3 Mortgage Tips For Service Personnel To Help Get Your First Home


House made out of Jenga pieces and a hand pushing a block out of the house.


Buying your first home should be a happy and rewarding life event after years of service - protecting, teaching, and caring for others. Unfortunately, it can turn out to be a rather stressful or unpleasant experience if you are not prepared and informed of the process itself.

To make the dream of owning a home more attainable in a planned-out and least demanding manner, home assistance programs like herohomeprograms.com can be of great help. To help you get your first home, take note of these three tips for service personnel:

  1. Know What You Can Afford

    The first thing you should have well thought of and planned out is how much you can set aside to buy your first home.

    • The 28-36 Rule

      The 28/36 rule calculates the amount of debt or loan an individual or household can afford. According to this rule, a maximum of 28% of gross monthly income should be spent on total housing expenses-principal and interest payments together with any other monthly expenses such as insurance, taxes, or utilities.

      Furthermore, no more than 36% of your gross monthly income should go to settling your total debt service, including housing and other debt such as car loans, credit cards, student loans, and home equity loans. You can use one of the free online home affordability calculators to get a clearer view of this aspect of your finances.

    • Check And Correct Your Credit Score If Needed

      Most banks and lenders would want to know your credit score, which indicates your willingness to pay a loan and your ability to pay it back. Usually, a conventional loan requires a minimum score of 620. A low credit score can be an obstacle, preventing you from buying your dream house.

      Even so, there are ways to improve it, namely, by paying all your bills on time, settling other outstanding debts, and not opening any extra credit lines if possible. Make sure to report a correct credit score; otherwise, you'll risk getting quoted a higher interest rate than you deserve. To avoid this mistake, register for a free credit report from one of the three main credit offices: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Dispute any errors you may find.

  2. Ask for Help

    Getting the best mortgage deal does not happen without putting serious time and effort into it. It's advised not to jump on the first offer but rather to shop for the best mortgage option, research state and local assistance programs, and apply with multiple lenders. If you do not feel confident or knowledgeable enough to undergo the whole process on your own, you may look for assistance programs that can explicitly help you by:

    • Taking care of all the research for you as to the available benefits;
    • Customizing approach to your situation and financial capacity;
    • Helping you improve your credit.

    If unsure about what questions to ask your mortgage advisor and what concerns to deal with, seeking help from such programs will make a lot of difference in your pursuit of getting your first home.

  3. Prepare Documents

    Before you can be offered a mortgage, lenders will need to see proof of your income and identification, as well as other important documents. It's good to have the paperwork ready in advance, as it can significantly speed up the process, especially if you send in all the documents in one batch.

    Often, it will not be enough to print out documents at home. Instead, you will need original copies, which may take a few weeks to arrive because the issuance of certificates made by the local government offices can often be snail-paced. This slows down the process of applying for a mortgage even more. These are the most important documents you should have prepared:

    • Tax returns
    • Proof of income
    • Bank statements
    • ID
    • Renting history with letter of recommendation from the landlord if you're a previous renter
    • Gift letters if your friends and family are helping you buy a house by giving you money
    • Proof of funds for the down payment

    Collecting all these papers can be a time-consuming process. If you won't have it all prepared on time, you'll risk missing an opportunity of buying your dream house because someone else was more prepared to jump in on the offer than you are-with all the documents set in place.

    Keys on a piece of paper


Buying your first house does not have to be a stressful and time-consuming experience to dread. There are agencies and programs set up to help you reach the goal of owning your first home in a way that is designed specifically for you and your situation, leaving all the anxiety and uncertainty at bay.