6 Frequently Asked Questions that First Time Home Buyers Have

With mortgage rates still near historic lows – and after spending more time than ever inside our homes over the past year – many people than ever are making the decision to purchase their first home. 

But with a limited inventory of homes on the market, combined with more people seeking to buy – competition is intense. The median Wisconsin house prices are up 10% while the number of listings available has decreased by 30% over the past year. It can be overwhelming and discouraging, particularly for first time home buyers.

Advantage for First Time Homebuyers

That said – one big advantage that first time home buyers have is that they don’t have to worry about selling their current home before buying a new one. This removes the stress of selling a home and removes the risk of having to make a contingent offer. It also greatly increases flexibility for the timing.

The current inventory shortages in the Madison market – paired with high demand is likely to stick around for the foreseeable future, so it’s important to have an expert by your side to help answer your questions about financing and to put your mind at ease as you navigate the home buying journey. 

Financial education and wellness are at the core of everything Summit does. They specialize in helping first time homebuyers who are looking to improve their financial wellness. Because of this, when you make the decision to purchase a home – your lender will help you with your financing every step of the way.


#1 Mortgage Lender in Wisconsin*

Summit is the #1 Mortgage Lender in Wisconsin and it comes as no surprise. Here are a few things they do, to make it such a smooth process:

  • Summit offers FREE pre-approval – the best first step to take in the home buying journey!
    • Pre-approval can take as little as 15 minutes once you’ve submitted your paperwork
  • Summit offers $1,000 off closing costs for first-time buyers1
  • Potential homebuyers can meet with a Summit Mortgage Loan Officer (MLO) to get the process started – by phone, video or in-branch.
    • A Summit MLO will get in touch with you within 24 hours of you reaching out
  • Summit also offers a First-Time Homebuyers Guide, to give more insight into the process

Frequently Asked Questions that First-Time Home Buyers Have

1: How Much Can I Afford?

Most financial advisers agree that people should spend no more than 28% of their gross monthly income on housing expenses.

Keep in mind, owning a home often brings added monthly expenses — both expected and unexpected; so it’s best not to overextend yourself

When you apply for pre-approval, your lender will approve you for a certain loan amount based on your income and other monthly obligations.

2: How Much Do I Need for a Down Payment?

A larger down payment means a lower monthly mortgage payment. If you can put at least 20% down, you won’t be required to purchase private mortgage insurance (PMI).

Down payment requirements can also vary by lender and the borrower’s credit history; Summit offers down payment options as low as 3%.2

3. Will I Need Insurance?

You will want to make sure you have proper Home Owner’s Insurance to protect your assets. Many policies also offer umbrella options – to combine your homeowners and auto. Summit Credit Union also has some discount options for your insurance policies as a membership benefit for Summit members.

4: How Much Are Property Taxes?

First-time homebuyers are often surprised at the cost of property taxes. Before purchasing a home for the first time, you can find out what the estimated taxes are in the city/town you are purchasing in. You can often obtain this information (an estimate) from your lender as well!

5: How Much Are Closing Costs?

Closing costs are paid at the close of your loan transaction and may include your home inspection, realtor and lawyer fees, title search, pest inspection, appraisal, home warranty and loan origination. The costs to close can add up quickly, so it’s important to make sure you have the funds to cover them. Your lender may also require you to set up an escrow account to pay for ongoing property taxes and/or insurance (escrow does not cover things like internet and utilities). Summit Credit Union offers a $1000 discount on closing costs for first time home buyers!

6: What Other Expenses or Hidden Costs Come with Owning a Home?

As a homeowner, you will be responsible for repairs and ongoing maintenance, like taking care of your yard and servicing your appliances. Depending on the home you buy, you may need to buy household items like a snow blower, lawnmower and other tools. If your new home is part of a homeowners association (HOA), you may need to pay a monthly fee to your HOA.


Contact Summit Credit Union to Get Started!

Visit their website
Call: 608-243-5000
Follow Summit on Facebook and Instagram!

Summit Credit Union is an Equal Housing Lender.


*The Wisconsin’s #1 Mortgage Lender designation is based on the number of loans originated in 2020, gathered from the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data compiled annually by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The results of the data were obtained through the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s website: https://ffiec.cfpb.gov/data-publication/modified-lar/2020. LEI: 254900NTAC4H10MGSU23. 1 Offer valid for first-time homebuyers and requires a Summit Credit Union checking account. Minimum to open Free Checking account is $25. Primary Savings account required to have Free Checking. Primary Savings account: minimum to open $5. Annual Percentage Yield (APY) as of 2/1/2021 is 0.03%. An individual is to be considered a first-time homebuyer who is purchasing a property; will reside in the property as a principal residence; and has had no ownership interest (sole or joint) in a residential property in the past 3 years. This program is not eligible for: Federal VA, FHA, Rural Development, WHEDA, Investment Property and Construction loans. The offer does not apply to second mortgages, home equity lines of credit and refinance. Offer effective with purchase applications dated February 1, 2021 or later and subject to change at any time. The $1,000 closing credit cannot exceed the actual amount of the closing cost, prepaid interest and escrow reserves. This includes if the credit is combined with a seller closing cost credit. The credit will be applied at the time of the loan closing and will be reflected on the closing disclosure. Not valid with any other offers. 2 The following loan programs are not eligible for the closing cost credit: Federal VA, FHA, Rural Development, WHEDA, Investment Property and Construction loans. Offer effective with purchase applications dated January 1, 2021 or later and subject to change at any time. The $500 closing credit cannot exceed the actual amount of the closing cost, prepaid interest and escrow reserves. This includes if the credit is combined with a seller closing cost credit. First mortgages only (offer does not apply to second mortgages, home equity lines of credit and refinances). The credit will be applied at the time of the loan closing and will be reflected on the closing disclosure. Not valid with any other offers.
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