For most people, purchasing a first home is an exciting life event. Still, from house hunting and deciding how much you can afford, to compiling numerous forms and documents, the journey to find that dream home can be overwhelming and a stressful process. The good news is that with a little discipline and knowledge, it doesn’t have to be.

“It is important that first-time homebuyers are mortgage-ready before diving into the loan process,” emphasized mortgage sales manager at HawaiiUSA Federal Credit Union (FCU) Susan Maglaya.


•Save consistently. Before the house hunting begins, start saving for a down payment (as low as 3 percent of the purchase price) and closing costs. Start saving money that simulates your approximate monthly payment into a savings account. Maglaya advises members to adjust their spending habits — consider foregoing that daily morning latte or pack a home lunch.

•Gift funds. Consider alternative sources of income that contribute to your down payment and help you qualify for a mortgage, such as asking family members for help.

•Clean credit report.

Avoid applying for additional loans or credit during the loan application process. Multiple credit inquiries can lower your credit score and affect the loan decision.

•Look into the mortgage credit certificate program (MCC). The MCC is a tax credit and helps reduce the amount of federal income tax you pay, which increases available income. This tax credit continues for as long as you live in the home and retain this mortgage. To learn more, visit

Susan Maglaya

•Research. Do your homework. Visit different websites for mortgage tips and guides with helpful information.

If you have made the decision to take that big step toward your first home, ask about HawaiiUSA FCU’s First Time Home-buyer Program. Visit any of its branches or call 534-4300. Remember, if it matters to you, it matters to HawaiiUSA FCU.

contact // 534-4300
address // 1226 College Walk