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Home Buyer Assistance Programs

There are a number of different programs available for first-time homebuyers. Many people start the home buying process with one of these programs, or with a program offered by a local community organization.

The following are brief outlines of the most common homebuyer assistance programs:

Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Insured Loans
The 203(b) is the most common FHA loan, featuring:

  • Low down payment
  • Flexible qualifying guidelines
  • Limited lender fees
  • Maximum loan amounts

Department of Veterans Administration (VA) Insured Loans
Features of VA loans include:

  • You must be an eligible veteran
  • There are no down payment requirements
  • Competitive and negotiable fixed interest rates
  • Limitations on closing costs
  • Longer payment terms

Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA) Loans
The FNMA Community Homebuyers Program features:

  • 5% down payment
  • Expanded debt-to-income ratios (33% and 38%)
  • You must attend homebuyer education
  • You must earn no more than the median income for the area in which you live
  • One family principal residence

The Fannie 97 Features include:

  • Fixed rate
  • 3% down payment
  • Expanded debt-to-income ratios (33% and 38%)
  • You must attend homebuyer education
  • You must earn no more than the median income for the area in which you live
  • You must have saved money for one month advance payment in an account at closing

The Flexible 97 Features include:

  • You must have very good credit
  • 15, 20, 25, and 30-year terms
  • 3% down payment can be a gift or a grant from nonprofit or government agency
  • No borrower income limits or property location restrictions
  • Up-front mortgage insurance costs are lower than FHA loans

The Fannie 3/2 Features include:

  • Fixed rate
  • 15 or 30 year term
  • 5% down payment - 3% from your own resources, 2% from a government agency, nonprofit organization, employer, or private foundation
  • Expanded debt-to-income ratios (33% and 38%)
  • You must attend homebuyer education
  • You must earn no more than the median income for the area in which you live

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Housing Services
The 502 Rural Housing Direct Loan is offered only in rural areas. Features include:

  • You must have low income - between 50% and 80% of the median income for the area in which you live
  • The loan can be financed at 100%
  • Payments are usually 22% to 26% of your income
  • You must not be able to obtain financing elsewhere

502 Single Family Housing Loan Guarantees features:

  • You can earn up to 115% of the median income for the area in which you live
  • You must be without adequate housing
  • You must be able to afford the payments
  • You must not be able to obtain credit elsewhere
  • 30-year term
  • No down payment

502 Mutual Self-Help Housing Loans features:

  • Primarily used to help low and very low income households construct their own homes
  • Intended for families unable to buy clean, safe housing through conventional methods
  • Families must perform at least 65% of construction labour on each otherís homes under qualified supervision
  • You must be unable to get credit elsewhere
  • You must be able to make payments
  • Payments are usually 22% to 26% of your income
  • 33 or 38-year terms
  • No down payment

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