How do you qualify as a first time homebuyer?

First time homebuyers can get access to special home loans and down payment assistance programs. But if you have owned a home in the past, can you still qualify as a first time homebuyer? Maybe!

Many first time homebuyer programs define a first time homebuyer to be someone that has not owned a property in the past three years. This can help someone looking for a home to qualify as a first time homebuyer -even though they owned a home in the past. Lenders will look at credit reports and taxes along with other reports to see if you have owned a home in the last three years. If you fall into that category, it can open up special programs for you.

What if you are a first time homebuyer but your partner isn’t? You may still qualify for some of the programs. Ask your lender. There are programs that only require one borrower to be a first time homebuyer.

Many down payment assistance programs just require that you have not owned a home in the last three years. This means you could qualify for programs like MN Housing’s down payment assistance. This program allows you get to $16,500-18,000 depending on your income – that can really help with down payment and closing costs! We offer a $4000 grant to first time homebuyers with income at or below 80% of the area median income.

There are other benefits with conventional loans if your income is under 80% of the area median income. You can get reduced mortgage insurance and lower interest rates with Fannie’s Home Ready and Freddie Mac’s Home Possible program. These programs don’t require you to be a first time homebuyer but you will need to take a first time homebuyer class.

Becoming a first time homebuyer is exciting but can be a bit overwhelming! Make sure you are looking at your personal finances. I always ask buyers what they are comfortable with in a house payment – sometimes you may not want to spend what you can qualify for and that’s ok! Figure out a budget and think about what you like to do – no one wants to be house poor! Decide what you want in a home and talk to your realtor about your wish list. Have fun house shopping! Make sure you ask questions!

Leslie Vanderwerf,  NMLS ID#335509, CrossCountry Mortgage LLC, An Equal Housing Lender, NMLS#3029 – Email – Website

Written By

Currently a Senior Loan Officer at Cross Country Mortgage LLC, it's hard to believe I have been in the mortgage business for more than 25 years and have worked with Sharlene since 2000! I love sharing mortgage insights here each week and helping people finance their homes. Listening helps me find the right program for you!

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