Applying for a First Time Home Buyers Grant
First time home buyer grants are issued by federal, state and local housing agencies to help borrowers purchase a home easily. The programs are designed to reduce the hurdles of acquiring a home by paying the down payment.
What is the process for getting a first time home buyers grant?
Nothing in the world of finance comes easy, so you should be prepared to jump through a few minor hoops to get the help you want. First time home buyer grants are no exception. A quick breakdown of the process is as follows:
Find a buyer program that Is applicable in your area. The HUD website is a great resource for finding grants. You can also ask your local housing office for programs available in your area. Another great starting point is USAGrantApplication.org. You can apply to gain access to a members-only website, where you can view all available grants. It's as easy as finding a grant that suits your needs, and applying for it!
The website has set up different funding options to best meet your needs with easy to search applications for business, home, personal, or education loans. Research experts have scoured available grants and grantors and put the important information in one easy place for you. If you have ever tried searching for a grant online, you’ll know there is a lot of information to look over. By taking advantage of grant application portals like the one stated above, you can be on your way to a new home sooner than you could have imagined.
Check that you fulfill the requirements. All programs have their intended beneficiaries and only they may apply. In general, if you qualify as a first time home buyer for a home loan, you can qualify for a first time home buyer grant. The only other criteria would be the location of the home and income limits placed on the grant
Look for an approved lender. Each grant has its own approved lender, so you have to do your homework and find the approved lenders and compare each of their offerings. You may get a list of approved lenders from your local housing agency. The lender will then assist you with your grant application.
Fill out the application forms. Your credit score, credit report and income information may be requested as part of the application. The required information may vary according to the grant program
Await approval or denial
It isn't as complex as applying for an actual mortgage, but it does require the same dedication.
What is the Criteria for a First Time Home Buyer?
Many borrowers believe that you have to be purchasing a home for the absolute first time in order to qualify as a first time home buyer. Luckily, this isn't actually the case. According to HUD, anyone who meets any of the following criteria can be considered a first time home buyer:
An individual who has never owned (or co-owned) a principal residence for at least three years counting backwards from the date of the current home purchase. This extends to a spouse (if either person meets the above test, they qualify as first time home buyers).
A single parent who has only co-owned a home with a former spouse.
An "displaced homemaker" who has only co-owned with a spouse.
A person who has never owned a home that was permanently affixed to a foundation (i.e. a mobile home)
A person who had previously owned a home that was not in compliance with building codes or other housing regulations.
First Time Home Buyer Grant Programs
The best way to find a first time home buyer grant is to start by asking your local housing administration office, real estate agent, and lenders. If none of your local options look promising, then a wider search should be performed for the less local grant programs that you may qualify for. While it it extremely rare to not find a local or even state based first time home buyer grant that you are eligible to receive, there are still some interesting grant programs on the national level that you may prefer. Two such programs are:
National Homebuyers Fund
Home buyers can receive up to 5% of their total loan amount through the National Homebuyers Fund or "NHF". The NHF is one of the few first time home buyer grant programs that operates on a multi-state level. All you need to do is find a participating lender, and meet the eligibility requirements set by the fund for your location and housing market, and this non-repayable grant is all yours.
HUD’s Good Neighbor Next Door
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) offers this housing assistance to even those who aren't considered first time home buyers. The Good Neighbor Next Door program is available to any teacher, law enforcement officer, firefighter, or emergency medical technician purchasing a home in any of the HUD designated areas. Meeting the simple eligibility criteria can snag home buyers the deal of a lifetime-- Up to 50% off of the list price of the home being purchased!
What Expenses can a First Time Home Buyer Grant Cover?
Housing and personal grants for first time home buyers can be used for :
Educational courses to increase knowledge as a homeowner
Home repair and renovations
Purchasing newly constructed homes
Purchasing existing homes
Debt consolidation to help people stay in their homes
In addition, first time home buyer grants may come with strict ownership and occupancy requirements. They are meant to benefit homeowners who intend to live in the property and not for owners who intend to use the property to rent out or commercial purposes.