Buying a home can be an exciting and challenging experience especially if you are a first time home buyer. Seeing that buying a home is one of the biggest purchases you’ll ever make in your life, make sure that you are ready.
Before you even start house hunting, it is important to research every aspect of the home buying process to make sure you do things right from the start. There are other fees associated with home buying that you are probably not aware of, so it is best to educated yourself to make sure you are both financially and emotionally ready.
Part of the home buying process involves getting a mortgage loan and that process alone is already a challenge for some. Fortunately, there are state and national assistance programs for first time home buyers – many of these programs or grants will help you with financing and closing costs.
Each program is unique and each has requirements that may not be applicable for all first time home buyers. If you need more information about each program, feel free to contacts us with your question.
First Time Home Buyer Programs in South Carolina
SC State Housing’s First Time Home Buyer Mortgage Loan Program – This loan program assists low-to-moderate income South Carolina first time home buyers. The program offers competitive interest rates. You can apply for this program through the agency’s participating lending partners. The program also offers down payment assistance based on availability, this assistance could be used towards down payment and/or closing costs.
Mortgage Credit Certificate – This is a federal tax credit that can rebate 30% of the interest paid on a mortgage loan as long as you live in the house. To get a MCC, you must meet specific criteria in terms of income and sales price limits, arrange your loan with a participating lender, and pay a processing fee. The mortgage credit certificate can be combined with most loans and other lender programs for first time buyers. You can only get a mortgage credit certificate during the loan process when you buy a home, not after buying a home or when refinancing.
Palmetto Heroes Program – This is one of the most popular first time home buyer programs in South Carolina. In 2015, the program offered home buyers the ability to purchase a home with a 3% interest rate and up to $8000 down payment assistance. Palmetto Heroes is available to Law Enforcement Officers, Correctional Officers, Teachers, Nurses and Certified Nursing Assistants, Firefighters, Veterans, Emergency Medical Services Personnel, and SC National Guard (Active Army or Air.) As of this posting the program is not yet available, but keep an eye out for the return of this program in the second quarter of 2016.
First Time Home Buyer Programs Nationwide
Dream Makers Grant – This program offers grants for down payment and closing costs to first-time homebuyers of modest means who are serving the military, a reserve, National Guard, or veteran. Grant approvals are contingent upon available funding.
HomePath Ready Buyer Program – FannieMae offers closing assistance of up to 3% when you buy a home listed on Fannie Mae HomePath. To qualify for this buyer incentive program, you must complete the homebuyer education course.
Mortgage loans that have no down payment or small down payment
VA Loan – The VA guarantees purchase mortgages with 0% down payment and no monthly mortgage insurance. This is not only for first time home buyer but all buyers who are qualified. This program is only available to service members, veterans, and eligible surviving spouses that meet VA Loan eligibility requirements.
Navy Federal Credit Union – Similar to VA loan, Navy Federal Credit Union also offers 100% financing to members of the military, civilian employees in the military and U.S. Department of Defense, and family members.
USDA – This program offers flexible plans for first time home buyers who are in a low to moderate income range, it is also available to non-first time home buyers who are eligible. The USDA is able to offer 100% financing on eligible homes at great rates with no money down program and minimal monthly mortgage insurance.
FHA Loan – With FHA loan, your down payment can be as low as 3.5% of the purchase price, FHA loans have less stringent qualifications and tend to be ideal for many first time home buyers or people with imperfect credit histories.
5 BLUNDERS FIRST-TIME HOME BUYERS SHOULD AVOID
Get Pre-Approved! Getting pre-approved is the first step in the buying process, it also acts as a dry run of the loan application process. The mortgage lender will use details you provide about your credit, income, assets and debts to arrive at an estimate of how much mortgage you can afford. It is also FREE and Non-Binding!