One of the problems many first-time homebuyers face is finding the money to help cover the down payment and closing costs of their new home. Fortunately, many states have assistance programs that can help with those costs if potential buyers meet certain qualifications. If you are in the market for a home and need help covering all of the associated costs with buying one, here is what you need to know about the available programs.
Who Is Eligible for the Programs?
Each program has its own eligibility, but there are some similarities in requirements. For instance, the My First Texas Home program and the Home Buyers Assistance Program Participation Initiative in Louisiana both also restrict participation to homebuyers who have not owned a home within the past three years. Both also require that applicants have an approved credit score.
Other programs might have additional requirements that limit assistance to people in certain demographics. For instance, the Good Neighbor Next Door program is only available to firefighters, teachers, law enforcement officials, and emergency medical technicians. Applicants are restricted to living in certain areas that have been designated for revitalization.
How Do You Apply for Assistance?
Most programs require that you apply for assistance through approved lenders. A listing of the approved lenders is usually available with the information regarding the program.
A real estate agent can help you determine who to submit your application to and ensure that you meet the requirements before asking for assistance. An agent can also help you identify other programs you could potentially qualify for. Some assistance programs allow you to combine other offers of assistance to help cover purchasing costs.
How Can You Prepare to Apply?
Attending a homebuyer's education counseling course can help you find out if you are truly ready to purchase a home. In addition to learning what is needed to buy a home and the best way to proceed, you can possibly use the course to meet the requirements of a down payment assistance program that is required by some lenders.
You can also talk to a real estate agent to learn if there are additional steps you can take, such as working towards improving your credit score or earning extra income, if possible. By preparing now for the application process, you can increase your odds of being successful.
Even if you are not working with a real estate agent, you should at least consult with one regarding homebuyer's programs. In some instances, you can only apply for assistance through the agent.