Preparing to buy
First-time homebuyer requirements
Wondering how to qualify as a first-time homebuyer? Each situation is unique. But these general guidelines give you a glimpse into what mortgage lenders consider.
Down payment lowdown
Down payments on fixed-rate home loans typically range from 3% to 20% of the purchase price. Dupaco also offers 100% financing options for eligible buyers. Hint: 100% financing only applies to adjustable-rate mortgages.
However, if your down payment is less than 20%, you’ll need to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI)—adding an additional monthly expense that doesn’t go toward your mortgage. Check out our tips on avoiding PMI here.
Know what you can afford
A home loan is a years-long commitment. And you want to enjoy your home without feeling overwhelmed by the monthly expense. Our free home affordability calculator will give you an idea of how much home you can afford based on your income, down payment and other factors.
Maintain a healthy credit score
Maintaining good credit is key for accessing the best financing options. While each situation is unique, 620 is the minimum credit score eligible buyers need for a Dupaco fixed-rate home loan. However, lenders also consider other factors like income, savings and debts to determine eligibility.
Preparing to buy
We'll help you every step of the way
Buying your first home is exciting—and expensive! But there are steps you can take to put yourself on a successful path to homeownership. Plus, once you start the Dupaco mortgage application process, you’ll be guided every step of the way with our free mortgage tracker tool.
Common FAQs for first-time homebuyers
We get it—applying for your first home can be a tricky and overwhelming. But fret not! Our team of experts has answers to some of the most commonly asked questions.
- Don’t change jobs or become self-employed without first discussing it with your lender (your pre-approval is based on your current job history and income).
- Don’t make any big changes to your credit. Avoid big credit card purchases, new credit inquiries and closing out any revolving credit accounts.
- Don’t acquire any non-sufficient funds or overdraft fees. It can tell lenders that you have a hard time managing money.
If you’re renting, you don’t have any long-term responsibility for the place you live in. When something breaks or stops working, you’re usually not the one paying for it. But here’s the thing: when you’re paying rent, you’re basically helping somebody else pay their mortgage. Eventually, you’ll move out with nothing to show for it but your memories – while the person who owns the place will have used your rent payments to build up their equity (which means money in their pocket later). Instead of supporting somebody else’s investment, why not make your own? If you understand your budget and purchase something you can afford, your mortgage payment can be similar to what you pay for rent each month now. (Hint: Here are 8 things you should know if you plan to buy your own house.) So as you pay down the loan and build equity as a homeowner, you’ll have the flexibility to borrow more easily for other needs in the future or even get money back when you decide to sell.
Use this free rent vs. buy calculator to estimate the total costs of each option. Knowing how the prices compare over time can help you decide whether buying a house vs. renting an apartment is the best choice for you!
Getting pre-approved for a home loan lets you know how much you can borrow based on your income and existing debt. It also lets sellers know you’re a serious buyer who can comfortably make an offer without rushing to secure financing. Ready to get pre-approved?
Down payments on fixed-rate home loans usually range from 3% to 20% of the home’s purchase price. Dupaco also offers 100% financing options for eligible buyers. Hint: 100% financing only applies to adjustable-rate mortgages. However, if your down payment is less than 20%, you’ll have to pay private mortgage insurance. What is private mortgage insurance? PMI is an extra monthly expense that doesn’t go toward your mortgage. Instead, PMI protects the lender if you default on your loan. Learn how to avoid PMI here.
Each situation is unique. But eligible buyers need a credit score of at least 620 for a Dupaco fixed-rate home loan. Your credit score is just one piece of the puzzle. Lenders will also review your salary, savings, other debts and more to determine eligibility.
The homebuying process usually takes about 30 days.
A typical monthly mortgage payment could include:
- Homeowner’s insurance
- Property taxes
- Private Mortgage Insurance (if your down payment is less than 20%)