First-Time Homebuyers

Let us put our experience and knowledge to work for you

Let's do this!

  • Free prequalification
  • Special programs
  • Helpful lenders

With you, every step of the way

Buying your first home is an exciting milestone. For many, it's the largest purchase they'll ever make. That's why you should partner with someone who can meet you wherever you are in the journey, and guide you the rest of the way home. We offer conventional mortgages and a variety of other programs.

"I had an awesome experience from start to finish with NorthCountry! Very professional and easy to deal with! Highly recommend to first time home buyers! I'm 20 years old and was new to the process and they helped me through every step of the way!" -- Levi Jackson, Milton, VT


Homeownership Assistance Programs: First-Come, First-Served

Through FHLBank Boston, we can help connect qualified borrowers with two homeownership assistance programs available on a first-come, first-served basis. If you're interested, contact us for next steps!

  1. The Equity Builder Program assists eligible homebuyers with up to $30,806 in down payment and closing costs. Qualified households have incomes at or below 80% of HUD Area Median Income based on your property's location. Successful completion of a homebuyer education/counseling program is required for first-time homebuyers.
  2. Housing Our Workforce grants assist eligible homeowners with 10% of the home sales price or up to $25,000 in down payment and closing costs. Qualified households earn more than 80% and up to 120% of HUD area median income based on property location. Successful completion of a homebuyer education/counseling program is required for first-time homebuyers.

Federal Housing Administration (FHA)

FHA loans are for single family and multi-family homes in designated rural areas. A good credit history is required, as well as employability, job stability, and reliability. FHA loans accept down payments as low as 3.5%. Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) is required for a minimum of 11 years, based on your home's loan-to-value ratio.

Veterans Administration (VA)

Potential homebuyers who meet basic service requirements have access to loans with no down payment requirement, low rates, and no requirement for mortgage insurance. VA home loans are available for buying or refinancing a primary residence, including qualifying condominiums, townhomes, stick built, and new construction. Spouses of service members who were disabled or died while in the line of duty may also be eligible.

Reward Education and Choose Home Ownership (REACH)

If student loan debit is standing between you and homeownership, REACH may be the solution. REACH increases your buying power by refinancing your student loan debt at a low fixed rate, in conjunction with a home loan.

For information about all the programs available, reach out to us and we'll be happy to answer your questions.

"What an amazing experience it was to close on our first home! Things were done efficiently and speedy! Come to NorthCountry for your mortgage loans!" - Naomi & Dan Beauvais, Irasburg, VT

You've got questions, we've got answers

View All FAQs

A history of making monthly payments on time indicates you are likely to make mortgage payments on time. A credit history that is free of delinquencies or collections shows a responsible handling of debt. A minimum of two years of a good payment history is beneficial.

Even if your credit isn't spotless, let's talk. A conventional mortgage requires a minimum credit score of 620, but other loan options may be higher or lower than that. If your credit score is standing between you and purchasing a home, we can review your finances with you and suggest steps you can take to meet the requirements.

The answer is .... it depends. The only way to confidently know how much money you can borrow is to meet with one of our lenders to review your income, assets, and overall objectives.

Step 1:  The Application

Once you find the home you want, we verify the information on your applicaino, lock your rate, issue disclosures, and collect supporting documentation.

Step 2:  Processing

At this stage, the appraisal and title search are ordered, and the file is prepared and submitted for underwriting.

Step 3:  Underwriting

Your information is reviews and, if necessary, clarified. Hand in there - the finish line is near!

Step 4:  Choose a home inspector

Ask your friends, family and co-workers about home inspectors they would recommend. When you find one you trust, schedule the inspection and be sure to attend. Depending on the loan or property, you may need to do additional inspections, such as fire safety or water tests. We'll let you know if those are necessary.

Step 5:  Closing the Loan

Your loan is approved, and your closing is scheduled. That's when you'll sign a few more forms and receive the keys to your new home.

  • Review and sign documents from your lender, including a closing disclosure and commitment letter. This will show what your monthly payment will be.
  • Be sure to go over what it means to escrow your homeowner's insurance and property taxes.
  • At least one day before the closing, set up a wire or obtain a certified check for the funds you need to bring. A personal check will not be accepted.
  • Do your final walk-through of the property.
  • Grab your ID, and attend the closing. Congratulations!
  1. Review your credit
  2. Create a budget and savings plan: Save, save, save! Closing costs can by up to 6% of the loan amount. Decide on a comfortable monthly payment. Don't forget to factor for utilities, maintenance, taxes, and insurance.
  3. Get a free prequalification by completing the mortgage application (available online)
  4. Choose your realtor (ask friends, family, and co-workers for recommendations)
  5. Find the home you would like to buy
  6. Make an offer: Work with your realtor and attorney to establish contingencies.
  7. Submit the purchase and sales agreement to the seller. Once the seller accepts your offer, send the contract to your lender.
  8. Wait for the results of the home inspection
  9. Prepare for your closing (paperwork, scheduling)
  10. Attend the closing (pay the seller and get the keys)
  11. Enjoy your new home!

It isn't unusual to encounter obstacles along the way. Although they may temporarily slow the process, we can show you how to get back on track. Here are three common challenges people encounter.

Application Declined

Inadequate income, too much debt, or a weak credit history are common reasons for an application to be declined. If you find yourself in this situation, don't be discouraged. We can usually suggest ways to address any issues so you can try again when the time is right.

Property Appraisal Too Low

If the appraised value of the property is less than the amount being financed, it might make sense to make a counteroffer. Your loan officer can advise you on how to proceed.

Title Issues

To protect our interests as well as yours, we will order a title search from an attorney's office. The attorney will travel to the town where the property is located, examine the deeds and other land records affecting the property, and prepare a title opinion detailing the results of the title search.


Every loan will have a unique set of requirements based on the borrower, lender, and current market. Here's a quick set of documents you'll probably be asked to provide:

  • Two months of account statements (bank, credit union, etc.)
  • Asset account statements  (brokerage, 401(k), savings)
  • The two most recent pay stubs for you, your spouse, and any co-signers
  • Your last two years' W-2s
  • Self-employed applicants will need to provide all pages of a 1040 form and all schedules for the last two years along with a full business tax return for the last two years' taxes
  • If you are planning to use gift money as a part or all of your down payment, you'll need to provide a letter from the donro making it clear that the funds are a gift and not a loan. The letter should include the donor's name, address and phone number; their relationship to you; the amount of the gift; their signature; and the address of the property being purchased.

Providing as much documentation as possible early on will help us deliver the best possible consutation and can help avoid unpleasant surprises down the road.

We want to be your chosen lender, but it's good to do your research! Here are a few resources to help you feel confident about your choice:

  • NMLS Consumer Access: Verify a lender's license is in good standing.
  • Better Business Bureau: Learn more about a business and its past performance.
  • Friends and relatives: Find out who they used, and how they felt about the experience.

It's important to choose a lender or mortgage professional who can take the time to explain your options, answer questions, and let you know what to expect next. It's also helpful to have someone who is able to step in and help if the unexpected happens. If you feel like a lender isn't a good fit, move on.