How Do I Qualify as a First-Time Home Buyer?

Qualifying as a first-time home buyer opens you up to a range of programs that can expedite your path to homeownership. Qualifying as a first-time home buyer isn’t necessarily restricted to those individuals who have never owned a home before, either. Individuals who have owned a home in the past but are now renting their home are often eligible for these federal and state-funded programs. In general, prospective homeowners must not have owned property within the last three years.

1.) Contact one of the housing counseling agencies that are funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Agents will help you understand whether you will qualify as a first-time home buyer and which programs will be beneficial to you. If you have down payment or credit concerns, they can also address questions regarding those issues. A list of housing counseling agencies can be found on the HUD website. Search by state to find agencies in your area.

2) Inquire about state or local resources for first-time home buyers by contacting a housing agency in your area. State housing authorities often have special programs for first-time home buyers, home buyers with limited incomes, single parents and home-buyers with disabilities. Applicants must meet certain eligibility requirements prior to being accepted into the programs.

Note: Get informed before you even start searching for your first home, Easy Steps to Buy a House  is literally that, a step by step to the real estate process.
3) Begin saving money to be used toward the down payment of your future home. If you are planning on applying for a federally insured FHA loan, you will need to have a down payment of at least 3.5 percent of the purchase price. An additional 3 to 4 percent will also be necessary to cover the closing costs. If you are utilizing another home-buying program, you will need to understand and follow the regulations of that program.

4) Keep your credit in check by monitoring your score, disputing inaccurate information and keeping credit card balances to a minimum. The higher your credit score, the better chance you’ll have of being approved for a first-time home-buying program.


  • Previously owning a home does not necessarily make an individual unable to qualify as a first-time home buyer. In addition to individuals who haven’t owned a home in more than three years, first-time home buyer benefits are available for single parents and displaced homemakers who owned a home with a former spouse, and for previous homeowners whose principal residency did not have a permanent foundation. Additionally, if your former home did not meet state, local or model building codes, and couldn’t be brought into compliance for less than the cost of building a new home, you may also qualify as a first-time home buyer.
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