Buying a home is so hard, they should make it an Olympic event. It’s not just the paperwork; it’s the terminology, the fees and the number of people involved. It’s natural to want to agree to whatever, sign everything and just get through the process as fast as you can. But while that may make you a medalist in downhill skiing, it won’t earn you many style points in life’s uphill battle to financial well-being.
Here are some of the most useful homebuyer programs that you might overlook if you rush the process. They may score you some big savings.
This is the go-to program for many Americans, especially first-time homebuyers and those who have a credit history that’s … let’s sayshaky. The Federal Housing Administrationguarantees a portion of home loans, which frees lenders to broaden their acceptance standards. With FHA backing, borrowers can qualify for loans with as little as 3.5% down. You can search a list of FHA lendersnear you at HUD.gov.
TheU.S. Department of Veterans Affairshelps servicemembers, veterans and surviving spouses buy homes. The program is especially generous, often requiring no down payment or mortgage insurance. But like a lot of military operations, the approval track is built for accuracy, not speed.
This one may surprise you. The U.S. Department of Agriculturehas a homebuyers assistance program. And no, you don’t have to live on a farm. The program targets rural areas and allows 100% financing by offering lenders mortgage guarantees. There are income limitations, which vary by region.
Home upgrade programs
Here are a couple of programs that allow you to buy more home for your money.
The Energy Efficient Mortgage programextends your borrowing power when you buy a home with energy-saving improvements or upgrade a home’s green features. If you qualify for a home loan, you can add the EEM benefit to your regular mortgage. It doesn’t require a new appraisal or affect the amount of your down payment. The program simply allows your lender the flexibility to extend loan limits for energy efficiency improvements.
There are also HUD 203(k) loans, designed for buyers who want to tackle a fixer-upper. This special FHA-backed loan considers what the value of the property will be after improvements and allows you to borrow the funds to complete the project as part of your main mortgage.
Good Neighbor Next Door
This initiative was originally called the Teacher Next Door Program but was expanded to include law enforcement, firefighters and emergency medical technicians, hence the snappy “Good Neighbor” name. A HUD-sponsored program, it allows 50% discounts on the list price of homes located in revitalization areas. Yes, half off. Who knew? You just have to commit to living in the property for at least 36 months. These homes are listed — for just seven days — on the Good Neighbor Next Doorsales website.
This sounds like one of those late-night television offers, butHUD claims to offer $1 homesthat have been acquired by the FHA through foreclosures. Needless to say, this is a tiny pool of houses. At last check, only a handful of listings appeared on the website. Curiously, one home we checked out in the Dollar Home category seemed to be listed for $17,900. We’re not sure what that’s about, but shop carefully.
Fannie and Freddie
They sound like classic ’70s rock bands, but Fannie Maeand Freddie Macare the engines behind the home loan machine. These government-sanctioned companies work with local lenders to offer some appealing mortgage options, such as 3% down payments.
Even more help
In addition to these national programs, many state and local governments offer assistance to homebuyers. The Department of Housing and Urban Development has links to additional information.
Author:Marilyn Cortez Phone: 956-587-1633 Dated: March 2nd 2016 Views: 403 About Marilyn: Always ahead of the highly competitive RGV real estate market, Marilyn Cortez is a Spanish speaking ...
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Always ahead of the highly competitive RGV real estate market, Marilyn Cortez is a Spanish speaking native of the Rio Grande Valley. Born and raised in Mission, Marilyn is committed to her clients, and is recognized as a Top Agent in the Greater McAllen Real Estate area, and within Keller Williams Realty. Since the start of her Real Estate career in 2007, she has sold over 40 million dollars of real estate. Known by her fellow real estate agents to be hardworking, honest, dedicated and motivated, Marilyn is knowledgeable in all areas of Real Estate and has built her business on results, with more than 70% of her clients being repeat clients.
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"I cannot write enough about Marilyn. She made my husband and my buying experience so easy and fun. She is exceptionally patient, never rushing us despite my husband and I having two totally different tastes. She works over the top to try to show us the houses that we would be interested in and always listening to our thoughts. She is such a hard worker; she even closed on my house the same week she gave birth to her adorable baby. I would recommend Marilyn to anyone looking for a new home without hesitation."