Saturday, February 26, 2011

Where Do You Find First Time Home Buyer Programs?

There are lots of programs to help people buy a home, especially if you are what is called a “first time homebuyer.” I say that in quotes, because it doesn’t mean what you think it does. For the purposes of federally funding, a “first time homebuyer” is in fact somebody that hasn’t owned their primary residence in the last three years. That’s right. If you owned a home say, 10 years ago, but sold it and have been renting since? You’re a “first time homebuyer” right now. So where do you find lower mortgage rates and down payment assistance?

Here's a handy website: Down Payment Resource.  Just put in a city or address, and answer a few questions, and you can come up with a list of possible funds.

Another  place to look is your state’s housing authority. Each housing authority might have a different program from each other, but many have the same features: lower mortgage rates and/or a second mortgage to cover down payment assistance (that may be forgiven if you live in the house for a certain amount of time). See your own state for details. Also, check your city’s housing department. Check the community action agency (a nonprofit agency created to help low-income people) in your area. They may have home ownership programs, too. Check to see if the area in which you want to buy a home has a community development corporation(a nonprofit dedicated to developing a particular area or neighborhood) that covers it—they might have a home buying assistance program, too. If you are a low-income person living in a rural area, see the USDA’s home buying programs. You may qualify for one of them.

If you are a cop, fireman, educator, or EMS tech, you may also qualify for the HUD Good Neighbors Next Door program, created to help move such professionals into economically depressed areas. And if you are currently receiving a Section 8 rental voucher, you may qualify to have your housing subsidy cover part of the cost of purchasing a home—IF you live in a housing authority that is running a home ownership program.

Programs for veterans on a federal level are covered at the Veteran's Administration, but state housing authorities may have special state programs, such as the Heroes Program in Ohio.

Most of these programs have income limitations and house price limitations that can vary from state to state, but if you are buying in a depressed area, the limits might be looser. You will probably also need to go through a financial counseling program, but if you’re willing, and really want to buy a home, you should check it out.

No comments: