For many first-time buyers, saving for a down payment is the most difficult step in the home-buying process. However, it's a common misconception that you always need 20 percent down to buy a home.
Here's the lowdown on the most popular low-down alternative payment options:
FHA Loan – Traditionally the mortgage of choice for first-time buyers, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) offers government-insured loans with as little as 3.5 percent down. The most popular FHA loan option, the 203(b), is widely available from lenders across the country. You may qualify with a credit score of just 500, although there may be limitations on some condo purchases.
Home Possible from Freddie Mac – This program allows you to put between 3 and 5 percent down, as long as you intend to use the home as your primary residence, and don't currently own or share ownership of another house. You'll also need to complete a required homeownership education program online.
Conventional 97 from Fannie Mae – Just 3 percent down is enough to help you qualify for a Conventional 97, as long as you're applying for a fixed-rate mortgage on a single-family home that's less than $417,000. You'll also need to participate in a homeownership education program, and at least one of the purchasers applying for the loan must be a first-time buyer.
HomeReady from Fannie Mae – Another option that requires as little as 3 percent down, HomeReady can also offer below-market interest rates. Additionally, this program allows non-occupant borrowers to apply. For example, parents can secure this type of loan for a young adult who's just starting to establish credit.
To discuss the best option for you and to get a head start on your home search, contact your local RE/MAX agent today!