Connecticut First-Time Home Buyer Guide

Published On: May 10th, 2021Categories: Personal Finance, Financial Management

Are you a first-time homebuyer in CT? If so, there are a number of programs and grants that could help you qualify for a home loan. When buying a home, it’s important to understand the

process so you can have a positive experience and ultimately be able to move into the home of your choosing.

What qualifies you as a first-time home buyer in CT?

If you’ve never purchased a home or you haven’t owned a home in at least three years, you may be considered a first-time home buyer in CT by mortgage lenders. You may also apply for first-time homebuyer programs if you are interested in purchasing a home in a Federally Targeted Area of Connecticut and you don’t own property when the loan closes.1

Steps to Buying a House

Here’s what a first-time home buyer in CT needs to know about the steps you’ll take toward home ownership.

Understand Your Financial Position

Start by checking your credit score. Mortgage lenders look at all three of your credit reports with Experian, Equifax and TransUnion, as well as your FICO credit scores.2 Checking your credit score is a good place to start if you aren’t sure whether you may be able to qualify for a mortgage. Your mortgage lender can help you understand your current credit status, but you can also do this on your own if you have a credit card that offers free access to a current FICO credit score.

Your FICO score may differ a bit from the version used by a mortgage lender, so be sure to take a look at all three of your credit reports, as well.3 The federal government guarantees everyone with a social security number access to a free copy of their credit report from each of the three credit bureaus once every 12 months. Equifax, Experian and TransUnion are now offering free weekly online credit reports.4

FICO credit scores range from 300 to 850, with low scores indicating that the borrower may pose a higher risk of default. Here’s how Experian ranks credit scores:

  • 810-850 Excellent
  • 750-809 Great
  • 670-749 Good
  • 560-669 Fair
  • 500-559 Poor
  • 300-499 Very Poor

1, 2021, CHFA First-time Homebuyer Guide, Accessed September 20, 2021, []

2 Louis DeNicola, 2021, Which Credit Scores Do Mortgage Lenders Use?, Accessed September 20, 2021, []

3 Louis DeNicola, 2021, Which Credit Scores Do Mortgage Lenders Use?, Accessed September 20, 2021, []

4, 2021, All about credit reports, Accessed September 20, 2021, []

Secure Your Mortgage

You can check interest rates and even fill out an application online. To secure your mortgage, connect with one of Charter Oak’s mortgage professionals. We have several homebuyers’ assistance programs, including down payment assistance and an equity builder program to help you get the right loan for your new home.

Making a down payment on your mortgage can help you qualify for certain types of loans. However, for many working people living in Connecticut, making a down payment would drain their savings.

CHFA Mortgages through the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA) have low interest rates, low or no down payment options and an easy lending process. CHFA loans are just one of many first-time home buyer programs in CT.

Members of the military, teachers, police officers, and people living with a disability may be eligible for mortgage programs designed specially to meet their unique needs.

We also offer USDA and FHA mortgages with more relaxed requirements for first-time home buyers in CT.

Even if you aren’t sure how much you can borrow to buy a home or have questions about putting together a down payment, our mortgage specialists can help.

Pre-approvals are free, so call us at 860.446.3047 or 800.962.3237 ext. 3047.

Find a Real Estate Agent

Buying a home is one of the biggest financial commitments many people make in the course of their lifetime. The process can be complicated, and it helps to have a real estate agent to guide you.

A real estate agent can help you find a home with a price that works with your budget. If you are interested in purchasing a home using a CHFA loan, your agent can help you locate homes that meet the CHFA income and sales price limits.5

Hire a Home Inspector

A home inspection is an important part of the home buying process. Many mortgage lenders require a home inspection before they will agree to fund the loan. A home inspector provides a valuable service for buyers. They go through the home you are interested in purchasing and look for potential problems.

While your home inspector won’t tell you whether you should buy a house, they will provide a lengthy report on the home’s condition. You can use an inspector’s report to help you make an informed decision about buying a specific house.

A standard inspector’s report includes information about a number of systems in the home, as well as its structure. Many home inspectors use the American Society of Home Inspectors standards of practice to produce a report that includes the following:

Structural system: Crawlspace, attic, basement, foundation, wall structure, floor structure, ceiling structure and roof structure

Exterior: Eaves, fascias and soffits from the ground level, attached and nearby decks, steps and porches including their attached railings, plus walkways, patios and driveways

Roof system: Drainage systems, chimneys, skylights, flashing and roofing materials

Plumbing system: Water heating equipment and systems, vent systems, sewage ejectors, interior waste systems and interior water supply systems

Electrical system: Interior components of service panels, conductors, service grounding and installed lighting fixtures

Air conditioning system: Central and permanently installed cooling equipment and distribution systems

Insulation and ventilation: Attic and unfinished spaces ventilation, clothes dryer exhaust systems, bathroom and kitchen exhaust systems

Fireplaces and fuel-burning appliances: Fuel-burning stoves, fireplaces and fireplace inserts, chimneys and vent systems.

Interior: Steps, railings, stairways, doors and windows, countertops and installed cabinets, walls, ceilings and floors.6

Ready to Get Started?

There are a lot of moving parts when you decide to get a mortgage to buy a house. Whether you need a home equity loan, are ready to buy your first house, or just have questions about the process, our mortgage professionals are standing by to help.

At Charter Oak Federal Credit Union, we’re here to guide you through the process of becoming a homeowner. We are committed to not just help buyers navigate the landscape of purchasing a first home, but to purchase the right one!

5, 2021, CHFA Resource Map, Accessed September 20, 2021, []

6 American Society of home Inspectors, Standard of Practice, Accessed September 20, 2021, []

Please note: This information is designed to offer a general understanding of common financial terms and practices and should not be considered financial advice from Charter Oak Federal Credit Union. Every individual has different financial needs and goals, which should be discussed with a financial professional.