10 Little – Known Mortgage Loans, Home Buyer Programs

Buying a home can be overwhelming. You essentially have to learn a second language – financialese – and tackle mountains of paperwork, all while trying to wrap your head around dollar amounts with waytoo many commas.

And ultimately, finances often prove to be the biggest obstacle to homeownership – but what many may not realize is that there are countless mortgage loans, homebuyer programs and grants that offer financial help for which you may qualify.

So here are ten loans, programs and grants designed to help you qualify for the home of your dreams.

  1. Good Neighbor Next Door: This program provides housing aid for law enforcement, firefighters, emergency medical technicians and pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade teachers. Those who qualify may receive a discount of 50 percent on a home’s listing price with a commitment to live in the home for at least 36 months.
  2. FHA loans: With a credit score of 580 or higher, you could be eligible for a mortgage with a down payment as low as 3.5 percent of the purchase price. And even if your credit score is lower than 580, you still may qualify for an FHA mortgage with a down payment of at least 10 percent of the purchase amount.
  3. USDA loans: While not well known, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has a homebuyer assistance program for applicants with a credit score of 640 or higher. Credit scores below 640 may still qualify for a USDA loan, but the lender will ask for extra documentation about your payment history.
  4. Energy-Efficient Mortgage: This type of mortgage is designed to help you improve your home to make it more environmentally friendly, such as double-paned windows, new insulation or a modern heating-and-cooling system, without making a larger down payment as the extra cost is rolled into your primary loan.
  5. VA loans: The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs helps active-duty military members, veterans and surviving spouses buy homes with competitive interest rates and no down payments. And some states may not require private mortgage insurance or a minimum credit score, too.
  6. FHA Section 203(k): For fixer-uppers, this loan may be a good fit. It estimates the value of the residence after improvements have been made, and then lets you borrow the funds you’ll need to carry out the project and includes them in your main mortgage. The down payment can be as low as 3 percent.
  7. Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac: These government-sponsored entities work with local lenders to offer mortgage options that benefit low- and moderate-income families, offering competitive interest rates and down payments as low as 3 percent of the purchase price.
  8. Native American Direct Loan: This loan helps Native American veterans and their spouses buy homes on federal trust lands and if you’re eligible, you won’t be required to make a down payment or pay for private mortgage insurance. It also offers low closing costs and a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage.
  9. Housing Finance Agencies: HFAs exist to help low- and moderate-income homebuyers by offering flexible down payment requirements – with funds coming from savings, a qualified gift from family or a down-payment assistance program – which is perfect for homebuyers who may struggle to come up with a down payment.
  10. Credit Unions: Although credit unions only provide mortgages to their members, it is becoming easier to join credit unions that offer a wide range of products. In fact, some credit unions also offer low- or no-down-payment mortgages that don’t require private mortgage insurance.

***BONUS11. Local grants and programs: Many states and cities offer help to first-time homebuyers so before buying a home, check your state’s or community’s website for housing grants and programs available in your area. A local real estate agent can also help you learn more about available programs in your area.

With so many different loans, programs and grants available, choosing one may seem overwhelming. But the good news is that you have options. While the specific terms and conditions may depend on where you live, you may be eligible for grants, flexible lower down-payment options and down-payment and/or closing-cost assistance.

Call one of our experienced real estate agents today to find out what affordable loan products or housing programs are available in your city, county or state housing agency.

Because at Debbie Richards Group, ‘We’re More Than Realty; We’re Family.’