Everything You Should Know about Programs for First-time Homebuyers


The home-buying process can be difficult and costly for many first-time home buyers looking for their ideal residence. For many people, purchasing a first home may seem unachievable due to high home prices and interest rates. Thankfully, there are state-wide and local-specific initiatives in place to assist first-time homebuyers in getting past some of the financial barriers preventing them from becoming homeowners.

See where to find, how to qualify for, and more information about state and local first-time home buyer programs by reading on.

Programs for first-time home buyers: what are they?

In order to make homeownership more accessible and affordable for first-time home buyers, state and local governments have implemented first-time home buyer programs.

First-time home buyers can save money on one of the biggest financial transactions of their lives with the help of these creative programs, which can provide assistance with closing costs and down payment as well as lower interest rates. Additionally, they offer even more support by way of priceless educational resources.

Who offers programs for first-time homebuyers?

Housing Finance Agencies (HFAs) are the most prevalent state-level providers of first-time home buyer programs. These state-chartered organizations provide opportunities for affordable housing to citizens in every state in the union. HFA programs generally target low- and middle-class residents in addition to targeted populations such as first-time homebuyers, veterans, people with disabilities, and homeless individuals.

HFAs do not offer home loans, but they do usually set the requirements for those who wish to apply for their first-time home buyer programs. Rather, they assist borrowers in working with private lenders who have been approved and manage the loans.

There are other state and local resources available for first-time home buyer programs besides HFAs. Through their own initiatives, county and local government organizations may also provide direct assistance.

Benefits available to first-time homebuyers

Programs for first-time home buyers offer a variety of advantages, from much-needed financial assistance to information that will help you make housing decisions for years to come. The most popular advantages of first-time home buyer programs are listed below.

Down payment and closing cost assistance

The benefits that are most immediately felt are monetary in nature. First-time home buyer grants are provided by numerous programs to help with the down payment and closing costs associated with purchasing a property. In order to pay for these upfront expenses, programs might also offer a second mortgage loan with low or no interest.

Lower interest rates

Certain first-time home buyer programs provide low-interest loans that are unavailable elsewhere for long-term assistance. For instance, first-time homebuyers in specific Connecticut neighborhoods can get up to a 0.25% interest rate reduction.

Mortgage tax credit certificates

First-time homebuyers can lower their federal taxes depending on how much they pay for their mortgage interest by using mortgage tax credit certificates (MCCs). MCCs offer a tax credit that is usually 20%–40% of the amount that first-time homebuyers pay in mortgage interest (up to $2,000 annually), though the exact amounts vary by state.

Let’s take an example where your state HFA provides a 40% MCC. A $1,600 federal tax credit would be provided by the MCC to you if you paid $4,000 in interest on your mortgage in a year. Your yearly tax bill will be reduced “dollar for dollar” as a result.

State HFAs manage the programs that offer these benefits, even though this is a federal tax credit.

Educational resources

Benefits for first-time homeowners aren’t always monetary in nature. State and local initiatives can also provide priceless insights into the nuances of the house-buying process. In order to be eligible for benefits, first-time home buyers frequently have to finish an educational course.

First-time home buyer eligibility requirements

It’s crucial to keep in mind that, although each first-time home buyer program will have unique qualifying standards, all first-time home buyer programs must meet the following general requirements:

The term “first-time home buyer” is used by many first-time home buyer programs to refer to a person who has never owned a home before or who hasn’t owned one in the previous three years.

Occupancy: Primary residences are the focus of the majority of first-time home buyer programs. After buying the house, you’ll probably have to move in and not use it for other things like a vacation or rental property.

Income: Your household must meet certain income requirements to be eligible for first-time home buyer programs. These programs are usually intended for low- to moderate-income buyers. The cap frequently varies based on your household size and the median income in the area.

Sales price: Based on the median sales price in the neighborhood, the program might establish a maximum sales price for the house you’d like to purchase.

Educational courses: As previously indicated, in order to be eligible for a first-time home buyer program, HFAs may require you to finish an educational course. You can learn the specifics of the house-buying process, the value of saving money, and a lot more from these useful lessons.

Credit score: A minimum credit score of 620 is usually required. This is in line with the minimal score required by traditional lenders.

Debt-to-income (DTI) ratio: Programs for first-time homebuyers usually require a DTI of 43% or less, though state and local programs may have different DTI requirements. By dividing your total monthly debt by your gross monthly income, you can find your DTI.

Raeesa Sayyad
Published by
Raeesa Sayyad

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