An agent handing over keys to a cropped couple

The Internet is much more than a tool for casual browsing. It’s ingrained in everything we do – from paying bills to shopping for a home. Among all generations of home buyers, the first step taken in the home search process was to look online for properties, according to the National Association of Realtors’ 2022 Home Buyer and Seller Generation Trends report.

With so much information available at your fingertips it can be hard to make sense of it all – especially for a process that can be as protracted and complicated as the purchase of a home. The study also found that first-time home buying among younger generations is on the rise, with over 4 out of 5 younger millennial home buyers – 81% – purchasing for the first time. Just under half – 48% – of older millennial buyers were first-time buyers, making it even more imperative to have a firm understanding of the factors involved in purchasing a home.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. both have resources to help demystify the homebuying process. But having a working knowledge of the process and available programs to assist first-time homebuyers is a far cry from determining the right loan to meet a consumer’s unique financial needs and budget considerations.

That’s were a community bank like FVSBank comes in. Our expert lenders can help explain not only what you can afford and what to expect during the process, but other factors to consider when determining the right time to buy a home.

For those who are ready, there are several options available in addition to conventional loans, including mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration. FHA loans only require a 3.5% down payment and typically have higher loan-to-value ratios and lower credit score requirements than conventional loans (though buyers will have to refinance if they want to avoid paying private mortgage insurance for the life of the loan).

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers generous borrowing terms to servicemembers, veterans and surviving spouses, often requiring no down payment or mortgage insurance. While VA has only a few requirements for things like debt and sufficient income, VA lenders may add their own requirements.

In addition to available federal homeownership and home-buying assistance programs, there are numerous programs sponsored by state and local governments, as well as other organizations, that make homeownership more affordable.

During National Homeownership Month, we at FVSBank want to help you find your dream home. Are you eyeing a house in Waupun, Fond du Lac, Oshkosh, or somewhere else in the Fox Valley region? We’re well-equipped to guide you through the local market. Don’t worry if you’re not ready to buy just yet. We can also assist you with crafting a budget and setting financial goals that align with your home-ownership journey. So when you’re ready to grab those house keys, you’ll be more than prepared. Here’s to finding the perfect home in our beautiful Wisconsin communities – with a little help from your friends at FVSBank.