For most, buying a home will be the largest and most rewarding investment you make, but doing it for the first time can be overwhelming. Don’t worry, we’re here to help. Jovia has affordable mortgage options, exclusively available to first-time home buyers. Our mortgage specialists work with members, just like you, across Long Island, to navigate the first-time home buying process and eliminate the guess work, so you can move into your first home and meet your new neighbors with confidence.

Generally speaking, a first-time home buyer is considered to be an individual who has not owned a home in the past three years. However, there are many factors considered to qualify as a first-time home buyer. So, whether you’re buying your first home or you’ve bought and sold before, the process is the same. Let’s recap the key steps in the home buying process.

10 Key Steps to Buying a Home

  1. Start Saving – Establish a monthly budget and stick to it. Build up your savings account by making weekly or monthly deposits and create good financial habits early on.
  2. Financial Documents – Keep these documents handy for your lender to review. Bank statements provide an overview of your current financial situation and spending patterns. Pay stubs, W2 tax forms, and alimony payments verify income and employment.
  3. Pre-Approval – A pre-approval for a mortgage is when a lender reviews your financial documents to determine how much money they are willing to lend a borrower to buy a potential house. A pre-approval lets the borrower know how much they can comfortably afford to spend on a house, so they can set a budget and start shopping.
  4. Find a Realtor - The search is on. Take a moment to decide what neighborhood you want to live in. Remember to check out the surrounding area, schools, and proximity to shopping. Then, find a trusted real estate agent that is familiar with your desired neighborhood. Finding the right realtor is the first step to finding the right home.
  5. Make an Offer – Work with your realtor to determine a fair offer. Your realtor will submit the offer to the seller with the conditional approval letter, so the seller knows you’re qualified for the loan amount needed to purchase the house. Know what the maximum price you’re willing to pay for the house is, offer less and leave room to negotiate with the seller until both parties agree on the sale price. Your realtor can help guide you based on other offers that may be already made on the home you are looking at. You can learn more about the process for making an offer on a house here!
  6. House Inspection – Hire a licensed inspector to assess the home’s structure, key components and utilities, and closely review the findings. This is an opportunity for the buyer to ask the seller to make necessary repairs or decide to leave as is and potentially renegotiate the price. Repairs and other contingencies should be documented in the contract for both parties to sign.
  7. Mortgage Process – Once the contract is signed, your Jovia mortgage specialist will present you with available mortgage options, including rates, terms, fees, and closing costs, so you can determine which mortgage best suit your needs.
  8. Home Appraisal – The lender will schedule a home appraisal, performed by an independent third party to estimate the value of the house. This will also impact the loan amount you qualify for.
  9. Closing Day – Your attorney will review the paperwork for accuracy. Sign the papers and grab the keys. Congratulations, you’re a first-time home buyer.
  10. Move In – The last box is unpacked, you did it! Now, it’s time to enjoy your home.

Remember, your monthly mortgage payment is top priority. Pay on time each month and don’t skip payments. Maintain your home by keeping up with repairs and continue to save for renovations down the road.

Fixed Rate vs Adjustable Rate Mortgages

Don’t know the difference between the two? We’ve got an article for that!

Learn More

First-Time Home Buyer Mortgage Options

First-time home buyer mortgage programs make home ownership possible for qualified individuals, purchasing a home for the first time. Benefits include lower interest rates, low or no-closing cost options, as well as down payment flexibility. The options available for first-time homebuyers turn the dream of owning a home into a reality.

Jovia’s 7/1 No-Closing Cost^ ARM

A 7/1 Adjustable Rate Mortgage, or ARM, has a fixed interest rate for the first 7 years and a variable rate for the remainder of the loan. After the initial fixed period, the interest rate will adjust to a new variable rate annually based on current market interest rates for the remaining life of the loan. An ARM is a great option for potentially keeping monthly payments smaller in the early stages of the loan. An ARM, with lower down payment requirements and competitive initial interest rates, can provide more buying power than a fixed-rate mortgage in the short term.

Benefits of a 7/1 No-Closing Cost^ ARM:

  1. Less funds needed for down payment (as little as 3% down)
  2. Fixed rate with lower monthly payments for first 7 years
  3. Less out-of-pocket so you can use your savings to prepay principal or renovate
  4. No Closing Cost – Jovia members save between $4,000 - $6,000 in closing costs (remaining mortgage tax, recording fees, title insurance and escrow fees paid by borrower)

If you are a homebuyer that wants flexibility to relocate down the road or plans to upsize or downsize in a few years or maybe you plan on paying off the loan in a short amount of time Jovia’s 7/1 No-Closing Cost ARM^ could be the right option for you.

SONYMA (State of New York Mortgage Agency)

SONYMA mortgage programs make home buying more accessible to first-time buyers by offering flexible financing options for qualifying individuals. Down payment assistance, as well as lower interest rates, are available for homes purchased in certain geographic neighborhoods and to those individuals that meet SONYMA eligibility. You can learn more about SONYMA eligibility requirements by visiting their site. SONYMA mortgages typically have fixed interest rates for the life of the loan so you have the same monthly payment, making it easier to budget for other household expenses.

Benefits of a SONYMA Mortgage:

  • 30-year fixed rate mortgage
  • Purchase a single-family home or established condominium
  • Down payment assistance
  • Lower interest rates
  • Max loan-to-value 97%
    *Loan-to-value is the ratio of how much you’re borrowing compared to how much the home is worth. A 97% loan-to-value indicates you can borrow up to 97% of the home’s worth requiring you to put down a deposit of 3% of the home’s worth.
  • Financing for low to moderate-income families
  • Available to first-time home buyers purchasing owner-occupied homes in New York State or purchasing a new home or waiting to sell current home in a “target area”

It’s been said that the joys of being a homeowner are realized after the mortgage process is complete. Always work with a trusted mortgage professional to guide you through the financing process, review the resources, categories and requirements available to you, gauge your eligibility as a first-time home buyer, and provide individual options to meet your needs.

It’s Easy to Apply!

Jovia’s mobile-friendly application makes the pre-approval and mortgage application process a can apply for a mortgage in less than 15 minutes! Click here to get started!

Still have questions? Chat with one of our local mortgage advisors. We're your neighbors so we understand the local real estate market. Click here to contact a mortgage specialist!

^ Jovia Financial does not charge closing costs on the no-closing cost option. Member is still responsible for certain mortgage settlement costs. Contact the Credit Union for further information.

Mortgage Loan Originators at Jovia Financial and their unique identifier numbers (NMLS ID#) can be found here.

Jovia NMLS ID#: 543667