First-time homebuyers, let’s get you a dream house


For many, the dream of homeownership signals a new chapter in life. Settled and with plans for the future, you yearn for a cozy place to call your own. “Home” is the place that evokes a deep emotional connection. It represents a sanctuary, a place to rest, relax, and grow. It doesn’t need to be stressful when you are a first-time homebuyer. Here is some vital information.

Despite current mortgage rates and the housing market challenges, first-time homebuyers can still realize their dreams. Understanding how to qualify for benefits is crucial. Numerous programs are available to help first-time homebuyers ease the cost of purchasing a home. Homeownership plays a vital role in wealth accumulation. It has been a cornerstone of financial stability for decades. Owning a home contributes to neighborhood stability and ensures that children remain in the same school system, providing continuity as they grow up.

Qualifying as a First-Time Homebuyer

To qualify for a first-‘me Home Buyer program, you typically must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a first-time homebuyer, which generally means you haven’t owned a home in the past three years.
  • Meet income and purchase price limits specific to the program.
  • Have a credit score that meets the program’s minimum requirement.
  • Intend to use the home as your primary residence.
  • Complete a homebuyer education course, if required by the program.

These qualifications can vary depending on the specific program and location. You need to check the details of the programs available in your area. Additionally, some programs may offer flexibility for certain situations, such as if you’re a single parent or if you’ve only owned property that was not your primary residence. Remember, these programs are designed to help first-time buyers navigate the process of purchasing their first home with benefits like down payment assistance and favorable loan terms. You also might qualify for certain benefits even if you owned a home before.

Exploring First-Time Homebuyer Benefits

Various groups offer benefits to first-‘me homebuyers, including state and local governments, nonprofits, lenders, and employers. Typical benefits include:

  • Low or no down payment mortgages
  • Down payment assistance
  • Closing cost assistance
  • Federal tax credits

Here’s a brief overview of options:

  • VA Loans: Available to veterans, active-duty service members, and eligible spouses. In most cases, they require no down payment and are guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
  • USDA Loans: Aimed at rural homebuyers and require no down payment. These loans are backed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and are available to those who meet certain income criteria.
  • FHA Loans: Insured by the Federal Housing Administration and typically require a down payment starting as low as 3.5%. They are popular among first-time homebuyers. Check if you are eligible for it.
  • Conventional 97 Loans: Offered by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, allowing for down payments as low as 3%. They are called “97” because they finance 97% of the home’s price.
  • HomeReady and Home Possible Loans: Special programs for low- to moderate-income buyers, offering down payments as low as 3% and including flexible funding options.

These mortgage options are designed to help individuals who may not have the traditional 20% down payment saved up but are otherwise ready to become homeowners. Each program has its eligibility requirements and benefits, so it’s important to research and compare to find the best fit for your situation. It is important to talk to the expert. We can certainly help you compare and navigate the best option based on your scenario.

Key Tips for First-Time Homebuyers

  • Check Your Eligibility: First time homebuyers who haven’t owned a home in the past three years may qualify. Some programs target specific areas for redevelopment with more lenient qualifications. Consult a specialist for more information.
  • Explore Available Programs: Benefits for first-time homebuyers come from many sources. State housing finance agencies, local housing authorities, nonprofits, and lenders offer various programs. Call and we will help you find the best fit.
  • Understand Assistance Types: Assistance varies. Some funds are grants, while others are low or no-interest loans. Check if you can combine multiple grants or programs to maximize benefits.
  • Know the Approval Standards: Approval criteria vary by program and location. Some programs have income limits or require homebuyer classes, which help you understand the process and can be beneficial even if not mandatory.

Budgeting and Housing Market Predictions for the rest of 2024

Some first-time homebuyer programs have income limits based on Area Median Income (AMI). These limits are applied to grants or loans from state housing finance authorizes or USDA-backed mortgages. Regardless of income limits, knowing your budget ensures sustainable homeownership.

While housing market conditions may ease somewhat this year, affordability will remain a challenge. Experts predict home prices will increase throughout 2024. Fannie Mae expects a 4.8% rise by year-end, the Mortgage Bankers Association forecasts a 4.3% increase, and the National Association of Realtors anticipates a 2% rise.

Low home inventory keeps prices high, even as mortgage rates peaked near 8% last year. Rates might decrease to 6.5%-7% by the end of 2024, potentially increasing demand. If you’re ready to buy, waiting might not improve affordability. Acting now could secure better terms before prices rise further.

Preparing for Homeownership as a First-Time Homebuyer

First-time homebuyer benefits can significantly aid your journey. Understanding eligibility, exploring programs, and knowing approval standards will help you confidently navigate the process. Dreaming of a perfect home for your family becomes available with proper planning and preparation. We have helped many first-time homebuyers reach their dreams by guiding them, finding the best solution, providing fast and excellent support and service, and the best possible terms. This is what we have been doing for 30 years.

Author: Sasha Mrak Hendrickson, Buckingham Mortgage LLC

Calculators are for general and educational purposes only and are not an application and not a commitment to lend. This information is meant to serve as an estimate and may vary depending on certain conditions and restrictions.

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