Life Planning

First Time Homebuying Tips

Posted on Dec 22, 2023

First Time Homebuying Tips

As a local community bank, we understand the challenges that first-time homebuyers (FTHB) face when trying to purchase a home. It can be a daunting process, and many individuals may not know where to start. That's why we're here to help. In this article, we'll discuss first-time homebuyer programs and share some tips on how to make the homebuying process easier.

First-Time Homebuyer Programs

First-time homebuyer programs are designed to help individuals who have never owned a home before. These programs provide assistance with down payments, closing costs, and other expenses associated with purchasing a home. There are several types of first-time homebuyer programs and low or no down payment options available, including:

  1. VA Loans: Veterans Affairs (VA) loans are available to eligible active-duty service members, veterans, and their spouses. There are no down payment requirements for most loans.  Although VA Loans are not a FTHB Program, they can be utilized by the FTHB if they meet VA eligibility. 
  2. United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Loans: USDA loans are available to individuals in eligible rural areas. These loans typically require no down payment for most eligible properties.  For homes less than 12 months old that have never been occupied, a 10% down payment may be required. 
  3. First Hawaiian Bank’s First Step Home Loan:  A low 10.01% minimum down payment program with a waiver of mortgage insurance. Please visit First Step Home Loan | First Hawaiian Bank ( to find out more information about this program as well as the terms and conditions.
Tips for First-Time Homebuyers
  1. Get Pre-Qualified: Before you start looking for a home, it's important to get pre-qualified for a mortgage. This will give you an idea of how much you can afford to spend on a home and will make the homebuying process easier.
  2. Work with a Real Estate Agent: A real estate agent can help you navigate the homebuying process and provide valuable advice on neighborhoods, schools, and other factors to consider.
  3. Clean Up Your Credit:  Check your credit report and credit score before you start the homebuying process. By law, you can get a free copy of your credit report every 12 months at Be sure to review your credit report for any errors and dispute them early on in your home buying process. It can take time for credit bureaus to change incorrect information, so cleaning up your credit may take a while.
  4. Save for a Down Payment:  It's important to save for a down payment if you can.  A larger down payment amount will help reduce your monthly mortgage payments and may help you qualify for a lower interest rate.
  5. Consider Closing Costs: In addition to a down payment, you'll also need to budget for closing costs. These can include fees for title insurance, appraisals, and other expenses related to the purchase of a home.
  6. Don't Overextend Yourself: It's important to stay within your budget when purchasing a home. Don't overextend yourself financially, as this can lead to stress and financial difficulties down the road.
  7. Learn More about Available Mortgage Options: Before you begin house-hunting, you should learn more about available mortgage options. First Hawaiian Bank offers a variety of mortgage options, from fixed-rate mortgages and adjustable-rate mortgages to Jumbo Loans, First-Time Homebuyer Loans, VA Loans, and more. Loan payment terms also vary and typically range from 15 to 30 years for most loan types. Talk to your personal banker or a First Hawaiian Bank Mortgage Loan Officer to learn more about your options.

In conclusion, purchasing a home for the first time can be a challenging process, but there are resources available to help make it easier. First-time homebuyer programs can provide assistance with lower down payment and closing cost benefits, and working with a real estate agent can help provide valuable insight. By following these tips, first-time homebuyers can make the homebuying process as smooth and stress-free as possible.

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