New Jersey First-Time Home Buyer Programs of 2021

New Jersey First-Time Home Buyer Programs of 2018

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First-time home buyers in the Garden State looking for help in getting their homeownership dreams fulfilled can turn to the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency.

You may qualify for assistance to apply to down payment and closing costs — and receive competitive fixed-interest-rate home loans.

National first-time home buyer programs

State assistance and loan programs aren’t the only resources you can tap into. Some municipalities offer housing assistance, especially for residents, and national funding sources should also be considered. Here are major programs that offer low- and no-down-payment programs.

Conventional mortgage

Best for:

Low down payments, limited mortgage insurance premiums

What you need to know:

A conventional mortgage is a home loan that isn’t guaranteed or insured by the federal government. Conventional mortgages that conform to the requirements set forth by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac allow down payments as low as 3% for first-time buyers or lower-income home buyers. Unlike FHA loans, conventional loans allow borrowers to eventually cancel their mortgage insurance or avoid mortgage insurance altogether if they put at least 20% down.

VA loans

Best for:

Military, low down payments

What you need to know:

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs helps service members, veterans and surviving spouses buy homes. VA loans are especially generous, providing competitive interest rates, often requiring no down payment or mortgage insurance. Although there is no official minimum credit score, most VA-approved lenders require scores of at least 640.

FHA loans

Best for:

Low credit score, low down payments

What you need to know:

This is the go-to program for many first-time home buyers with lower credit scores. The Federal Housing Administration allows down payments as low as 3.5% for those with credit scores of 580 or higher. The FHA will insure loans for borrowers with scores as low as 500 but requires a 10% down payment for a score that low. Mortgage insurance is required for the life of an FHA loan and cannot be canceled.

USDA loans

Best for:

Low down payments, rural

What you need to know:

A USDA home loan is a zero-down-payment mortgage for eligible rural and suburban home buyers. USDA loans are issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture through the USDA Rural Development Guaranteed Housing Loan Program. There are income limitations, which vary by region. Applicants with credit scores of 640 or higher receive streamlined processing. Those with scores below that must meet more stringent underwriting standards.

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NJHMFA highlights and eligibility requirements

You're considered a first-time home buyer in the Garden State if you haven't owned a home in the previous three years. The New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency offers the following programs to help you put down roots.

Highlights

  • 30-year fixed-interest-rate programs.

  • Competitive interest rates.

  • Programs for buyers who are upgrading and downsizing, as well as first-timers.

Eligibility

NJHMFA first-time home buyer loan programs

Down Payment Assistance Program

Best for:

Down payment assistance, closing cost assistance

What you need to know:

This NJHMFA program offers $10,000 in closing cost and down payment assistance to first-time home buyers. That amount is offered as a 0% interest loan that is forgiven in five years. Specific county income and purchase price limits apply, and buyers must obtain financing through a NJHMFA loan program. A minimum credit score of 620 is required.

Police and Firemen’s Retirement System Mortgage Program

Best for:

First responders

What you need to know:

If you are an active member of the New Jersey Police and Firemen’s Retirement System and have at least one year of service, you’re eligible for this 30-year fixed-rate loan program. The home’s purchase price must meet local purchase price limits.

Summary: 2021 NJHMFA first-time home buyer programs

  • Down payment assistance program for help with down payment and closing costs.

  • Police and Firemen's Retirement System Mortgage Program for first responders.

For full details on any New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency program, visit the NJHMFA website.

You’ll find lenders that participate in NJHMFA programs. It’s always a good idea to shop around for a lender, as loan terms and interest rates will vary among lenders.

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