Not all borrowers can take advantage of the secret weapon when buying a home, but those who do find big savings up front. In 2021, real estate sales have gone through the roof. You will read articles about this, but some of these articles leave out a crucial detail about WHY house prices are going crazy in 2021.
Why Is There a Real Estate Seller’s Market
You’ll read the term “seller’s market”, and you will read about how interest rates have dropped to incredible lows. Those things are true. But there’s often a missing piece to these discussions. WHY are sales and prices skyrocketing? Because of high demand coupled with an inventory of for-sale homes that cannot keep up with that demand.
You read that correctly, we’re talking about a high demand creating a shortage in available homes for sale. Hence, elevated prices.
Buying a Home Without a Down Payment
The down payment issue is daunting for many borrowers. There are two no-money-down mortgage programs but they are not offered to the general public. The USDA single-family home loan program intended for economically disadvantaged borrowers features a zero-down option. But these loans have household income caps and other restrictions.
The VA mortgage program also offers a no-money-down home loan but they are offered only to veterans, currently serving military members, and qualifying surviving spouses of those who have died as a result of military service.
Does a no money down home loan seem out of your reach based on the above? It may not be.
Down Payment Assistance Grants
Down payment assistance grants are the secret weapon when buying a home. Why? Because these grants are for first-time homebuyers. There is no repayment required. That is true as long as the borrower meets the grant program’s rules.
That’s great for first-time homebuyers, but what about people who have owned a home before? Believe it or not, many of these programs may permit you to apply even if you have owned property in the past. Usually, the programs require you to have no ownership interest in a home in the three years leading up to the grant application, or some variation of that rule.
That means that if enough time has passed between the last property you owned and the new grant application, you can still technically qualify under certain programs.
Down payment grants are permitted by lenders, but the grant program must meet FHA loan requirements as well as lender standards. That normally includes complete documentation of the source of the grant fund and a letter from the giver stating there is no expectation of repayment.
Down payment assistance programs can be found in your local area, where available. Search your state government official site to get started, but be sure to search for local programs for “first-time homebuyer down payment grants” in your city or state as well.
Joe Wallace specializes in personal finance, military affairs, and consumer protection topics. Since 1995, his work has appeared on Air Force Television News, The Pentagon Channel, ABC and a variety of print and online publications. He is a 13-year Air Force veteran and collects unusual vinyl records, which gives him an excuse to write the vinyl blog Turntabling.net.