The process of buying a home for the first time can be equal parts exciting and overwhelming. There is a lot of information to take in during the home buying process, and first-time buyers can get confused about what to do. One area that many first time home buyers inquire about is the possibility of getting assistance in purchasing their first home. Read on to find out more about first time home buyer programs and incentives and how you may be able to participate.

What Programs Exist to Help First Time Buyers?

The government has a few programs in place to help first-time buyers. Some, like the VA loan or USDA loan, have special conditions that you have to meet to get help, such as prior military service or purchasing agricultural land. If you are buying your first home in Central Florida, there are two programs that are most likely to be of assistance to you:

  • The FHA loan program, backed by the Federal Housing Administration, allows first-time home buyers to get their mortgage insured by the government entity. This allows the bank to feel secure lending to a first-time buyer, and also comes with other benefits for the buyer, such as smaller down payments and lower interest rates.
  • The HomePath Ready Buyer Program, backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, lets buyers get a mortgage on a foreclosed home at a lower rate and with a smaller down payment. Properties listed under this program are designed for purchase by someone who intends to live there rather than sell the home for a profit, so anyone who purchases within the first 21 days after the home is listed has to be buying it to live in.

How Do You Participate in These Programs?

Each program has its own criteria and guidelines for who can participate. In both cases, buyers need to have a credit score of 580 or higher. This number can vary based on the lender and program you use. Even with the reduced down payment that the program offers, you will need to have some money saved to put down at the time of purchase and a proven source of income.

If you hope to purchase through the HomePath program, you’ll have to complete an education course to get qualified. The course walks first-time buyers through the basics of owning a home, budgeting for a purchase and how to navigate the buying process. This is intended to help buyers keep their homes and avoid the mistakes typically made in this situation. There is a fee of $75 for the class, which may be reimbursed after the transaction is closed.

If you’re ready to start looking for your first home, the Core Group can help. Our experienced professionals can help you find and buy the home of your dreams. Click here to get started.