There’s nothing more important than having a place to call home. At Union Savings Bank (USB), we believe in making home ownership affordable and accessible. We’re known for our low-cost, low-interest home mortgage loans. The first step in buying a home is knowing when you’re ready to make the move. Easier said than done.

So how do you know if it’s time to make one of the most important investments of your life? Below are five steps we recommend first-time homebuyers take to get on the personal path to home ownership.

Buying a home is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. That’s why it’s important to work with a USB loan officer who can help determine the financing path that is best for you.

1. Realistically assess your finance options. Right from the start, get real with yourself and with your USB loan officer. Buying a home is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. That’s why it’s important to work with a USB loan officer who can help determine the financing path that’s best for you. For example, no down payment doesn’t necessarily count you out. Union Savings Bank’s first-time-buyer grant program may be the key to opening your own front door. And if you have a down payment, you’ll need to cover more than just that expense. Don’t forget about closing costs, moving expenses, and all the improvements you’ll want to make. Your USB loan officer can calculate your debt-to-income ratio and help you get a handle on how much house you can afford, so you don’t aim too high or too low and miss out on your perfect home.

2. Improve your credit score. Studying will not help you boost this score. Paying bills on time will. A credit score predicts how likely you are to pay back a loan. Scores generally run from 300–850. The higher your score, the better your chance of being approved for a USB mortgage loan. There are some simple things you can do to increase your credit score. Take time to make these small changes now—they’ll make a huge difference in your future.

3. Connect with a USB loan officer. There are a variety of mortgage loans, assistance programs, and interest-rate and fee structures out there. You don’t have to navigate this process alone—a professional USB loan officer can guide you. Start the relationship now by filling out our online form, so we have a better idea what you’re looking for. We’ll be in touch to recommend options and next steps to ensure that you’re successful.

4. Get a prequalification letter for a loan. In a hot sellers’ market, most realtors won’t talk to you until you’re prequalified for a loan. Prequalification is an agreement from USB to loan you a certain amount under specific terms. The offer typically expires after 90 days. It’s not a guarantee that you will get a loan, but it’s evidence to realtors and home sellers that you’re working with a loan officer and serious about buying.

5. Choose a real estate agent. No realtor, no problem. At Union Savings Bank, we can help point you in right direction. A good realtor is like a good hair stylist or therapist. They’ll get to know you well and, if you connect with them, be with you for life! There are plenty of tips to help you identify a realtor who’s right for you. Look around the areas where you want to live and look for realtors who know those neighborhoods. Ask friends and family for referrals. And again, turn to your USB loan officer. They will be happy to make a referral.

At Union Savings Bank, we’ll walk with you every step of the way. Homebuying DOESN’T have to be scary, especially when Union Savings Bank has your back. Our home loan experts guide first-time (and all) buyers, through the home loan process. Part of the American dream is building equity and creating a better life for you and your family, and we’re honored to be help you achieve that goal.

Start a relationship with USB today!