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First-time Homebuyer Resources

Let us help you achieve homeownership.

service to see you through

Buying a home is a major decision. Anyone (especially a first-time homebuyer!) is sure to have questions.

Once you’re ready to begin the process, our team has the expertise to guide you every step of the way.  We’ll start by getting to know you and introducing you to the people who will be helping you move forward. Then we’ll get you preapproved, so you know how much house you can afford.

Get started by selecting a mortgage originator

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getting ready to buy a home

Here are some helpful steps to get you started on the road to home ownership.

  • Save for Your Down Payment

    Most homebuyers can expect to put down 5-20% of the purchase price — but at Reliant, we have programs that require as little as 0-3%.

    In addition to using savings for a down payment, consider using gift money and tax refunds, or applying for a first-time buyer grant—many offer matching funds. First-time homebuyers can withdraw from IRAs without penalty to purchase a home (please consult with your tax advisor).

  • Get Preapproved for Your Loan

    The first step in the homebuying process is getting preapproved. It’s free, and it’s a great way to get a handle on what you truly can afford.

    Once you know how much you can borrow, you’ll know what price point to shop for and how much you’ll want to save. Having a preapproval in hand also gives you greater negotiating power.

    Get preapproved

  • Get Your Free Annual Credit Report

    Mortgage underwriters review your credit report when making lending decisions. The report shows your current liabilities and obligations, such as auto loans, credit card debt, child support, and more.

    Make sure there are no surprises during that review.  You have the right to a free credit report from each credit reporting agency every 12 months.

    Request your free credit report

  • Build Your Credit

    Your credit score is based on your payment history, the debt you owe, how long you’ve been using your credit, how you’ve managed it, and more. Credit scores range from 300 to 850. The national average is 725, so to open up as many options as possible, you’ll want to be as good or better.  Even if your score is lower than you’d like, there may be simple things you can do now to help raise it before you need to apply for a mortgage.

    Watch this video for tips on how to improve your score

you've signed a contract—now what?

Congratulations!  You’re on your way to owning your home!

Once you’ve found the right home for you and signed a contract, there are still a number of steps to take to ensure a smooth homebuying process.  Use our homebuying guide to help you navigate the next steps to buying your home.

Homebuying Guide Next Steps

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Homebuyer Dream Program™

With this limited-time grant program, first-time homebuyers can get up to $20,000 to use toward a down payment and closing costs!

Make sure you qualify: View the eligibility guidelines, and review the steps below, which you’ll need to complete to qualify.

  • 1. Get prequalified with Reliant

    Get prequalified for a mortgage with Reliant! A mortgage loan originator will provide qualified applicants with a prequalification letter to present to your real estate professional.

    Get prequalified online

  • 2. Take a homebuyer certification course

    Take the required homebuyer certification course at one of the local approved counseling agencies. Once complete, provide the certificate to Reliant.

    Find a certification course

  • 3. Begin looking for houses

    It is important to be aware of the market and your wants and needs so you are prepared when it’s time to put an offer in.

    Resources for finding a home

  • 4. Make an offer on a house

    Once an offer is accepted and you have an attorney approved purchase contact, provide the contract to Reliant.

  • 5. Provide documents to Reliant

    Provide all of the above documentation, as well as 30 days’ worth of recent paystubs and all W2 forms from the two most recent years, and any additional required documents to Reliant.

  • 6. Reliant applies on your behalf

    Once Reliant receives all of the above documentation, Reliant will apply for the grant on your behalf.

Eligibility Guidelines

  • First-time Buyer(s)

    In order to qualify, anyone who will be listed on the mortgage or their spouse must be a first-time homebuyer (someone who has not owned a home within the last three years).

  • Income Limits

    Depending on the county where the property is located, the maximum annual household income is $82,960 or less for 1-2 person households, or $95,404 or less for households of 3+ people.

    Anyone over the age of 18 who will be living in the house must provide income verification, even if that person will not be on the mortgage.

  • Owner Occupancy

    Any buyer who does not own and occupy the home purchased through the Homebuyer Dream Program™ for at least five years may be required to pay back a portion of the grant funds.

  • Additional Guidelines

    Our Homebuyer Dream Program™ flyer includes information about the program, as well as all of the required steps and detailed eligibility guidelines.

    View flyer

First-time homebuyer certification courses

Wondering where to take a certified first-time homebuyer course? Here are some options.

First-time Homebuyer Workshop from the Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Rochester. Call to register: 585-546-3440.  New! Coupon code is now available, follow link above for more information.

Homebuyer Education Class from the Housing Council at PathStone. Call to register: 585-546-3700 Ext. 3035.

additional first-time homebuyer mortgage programs

If you’re a credit-worthy, low- to moderate-income borrower — especially if you’re shopping for a home in one of our designated communities — this Fannie Mae program may be a fit.

With low, fixed rates and loan terms up to 30 years, HomeReady (offered through Reliant) can be combined with community grants through many municipalities to make buying your first home an achievable goal.

  • Low down payment. Finance up to 97% of your purchase price with many borrower flexibilities.
  • Flexible funding sources. With no minimum contribution from the homebuyer, this program has the flexibility to help you afford your first home.
  • Home-ownership education. Ready for the responsibilities of home-ownership? We can help with that. Get an easy-to-use, free online course provided by Fannie Mae called HomeViewTM to help get you ready to own your home.

Learn more about the HomeReady program

State of New York Mortgage Agency (SONYMA) offers low-interest mortgage loans and programs to help qualified buyers purchase their first homes. If you haven’t owned a home within the past three years, or if you’re a US veteran, this may be an option for you.

  • Owner-occupied purchases only
  • Minimum 3% down payment
  • Purchase price and income limits apply
  • Down payment assistance may be available

Read more about SONYMA Mortgages

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