So you’re tired of renting and want to begin taking steps towards home ownership, but where do you begin? As a first time home buyer, it can be overwhelming to seek out information on mortgage programs by yourself. You start to wonder: “Do I need to put 20% down?” “Do I qualify for down payment assistance?” “How do I know which first time buyer programs are available in my area?”
Across the country, there are many unique programs at the state or county level created just for first time home buyers. You might assume that 20% down is required to purchase a home, but that is no longer the case. In 2020, the average down payment for first time home buyers was 7 percent*, and even lower down payments are possible with the loan options in today’s market.
By working with a local loan officer, you can have an expert in your corner to inform you on the available programs in your area and which ones you qualify for.
FHA LOANS FOR FIRST TIME HOME BUYERS
With only a 3.5 percent down payment requirement, FHA loans are a popular option for first time home buyers. FHA also allows for lower credit scores, which helps first time buyers who may not have a well-established credit history.
DOWN PAYMENT ASSISTANCE AND GRANTS FOR FIRST TIME HOME BUYERS
One of the most difficult parts of purchasing a home for the first time is saving enough money for a down payment. For that reason, first time home buyer grants and other down payment assistance (DPA) programs can be a great option. Typically, grants will cover part of your down payment and/or closing costs. They do not require repayment if you meet the requirements.
HOW TO APPLY FOR A FIRST TIME HOME BUYER PROGRAM
Your first step is to connect with a local loan officer who has knowledge of the programs available and can review your situation to see if you qualify. Because many down payment assistance programs and grants are offered at the state or county level, larger banks or online lenders may not advertise these options to you. To expedite the process, you can begin a short application online so your loan officer has an idea of your current situation before reviewing options with you.