Homebuyer Assistance Programs: Options for first-time home buyers.

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Most states offer some form of housing assistance programs to help their more challenged citizens get into homes. The programs are often referred to as "bond programs" because their funding comes from issuing bonds and selling them to investors.

The programs are specifically designed for first-time home buyers, or for those who have not owned a home recently. However, states frequently waive this requirement for buyers in special "targeted" areas where government wants to revitalize the neighborhoods. Borrowers' eligibility may be determined by income, and the property must usually fall within an acceptable price range, depending on incomes and property values in the area. Some programs even allow borrowers to purchase multi-family housing, such as duplexes or fourplexes.

Programs can include down-payment assistance, loan guaranties, interest subsidies, tax credits, and closing cost help in the form of low-cost loans or direct payments. Borrowers must normally have at least a fair or average credit rating and proof of sufficient income to repay the mortgage. Low down-payment loans will require mortgage insurance of some kind--either private or government-backed. Many programs require that borrowers attend home ownership classes or some kind of state-sponsored financial management counseling.

In addition to state-sponsored housing assistance, local governments and organizations like Habitat for Humanity also may offer housing help. And the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides home-buying assistance in rural areas. A quick online search can help would-be homeowners determine what help might be available to them.

Links to State Housing Assistance or Bond Programs:

Alabama Housing Finance Authority Home Ownership Programs
Alaska Housing Assistance Homeownership Programs
Arizona Housing Finance Authority Assistance Programs
Arkansas AFDA Mortgage Revenue Bond Program
California Homebuyer's Downpayment Assistance Program (CHDAP)
Colorado Housing Assistance Corporation Programs
Connecticut Housing Finance Authority Programs
Delaware Single-Family Mortgage Revenue Bond Program
District of Columbia Housing and Community Development Programs
Florida Housing Finance Corporation, First Time Homebuyer Program
Georgia Dream Home Ownership Program
Hawaii State Homebuyer Resources,  Hula Mae program
Idaho Home Buyer Down Payment Assistance Program
Iowa First Time Home Buyer Grants
Kansas Housing Resources Corporation First Time Homebuyer Program
Kentucky Housing Corporation Homeownership Opportunities
Louisiana Housing Finance Agency First Time Homebuyer Program
Maine State Housing Authority First Home Program
Maryland Department of Housing & Community Development
Massachusetts Housing Partnership SoftSecond Program
Michigan State Housing Development Authority Homeownership
Minnesota Housing Finance Agency Community Mortgage Programs
Mississippi Mortgage Revenue Bond
Missouri Home Buying Assistance
Montana Home Ownership Network Programs
Nebraska First Time Home Buyer Grants
Nevada Housing Division First Time Homebuyer Program
New Hampshire Housing Financing Authority Programs
New Jersey Homeownership Programs
New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority Programs
New York State Affordable Housing Solutions
North Carolina Housing Finance Authority Home Buyer Programs
North Dakota Affordable Housing
Ohio Housing Finance Agency Programs
Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency Affordable Housing
Oregon Housing and Community Services
Pennsylvania Housing Finance Authority Programs
Puerto Rico Department of Housing Programs
Rhode Island Housing Home Buyer Programs
South Carolina State Housing and Finance Authority Programs
South Dakota Home Ownership Programs
Tennessee Housing Assistance Counsel Programs
Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs Homebuyer Assistance
Utah Housing Corporation Homebuyer Programs
Vermont Housing Finance Agency Home Ownership Programs
Virginia Department of Housing Home Ownership Down Payment Assistance
Washington State House Key State Bond Loan Program
West Virginia Mortgage Revenue Bond Program
Wisconsin Housing & Economic Development Home Ownership
Wyoming Community Development Authority Homebuyer Programs

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