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First Steps for First-Time Homebuyers

Ready to take the plunge into homeownership? Here are your next steps.

The prospect of buying a home can seem overwhelming, especially when you’re a first-time homebuyer, but it doesn’t have to be. Learning what to expect can not only make it feel less nerve-racking, it also helps you get prepared so you’re ready to buy when the right house comes along. Here’s a look at the typical mortgage loan process to help you get started on turning your homeownership dreams into a reality.

Step one: Contact a mortgage expert

First, it’s a good idea to get in touch with a mortgage professional in your community who can help you get started on the right foot with your home loan. A mortgage loan originator* acts as your main point of contact in obtaining your real estate loan with the lending institution. He or she will work to understand your homeownership goals, help you explore the financing options available to you, and guide you through the mortgage loan process to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible. If you are planning a home purchase in Minnesota or Wisconsin, you can use MCCU’s online scheduling tool to connect with a mortgage originator at a time and place that’s convenient for you — you can choose to meet by phone, online, or in person at an MCCU location near you.

Step two: Explore your loan options

There are a wide variety of real estate loan products available, so part of working with a mortgage originator will be exploring your options and selecting a mortgage loan product that’s a good fit for your specific needs and circumstances. MCCU’s First Step Home Loan was created with first-time home buyers in mind, and it may be a great choice if you’re buying your first home in Minnesota or Wisconsin. The First Step Home Loan allows you to lock in your interest rate during pre-qualification and does not require you to purchase private mortgage insurance. Plus, you can enjoy the comfort, security and convenience of having your home loan serviced locally in your own community.

Step three: Gather your documents

As you might expect, there is a lot of paperwork involved in just about every step of buying a home, and the mortgage loan process is no exception. Your mortgage originator will let you know what documents you will need to provide for your specific loan application, but you can get a head start by gathering the following financial records:

  • Pay stubs from the past 30 days
  • Bank statements from the past two months
  • W-2 forms from the past two years
  • Federal tax returns from the past two years

Self-employed? No problem. You can find a checklist for self-employed homebuyers here.

Step four: Get pre-approved… and start your search!

Once you’ve completed your application and supplied all necessary documentation, you’ll find out how much you’re qualified to borrow. This step, known as “pre-qualification” or “pre-approval,” lets you zero in more specifically on a price range so you know where to focus your housing search. It also helps ensure you have everything in order so your loan can be processed quickly when you’re ready to make an offer.

What’s next? After all that preparation, it’s finally time for the fun stuff: searching for your perfect home. Good luck, and happy house-hunting!

Want even more information on buying your first home? Get our First Step Home Loan Guides, created to help you make your decision clearly and confidently.

*NMLS® Consumer AccessSM, which can be accessed at, is a service for consumers to confirm that the financial services company or mortgage professional with whom they wish to conduct business is authorized to conduct business in their state. NMLS #422512

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