Skip to Main Content
Hold shift and hit enter to Skip to Online Banking

First-Time Homebuyer Meet
First Home Concierge

Navigating your first home purchase can feel overwhelming. Most of us need all the help we can get. And that’s exactly what the First Home Concierge delivers. This free service helps new buyers navigate the road to homeownership. In addition to the guidance and support you need with the buying process, we offer home loan options with low down payments and discounted closing costs to make borrowing for your home more affordable.

We know this is your first home purchase, but it’s not ours. There’s no reason to go it alone. We’re here for you.

 

Get started with our concierge

 

Loan Program Options for first-time buyers1:  

  • Put down as little as 3%
  • Rate protection – shop for up to 6 months without your pre-approved rate increasing2
  • Get $300 off closing costs
  • Pay a flat mortgage origination fee ($895) regardless of loan amount
  • Competitive interest rates
  • Conventional mortgage alternatives to FHA Loans
  • Same-day turnaround time on pre-approval applications
  • Receive 20% back on real estate commissions with HomeAdvantage
  • Down payment assistance for income-qualified buyers with First Front Door (FFD) (available in April 2022)

Anyone who hasn’t owned a home in the last three years qualifies as a first-time homebuyer
Rate protected if borrower still meets credit requirements after 90 days

Fixed-Rate Mortgages

Rates effective starting: 07.30.21
Loan Type1 Rates
(as low as)
Points APR2 Monthly Cost
per $10,000
30 Year fixed 3.000% 0.000% 3.055% $42.16
20 Year fixed 2.625% 0.000% 2.702% $53.60
15 Year fixed 2.375% 0.000% 2.474% $66.09

It depends. There are a few homebuying expenses, such as the down payment and closing costs, that require cash up front. While putting down 20% of the home price is optimal, it certainly isn’t required. Ardent offers down payments as low as 3%. You should plan on another 3-6% for closing costs, which vary based on the location. As a general rule when choosing a low down payment option, you should have on hand $6,000-$9,000 for every $100,000. We know this can be the hardest part for first-time homebuyers. Keep in mind that this cash can come from savings, gifts from family and assets (i.e. borrowing against your 401(k)). In some cases, you can even build it into your mortgage by getting cash back from the seller. You may also qualify for assistance from government homebuying programs. Contact us and we’ll talk through your options with you.   

Most lenders will require a credit score of 660 or higher to qualify for a mortgage. Keep in mind that the better your credit is, the lower your rate. This is why we suggest you review your credit history 60 days before applying. This will give you time to correct any errors, which could boost your credit score. Visit annualcreditreport.com to receive a free copy of your credit report annually. The credit report won’t contain your credit score, as scoring models differ among mortgage lenders, but it will show you the components that factor into that score. A thin history, unpaid debts, too much debt, late payments and too many credit applications will be detrimental to your score. If you need help improving your credit situation, Ardent offers no-cost financial counseling through our partner, BALANCE. The certified credit report reviewers at BALANCE can give you the guidance you need. Visit the BALANCE website or call 888-456-2227.

This answer gets a little complicated, because there are several moving parts: the amount your lender approves, housing costs in addition to your mortgage and your monthly non-housing expenses. A lender will look at your income, assets and debt to determine the maximum amount they will loan to you. However, you will need to pay other home-related costs each month in addition to your mortgage, such as property taxes and homeowners insurance. In most cases, you will be required to pay private mortgage insurance each month if you are putting less than 20% down. Additionally, you’ll need to factor in the monthly cost for utilities, upkeep and homeowners association dues, if applicable. It’s good to start by adding up your monthly income and expenses, including childcare, car payments, etc. This will help you determine what you can realistically afford to pay each month.

Getting pre-approved is smart to do before you start house shopping. A pre-approval is a commitment by a lender to give you a mortgage. A lender will verify your income and assets, as well as pull a copy of your credit report. After reviewing these items, the lender will determine the maximum amount you can borrow. At Ardent, we offer same-day response on pre-approval applications. With a pre-approval in hand, you can stick to shopping for homes you can realistically buy. When you find a home you like, you’ll be able to make an offer right away and attach the pre-approval letter to show you are a serious buyer. This will strengthen your offer, which is important in this competitive housing market. Ardent pre-approvals are good for 90 days. We can also lock in your rate for the same time period. If you need more time to shop, we can re-verify your information to extend the pre-approval and rate lock.  

HomeAdvantage is an Ardent partner organization that provides free services to members looking to buy or sell a home. HomeAdvantage has a network of vetted, experienced agents. Buyers or sellers using a HomeAdvantage approved agent are eligible for a 20% cash back on the agent’s commission. The average cash reward on a $200,000 home is $1,200. That refund can be applied toward your closing costs at settlement.


Talk to us. Contact our First Home Concierge at firsthome@ardentcu.org.