Nine Special Loan Programs for First-Time Home Buyers

Bank Rate released a list of 9 unique loan and grant programs for first-time home buyers:

  1. Low-Down Payment FHA Loans:  Operated by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), first-time buyers with a FICO score of 580 or more can be eligible for a home loan with as little as a 3.5% down payment.
  2. USDA Loan: Operated y the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA), focuses on first-time buyers in certain rural areas. There are income limitations, but no down payment is required. A minimum FICO score of 620 is required.

  3. VA Loan: Operated by the Veterans Administration (VA), this is for current or former members of the armed forces and their surviving spouses. No minimum FICO score and no down payment.
  4. Good Neighbor Next Door: Operated by the Housing and Urban Development (HUD), this loan is geared towards law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians and school teachers. This program also offers the possibility of up to a 50% discount on a home price in revitalized areas if the buyer commits to living there for 3-years.
  5. Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac: For first-time buyers with low to moderate incomes, the possibility of putting a 3% down payment and a 3% credit towards closing costs.
  6. Energy Efficient Mortgage (EEM):  For environmentally-friendly improvements such as the installation of doule-pane windows, new insulation and more efficient heating and cooling systems.
  7. FHA 203(k): For buyers of rehabs and fixer-uppers.
  8. Native American Direct Loan: For Native American veterans and their spouses. No down payment and a possible credit for closing costs.
  9. First Time Programs and Grants for Local Buyers: Operated by cities and states for local residents who want to become first-time buyers.