You must be a first-time home buyer or have not owned a home in the past three years. Borrowers who have owned a home previously may also apply if they plan to purchase in a Federally Targeted Area of the State and do not own property at the time of loan closing. (see the CHFA Resource Map for Federal Targeted Areas)
8 Steps to Buying Your First Home
Buying your first home is an exciting and important milestone, not to mention a long-term investment. Follow the 8 Steps below to make the home-buying process a little easier!
CHFA can help with financing. We offer 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages with below-market interest rates to low-to moderate-income families and individuals in Connecticut. This guide will help you understand the process of buying a house with a CHFA loan.
STEP 1: Homebuyer Education
CHFA understands that the home buying process can be complicated, therefore we encourage all first-time homebuyers to attend a free Pre-Purchase Homebuyer Education Workshop offered by CHFA-Approved Housing Counseling Agencies throughout the State. Our expert housing counseling professionals will teach you about the entire home buying process, financial responsibilities of homeownership, and answer your questions to help you decide if homeownership is right for you.
STEP 2: Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
Getting pre-approved for a mortgage means you have been approved for financing. While this is not actually getting a mortgage, this important step shows the seller that you will be able to pay for a home.
A CHFA-Approved Lender can tell you which of our mortgages you may qualify for and can pre-approve you for a mortgage. You are not obligated to get your mortgage from the lender that pre-qualifies you.
STEP 3: Find a Real Estate Agent and Attorney
Once you know you can afford a house, you’ll discover that buying one is complicated! Finding a real estate agent and attorney to guide you through the process will make it easier. Ask family and friends for recommendations or search CT Realtors or CT Bar.
A real estate agent will help you find a home within your price range, and using the CHFA Resource Map, you can check to see if the property meets CHFA Income & Sales Price Limits. Remember, the real estate agent is there to represent your interests, even though he or she receives a commission through the seller once the home is sold.
A real estate attorney will explain all the fine print and make sure that you are legally protected in any transactions. His or her advice will be especially valuable during the mortgage closing when you will have to read and sign a stack of documents.
STEP 4: Find the Right Home
Think about your ideal home. Are you looking for a house or a condo? How many bedrooms would you like? Is it in a city or a suburb? Are there schools nearby? What are the property taxes?
Discuss your needs and wishes with your real estate agent. He or she will help you find the right home in a community where you and your family are most likely to thrive.
If you’re thinking of buying a condo with a CHFA mortgage, it must be located in a complex that is approved by the insurer and/or the investor and meets their guidelines. Check with your Lender or Realtor for condominium eligibility.
STEP 5: Make an Offer
Once you find a home, figure out how much you’re willing to pay for it. Consider the condition of the home, the cost of any repairs, where it is located and how long it has been on the market. Your real estate agent can help you draft your offer.
The seller can accept or reject your offer or make a counteroffer. Once an offer is accepted and the seller signs it, the offer becomes a legal contract that commits you to buy the home at a specific price within a specific time frame.
This is when the clock starts ticking! You will have 90 days to get a mortgage, schedule a home inspection, negotiate a final contract and close on your new home.
STEP 6: Apply for a Mortgage
CHFA has many mortgage programs, including special loans for Teachers, Police Officers, Military personnel, Veterans, and residents with disabilities. Your CHFA lender will find a CHFA mortgage that fits your needs, guide you through the application process and will explain your monthly mortgage payment.
Your lender will also give you an estimate of your closing costs, which can range from three percent to five percent of the home’s sale price and can include application fees.
If you need help covering your down payment, ask about our Downpayment Assistance Program.
STEP 7: Home Inspection and Appraisal
A home inspection tells you if the home you are buying is in good shape or if it needs costly repairs, like a new roof or new plumbing. Depending on the results of the inspection, you and your real estate agent can renegotiate your contract with the seller.
We recommend that you hire an independent, state-licensed home inspector. Your real estate agent, attorney or lender can provide a list. Plan to attend the home inspection.
An appraisal assesses the value of a home based on the value of comparable homes in the neighborhood. Your lender will arrange for an appraisal to, essentially, find out whether the home you’re buying is worth the amount of money you’re borrowing.
STEP 8: Closing
Once you close, there’s no going back! Make sure you and your home are ready for that final step.
Walk through the home with the seller and your attorney 24 hours before the closing. Carefully inspect the interior and exterior for any damages or problems that had not been previously discovered. Your attorney can help resolve any necessary repairs.
You will not be able to dispute any damages or problems that are discovered after the closing.
Closings involve a stack of paperwork. Make sure you review and understand all the mortgage and real estate documents before your closing date. Feel free to ask your attorney questions before signing anything.
You will need to bring two forms of identification and a certified cashier’s check to cover closing costs.
Once all the paperwork is signed, the title of the home will be transferred to you. Your lender will give you a mortgage payment schedule with instructions. You will leave the closing with a folder full of paper and a set of house keys.
Congratulations, you are officially a homeowner!