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buying your first home

Buying Your First Home: Understanding the Basics

Buying a home is a big commitment. It’s important to take that step with a mortgage loan officer who will support you throughout the process, help you find a loan that works within your budget, and keep you updated on a regular basis.

When you use the SEIU Home Financing Program, we’ll work with you to help you make informed decisions and make sure you have your questions answered as you move forward. Here are some things you should know before you get started.

How to decide between buying and renting
It takes more than looking at your mortgage payment to figure out whether buying or renting is a better option. You may want to consult your tax advisor to see. You’ll want to consider such implications as:

  • Down payment and closing costs
  • Taxes
  • Monthly payments
  • Insurance

What your credit score means
Your credit score allows lenders to quickly and objectively evaluate your credit history. The higher your score, the lower the risk.

Understanding your score:

  • Credit scores range from 300 to 900
  • Excellent credit rating starts at 740
  • A score below 620 is considered poor

Your credit report matters in more ways than one. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Credit scores may affect your mortgage rates
  • Reviewing your credit report helps you catch signs of identity theft early, and helps ensure that the information on your credit report is accurate
  • Get a free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each of the major credit reporting agencies

Why getting pre-qualified can be an advantage
The pre-qualification process helps determine how much home you can afford before you actually apply for a loan. Some benefits include:

  • It helps you focus your search within a realistic price range
  • You’ll be issued a pre-qualification letter
  • It may give you more leverage when you make an offer to purchase

Fixed-rate vs. adjustable-rate mortgages
It’s important to select the right loan for your needs and budget. Your mortgage loan officer will go over several factors to consider when you make the choice.

Fixed-rate mortgage: Offers a rate that stays the same throughout the life of the loan. Your monthly principal and interest payment remains the same

Adjustable-rate mortgage: Offers a lower initial interest rate for a fixed period of time, which can adjust annually for the remaining life of the loan. Your monthly principal and interest payment may go up or down after the initial fixed period.

How the right lender can make a difference
As you take your first step toward buying a home, make sure it’s with a bank you can count on—one that puts you first through every step of the process. With the SEIU Home Financing Program, you’ll get:

  • Competitive interest rates
  • An easy online application process
  • A licensed mortgage loan officer to help you
  • Timely responses to your questions
  • The satisfaction of working with a lender you can trust
  • A bank that treats you with respect

Interested in a mortgage? Let’s talk.
Now that you know the basics of buying your first home, you can take the next steps to making your dream your reality. Plus, we offer special benefits exclusively for SEIU members.

To learn more about the SEIU Home Financing Program, call us toll-free at 1-800-706-0750.


To be eligible for the benefits under SEIU Home Financing Program, applicants must identify themselves as SEIU Members during the loan application process. SEIU membership is subject to verification.

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