First-Time Home Buying Guide

Get the Guide

Walk through the steps of home ownership.

Buying a home is exciting, intimidating and confusing all at once, especially for those who are first-time homebuyers. Thankfully, we have mortgage experts who make the process as simple as possible. Below you’ll find some general steps for the homebuying process. You can read more in our Road to Homeownership Guide.

10 Tips for a First-Time Homebuyer

1. Start saving now.

The more money you have for a down payment, the more comfortable you’ll be.

2. Get information.

Do you know about the different mortgage types? What terms are available to borrowers? Answering these and many other questions will help you to understand the homebuying process even more.

3. Prepare your documentation.

Get your finances organized to help you determine a budget. Beyond your credit score, there’s a lot of important information that you’ll need for your mortgage application. These include tax documents, income information, and more.

4. Check and improve your credit score.

As with many other loan types, your credit score is an important part of your mortgage application. Your credit score is a measure of your trustworthiness as a borrower. A higher score means better terms for you, which will save you money! Knowing your credit score is the first step, and FCU members get free FICO© credit score updates monthly.

5. Get pre-approved for a FCU mortgage.

A pre-approval letter is integral for buyers! Knowing what loan programs and terms you qualify for will give both you and potential sellers confidence in your ability to purchase a home. Consider all of the costs– home inspection, down payment, closing costs, etc.

6. Find a realtor.

Something especially helpful for first-time buyers is finding a good realtor. Besides mortgage loan officers, realtors have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the home buying process in addition to real estate knowledge. A real estate agent will help you find your dream home, leading us to our next step.

7. Start house-hunting.

You know what you can afford, pre-approval letter in hand. You are ready to go find your home.

8. Make an offer.

If you know you’ve found your dream home, there’s no time to waste!

9. Work with FCU on your mortgage.

Fixed, variable or government-backed, our mortgage loan officers will help you put the finishing touches on your mortgage. We also recommend a home inspection before you actually purchase the home. While it’s an additional cost, a home inspection has the potential to save you a lot of money!

10. Close on your home.

Our final step, closing! You’ll go through the formal process of completing your contract. Congratulations! You are now a homeowner!

Get Started Today

Start your Pre-Approval

Complete an application online to get started

Apply for a Mortgage
Call 352-264-2649

Get connected with one of our mortgage experts

Call Now
Mortgage Team

Our Mortgage Loan Originators are ready to help you

Meet Your Mortgage Team


Home Mortgage Disclosure Act Notice

The HMDA data about our residential mortgage lending is available online for review. The data shows geographic distribution of loans and applications; ethnicity, race, sex, age and income of applicants and borrowers; and information about loan approvals and denials. This data is available online at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Website ( HMDA data for many other financial institutions is also available at this Website.