Can you get qualified? Even without a substantial down payment saved, you’ll find there are programs—such as the FHA loan program—that make it possible for you to become a first-time home buyer.
Make Your First Home Purchase Your Best-Ever Decision
Take advantage of interest rates. There’s no guarantee that interest rates are going to be this low forever. By getting out of the renter’s game and locking in low interest rates, you can begin a lifelong journey of wealth building.
Use less money down than you imagined. The concept of saving up 20% for money down against a loan can scare some first-time home buyers. But we’ll explain why that doesn’t always have to apply to you.
What You Need to Know About First-Time Home Buying
According to some statistics, a majority of renters who want to buy a home don’t move forward because they’re afraid they don’t qualify! But there are plenty of programs that make it viable for lots of people—even those with poor credit—to qualify.
For many first-time home buyers, the main issue is coming up with the down payment. Many of those who would otherwise buy a home feel they would move their purchase timeline forward if they could make the down payment.
With some first-time home buyers’ terms, it’s possible to pay with a relatively small down payment, much smaller than the usually-expected 20%.
Home sales are as hot as ever, with available homes sometimes going off the market in as little as three weeks in some areas—or even less.
Find favorable terms. When you approach it the right way, your first home purchase can be a door to great terms that help you with your monthly budget.
2 Ways to Use Your FHA 203(k) Loan
Buy a Fixer-Upper (and Fix It Up)
Or... Renovate Your Current Home!
I have used Con Browne with Smarter Mortgage for several home loans now. He is great to deal with, very professional, and gives great advice. I would highly recommend using them for any of your mortgage needs.- Josh C.
Such a great lender & so easy to work with! Con really made an otherwise stressful process seem much easier...he was always available and quick to respond. He kept me in the loop and I appreciated his advice and no-nonsense way of doing business. If you are looking to buy or refinance, I highly recommend Con Browne!- Felipa A.
Con and his team at Smarter Mortgage helped me though the entire process. Being a first time home buyer I had lots of questions on this process and they were quick to explain and help me understand what was to come. Con helped me to structure my credit to get the best interest rate possible on my home loan. He and his team are honest, trustworthy and extremely professional. It was an absolute pleasure to do business with the Smarter Mortgage team and I would definitely recommend them to anyone who is looking to purchase a home or to refinance their existing home loan!- Richard C.
I have closed multiple mortgage loans (refi and purchase) through Con Browne and the team at Smarter Mortgage over the past few years. Con has a strong understanding of the market and works to lock the best available rate. Smarter Mortgage makes the application and underwriting process user friendly and provides excellent communication through closing. Highly recommended!- Dan D.
We have used Smarter Mortgage twice now to refinance and both were great experiences. There are no hidden fees and if you are in a hurry to close they can do it quicker than most other options out there. The attention to detail and communication is excellent with Smarter Mortgage.- Russo V.
Your Renovation Wish List Could Include...
Increase window size
Bring in more natural light
Finish a basement or attic
Create a mother-in-law apartment or guest space
Correct foundational issues
Protect your investment for the long-term
Add a detached garage when one does not exist
There’s room for everyone
Knock down walls
Open up the floor plan to create versatile, welcoming spaces
Flood-proof your property
Add a retaining wall to prevent expensive damage
Repair the pool
Tired of leaks and cracks? Fix the pool & start enjoying it
Expand or refresh the kitchen
Cooking is just more fun in an updated kitchen
Add square footage
Growing your family? Grow your home alongside it!
How Does a Renovation Loan Work?
Depending on the types of repairs you plan to do, you have two options when it comes to securing a FHA 203(k) Renovation Loan: Limited and Standard.
The Limited 203(k) loan
The Limited 203(k) loan is for non-structural or “cosmetic” repairs. It covers up to $35,000 in renovation costs. With a Limited loan, you can do nearly anything that doesn’t affect the home’s structure! Think kitchen and bathroom remodels, carpet and flooring replacement, painting, appliance replacement, and much more.
The Standard 203(k) loan
The Standard 203(k) loan is a loan for projects with repair costs over $35,000. It can be used for structural or non-structural repairs. With a Standard Loan, you have even more flexibility. You can expand the home’s footprint, improve accessibility for differently abled people, and even move the home to a different site.
What Do First-Time Home Buyers Need to Know About Buying a Home?
Why should I buy a home now and not rent until I can save up a massive down payment?
Because there are plenty of options for lowering your down payment! For example, the FHA loan program, which includes loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration, is great for people with low credit scores and not a lot saved for a down payment. That isn’t to say that you shouldn’t save for a down payment—but remain open to all of the options available.
How will I afford my home?
Pre-approval for a first-time home buyer can be a major step in the process, and it’s easier than you think. A pre-approval is essentially a (conditional) promise from a lender that they can offer you the mortgage terms you need to make an offer on a house. This requires an application process that’s much simpler than you might imagine—and great for first-time home buyers who want to shop around and demonstrate to a seller that they’re serious about their offer.
Should I save for a down payment?
Absolutely. Just because you don’t necessarily have to make a 20% down payment on your first home doesn’t mean that you should eschew the process completely. Having a substantial down payment saved never hurts.
I have a low credit score. What kinds of loan programs are there for me?
If you go through the application process and make sure that your payment is in line with what you can fit within your budget (the typical recommendation is a mortgage that takes up no more than 25-33% of your household budget), then you’ll find it’s possible to afford your first home—and the process may be much simpler than you imagined
How do I get pre-approved?
In addition to the FHA loan program as mentioned in the previous answer, you should also look at your qualification for: the VA loan program, the USDA loan program, and even the Good Neighbor Next Door buyer aid program.
What should I do next?
Simple. Click any of our buttons above and find out if your first time home purchase can be as easy as we say it is here. Don’t worry about a low credit score, either—you’ll find that there are plenty of programs out there that can help.