Buying Your First Home

Man and woman talking to a realtor about buying their first house.

Be a savvy homebuyer

If you're in the market for your first home, we have the tools and expertise to help you confidently make the best decisions along the way.

How does the process work?

Buying a home is just that—a process. Below is an overview of what to expect during your homebuying journey.

Make sure you’re ready

Ask yourself if you're buying a home for the right reasons.

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Get preapproved

A preapproval lets realtors and sellers know you're qualified to buy a house.

Find a home

Work with an agent to find the home you want and submit a written offer.

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Finalize your loan

Sign and date the paperwork before you get your keys.

Home Affordability Calculator 

Searching the internet for a myriad of houses for sale can be fun, but how much house can you afford? Get a ballpark figure here! 

Mortgage Calculator  

Wondering what your mortgage payment may look like? Crunch the numbers with this easy-to-use calculator.  

In short, when it’s the right time for you. Don’t try to time the market—it’s virtually impossible to time all the variables just right. Before even entertaining the idea of buying a home, ask yourself these important questions:

  • Do I plan to stay in a house for at least the next 3-5 years?
  • Would I be able to afford a mortgage payment?
  • Do I have enough money saved up for a down payment?
  • Can I afford future maintenance?
  • Do I have a stable job?

If you can answer “yes” now (or in the near future) to these questions, you’re likely ready to buy a home.

Creating a simple monthly budget will help determine if you’d have enough money left over after expenses to afford home ownership. After determining how much of a house payment you can afford, it’s time to find out how much house you can afford. This is where upkeep expenses, down payment, your income, etc., come into play. The last thing you want to do is stretch yourself thin by going after the most expensive home your budget will allow. A mortgage calculator is a nice supplementary tool by giving you a rough estimate of how much you can spend on a house. To get the full picture of homeownership expenses, our seasoned SELCO Mortgage Loan Officers will be able to walk you through them step by step. Our loan officers also hold periodic homebuying webinars. Visit selco.org/events to see when the next one is on the schedule. And if you are unable to attend a webinar, Fannie Mae offers a free online course. 

Your first step is to contact a SELCO Mortgage Loan Officer. Averaging 20 years in the business, our loan officers have the experience and expertise to help you navigate the entire mortgage process. 

Preapproval is a very important first step in buying a house. A preapproval lets realtors and sellers know you’re qualified to buy a house while providing an estimate of how much you can borrow based on your income, employment, credit, and bank account information. A SELCO Loan Officer can walk you through everything you’ll need to get preapproved, including pulling your credit, calculating your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio, and letting you know how much home you can afford and the best loan option to purchase a home in that price range. A SELCO Mortgage preapproval is good for 90 days 

You’ll be asked to verify your finances during the preapproval process. To prepare, you can create a home folder that contains all the documents you’ll need to provide to a SELCO Loan Officer. Here are a few documents you’ll need (a loan officer will provide a full list for you):

  • Paystubs from at least the past month
  • Tax returns, including W-2’s, from the past two years
  • Bank statements (checking, savings, money markets, etc.) from the past 2-3 months
  • Employment information, including contact information of employers from the past two years
  • Business records if self-employed
Houses with several different colors.

What you need to know about home insurance

Your mortgage lender will require you to purchase a homeowners insurance policy prior to your closing. Before shopping for a policy, you’ll want to understand what is protected and what is excluded. 

 Really helpful and good experience for a first-time home buyer. Our loan officer, Erin Torrance, was very informative and helpful with the loan process. 
— Jade S., new SELCO member in 2024
SELCO's mortgage team members.

Experience you can trust

Our Loan Officers have nearly 200 years of cumulative experience helping prospective homebuyers. Find a Loan Officer in your area to start your homebuying journey.