Because many first-time home buyers don't have the savings necessary to purchase a home, the government sometimes offers financial assistance to cover a portion of the cost. Though some first-time home-buyer grants require the recipient to repay the grant, most accrue no interest. However, not all first-time home buyers will qualify for a grant.
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Eligibility requirements for specific first-time home buyer grants vary. However, most grants require you to meet a maximum income requirement, and you can't have owned a home in the past three years. In addition, if you have excessive income, unpaid child support, a previous foreclosure, tax liens or a recent bankruptcy, you won't qualify for most first-time home buyer grants.
Types of Assistance
Most first-time home buyer grants assist with down payments, closing costs or mortgage payments and can't be used for other purposes. Grants may provide a specific amount of cash assistance, or they may be equal to a percentage of your down payment, closing costs or monthly mortgage payment. Some grant programs require the recipient to make monthly payments toward the grant's repayment, while others do not require repayment until the recipient sells the home.
Federal first-time home buyer grants typically assist with the recipient's down payment. The amount of assistance you can receive depends on your income and number of dependents. You also must show you are approved for a mortgage loan before you can apply for this grant. If you qualify for the grant, the government will not ask you to repay it until you sell your home. In some cases, the government may forgive the loan after five to 15 years.
Most states offer first-time home buyer grants, but the amount of assistance and eligibility requirements vary. Many states offer different grant programs in each county. To qualify for a state grant, you will typically need to meet a maximum income requirement, and some grants also require you to have limited assets. Some state grants are only available to a certain demographic, such as single mothers or the elderly.