Home Sweet Homeownership

What you should know before you begin house hunting.

Why Buy

There's no place like a home of your own

Renting has its advantages, though for some it never quite feels like home. The decision to buy can be both exciting and intimidating – but there are certain things that make it all worth it.


When you own something, you have the freedom to renovate, remodel or even expand. So if you want to paint the walls and get new floors, or grow a garden and build a treehouse – you can. It's yours.

Tax benefits

Many homeowners can deduct mortgage interest and property taxes on their federal income taxes each year, but you should consult your tax advisor about your personal situation.

Return on investment

If you buy in a solid market, your house may become worth more than you paid for it. Plus, as you pay down your mortgage you’ll be increasing equity.

Before You Decide

Get ready for a long-term commitment

Homeownership comes with plenty of financial and emotional benefits, but it's also not for everyone. You should weigh the pros and cons to see what makes the most sense for you and your life.

Expect significant out of pocket costs

Many lenders require a 20% down payment if you want to avoid paying Private Mortgage Insurance. Then, when you factor in closing costs and moving expenses, you're looking at spending a pretty penny just to get in the door. Make sure to research first-time homebuyer programs that can help you save on down payment or closing costs.

Maintenance fees are all on you

Let's say your refrigerator breaks or your roof starts leaking. If you rent, your landlord will take care of that. When you buy, you'll be responsible for any issues that come up. Big or small.

Moving on isn't as easy

If you like the idea of changing locations every so often, then maybe homeownership isn't for you. Because if you want to move, you'll either have to sell your home or rent it out -- meaning you become a landlord yourself.

Get Pre-qualified

Let sellers know you're serious

It's a good idea to get pre-qualified so you know how much you can afford and set a realistic budget. Plus, a letter from us gives you more leverage when house-hunting, putting you in a stronger negotiating position when you're ready to make an offer. When you apply for pre-qualification, we take a few things into consideration before making a final decision.

Credit score

This is determined by things like payment history and how long you’ve had credit. This number is used to figure out how likely you are to pay back your loan and what interest rate you'll get.

Debt-to-income ratio

This percentage is your total monthly expenses divided by your gross monthly income. To make sure you have a safe cushion, experts recommend your total monthly expenses don’t exceed 39% of your monthly income.

Down payment

This is the amount paid up front when you purchase a home and isn't part of the loan. The higher the down payment, the less risky you seem to a lender – which could mean a lower interest rate, too.

Employment history

Lenders want to make sure you'll be able to afford your home, so information on your job history and proof of income is important.

Get to Know Us

From dedicated home experts and competitive rates, to loans that fit a variety of financing needs, take a closer look at everything our home-buying experience has to offer.

Crunch the Numbers

Monthly Payment Calculator

Before you make an offer, it helps to have a good idea of what your payments will be and set a realistic budget. We’ll show you how much you can expect to pay along with a detailed breakdown of where your money is going each month.

Affordability Calculator

We look at your household income and current financial obligations to help estimate how much house you can afford. To make sure you have a safe cushion, experts recommend your total monthly expenses don’t exceed 39% of your monthly income.

Savings Goal Calculator

Be honest about what you can really afford or if you should save a little while longer. We’ll help you estimate how much you should save for your down payment and how long it will take to reach your goal.