Anyone who has not owned their primary residence for the past three years is considered a “first-time home buyer” by the government.
The three-year timeframe used to determine first-time buyer status is retroactive, beginning on the day of the planned closing. The date you apply for a mortgage has no bearing on your approval.
Renters, children, single parents, displaced homemakers, and rent-free residents are all examples of first-time home buyers. For those who need it, the government and nonprofits both provide lending programs that may help with things like a down payment and closing fees. Tax incentives at the state and federal levels, as well as educational initiatives, may assist in mitigating the financial impact.
It’s natural to have questions regarding the home-buying process, particularly if this is your first time doing so. Buying a house for the first time may be overwhelming, and you may have questions about the process, such as where to get down payment or closing cost assistance.
In this article, we’ll go through some of the most beneficial incentives, house loans, and programs for first-time home purchasers so you can make an informed decision.
Let’s check out some of the most well-known options for first-time homebuyer financing.
Down Payment Assistance (DPA)
A down payment is a significant upfront cost when purchasing a house, and it is needed for the majority of mortgages. Many lenders, fortunately, allow down payment assistance, which may help you handle the initial expenditures of a down payment.
Most down payment assistance programs are grants or low- to no-interest loans, and many are only available to first-time buyers. The precise assistance programs you qualify for may have an influence on how you may utilize your money and whether you must repay them.
Worried you won’t have enough money for a down payment? You may also be qualified for down payment assistance programs via a few different kinds of loans, which will lessen the amount you must put down.
Second mortgages, delayed payment loans, and forgiven loans are some possibilities.
Loans arranged as a second mortgage must be paid off concurrently with your first mortgage.
When you relocate, sell, refinance, or pay off your principal mortgage, you must pay off any deferred payment loans in full.
Loans may also be forgiven over a certain number of years if you move, sell, refinance, or pay off your principal mortgage before that set number of years ends or otherwise breach the requirements of forgiveness.
There is a possibility that you might qualify for DPA via grants, which do not need to be repaid. It is recommended to check with your local or state government for specific information on any first-time buyer down payment assistance programs, since the program criteria for loans and grants may differ from one institution to the next.
Unfortunately, the $7,500 credit for first-time home buyers provided by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act is no longer available. The program came to an end in 2010.
However, you may still save money on your taxes by taking advantage of numerous deductions. Deductions from the federal and state governments might reduce your taxable income.
For example, if your mortgage is worth less than $750,000 ($375,000 if married filing separately), you may deduct the whole amount of your mortgage insurance premiums from your federal taxes. This comprises FHA loan private mortgage insurance (PMI) and mortgage insurance premiums (MIP), as well as USDA loan guarantee costs and VA loan financing expenses.
You may also deduct the cost of interest paid on loans up to the aforementioned limitations for a main residence and one secondary residence. These are perhaps the two most significant homeownership deductions.
Your state or municipal government may provide additional deductions and credits.
In the same vein as aid with down payments, there are programs sponsored either by the government or by private organizations that may help you cover closing fees. Additional expenses that must be paid at the conclusion of the mortgage application procedure are referred to as closing costs. The amount that you will need to pay towards closing expenses normally ranges from 2% to 6% of the overall cost of your home loan. Similar to help with down payments, assistance with closing costs might come in the form of a grant or a loan.
Additionally, you may ask the seller for assistance with closing expenses via the use of seller concessions. There is a possibility that the seller may contribute money for the buyer’s legal bills, real estate tax services, and title insurance. They may also aid with the payment of property taxes and the purchase of points to reduce the interest rate.
Federal First-Time Home Buyer Programs
When purchasing a house, you may qualify for assistance from federal, state, and local governments. All people who are citizens or permanent residents of the United States are eligible to participate in federal programs. You don’t have to be a resident of a certain state to get government help, however not everyone is eligible for every program. This section will go over some of the most well-liked first-time buyer government assistance programs.
Another way for qualifying first-time home buyers to acquire a house with no down payment is with the assistance of a loan guaranteed by the federal government. Government-backed loans might help you buy a house even if you have a modest down payment or bad credit. Government-backed loans are insured by the government, making them less risky for lenders. This also implies that lenders will be able to give borrowers reduced interest rates. Currently, three types of government-backed loans are available: FHA loans, USDA loans, and VA loans. Each program has its own set of requirements.
Good Neighbor Next Door
Are you a teacher in grades pre-K – 12, an EMT, a fireman, or a law enforcement officer? You may take advantage of the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Good Neighbor Next Door initiative (HUD).
The Good Neighbor Next Door program gives chosen HUD houses a substantial 50% discount. The offered homes are foreclosures and are fairly reasonable even without the discount. The HUD program website has a list of available properties.
HomePath® Ready Buyer™ Program
With Fannie Mae’s HomePath® program, first-time buyers may purchase a foreclosed house with as little as a 3% down payment. You may also have up to 3% of your closing expenses reimbursed via the program. Because of the “as-is” state in which Fannie Mae sells its properties, buyers should be prepared to make some repairs before moving in. While these costs may be prohibitive for some, they may be manageable for others with the aid of closing cost assistance.
HomePath® Ready Buyer™ is designed exclusively for first-time buyers who want to make the home they are purchasing their permanent residence. In order to close, Fannie Mae requires that you complete the HomeView Homeownership Education course.
State and Local First-Time Home Buyer Programs
The majority of housing aid provided by the federal government is provided via state and local programs. The specifics of each program change according on the area. On the HUD website, you can find a comprehensive list of purchasing information relevant to each state.
Charitable or Nonprofit First-Time Home Buyer Programs
If your income is modest or moderate, a charity or nonprofit organization may be able to help. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) like charities and nonprofits may be a great source of information and funding for homebuyers. Nonprofits often have income requirements that limit who may get assistance.
Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity is a worldwide organization that helps low-income families find and maintain “simple, good, and inexpensive” homes at no or minimal cost to them. Volunteers construct houses for individuals in need, and Habitat for Humanity does not profit from the sale of the home. Because of this, their houses are significantly cheaper than comparable ones in the area. Over 800,000 houses have been constructed by Habitat for Humanity, making it the biggest charity construction organization in the world.
Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America (NACA)
Another national organization that may assist you get a mortgage is the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America (NACA). Families that are “financially unstable” may get help from NACA in the form of mortgage counseling and education. NACA staff members also assist low-income families in locating accommodating lenders.
You may get a more in-depth look at your options for becoming a homeowner with a NACA loan, and there is no minimum credit score or down payment requirement.
The same is true of many NGOs and charities: they tend to serve a specific region. HUD maintains a database of all the registered 501(c)(3) organizations in each county and state. Visit HUD’s website to find out more about local housing assistance programs.
First-Time Home Buyer Loans and Grants for Students
Though securing a mortgage as a student may be more challenging due to outstanding student debts, first-time buyer programs may still be available.
Current students and recent grads who wish to buy a home while still making their student loan payments can look into FHA and VA loans, for example. Student loan borrowers who want to buy a home but haven’t had time to save may be able to do so with greater ease if debt-to-income (DTI) ratio rules are flexible and the required down payment is low.
Student loan debtors may qualify for first-time buyer programs in several states. Homebuyers with a certain amount of student debt or who have just graduated may be eligible for programs that lower their mortgage interest rate, give down payment help, or provide access to specialized financing. Find out what choices you have by looking at the state’s website or talking to a real estate agent.