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Expert Q&A Archive

05/16/2008
Programs for first time homebuyers.
Hello my name is Latanya, I am a single parent and I will like to buy a home in the next six months. My total income is about sixty-five thousand a year. I will be a first time homebuyer, and would like to know what programs are out there for first time buyers.
Lisa A. Arcangeli:
expert info »
Thank you for your question. First time buyer programs usually offer one or more of the following:
• Lower than market interest rates;
• Discounted or no closing costs;
• Discounted PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance);
• Flexible qualifying requirements; and
• Low down payment options.

Call a few lenders in your area to ask what they offer. Keep in mind they may offer many options and may need more information to determine if you qualify for them. There may be other requirements to get these benefits in addition to being a first time buyer.
Jody Rorick, CPA:
expert info »
You might want to look into an FHA loan. They are primarily for first-time buyers, insured by the government, and even available to people with less than excellent credit and who put down less than 20%. Mortgage insurance, or PMI, is always required with an FHA loan.
Bettye J. Banks:
expert info »
My goodness! Most urban areas have HUD-approved housing counseling agencies
who offer first time homebuyer programs. Freddie Mac, NFCC affiliates, The Urban League, LULAC and a host of other organizations [offer] comprehensive instruction. Ask [them] for information on a homebuyers roadmap (which simply walks the prospective buyer through the process), how to budget for homeownership, the costs of a loan, an amortization schedule, pros and cons of paying of a loan in 15, 20, or 30 years, paying off a loan early, and a good deal of additional information. Go to the www.hud.gov website to find an agency near you.

[Editor’s Note: To search online for a HUD-sponsored housing counseling agency near you, go to www.hud.gov/offices/hsg/sfh/hcc/hccprof14.cfm.]
Sharon P. Hardy, CFE:
expert info »
I believe that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, who are quasi-government entities specializing in homeownership, offer special programs for first-time buyers. Additionally, certain county municipalities offer special grants or loan programs to first time buyers who purchase their home in their specific counties. My daughter obtained a $25,000 grant, when she purchased her first home in Alexandria, VA, approximately 8 or 9 years ago.