March 2, 2021

We Answer Your First-Time Homebuyer Questions

Are you looking to make the switch from renting to buying? It’s one of the most significant decisions you’ll ever make, and finding the right financing is a big part of it. 

Don’t worry—we’ve got you covered. Our experienced mortgage team is ready to answer any questions you might have, from determining just how much home you can afford to the types of loans that might be available to you.

“The South Atlantic Bank Mortgage team does a great job of explaining the mortgage process to potential borrowers,” said Peter Insabella, a Sr. Vice President and Mortgage Sales Manager at South Atlantic Bank. “Our Loan officers and local operations staff know that every borrower is important, and we strive to make sure the process is as smooth as possible. No two customers are alike, and it really takes a personal touch to find out what the best mortgage products are for each client.”

Peter has long been recognized throughout the Lowcountry as a leader in the mortgage banking industry. With more than 15 years of mortgage origination and sales management experience, we knew he’d have answers to some of the most frequently asked questions we’ve received.

How does South Atlantic Bank differ from other mortgage lenders?

We are a local community bank with local decision-makers, which allows us to move quickly. Our loan officers and operations staff understand the importance of each borrower. We offer a variety of first-time homebuyer programs with minimal down-payment requirements, as well as all standard loan products, like conventional, jumbo, FHA, and VA loans. Additional programs, such as lot-loan, construction-to-perm, and portfolio loan financing, can give you more options to choose from based on your financial situation.   

You’ve worked with a lot of homebuyers over the years. What’s the mortgage process really like?

We know that buying a home can be a bit scary or stressful, especially a first-time homebuyer who’s heard rumors about all the paperwork. However, that’s a misconception—advanced technology has dramatically simplified and streamlined the mortgage process. That being said, it is very detailed, so having your personal information, such as income, assets, and credit documents, together can expedite the process and help minimize potential surprises. 

What type of information will I need to supply?

Your recent tax returns, W2s, and paystubs will help us to understand your monthly and yearly income streams. It’s also helpful if you bring your most recent two months’ worth of asset statements (like bank statements and retirement/brokerage account statements), and identify the specific funds that will be used for a downpayment on your new home.

How do I know how much home I can afford?

Your credit scores, monthly credit debt, income, and the amount of money you have available for a down payment are all major factors in determining how much you could afford.  Our experienced mortgage loan officers can help you accurately determine your debt-to-income ratio and get pre-qualified for a loan. This will let you know how much you can spend and what your monthly payment would be.

What can I do to be best prepared to apply for a mortgage?

Credit plays a big role in the mortgage process. Since your FICO score will be used to help determine your interest rate, it’s important to get your financials in order. Take the time to review your credit history and scores, and be sure to clean up any minor credit issues that you may have. 

What if I have additional questions?

As a community bank, we take a lot of pride in helping customers with all their banking needs. We strive to form genuine banking relationships and build a positive reputation within the community. Please contact us with any mortgage questions you might have. We look forward to the opportunity to earn your business.


Peter Insabella has served South Atlantic Bank customers since 2013. He is a former president of the Mortgage Lenders Association of Greater Charleston, a member of the Charleston Homebuilders Association, and a member of the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors. Insabella lives in Charleston with his wife Summer, and their two children.

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