Historically low interest rates and affordable home prices have made this a great time to buy a home, but for some buyers—particularly first-time buyers and families just starting out—the financial hurdles of accumulating a downpayment and covering closing costs often seem to large to be overcome. Even the process of buying a home can seem inscrutable, and confusion may prevent qualified households from moving forward. To overcome just these issues, local, county-level and federal government agencies have created a number of programs to help homebuyers overcome these obstacles.
Program Types and Qualifications
These government programs run the gamut from financial to educational assistance, in the hopes of expanding the dream of homeownership to everyone. Many of the programs (typically the financial ones) include qualification limits on personal income, and may impose parameters on the loans contingent upon things like the tenure of residency in the purchased home. Some programs are capped at a certain sales price, typically at or below the local FHA conforming loan limit, while require buyers to fund a certain percentage of the sale. Most programs have websites or literature that clearly outlines the qualifications that must be met in order to participate, so homeowners should take the time to read these limitations carefully.
While the variety of programs available in any one locale varies, examples of programs that are widely available include:
1. Downpayment assistance, through flat grants or affordable loans.
2. Closing cost assistance, again through grants or low-cost loans.
3. Financial counseling to ensure that homebuyers are ready for homeownership.
4. Educational seminars that cover the homebuying process and warn against scams and fraud.
5. Housing sales or placement for low-income, disabled, or veteran buyers
Often the hardest part about participating in any one of these programs is finding out that they exist. The internet is a helpful tool in determining what programs are offered in your area, and a great place to start is the website for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which includes a directory of local homebuying programs. Users can browse the site and find listed state, regional, county and city-level programs available at their locale. Home buyers can also check the websites of their government offices to see if any programs exist that are not listed on the HUD website.
Buyers in Texas can also visit any one of our LGI Homes new home communities, and ask to speak with a new homes consultant. As one of Texas’ most experienced builder of affordable homes, we are more than happy to help you discover how you too can buy a beautiful new home, without draining your bank account to do so.