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If you’re in the market to buy your first home, there are programs available that can help you overcome some of the more common hurdles when buying a home, such as saving up for a down payment and paying closing costs. Traditional loan programs typically require a steep 20% down payment, but that’s not feasible for everyone.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides funds and grants to help first-time home buyers who need a bit of financial assistance, in addition to insuring loans that require little or no down payment.
Here are some of the options available for you:
California’s Golden State Finance Authority (GSFA) Down Payment Assistance
California’s GSFA Platinum Down Payment Assistance Program has a forgivable loan up to 5% of the first loan amount for qualifying buyers to help with down payments and closing costs.
FHA (Federal Housing Authority) loans help first-time homebuyers purchase homes by offering government insured loans with more lenient qualifying guidelines such as lower down payment requirements. If you qualify for an FHA loan, you may be able to put as little as 3.5% down, as well as use gift funds to pay for the reduced down payment amount. To qualify for an FHA loan, borrowers will need to meet guidelines that may include a minimum credit score of 580, a maximum debt-to-income ratio of 45%, and must occupy their home as their primary residence.
Fannie Mae Loans
Fannie Mae, a government-sponsored enterprise, offers a mortgage program for first-time buyers who want to purchase with a low 3% down payment.
Do I need to be a First-Time Buyer to Qualify?
Many first-time buyer programs require at least one borrower who is a “first-time buyer,” but that doesn’t mean you won’t be eligible if you have purchased a home before. The definition of “first-time buyer” generally means a borrower who has not owned a residential property within the past 3 years. So technically speaking, you could qualify for a first-time buyer program even if you have purchased a home before.
If you think a first-time homebuyer program may help you get into your first home, ask our mortgage loan advisor what options are available for you. Whether it is a home loan program with a low-down payment requirement or more lenient qualifying guidelines, or a junior loan or grant to help you pay for a down payment or closing costs, you may be surprised how many solutions are available to you.
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