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Where to find down payment assistance

Making a down payment for your new home can be difficult, but there are many down payment assistance options that may be able to help you.

On average, how much assistance is available?

Depending on the situation, average down payment assistance ranges between $5,000 and $20,000. However, there are many forms of assistance available, each of them with their own strict conditions. There's no guarantee that either you or the property that you intend to buy will qualify for down payment assistance.

How do I know if I qualify?

You might qualify for down payment assistance based on a number of factors. Some of these factors could be self-evident, and others could require some research on your part.

For example, veterans and active military can apply for a Veterans Administration loan. Since the federal government guarantees these loans, they don't require a down payment.

If you live in certain areas, Rural Development loans can be guaranteed by the USDA. These loans wouldn't require a down payment, but instead, have a smaller one-time fee that can be incorporated into the mortgage. However, your income has to fall within a certain range of the median salaries in the area, the property needs to have an eligible location, and many more conditions apply. First, you'll want to consult the USDA Rural Development eligibility map (opens in a new tab) about the property, and then find out if you qualify.

In all cases, ask your mortgage lender about your down payment assistance options. Then do some extra research to find out about programs that might be able to help you.

Are there conditions on the property being purchased?

The price, type, location and use of the home can affect the availability of down payment assistance when you're ready to make a purchase. Once you've chosen the property you want to buy, ask your mortgage lender to explore the options available to you.

What are the main categories of down payment assistance?

Federal and state governments, as well as local organizations and municipalities, have programs to assist qualified applicants.

Federal assistance

The most popular down payment assistance programs come from the federal government. You may qualify for one of these programs if you're a first-time homebuyer, veteran, active military, teacher or if you live in a rural area. There may also be requirements on your income, property type, acreage and more.

To learn more about federal down payment assistance programs, visit these sites:

State assistance

Each state has an agency that offers its own down payment assistance programs. To find the programs available in your state, use the helpful directory at hud.gov (opens in a new tab).

Local assistance

You may be able to find a down payment assistance program right in your backyard. Counties, cities and local organizations (like Habitat for Humanity) offer a variety of grants and other methods to help with your down payment.

To find options specific to your area, consider using the search terms "low down payment mortgage" along with your city, state and county.

Keep it up. You're getting smarter about home buying.

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