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First-Time Homebuyer

Start your homebuying journey today.

Buying a home is easier when you know what to expect

Your first experience buying a home can and should be exciting. We’re here to help you navigate the steps to homebuying and make confident decisions backed by information from the most reputable sources. Not only do our mortgage originators help you through the homebuying process, we service your mortgage locally so when you’re dealing with issues after the purchase, help is a phone call or an email away.

Homebuying steps

These are the basic steps you’ll need to take as you research and explore real estate, select a home, and find a mortgage loan to cover your costs.

Make a list of the things that are important for you. Consider the landscape, size of the house and number of bedrooms and bathrooms, space for pets, proximity to shopping/cultural events/nature, and any other features that are important to you. Prioritize the list and separate your “must haves” from your “wished fors.” Want to deepen your research? Begin with the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau and the Vermont State Housing Authority

For most people, it takes 30 years to pay off a mortgage. As you consider the cost of your home, factor in the cost of current expenses as well as future expenses. Aside from your regular utilities, will you need to pay for water or septic in your new home? Do you have future expenses coming down the line like a new car, college, or travel? How much are you putting away for retirement or a rainy day? Make sure your home fits comfortably in your budget.

Research lenders and reach out for rates and fees so you can compare your options. If you are confused about any terms or requirements, ask questions.

Once you’ve selected a lender, get preapproved or prequalified for a loan. In order to offer prequalification, your lender will request information about your finances. This process will help you determine how much you can borrow and will prove to sellers that you are a viable buyer. If you aren’t able to make a down payment of at least 20%, you may also be required to get private mortgage insurance.

Research real estate agents much like you researched your lender. It’s best to find someone you feel comfortable with and can develop a rapport with because they will act as your support system throughout the buying process. As a buyer, you will work with a “buyer’s agent.” They will help you find a suitable home and will ensure that you don’t miss any details or deadlines.

You won’t need a lawyer until later in the process, but research and find a lawyer early on. They will conduct a title search on the property to ensure that there are no liens or restrictions on the title. They will orchestrate the closing and distribute paperwork and payments.

Once you’ve found your dream home, it’s time to put in an offer. For this part of the process, you may want to study local markets and practice your negotiating skills. Your agent can help you with the paperwork and will work with the seller’s agent to communicate your offer to the seller.

Your lender will require an appraisal to ensure the house is worth the offer you’ve made.

A home inspection helps you uncover any structural, mechanical, or electrical issues in the house. You may not be required to get one, but it’s often a good idea and can be a tool in negotiations. Inspections are often two to three hours long and result in a detailed report of the issues and their level of urgency. You can use this report to create a list of items you’d like resolved before you purchase the home.

Before you receive your loan money, you will need to secure homeowner’s insurance.

Make sure you’re on time for your closing. This is the culmination of the process and the time when you sign the paperwork and receive the keys to your new home.

Additional resources

  • Home with White Picket Fence Near Covered Bridge in Vermont

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  • Quaint Family Home in Autumn

    House Hunting Basics: How to Find a Home that is Easy to Finance

    Getting pre-qualified for a mortgage is a great first step in buying a home, but it doesn’t ensure you will …
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Find a mortgage that’s right for you

  • House with Fence - Multi Column

    Primary Residence

    | Owner/Borrower |

    A primary residence is the legal residence of the owner/borrower and is intended to be used as a primary residence by the borrower within 60 days of closing.

  • VA Home Loans - Multi Column

    VA Loans

    | Eligible Veterans |

    A no down payment/equity loan for eligible Veterans purchasing or refinancing a Primary Residence.

  • Vermont House in Fall - Guided Selling

    Jumbo Mortgages

    | Fixed & Adjustable Rates |

    Fixed rates for 10- or 30-year terms and Adjustable Rates for 30-year terms for a loan amount above $726,200. Minimum down payment of 5-10% depending on loan size. Servicing of loan will stay with NEFCU after closing.

  • Land Loans Guided Selling

    Land Loans

    | Adjustable Rates |

    Adjustable rate with 20-year amortization and 10-year balloon.

    Minimum 20-35% down payment depending on use of land.

  • Building a New House - Guided Selling


    | Fixed Rates |

    Fixed rate with six- to 12-month term. Permanent financing available when construction is complete.

    Minimum 10% down payment.

  • Apartments in Montpelier - Multi Column

    Investment or Non-Owner Occupied

    | Fixed & Adjustable Rates |

    Fixed and adjustable rate options with 10- to 30-year terms for one- to four-unit rental properties. Minimum 20-30% down payment.

  • Homes and Camps at Lake Elmore - Guided Selling

    Second/Seasonal Properties

    | Single-Family Residential |

    Seasonal properties are single-family residential properties occupied by the owner and are not the legal residence of the owner/borrower.

  • Mobile Home - Guided Selling

    Mobile Home Mortgage

    | Fixed Rates |

    Competitive, fixed rates for 15- or 20-year terms for new or used mobile homes, whether in a park or on your own property. Minimum $10,000 loan amount.

  • House with Solar Panels on Roof - Guided Selling

    Green Mortgage

    | Off-Grid Mortgage |

    Long-term cost savings of renewable and alternative energy sources over the life of your mortgage loan.

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See Our Rates and Terms

No matter what kind of home you’re buying, we have a variety of financing options to meet your financial needs. Explore our different rates and terms to see how we can help you finance your dream home.

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