For many homebuyers, this purchase is the most significant that they will make in their lifetimes. From the outside looking in, the home buying process can seem daunting. Fortunately, first-time homebuyer programs help ease your financial burden and provide additional support for those going through the home buying experience for the first time. 

Something that many first-time homebuyers get anxious about is their down payment. Of course, everyone would like to be able to put down a sizeable amount to lower their monthly mortgage payment, but not all budgets may allow for that.  

There are programs made just for these situations, though. There are first-time homebuyers that allow you to put down as little as 3.5%. You can then use that money you save towards closing costs, to spruce up your new house, or to save or invest. 

We’ll explore some of the first-time homebuyer programs available in 2023 and how they can benefit you below. 

Who is Considered a First-Time Homebuyer? 

It may seem like a silly question, but it’s actually a good one. Of course, anyone that has never bought a house before is considered a first-time buyer.  

There are program specifics you’ll want to be versed in, though, because you might qualify even though you wouldn’t necessarily think you’d be eligible. The Maryland Mortgage Program, for example, only requires that one borrower meet the eligibility requirements of being a first-time homebuyer to qualify for their programs.  

For several first-time buyer programs, any buyer who has not owned a home in the past three years also qualifies and can take advantage of their first-time homebuyer options.  

This is excellent news if you have previously owned a home but may have gone through bankruptcy, foreclosure, or moved to a new area where you rented while you searched for a home to buy. 

What are First-Time Homebuyer Programs? 

Many state housing authorities offer special loan programs designed to solve the specific pain points first-time buyers might experience. Some states provide additional First-time home buyer programs at the county level, too. The benefits of these programs range from down payment assistance to closing costs grants to lower qualification thresholds.  

These programs aim to help buyers who might not otherwise qualify for a mortgage and ensure affordable housing for those who need it. 

The two most common types of first-time buyer assistance are: 

  • Down Payment and Closing Costs Assistance: These often come in the form of loans with low-interest rates and generous terms or sometimes in the form of grants that won’t need to be repaid. Some programs also allow down payment loans to be forgiven if criteria are met. 
  • Mortgage Tax Credits: These, also called Mortgage Credit Certificates, reduce your tax liability and lower the amount you owe on your federal income taxes. 

Each program is specific to a state or region, so it’s best to research the program details and work with a loan officer familiar with these types of programs. 

Where do I Find Information about First-Time Homebuyer Programs? 

As part of that commitment to be a resource as you navigate the mortgage process, we have detailed information about the state bond financing programs for all of the states in which we operate.  

Additionally, you can find first-time homebuyer program information for all of the states where we lend below.  

How Can I Determine Which Programs I Qualify For?  

After learning about the various types of first-time homebuyer assistance and how to research what is available in your local area, you’re probably ready to get started today! It is important to remember each program has its own requirements for prospective homebuyers to meet to be eligible.  

 Here are some common guidelines established by state bond programs: 

  • Must be a first-time homebuyer 
  • Must purchase a home in the specific state or region 
  • Minimum credit scores (usually in the 600 range) 
  • Meet certain income guidelines 
  • Stay within certain purchase price limits 
  • Complete a homebuyer education course 

Get Started Today 

At First Heritage Mortgage, we love helping first-time buyers on their homeownership journey! We believe that the best part about being a first-time homebuyer today is that you don’t have to navigate this journey alone. You will have trusted partners to help guide you along your path, from your real estate agent to your loan officer.  

Connect with one of our friendly, expert loan officers today. They will be happy to discuss these first-time homebuyer programs with you and help you find the best home loan option for your financial needs. 

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The included content is intended for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as professional advice. Additional terms and conditions apply. Not all applicants will qualify. Consult with a finance professional for tax advice or a mortgage professional to address your mortgage questions or concerns. This is an advertisement. Prepared 03/09/2023.