When people consider the benefits to a first-time home buyer, they often only consider the financial aid available in the form of grants and tax breaks. There are also social, emotional and educational benefits to home ownership. You may be surprised to learn that lenders commonly consider a first-time home buyer to be anyone who has not owned a home in the last three years prior to closing on a property.
Many state, county and local governments offer grants to first-time home buyers to cover down payments or closing costs. In Colorado, for example, first-time buyers can apply for a grant through the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority. Government grants are often forgiven if the homeowner lives in the property for a designated period of time. This means that the recipient of the grant will not have to repay the grant.
Many of the government agencies that offer grants also offer first-time home buyers educational courses on money management, credit, and the benefits and responsibilities of home ownership. Many of the agencies require some educational counseling prior to applying for a grant. This may seem a bother to some, but the aim is to prepare people to proceed responsibly toward home ownership. Most agencies require anyone who will appear on the loan to complete the course or courses.
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Owning a home in a community, long-term neighbors, pride of ownership and the stability involved with long-term ownership are all tangible social benefits that first-time home buyers gain over renting. Home ownership also gives you a voice in your community through your local homeowner association.
Anyone who has lived in an apartment or a rental house knows how exciting it can be to finally own your own home and enjoy the freedom of decorating or even remodeling without the landlord's approval. Selecting a floor plan for a new home from a builder, planting a garden or installing custom fixtures throughout the house offer people an emotional enjoyment not available in renting.