You’ve heard the promises—are they for real? There are plenty of sites that want you to believe that for a “small” fee, they can help you find any kind of funding you might need — complete with a guarantee!
The simple truth is that the government would love to encourage home ownership. However, they are not just giving out grants to accomplish that goal. And unless you are over age 62, living in a very rural area and meet a number of other uncommon criteria, there are no direct government grants available to help you buy a home. You need to understand that to avoid getting scammed.
Don’t give up — there is hope! Home buying assistance includes counseling on a number of topics, special programs specific to your state, free help avoiding foreclosure, low interest loans and payment plans and more. Learn more below, beginning with new very low down payment opportunities!
Remember as you consider options that no one can guarantee you can get a government grant to purchase your home. Don’t let wishful thinking let you fall for empty promises. See Grants For Home Repair as an alternative to purchasing a new home - maybe you can hang on for a bit longer before moving.
Discover your program today!
News: Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae (government-backed mortgage giants which provide mortgage money to lenders and also buy mortgages from them) have announced that effective March 23 of 2015 qualified buyers can get a home with a conforming, conventional fixed rate loan for 15, 20 or 30 year mortgages for just 3% down. That could be a huge break for potential buyers with decent credit (minimum score 620) who can document their income and employment. It's called the Home Possible Advantage program, check it out with a lender near you! Combine this program with financial assistance your state probably offers to mid-low income buyers and you'll be a homeowner before you know it! See the last section in this article for more state information.
Following are several types of free home-buying assistance available depending on your situation. (Be sure to also check out our June 2014 Newsletter with more tips and new programs for getting into a new home.)
Neighborhood Stabilization Program Grants This program was created to help neighborhoods that have a lot of homes that were abandoned or foreclosed. The resulting neglect drags down the appearance and value of the surrounding neighborhood. Through NSP Grants, people who otherwise could not afford to buy a house can receive assistance to do so. When new owners move in and fix up a property the entire community benefits.
NSP Grants are provided by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. They do not go directly to individuals. Like most federal grants, they go to state and local agencies and to some non-profits which then manage and distribute the funds. If you want to get involved with this program you need to find what “NSP Grantee” is in charge of the program in your local area. You can do that by going online to hudexchange.info. Click on the phrase “About Grantees” near the top of the page. On the next screen look under the category “View Organization by Program” and select “NSP” and then click “Find by Program.” That will take you to an alphabetical list where you can look for your city, county or state. Click on any of those to get a list of organizations and contact information.
Housing Counseling is readily available from agencies all over the country. Provided by the U. S. Government’s Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), these agencies offer a wide range of information and advice at little or no cost. Their programs go beyond just guaranteed or lower cost loans. Special programs exist that can help police, teachers and firefighters find homes at 50% off list price! Other programs help non-profits buy specific HUD houses. To find the agency closest to you, you can search online or call HUD toll free at 1-800-569-4287. There are no fees for housing counseling for the homeless. If any fees do apply to you, they will be minimal and the counselor must explain them to you up front. If you are a single mom trying to keep your family together also see our article Grants for Single Moms.
Help Avoiding Foreclosure If you are in danger of losing your home and you don’t know where to turn, HUD also offers specialized counseling in Foreclosure Avoidance. Search the list online on HUD’s website to find a counselor. Foreclosure Avoidance counseling is free of charge to anyone who needs it. And see our December 2012 Newsletter for information about the Independent Foreclosure Review Program if you went through the foreclosure process in 2009 or 2010 and feel you were mistreated. And there's news: the HARP program is now easier to qualify for! If you've been turned down in the past, check it out now. The program is ending in December 2015 so take action now — see our new article about assistance for HARP eligibility!
Special Loan Programs You can’t easily get a grant to buy a home but you may qualify for a better deal through the FHA (Federal Housing Authority). They are the largest insurer of home mortgages in the world, and their guarantee can help you obtain a lower interest rate as well as less required as a down payment. Any reputable lender can help you determine if you qualify for such a loan. You can also find more information on the FHA’s website. If you are trying to buy your first home, check out our article about grants for first-time home buyers. Also check out our article about Grants For Housing. In addition to Rental Housing Assistance it also describes some special purchase programs available from the USDA.
Information Specific to Your State In addition to federal agencies like HUD and the FHA, individual states provide lots of resources as well. They can help you find free or low-cost counseling, provide information and training regarding lenders as well as about purchasing and maintaining a home. Some also help you get financial assistance to purchase or make repairs to you home. If you live in California, Florida, Illinois, New York or Texas just click the name of the state and see our articles about specific financial help available there. And check back often as we add new states regularly. And for any state a simple internet search using the words “homeownership assistance” and the name of your state will get you to a website where you can get more information.