First-Time Homebuyer Program

Your home journey starts with Educational Systems FCU.

Buying your first home

Homeownership is one of the most exciting milestones in a person’s life. It can be a rewarding personal and financial decision since it provides a sense of security and stability. Owning a home is also an opportunity to build equity that can be used for retirement income, education costs or to pass on to loved ones. You’re not alone on this journey, we offer personalized guidance and resources to help you navigate the best mortgage option to meet your needs. Before submitting an application, review the steps below and schedule a consultation with one of our Mortgage Loan Officers.

Homebuying in four steps

Step 1
Review your finances
Step 2
Explore mortgage options
Step 3
Search for a home
Step 4
Prepare to close

Review your credit report and determine how much you need in savings to help you purchase your dream home.
Embarking on the journey to homeownership is an exciting and significant decision. To begin, we’re here to provide you with the essential knowledge and tools you need to explore homeownership with confidence.

Renting vs. buying

Renting and buying each have their pros and cons. Renting offers flexibility, but it means your monthly payments go towards someone else's investment. On the other hand, buying a home builds equity and provides long-term stability. Weigh the advantages and disadvantages of both options so you can make an informed decision that aligns with your financial goals.

Understanding your credit score

Having a good credit score can help you qualify for favorable mortgage loan terms and achieve your goal of home ownership. Your credit score is a mathematical assessment of the likelihood that you will repay what you borrow. Credit scores typically range from 300 to 850. The higher the score, the better the credit. Review your credit report annually to ensure all information is correct. It’s also an opportunity to identify ways to improve your score before applying for a loan. Learn more. 

Determining how much to save

It’s important to determine the home price that you can afford. Keep in mind that there is often a difference between the loan amount you may qualify for and how much debt you can comfortably afford to take on. Most lenders require that total housing costs not exceed 36% of your gross monthly income, and that total debt payments per month (including the mortgage) not surpass 42%. Your down payment amount and the type of mortgage are key factors in determining your price point. There are also some upfront costs that need to be taken into consideration. Learn more. 

Our experts can help you understand different mortgage types and terms so you can make an informed decision. You may be eligible for other assistance programs that the Mortgage Loan Officer will identify during your consultation.

We offer flexible mortgage terms to fit your needs including 15-year fixed, 30-year fixed and 15/15 Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARM). Schedule a consultation and we’ll help you navigate these options to determine which solution meets your needs. In addition, you may be eligible for other first-time homebuyer assistance programs that the Mortgage Loan Officer will identify during your consultation.

  • Fixed-rate mortgages: These mortgages come with an interest rate that remains constant over the life of the loan. 30-year mortgages are the most common, but you may also choose a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage. There is no pre-payment penalty so you can pay more than the minimum each month if you’d like to pay down your mortgage faster.
  • Adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs): Adjustable Rate Mortgages allow you to lock in a rate for a certain period of time. After that time period, rates can shift depending on market conditions. This solution is designed to help you afford more home now thanks to the lower rate. We're ready to help you afford more home, lower your payments, and save tens of thousands over the life of your loan.

Get pre-qualified

Getting prequalified is a crucial step in the home-buying process that can help you determine affordability. It gives you a clear picture of how much you can borrow and demonstrates to sellers that you're a serious buyer. Our streamlined prequalification process simplifies the paperwork and helps you get a head start on securing your dream home.

Mortgage calculators

Using a mortgage calculator can help you project your monthly payment, evaluate your budget and plan for the future with relevant estimates and reports.

Helpful articles


Whether you're evaluating neighborhoods or seeking the expertise of a real estate professional, we’ve got you covered.

Finding the perfect home within your budget is easier with our HomeAdvantage program. It’s a free, no obligation program that can help you find the home of your dreams, connect with an approved real estate agent and get a valuable reward.

The first step to using HomeAdvantage is to enroll. Once you enroll, you’ll have access to the following resources:

Search for your home

View the latest property listings, research similar home values and compare neighborhoods and schools. You can save your favorite searches and get email alerts when new properties become available.

Earn a cash reward

Earn an average cash reward of $1,600 when you choose a local real estate agent from our network of handpicked professionals to buy your home.

How to calculate the reward

The reward is equal to 20% of the agent's commission. To calculate the reward, multiply the home sale price by the real estate agent’s commission (typically 3%), then multiply that by 20%. Use the chart below to estimate how much you can save.


Home sale price Member reward

Reward example based on 3% agent commission.

* The HomeAdvantage® program is made available to you through a relationship between Educational Systems FCU and HomeAdvantage. Program rewards are awarded by HomeAdvantage to buyers and sellers who select and use a real estate agent in the HomeAdvantage network of approved agents. Homebuyers or sellers are not eligible for the reward if they use an agent outside this network. Using Educational Systems FCU for a mortgage is not a requirement to earn a reward. Reward amounts are dependent on the commissions paid to the agent. Reward incentives are available in most states; however, are void where prohibited by law or by the lender. Please consult with Educational Systems FCU to get details that may affect you.

Ready for the keys to your new home? Review our Frequently Asked Questions for a smooth closing experience.

As you prepare to unlock the door to your new home, here are the answers to some frequently asked questions related to closing on a new home.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What do I need for closing?
Each case is different and may require additional steps, but closing typically requires verifying your identity and a wire that includes closing costs and down payment. Our team will guide you through this process to ensure you have all the necessary paperwork.

How long does the closing process take after your offer is accepted?
The closing process timeline can vary, but it’s typically 30 to 45 days from the time the offer is accepted. During this time, various tasks are completed such as property inspections, title searches and finalizing mortgage details. Our team will keep you updated every step of the process.

What should I expect on the day of closing?
On the closing day, you can expect to meet with the seller and/or their representative(s) to review and sign the necessary documents. You’ll also transfer the required funds for closing costs and down payment. Our team will ensure your questions are answered and everything is in order for a successful closing.

Schedule a mortgage consultation

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Saving For a Home 101

Explore ways to prepare for purchasing your first home. 

Credit Reports 101

Find out how to calculate your credit score. 

First-time homebuyer assistance

You may be eligible for other first-time homebuyer assistance programs that the Mortgage Loan Officer will identify during your consultation.

Apply for a Mortgage online to take your first steps today.

Featured Resources

Mortgage Loan Calculator
Determine your monthly loan payment with this helpful calculator.
Insurance Discounts
Connecting you with discounted insurance coverage to protect your new investment.
Financial Education Seminars
Schedule a seminar to learn about various financial topics.

Save up to $2,500 on closing costs

Home loans to help you whether you're upgrading, downsizing or a first-time homebuyer. 

Frequently Asked Questions

You can apply by calling 301.779.8500 ext. 5401 or online through our Mortgage Center

Yes, our loan officers are available to answer any questions Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm. Please call 301.779.8500 ext. 5401.

We offer fixed-rate and ARM loans for the purchase or refinance of a primary or secondary home. We offer financing up to 97% of the appraised value.