First-Time Homebuyer, Meet Your First Home Concierge 

For all your home-buying firsts

Feeling totally lost? Have tons of questions? Navigating a first home purchase can be overwhelming. That’s why Ardent should be your first stop on the road to making home ownership possible. 

Our free First Home Concierge service is like GPS for first-time homebuyers. With decades of experience, we’re prepared to answer your questions and guide you through all the firsts you’ll encounter along the way. When you’ve finally found THE ONE,  take advantage of our first-time homebuyer loan program that can make financing your first home more affordable. 

For your first home, make Ardent your first choice. Because while this may be your first home purchase, it’s not ours. Let us help you get home.

 

GET PRE-APPROVED

First-time homebuyer1 loan details: 

  • Rate protection – shop for up to 6 months without your pre-approved rate increasing2
  • Put as little as 3% down
  • Same-day turnaround time on pre-approval applications
  • Take $300 off closing costs
  • Competitive interest rates
  • Conventional mortgage alternatives to FHA Loans
  • Receive 20% back on real estate commissions with HomeAdvantage
  • Down payment assistance for income-qualified buyers with First Front Door (FFD)

1Anyone who hasn’t owned a home in the last three years qualifies as a first-time homebuyer
2Rate protected if borrower still meets credit requirements after 90 days

Woman at computer applying for mortgage 

Fixed Rate Mortgage

Rates effective starting: April 22, 2024

LOAN TYPE1 Rates (as low as) Points APR2 Monthly Cost Per $10,000
30 Year fixed 7.250% 0.000% 7.323% $68.21
20 Year fixed 6.875% 0.000% 6.968% $76.79
15 Year fixed 6.625% 0.000% 6.740% $87.79

1Mortgage and Home equity loans are not available in Texas and Puerto Rico. Payment example: for example, if you borrow $400,000 for 360 monthly payments at 6.75%, you would make monthly payments of $2,594.39 at an APR of 6.807%. This is only an example. Your rate may vary based on a number of factors, such as down payment, credit score, property value, and so forth. Monthly payment does not include taxes and insurance.

2APR = Annual Percentage Rate. Ardent has a tiered loan rate policy which applies different loan rates to borrowers based upon the borrower's credit worthiness. Rates are subject to change at any time.

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.

Tools & Resources

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