The thing about being a first-time homebuyer is you only get to do it one time. Buying your first home happens just once, giving you the chance to take advantage of lending programs meant to help people buy their first home with low down payments and low credit scores, such as an FHA loan.
Federal assistance is available, but financial help to buy a home is also available from state and local governments, and from private agencies. That’s a big area to search, especially if it’s your first time buying a home and everything is new to you.
And while you’re only a first-time homebuyer once, former homeowners can sometimes qualify for first-time buyer programs if they haven’t owned a home for several years. More on that below.
Where to start looking for help
Many federal programs exist to help first-time homebuyers, especially low-income families. The Individual Development Account, or IDA, for example, helps low-income families with dollar-for-dollar matches when saving to buy their first home.
A mortgage broker or real estate agent should be able to steer you toward programs that fit your needs, but it’s a good idea to research them on your own so that a program that could help you isn’t missed.
State- and locally sponsored programs shouldn’t be overlooked. Check out the list of state- and local homebuying programs maintained by HUD (the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development). Clicking on some states will also lead to local assistance programs, such as the 30 cities in California that offer homebuyer programs. (more…)