal factors.
  • Principal - The total amount borrowed from a lender, not including interest. This is the home loan amount.
  • Fixed-rate mortgage - The interest rate stays the same for the entire loan term. The most common term is 30 years. This allows for predictable monthly payments over the life of the mortgage.
  • Adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) - A loan with an interest rate that fluctuates periodically based on market indicators. Rates can go up or down over time.
  • Points - Upfront fees paid to lower ongoing interest rates. Each point equals 1% of the loan amount.
  • Private mortgage insurance (PMI) - Added insurance when the down payment is less than 20% of the home value. This insurance protects the lender if you default on the loan.
  • Closing costs - Administrative fees paid at closing, including appraisal and application fees. Typically, 2-5% of the loan amount.

Credit Score Impact on Mortgages

Your credit score is one of the most important factors lenders evaluate when approving mortgages. Borrowers with higher scores are considered lower risk and more likely to be approved for the best loan terms. On the other hand, low credit scores can lead to loan denial or higher interest rates.

Credit bureaus like Experian, Equifax, and Transunion calculate scores between 300-850 based on your borrowing and repayment history. Having a longer positive history with various loan types like credit cards, auto loans, and student loans can help tremendously when you apply for a mortgage. 

Understanding the Home-Buying Journey

Purchasing a home is an exciting adventure filled with many steps. Knowing what to expect will give you confidence to navigate the process.

Stages of Buying a Home

The home-buying process typically has two main stages:

The initial stage involves doing your homework. Evaluate your budget, savings, income, and debt to understand your financial position. Research mortgage options, connect with lenders, and get pre-approved for a loan amount. This allows you to know your price range when house hunting.

After finding the perfect home, you’ll enter the offer stage. Submit your mortgage application and provide all required documents for underwriting. This is a good time to talk with your lender about the rate-locking process. After your offer is accepted, you’ll complete the appraisal and inspection as well as other due diligence to finalize the purchase.

OUCU's Mortgage Options

OUCU Financial offers a range of mortgage options, each designed to meet the diverse needs of first-time home buyers. We aim to provide solutions that align well with your individual circumstances.

Features and Benefits

Our low down payment programs allow you to purchase with less money upfront to maximize your savings. Competitive interest rates on fixed and adjustable-rate mortgages keep your monthly payments affordable.

Streamlining the application and underwriting process provides convenience and ease for busy buyers. We also have competitive closing costs and fees to save money as you finalize your purchase. Our goal is to make homebuying simple and cost-effective.

The Home Buying Journey Made Easy

From initial contact through closing day, we guide you through each step of the journey to homeownership. Our user-friendly MortgageClick website lets you apply online at your convenience and check status 24/7.

OUCU mortgage experts provide ongoing advice tailored to first-timers. We help you understand the process, paperwork, and timeline. Our pre-approvals jumpstart your home search so you can view properties within your budget immediately. 

Build-a-Home Mortgage Solutions

Building your new home from scratch is more than just construction—it’s about creating a space that echoes your dreams and aspirations. OUCU offers specialized mortgage solutions for those looking to construct their own homes.

Construction Loan Features

Get a customized construction loan for your specific home plans. Options include our 7/1 ARM with a low down payment and a 6-month term for maximum savings. Our experts guide you through the full process, from finding land to securing financing, breaking ground, and overseeing construction.

Experienced lending specialists provide worry-free financing with competitive rates and flexible terms. This allows you to focus fully on designing and building your ideal home from the ground up.

Financing Your Land Purchase

If you need to purchase land for building, we offer financing options to cover land acquisition costs. We provide loans for developed land ready for construction, raw land that needs clearing, grading, or utility hookups—and everything in between.

With low down payment programs, we can help first-time builders minimize the cash needed upfront to buy land. Our land loans roll over seamlessly into the construction mortgage once the lot is secured.

OUCU handles lending for any land purchase, from vacant lots to acreage and unique parcels. Our land financing expertise removes headaches so you can find and acquire the perfect property to call home.

Selecting the Right Mortgage Loan Type

The mortgage type you choose significantly impacts your financial future. Let’s explore the options to find what’s best for you.

Fixed-Rate Versus Adjustable-Rate

Fixed-rate loans offer stability with consistent interest rates throughout the term. On the other hand, adjustable-rate loans provide flexibility with interest rates that adjust over time.

Your choice depends on various factors including financial stability and comfort with risk. Our mortgage experts will guide you through loan options to ensure you select a product aligned with your financial goals.

Specialized Loans for First-Time Homebuyers

First-time homebuyers can access specialized mortgage programs with low down payments, reduced interest rates, and flexible credit requirements. These help new buyers qualify for financing more easily. Down payment assistance programs can even provide grants to cover the amount due.

Common Home Buying Questions

Preparing for your first home purchase likely brings up many questions. Here are a few common ones our mortgage experts regularly hear:

Q: How much do I need for a down payment on a house?

A: A standard down payment is 20% of the purchase price, but many lenders offer programs for down payments as low as 3-5% for qualified buyers. Save as much as possible for your down payment to get better mortgage rates.

Q: What is a pre-approval, and why do I need one?

A: A lender's pre-approval is a letter confirming you are eligible for a mortgage up to a certain amount. Get pre-approved before house hunting to know exactly how much home you can afford.

Q: What debts and income do lenders look at for affordability?

A: Lenders review the debt-to-income ratio when approving a mortgage. It compares total monthly debt payments to gross monthly income. A good ratio is usually around 36 percent or lower. However, the exact number depends on the mortgage type.  

Q: Should I use a real estate agent or buy directly from the owner?

A: Experienced real estate agents guide you through the buying process, negotiate better pricing, and ensure legal protections. FSBO (for sale by owner) sales can work for savvy buyers but have more risks.

Q: What are closing costs, and who pays them?

A: Closing costs are typically 2-5% of the loan amount and are commonly paid by the buyer unless negotiated otherwise. They include fees like appraisals, taxes, and insurance.  

Q: How can I determine fair market value for an offer?

A: Review recently sold prices of comparable properties. Also, factor in the home’s condition. Consider doing a pre-offer inspection to inform your offer price.

Take the First Step Towards Home Ownership

Finding the optimal mortgage loan marks a major milestone on the road to first-time homeownership. OUCU Financial mortgage experts make financing stress-free so you can focus on finding your perfect home.

Whether purchasing an existing house or building new construction, we have the loan programs and expertise to address your specific needs. Click below to get matched with the ideal mortgage for your situation. 

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