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Resources for First-Time Homebuyers

Ready for your first home? We can help you get there. Dive into our first-time homebuyer’s mortgage guide to make informed decisions on the path to owning your dream home.

Learn about the home buying application process

Buying your first home can be exciting and overwhelming. Here are the main steps to starting the application process.

Want a deeper dive? Review our Home Loan Toolkit.

  • Crunch the numbers

    Determining your target purchase price will keep your house hunt realistic and approachable. Review your assets, debts, and income to determine the loan amount you may qualify for using our payment calculators. 

  • Check your credit

    Your credit score plays a big part in your mortgage interest rate and fees. Take action to improve your score by paying your accounts on time, as well as checking and correcting errors on your credit report.

  • Research mortgage types

    Knowing your options helps you choose the right mortgage for your house and financial goals. Luckily, there are lending programs designed specifically for first-time buyers, such as the SECU First-Time Homebuyer’s Mortgage.

  • Get pre-qualified

    SECU offers quick, no-cost, no-obligation pre-qualifications. Getting pre-qualified can help you better understand the home loan amount you can afford, strengthen your offer, and potentially close faster on your dream home.

  • Choose and apply for a mortgage

    Choose a mortgage loan product that aligns with your goals and work with an SECU mortgage loan specialist to begin the mortgage application process.

Explore programs for first-time homebuyers

SECU offers lending programs tailored to your needs as a first-time buyer.

First-Time Homebuyer's Mortgage

Realize your dream of owning your first home with this specialized mortgage, available under our 5-Year Adjustable Rate Mortgage program. Finance up to 100% of a home’s purchase price (up to $500,000)1 and up to $2,000 to cover closing costs. You may be eligible if:

  • You haven’t owned a home in the last three years; or
  • You’re a new employee of a North Carolina state agency or public school system.
  • You’re an existing employee of a North Carolina state agency or public school system relocating to accept a new position within the state.

Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta (FHLBA) First-Time Homebuyer Assistance Program

Receive up to $12,500 in down payment and closing cost assistance for purchasing your first home. In partnership with the FHLBA, these grants are forgivable if program conditions are met.2 To be eligible for grant funds: 

  • You must contribute a minimum of $1,000 to the down payment and closing costs. You will not have to repay these funds if you remain in the home for at least five years.
  • Your total household income must be less than or equal to 80% of the county area median income or the state median family income for the area where the home is being purchased, whichever is higher. 
  • Additional requirements apply.

Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta (FHLBA) Community Partners Program

Our members in the public sector work hard to make their community a better place every day. The FHLBA Community Partners Product aims to help these members afford their next home. This grant program provides up to $15,000 in home purchase assistance to current or retired law enforcement officers, educators, health care workers, firefighters, and other first responders; and veterans or active-duty members of the U.S. military or their surviving spouse.

To be eligible for the grant funds:

  • You must contribute a minimum of $1,000 toward the down payment and closing costs. You will not have to repay these funds if you remain in the home for at least five years.
  • Your total household income must be 80% or less than:
    • The county area median income; or
    • The state median family income for the area where the home is being purchased; whichever is higher.
  • Additional requirements apply.

Mortgage Credit Certificates

The NC Home Advantage Tax Credit enables eligible first-time homebuyers, military veterans, or members purchasing a home in a targeted census tract to save on their federal income taxes with a Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC). This tax credit program is available subject to income and sales price limits. If a member qualifies, a federal income tax credit for 30% of the mortgage interest payment is provided each year (up to a maximum benefit of $2,000 per year), effectively reducing the tax liability for a home purchase. More information about the MCC program is available through the NC Housing Finance Agency. Members should consult a tax advisor for further information about their potential tax liability. MCC is only available to individuals residing in and for properties located in North Carolina.

Members may take advantage of the MCC with most of our mortgage products. The Credit Union will process the MCC request at the time of the mortgage financing request for a non-refundable fee of $475 paid to NCHFA.