As the only credit union specializing in helping Boston-area first responders get home loans, we are pleased to offer several mortgage choices for EMTs, firefighters and police officers. 

Finding housing that you can afford in the city and qualifying for a mortgage can be tough as a first responder. Monthly payments become unaffordable for many Boston residents serving the community as first responders. Down payment requirements may be unaffordable for many police officers, EMTs and firefighters as well. 

How to Buy Your First House

Buying a home can be complicated, even under the best circumstances. It's crucial to start researching your options as soon as you think you may be ready for a mortgage. If you aren't sure where you start, reach out to one of our mortgage specialists. They can help you understand how much money you can spend and how your various options affect your monthly house payment amount.

Get Pre-Qualified

Before you start shopping, it's helpful to get pre-qualified so you know how much money you may be able to spend. Our mortgage team can help you through that process. 

If you have a certain type of home or neighborhood in mind, a real estate agent can help you locate a house and negotiate a price that works for you. 

When you are ready to make an offer on a house, you'll need a letter from a lender showing that you are preapproved for a mortgage loan. You don't have to go through the formal process of getting the loan until after the seller accepts your offer. 


What's Included With a Mortgage? 

Here are the basic components of a mortgage:

  • Principal: The amount of money you pay for the house

  • Interest: Percentage of the loan paid to the lender as a fee 

  • Taxes: Property taxes levied by the community where the home is located 

  • Insurance: Property and liability coverage required by the lien holder 

  • Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI): Monthly charge that protects the lender in case you default

One way to reduce your monthly house payment is to eliminate PMI payments. You can do this by providing at least 20% of the house's selling price as a down payment.A BFCU First Responder mortgage could help you eliminate this requirement without adding PMI to your monthly payments. 

During the process of getting a mortgage, you'll choose a loan type that best fits your situation. There are two options where interest on your loan is concerned:

 

Fixed-Rate Mortgage

A fixed-rate mortgage has an interest rate that stays the same for the term of the loan. After you lock in your rate it won't change, no matter whether interest rates rise or fall over time. 

Adjustable-Rate Mortgage

An adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) has a variable interest rate. During the first term of the loan, the interest rate is a bit lower than the market rate on a fixed-rate mortgage. When the loan is scheduled to adjust, your interest rate and payment may change.1 

First Responder Home Loans

As a first responder, you are subject to Boston's residency rules stating that you must live inside the city limits. You must provide documentation to your employer's human resources department once each year to prove that you have established residency here. Failure to do so could result in the loss of your job.2 

Living in the city can be expensive, which presents financial challenges for many first responders who need a mortgage. There are a number of mortgage options, as well as grants to help reduce the cost of buying a home. 


Mortgage Program Options for First Responders

When you are ready to buy a home, Boston housing prices can seem high. A scarcity of homes for sale and rising costs combine to create a challenging environment for potential homebuyers who are also Boston first responders. Median house prices rose 12.1% between July 2020 and July 2021. Homes in Boston generally sell for their asking price, with a median sale price of $750,000.3


Do First Responders Get Help With Mortgages?

Yes. First10 eliminates the requirement for a down payment, so you can get financing for up to 100% of the total mortgage amount. There's no private mortgage insurance (PMI) requirement and during the first 10 years of the mortgage, there's a fixed interest rate, so your payment stays the same each month. A 40-year amortization schedule helps keep your monthly payments low. With a $600,000 mortgage, the First10 program saves borrowers $380 per month. 

You'll pay a low adjustable interest rate during the first ten years of your mortgage, which could help you own a home while satisfying Boston's residency requirements. After 10 years, the interest on your mortgage goes up slightly. At that point, you can choose to sell or refinance your home. 


Veteran Mortgage Program

Veterans interested in purchasing their first home have several mortgage options to help make home ownership affordable. Talk with a mortgage specialist to learn more about our veteran mortgage program. . 

You may also be eligible for a zero-down payment VA loan with low interest rates and limited closing costs. With a VA loan, there's no need for PMI.4 

First time home buyers in Boston may also be eligible for loan assistance and grant programs. Your mortgage specialist at Boston Firefighters Credit Union can help you learn about your options and put together a plan to assist you on your journey to homeownership.

 

1 James McWhinney, Fixed-Rate vs. Adjustable-Rate Mortgages: What's the Difference?, Accessed September 22, 2021, [Investopedia.com]
2 American Legal Publishing, Chapter V Administration - 5-5.3 Residency Requirement, Accessed September 22, 2021, [Codelibrary.amlegal.com]
3 Norada Real Estate Investments, Boston Massachusetts Housing Market: Prices & Forecast 2021, Accessed September 22, 2021, [noradarealestate.com]
4 U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, VA Home Loans, Accessed September 22, 2021, [benefits.va.gov]