First-Time Home Buyer Guide | Mortgages | HSBC


First-Time Home Buyer? We'll Help You Buy with Confidence.

First Time Home Buying represented by a couple deciding how to decorate their new home.

HSBC is making the dream of homeownership come true. We offer a variety of mortgage solutions at competitive rates, including special programs for first-time home buyers1.

A knowledgeable HSBC Mortgage Consultant will help you find the right mortgage for your needs and provide guidance throughout the entire process. Below you'll find information to consider when buying your first home.

How Much Home Can I Afford?

Before deciding which house to buy, you need to determine what you can afford. Our mortgage calculator takes into account your income and monthly expenses to determine how much you can borrow. We also have other comprehensive mortgage calculators to guide your mortgage decisions.

Calculate how much you may be able to borrow
View other mortgage calculators

Who is involved in the Home Buying Process?

Real Estate Agent

An experienced real estate agent will recommend suitable properties and help with negotiations and paperwork. Your agent's commission is typically paid by the seller, not you. Often, the best way to find an agent is through word of mouth. Ask your family or friends to recommend agents and personally interview each one.

Home Inspector

While a home inspection isn't mandatory for all mortgages, it is recommended. The inspection will evaluate the mechanical and structural condition of the home, including an evaluation of:

  • Major systems (heating, air conditioning, plumbing and electrical)
  • Foundation
  • Roof
  • Windows and doors
  • Floors, walls and ceilings, etc.

If the report shows substantial problems and you are still interested in buying, you may be able to either negotiate a lower price with the seller or have the seller fix the problems.

The American Society of Home Inspectors can provide you with a list of qualified inspectors in your area. Ask for references before hiring an inspector. Agree on a fee before the inspection, and require a full written report. Be aware that most reports have clauses designed to protect the inspector from liability if he or she overlooks a problem in the home.

Real Estate Attorneys

While not legally required in most states, may want to have a legal professional who specializes in Real Estate transactions represent you. Your attorney will help you understand your legal rights on a Contract of Sale.

Closing/Settlement Agent

The closing agent will coordinate the activities necessary to complete the sale including gathering all documentation, arranging the disbursement of funds and recording the transaction.

Down Payment and Costs to Consider

Down Payment

The portion of the purchase price of a property that you pay up front and is not included in the loan amount.

Closing Costs

Here are some of the common closing costs you might need to pay:

  1. Mortgage lender's Fees
    • Loan origination fee
    • Commitment fee
    • Loan discount points (if applicable)
    • Appraisal fee
    • Credit report fee
  2. Prepayments
    • Interest from the date of the closing to the date of the first monthly payment
    • Mortgage Insurance Premium (if applicable)
    • Flood Insurance Premium (if applicable)
    • Hazard Insurance Premium (or receipt of payment)
    • Prorated Property Taxes
  3. Additional Fees
    • Title charges
    • Recording and transfer fees
    • Attorney fees
    • Termite inspection, professional home inspection and survey fees (if applicable)

Applying for Your First Mortgage

There are three main steps during the mortgage loan process: application, evaluation (or underwriting) and closing. Your HSBC Mortgage Consultant will help you throughout the entire process.

Application and pre-approval

A mortgage pre-approval can simplify the home-buying process. We will check your financial background to determine how much money you are qualified to borrow and the estimated interest rate you will pay.

Underwriting and Decision

The decision to grant a mortgage includes factors such as your income-to-expense ratios, credit history, assets, appraised value of the home, and other information.

If your loan is approved, we will provide you with a commitment letter or verbal approval, which will include details of the loan amount and the conditions that will need to be satisfied to obtain the loan.

If your loan is not approved, we will provide information for not approving the loan. We may offer you a lower loan amount, changed terms, or changed product, which is called a counteroffer.


The closing, or settlement, is the final step in legally transferring home ownership from the seller to the buyer.

Either at a scheduled meeting or through an escrow agent, HSBC will transfer the loan funds to the attorney or closing agent to pay the seller and you will sign the closing documents.

Take Advantage of HSBC's First Home Club

Our First Home Club Program2 matched savings program provides eligible first-time home buyers with financial assistance - up to $7,500 - to put towards the down payment and closing costs of a new home.

For every $1 you deposit into an HSBC First Home Club savings account over a 10 to 18 month period, you'll receive an additional $4 in matching grant funds3 - up to $7,500.

Program details
  • Application - An HSBC Mortgage Consultant will help with your application into the program and opening your savings account. When you are ready to start house hunting, they will provide assistance throughout the entire mortgage process, including gaining a mortgage pre-approval.
  • Eligibility - Borrowers who have not owned a home for three (3) years are eligible. Single parents and displaced homemakers who owned a home with a spouse during the last three years are also eligible.
  • Length of the plan - The length of the savings plan runs from 10 to 18 months. The maximum enrollment period in the program4 is 24 months before expiration.
  • Income limits5* - Your household income must be at or below 80% of the area median income based on family size for the county where you currently reside
  • Home Buyer Education6 - You will need to complete a home buyer education course to help you understand the home buying process. This course covers budgeting and saving, the home buying process and other related topics.
Apply for the First Home Club
  • By Phone - 888.313.7247
  • By E-mail -
Download additional information on First Home Club program*

1 Geographic and other restrictions may apply.

2 Available for prospective first time home buyers in New York and New Jersey only.

3 To receive the First Home Club grant, you must obtain a mortgage through HSBC Bank USA, N.A. and meet all program requirements.

4 Registration in the First Home Club Program does not guarantee approval of any mortgage through HSBC Bank USA, N.A. for which you may apply.

5 Total gross family income cannot exceed 80% of the area median income (Mortgage Revenue Bond limits) based on family size for the county the borrower resides in at the time of enrollment in the First Home Club Program.

6 All borrowers listed on the loan application must attend and complete an approved homeownership counseling session by the expiration date of the commitment.

Mortgage and home equity products are offered in the U.S. by HSBC Bank USA, N.A. and are only available for properties located in the U.S. Subject to credit approval. Borrowers must meet program qualifications. Programs are subject to change. Geographic and other restrictions may apply. Discounts can be cancelled or are subject to change at any time and cannot be combined with any other offer or discount.

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