First Time Homebuyer

Relax. It's time to get moving.

Buying your first home can be scary and stressful. As a First Time Homebuyer in South Carolina or North Carolina, you are sure to have questions about the process and what you need to do. You may be wondering about down payments, interest rates or how your Mortgage payment is calculated. You won’t have to worry when you choose Founders Federal Credit Union for buying your first home. We are here to guide you through the process.

Our experienced Mortgage Loan Officers can help you take the first step in purchasing a home. For many, this first step is understanding whether or not it is the right time for you to purchase a home. Our Mortgage Loan Officers can review your current financial situation and help you decide if you should purchase a home or continue saving money toward the purchase of your first home.

If you decide it is the right time to buy, securing your Mortgage with Founders will give you personalized service without fear or stress. Our qualified Mortgage Loan Officers will guide you through the Mortgage process to help you apply for your Loan, assist you with any questions you may have during the process, and help you get one step closer to being a homeowner. Call us at 1-800-845-1614 to get started.


Learn Mortgage Vocabulary

Mortgage Vocabulary

  • Appraisal


    A home appraisal is a detailed summary of how much a home is worth and compares the home to similar properties in the same area.

  • Closing


    The closing is typically held at an attorney’s office and simply means the completion of the transaction involving the sale or exchange of real estate.

  • Closing Costs

    Closing Costs:

    Closing costs are the fees required to pay at closing. These cover any fees
    associated with the sale of the home like title and settlement services, title insurance, appraisal, lender fees and any other fees carried out during closing. These fees range anywhere from 3% - 5% of the purchase price of your home. These fees may also be called Settlement Fees.

  • Down Payment

    Down Payment:

    Your down payment is the amount of money you are required to pay in cash when you close your mortgage loan.

  • Escrow Account

    Escrow Account:

    An escrow account is a separate account held in a borrower’s name to pay property taxes and insurance premiums. Flood insurance, if required, must also be escrowed.

  • Flood Certification

    Flood Certification:

    A flood certification indicates if the property is located within a designated flood zone. If the property is within a flood zone, the lender will require flood insurance.

  • Home Inspection

    Home Inspection:

    A home inspection examines the safety of the structure and mechanical condition of the home.

  • Insurance


    Homeowner’s insurance provides protection against losses and damages to your home and is required if you owe a mortgage on your home. Your homeowner’s insurance is typically paid to an escrow account.

  • Interest


    The fee you pay to borrow money.

  • Interest Rate

    Interest Rate:

    The interest rate is a percentage of the loan charged to the borrower. Your interest rate is determined at current market conditions, and reviewing your credit score, down payment and the type of mortgage you choose.

  • Loan Term

    Loan Term:

    The loan term is the amount of time you have to pay off your mortgage loan. The First Time Homebuyer Program is a 30 year term.

  • Origination Fee

    Origination Fee:

    Origination fees are additional fees paid to the lender to initiate, create and complete the mortgage loan. The mortgage loan process includes many layers of paperwork submission, review and completion to ensure the mortgage loan can be fulfilled to a borrower. With our First Time Homebuyer Program, Founders will take care of all the paperwork without an origination fee.

  • Owner’s Title Policy

    Owner’s Title Policy:

    An Owner’s Title Policy protects the buyer if a covered titled problem arises and is purchased for a one-time fee at closing and lasts for as long as you have interest in the property.

  • PMI


    PMI stands for Private Mortgage Insurance and is an added fee paid to the lender which protects the lender in case you don’t make your mortgage payments. Since Founders First Time Homebuyer Program doesn’t require PMI, you will save money each month.

  • Points


    Also known as “discount points,” points are paid directly to the lender at closing in exchange for a reduced interest rate. This is also called “buying down the rate,” which can, in turn, lower your monthly mortgage payments. A point is equal to 1% of your mortgage amount (or $1,000 for every $100,000).

  • Principal


    The principal is the amount borrowed or amount owed on a loan. This is separate from the interest.

  • Property Taxes

    Property Taxes:

    Property taxes are the amount of money paid annually to your local government. Your property taxes are typically paid to an escrow account.

  • Recording Fees

    Recording Fees:

    The recording fee is money paid to record the deed and security instrument.

  • Settlement Charges

    Settlement Charges:

    Also known as Attorney Fees, settlement charges are paid at closing and typically paid to the Attorney completing the legal transaction.

  • Survey


    A survey is a drawing of the property completed by a licensed surveyor which contains a measurement of the property and includes locations of all buildings and boundaries.

  • Tax Service Fee

    Tax Service Fee:

    The tax service fee is part of the closing costs and paid to a third party to manage the disbursements of the escrow account to pay property taxes.

  • Termite Inspection

    Termite Inspection:

    A termite inspection, or CL-100 in South Carolina, is required by the lender and identifies any repairs or treatment needed due to termite damage.

  • Title Insurance

    Title Insurance:

    Title insurance protects the lender and covers the loss of the property due to legal defects. This is required if the property has a Mortgage.

Ready to Buy?

Are You Ready to Buy a Home?

It’s not always the right time to buy a home, and that’s ok! Sometimes after taking a closer look at your financial situation and goals, it’s better to continue the path you are on rather than purchase a home, which comes with many responsibilities, including financial.

If you are a First Time Homebuyer, you might need to establish your credit a little more prior to purchasing your first home. Sometimes taking out a car loan or using a credit card regularly and making regular payments may help build your credit.

Buying a home has many variables – some we can predict and foresee, and some we cannot. No matter what happens on your path to homeownership, Founders is here for you to answer any questions every step of the way. Even though no two mortgage transactions are alike, our experienced Mortgage Loan Officers will be honest with you and you can trust they are working for you and in your best interest for your future. We're always happy to answer any of your questions. Reach us at 1-800-845-1614.

Some questions you should ask yourself along the way are:

Use our Loan Calculator to help determine how much home you can afford when buying your first home. This mortgage payment calculator shows you how your total payment is affected by your interest rate. It also includes a mortgage amortization chart.

Whether you’re purchasing a home for two, four or more, determining how many bedrooms, your ideal backyard size and space needs are just a few of the important things to consider in the beginning of your home search.

Any home purchase will come with extra expenses. Houses in neighborhoods with Homeowners Associations often incur extra fees, which could be paid monthly, quarterly, biannually or annually, and can sometimes be a costly expense. Townhomes and condo units will have extra fees also, and could have some or all of your homeowners insurance included in those fees. Knowing what else you will be financially responsible for when you purchase a home is important, so you don’t have any surprises.

Our First Time Homebuyer Program does not include mobile homes or building a custom home. We do have products available for these types of homes and a Mortgage Loan Officer will be glad to help you find the right product for you.

When you own a home, you are responsible for all aspects of that home – the home itself, the yard or land the home is on, and all the things that make the home function – like appliances, heating and cooling units and more. As a homeowner, it’s always a good idea to have extra money in savings in case one of these expensive items needs repairing or replacement.

Buying a home also has many financial benefits:

You can build equity in your home and increase your overall financial assets if your property value increases.

You may be able to deduct mortgage interest and property taxes for tax benefits. Consult with your tax advisor regarding tax deductibility.

You can build your credit by making your mortgage payments on time.

Yes, I'm Ready to Buy!

  • Make sure you are financially prepared. Saving for a down payment for buying a house can take years, but remember the higher your down payment is, the less you will need to finance. Making sure you have the money you need for a down payment and closing costs is very important before you begin your home search. The First Time Homebuyer Program only requires a the applicant has a minimum of $1,000.00 in the transaction through either closing costs, prepaids or a down payment. While securing your mortgage loan, it’s a good idea to pay outstanding bills and not take out any new debt.
  • Get preapproved. A Founders Mortgage Loan Officer can help you with the preapproval process so you can find out how much you can borrow for buying a first home. By adding your preapproved loan amount to the amount of money you have to contribute to a down payment, you get a good idea of your price range for your first home. A general rule of thumb when determining your price range is your purchase price should not be higher than three times your annual income. So if your combined household income is $60,000, you should consider homes around $180,000 or less.
  • Start looking for a home! Once you know how much home you can afford, you can start looking at homes currently for sale that meet your needs.

Mortgage Loan Options

Founders offers Mortgage Loan options to suit your needs.

First Time Homebuyer Program

  • 100% financing
  • No PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance)
  • No origination fee or points
  • Up to $300,000 maximum loan amount
  • Competitive rates

Adjustable Rate

  • Mortgage payments are typically lower at the beginning of the loan term, but could increase at specified times during the life of the loan.
  • With Adjustable Rate Mortgage Loans, the Interest Rate can change throughout the life of the loan. Most Adjustable Rate Mortgage Loans have a low initial rate period. After that timeframe, the Interest Rate can change and go up or down, based on current market conditions.
  • The First Time Homebuyer offers an initial rate for the first 7 years with subsequent adjustments annually thereafter up to 2% per adjustment and 6% over the lifetime of the loan.

Fixed Rate Options

  • Not available with our First Time Homebuyer Program.
  • Mortgage payments remain the same throughout the life of the loan.

Double Wide Manufactured Home

  • Not available with our First Time Homebuyer Program.
  • Other financing options are available for manufactured homes.

What's Next?

Once you decide to purchase a home, you can apply for your Mortgage Loan. Applying is easy. You can start the application process online by clicking below, or visit an office near you and speak with a Mortgage Loan Officer who can assist you with the loan application process.

If you apply for your Mortgage online, a Mortgage Loan Officer will contact you within 24 hours or the next business day regarding the details of your request. Our Mortgage Loan Officer will confirm your information and review your credit report. They will also help you find the right Mortgage product for your needs.

Whether you apply at an office or online, it’s very important to review, sign and return any documents you receive in a timely manner so the application process goes as quickly and smoothly as possible.

If you already have a sales contract and you have obtained an approval for your Mortgage Loan, an appraisal will be ordered on the home you wish to purchase. For First Time Homebuyers, an appraisal is required prior to closing.

Once all the required paperwork is completed and we approve your Mortgage Loan, you will be able to schedule the closing with an attorney’s office. If you don’t have an attorney preference, we can provide you with options to help with this process.

On average, the length of time from application submission to closing is 30-45 days.

A real estate closing requires signing a lot of paperwork. You will be required to bring the funds for your down payment and closing costs, usually in the form of an Official Check, which you can request at any Founders office.

For more information about any of the steps listed above, call 1-800-845-1614.


After Closing

Managing your Founders Mortgage is easy! You can conveniently access and pay your Mortgage in Founders Online or in the Founders App, or by visiting an office near you.

If you have any questions regarding your Mortgage Loan, our Mortgage Loan Officers are always available to assist you. Please call 1-800-845-1614 to speak to one of our qualified Mortgage Loan Officers today.

Rates and terms vary depending on the type of loan, loan to value ratio, credit evaluation and underwriting requirements. APR is subject to increase or decrease. Pay only 4.52% APR on your first mortgage loan with 360 monthly payments of $304.16 for each $60,000.00 borrowed. The payment can increase to $480.17 in the 10th year of the loan.  Up to 100% LTV and no origination fee.  Flood, property insurance, and taxes, if applicable, are not calculated in the payment example. Actual payment obligation will be greater if an escrow account is required. All loan programs, rates, terms, and conditions are subject to verification of information, your credit history, the location and type of property and other factors as determined by the Credit Union and may change at any time without notice. Offer for no origination fee is only available for specific mortgage products for first time home buyers.