June 27th, 2018 9:39 AM by Jackie A. Graves, President
If you’re looking to Refinance or Buy a Home click here before rates rise.
Buying a home is
so hard, they should make it an Olympic event. It’s not just the paperwork;
it’s the terminology, the fees and the number of people involved. It’s natural
to want to agree to whatever, sign everything and just get through the process
as fast as you can. But while that may make you a medalist in downhill skiing,
it won’t earn you many style points in life’s uphill battle to financial
Here are some
of the most useful first-time home buyer programs that you might overlook if
you rush the process. They may score you some big savings.
This is the
go-to program for many Americans, especially first-time home buyers and those
who have a credit history that’s … let’s say shaky. The Federal Housing Administration guarantees
a portion of home loans, which frees lenders to broaden their acceptance
standards. With FHA backing, borrowers can qualify for loans with as little as
FHA loans do
have an up-front and ongoing additional cost built in: mortgage insurance
premiums. This protects the lender’s stake in the loan if you default.
This one may surprise
you. The U.S.
Department of Agriculture has a home buyers assistance program.
And no, you don’t have to live on a farm. The program targets rural areas and
allows 100% financing by offering lenders mortgage guarantees. There income
limitations, which vary by region.
Good Neighbor Next Door
was originally called the Teacher Next Door Program but was expanded to include
law enforcement, firefighters and emergency medical technicians, hence the
snappy “Good Neighbor” name. A HUD-sponsored program, it allows 50% discounts
on the list price of homes located in revitalization
areas. Yes, half off. Who knew? You just have to commit to living in
the property for at least 36 months. These homes are listed — for just seven
days — on the Good
Neighbor Next Door sales website.
Home upgrade programs
Here are a
couple of programs that allow you to buy more home for your money.
Department of Veterans Affairs helps service members, veterans and surviving
spouses buy homes. VA loans are especially generous, often
requiring no down payment or mortgage insurance. But like a lot of military
operations, the approval track is built for accuracy, not speed.
While the VA
has only a few requirements for things like debt and sufficient income, VA lenders may
add their own “overlays,” or additional requirements.
like one of those late-night television offers, but HUD claims to offer $1 homes that
have been acquired by the FHA through foreclosures. Needless to say, this is a
tiny pool of houses. At last check, only a handful of listings appeared on the
website. Curiously, one home we checked out in the Dollar Home category seemed
to be listed for $17,900. We’re not sure what that’s about, but shop carefully.
Fannie and Freddie
They sound like
classic ’70s rock bands, but Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are the
engines behind the home loan machine. These government-sanctioned companies
work with local lenders to
offer some appealing mortgage options, such as 3% down payments.
Even more help
In addition to
these national programs, many state and local governments offer assistance to
home buyers. The Department of Housing and Urban Development has
links to additional information.
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