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Buying Your First Home

Learn How to Apply

Mortgage: An Overview

Buying your first home can be intimidating, but that doesn’t mean your mortgage should be. We’re here to walk you through the entire process, from application to closing and everything in between. United takes a personal approach to home financing—we spend time working to understand your current finances and long-term financial goals to match you with the loan product and term that makes the most sense for you. If you have questions at any point, call 1-800-914-8224 to connect with a local lender.
Ready to get started? Let’s begin with the basics.

What is a mortgage?
A mortgage is a type of loan that lets you borrow money from a lender to purchase or refinance a home. In exchange, you pay interest on what you borrow (think of this as the cost of being able to use someone else’s money). If you can’t repay the loan, the lender has the right to take the property.

Resources to Get You Started

Try our Home Affordability Calculators1

Calculators are for informational purposes only and are not considered a rate quote or commitment to lend.

Why United for First-time Homebuyers?

Your first home is a major milestone in life, and we don’t take that lightly. When you have questions, our team is here to answer your call and walk you through every step of the process. We have a wide array of products designed just for first-time homebuyers—including five 100% financing (no down payment) options and down payment assistance options.2 You’ll also have the benefit of:

  • Digital application 
  • Online mortgage payments
  • Large selection of mortgage products
  • Free United Signature Checking Account3
  • Employees committed to customer service
  •  .25% discount when you use auto-pay on certain loan products
  • Competitive rates and closing costs
  • Communication to keep you updated about your loan’s progress

Ready to get started?

Preparing to Apply for your Mortgage

Prepare Your Finances 

To get the mortgage application started, you’ll need several documents prepared: two years of W2s, paystubs covering at least 30 days, two months of bank statements for all your accounts, and your government-issued I.D. Depending on your specific product, there will also be a minimum required credit score.

A member of our team will let you know how much you could qualify for and what your monthly payment would be with varying loan amounts. That way, you can make sure you’re comfortable with your potential house payment before you make an offer on a home.

United's Mortgage Interest Rates

So many factors go into your mortgage interest rate – your credit score, employment, the loan term and product you choose, the amount of debt you’re carrying, etc. We want to make sure your rate matches your unique financial situation. That’s why we spend time getting to know you and your long and short-term goals before we create a customized rate quote for you.
We believe the first step toward superior customer service is setting realistic expectations. And that starts by quoting you a rate we know we can stand behind.5
Ready for your rate quote? Our team of expert mortgage lenders is ready to connect with you.

The Mortgage Application Process

Ready to apply for your first mortgage? 
It's easy to apply for a mortgage with United Community Bank. Once you have your finances ready, you'll need these items handy to get started!

Form W-2

You'll need to provide the past 2 years of W-2 forms.


You must provide paystubs from the past 30 days.

Government-Issued Photo ID

Driver's License, State Issued ID, Military ID, or Passport

Bank Statements

You'll need to provide bank statements from the past 2 months.

Apply for a Mortgage Now


Begin your secure application.


Not quite ready to apply? Find a mortgage lender to connect with, visit a local branch, or give us a call at 1-800-914-8224.

Finances Prepared: What's Next?

Start your Home Search

We recommend starting the process by selecting your lender and understanding your home budget—the home search will be much simpler when you know exactly how much home you can afford.

Then you can choose your real estate agent and start searching for your dream home. Once you go under contract, you’ll submit a full mortgage application using all of the financial documentation you gathered (the property address is needed to complete the application). Once that happens, you’ll receive your loan disclosure documents – they outline the loan details and estimated costs.

If your loan application is approved, it heads to underwriting where it receives conditional approval. Basically, that means you’ve met most of the requirements to get your mortgage, but there are still documents our team needs before we can finalize the deal. Keep in mind that those forms aren't the final version and will likely be slightly adjusted once your closing attorney looks at them.
It typically takes 30-45 days to go from under contract to closed, with several required inspections in between. Partner with your lender and real estate agent to choose your closing date.

Welcome Home! 

At Closing
  • Be prepared to sign lots of paperwork
  • Bring your ID
  • Your settlement agent (closing attorney) will let you know how to pay closing costs and the amount you need to bring to closing (if applicable)
After Closing
The home is officially yours—and it’s time to start making payments. If you prefer to make your first payment by check, you’ll find instructions to do that in your closing package. You’ll also receive an email two weeks prior to your first payment with instructions on how to pay online if you don’t have autopay set up already.

Congrats! Buying your first home is a huge accomplishment and one that deserves celebrating. Now that you’re a homeowner, your house payment is probably one of the highest bills you will pay each month. So imagine what life would be like if you could eliminate that monthly expense... Learn 4 strategies to pay off your mortgage faster. 

Need a little extra help? Connect with your local lender today!

Call 1-800-914-8224 to get started or fill out the form below.

Find Your Local Lender

Don't see your city? We can still help! Click here to get started. 

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Helpful Resources

Home Renovations that Spark Joy

By United Community Mortgage Services

Pulling the trigger on a big house project is a tough decision—it can be expensive, not to mention inconvenient. But the results of a new study show most of those projects do pay off, both in resale value and homeowner joy.

Read Article

Moving? Top 8 Expenses to Keep in Mind

By United Community Mortgage Services

Whether you’re moving across the street or across the country, there’s so much to consider. The process involves so many steps, including one that’s often overlooked: budgeting for moving expenses that can really add up.
Read Article

Manufactured homes: a new option to rent or buy your dream home1

By United Community Mortgage Services

Rising interest rates are driving a lot of home-buying budgets down. That’s where manufactured housing comes in. It’s a more affordable option with many of the same features as a traditional site-built home.
Read Article

Frequently Asked Questions

How does the application process work?

Your first step is to talk to one of our mortgage experts (an MLO). After that conversation, we’ll determine the best loan products and interest rates available to you based on information you provide. Be prepared to share bank statements, W2s, paystubs, tax returns (in some cases), and a government issued ID. We use a secure, digital portal to collect and make it easy to share all of these documents.  
The PATH loan also requires proof of your last 12 months of rental payments, so if you’re interested in this option, it’ll be helpful to have those on hand. You can use canceled checks used to pay rent, get a letter from your landlord, or provide bank statements showing a recurring debit from your bank account.

Can I use cash for my down payment?

Yes and no. Because you need to source where the down payment comes from, you’ll need to use money that’s in a checking or savings account with your name on it instead of actual cash in hand. You can either bring a cashier’s check to closing or have the money wired from the bank to the attorney. The final answer depends on the attorney, so make sure to ask them what exactly you should do.

What is the difference between interest rate and APR?

The mortgage interest rate is the rate you’re paying to borrow money, and the APR is the cost of obtaining the loan over time (so it will always be higher than the interest rate). The APR takes certain fees associated with the loan into account and then breaks it into a yearly rate.

What is a debt-to-income ratio and how do I calculate it?

Debt to income (DTI) is the percentage of your gross income that goes toward your monthly debt (or bills). You calculate DTI by dividing your monthly debt by your monthly gross income. For example, if you bring in $4,000 in income each month and pay $2,000 in bills, your DTI is 50%.

What are the steps to buy a home?

There are a lot of moving parts to the home buying process – and just about as many people! You’ll work with your lender, real estate agent, the seller, the listing agent, home inspector, maybe a transaction coordinator or two – the list goes on and on. So where do you even start? Click here for the details:

© 2022 United Community Bank | NMLS# 421841 | | United Community Mortgage Services is the mortgage lending division of United Community Bank. We are an approved seller/servicer for the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and the Federal Home Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac). Normal credit criteria apply.  This is not a commitment to lend.  Offer subject to change without notice.

1Not all borrowers will qualify. This is not a commitment to lend. Benefits listed may not apply to every borrower.
2Private mortgage insurance may be required for financing above 80% loan to value. 
3Avoid monthly service charge on United Signature Checking account by maintaining $15,000 minimum daily balance. You may also avoid the monthly service charge if you maintain $25,000 in combined consumer deposit balance(s) or maintain $50,000 in combined outstanding principal balances in consumer loan accounts owned and serviced by United Community Bank. Additionally, the monthly service charge may be avoided if the primary account holder for this account also maintains assets under management with United Community Advisory Services, or maintains a mortgage loan serviced by United Community Mortgage Services or our mortgage servicing provider on behalf of United. (Note: United Signature Checking, advisory services and third party serviced loans must all be reporting under the same tax identification number in order to qualify for service charge waiver.)
4Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) loans are variable rate loans; interest rates and payments may increase after consummation. After the initial fixed-rate period, your interest rate can increase or decrease every six months according to the market index. Any change may significantly impact your monthly payment.5Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) loans are variable rate loans; interest rates and payments may increase after consummation. After the initial fixed-rate period, your interest rate can increase or decrease every six months according to the market index. Any change may significantly impact your monthly payment.
5Rates offered are good only at the time offered. Mortgage interest rate is not guaranteed until rate is locked and then is guaranteed only for set lock period. Property address is required to lock rate