July 7th, 2016 7:21 AM by Jackie A. Graves, President
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
are some of the most useful homebuyer programs that you might overlook if you
rush the process. They may score you some big savings.
the go-to program for many Americans, especially first-time homebuyers and
those who have a credit history that’s … let’s sayshaky.
The Federal Housing
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
3.5% down. You can search a list of FHA lenders near you at HUD.gov.
Department of Veterans Affairs helps
servicemembers, veterans and surviving spouses buy homes. The program is
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
one may surprise you. The U.S. Department of
Agriculture has a
homebuyers 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 are income limitations, which vary by
are a couple of programs that allow you to buy more home for your money.
initiative 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.
sounds 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.
sound like classic ’70s rock bands, but Fannie Maeand 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.
addition to these national programs, many state and local governments offer
assistance to homebuyers. The Department of Housing and Urban Development has links to additional
one of these resources may help you buy a home with less of a down payment,
lower your interest rate, or even find a bargain in your neighborhood. Then you
can have your own opening ceremony in your new home.
By HAL M. BUNDRICK, CFP - To
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