Ohio First-Time Home Buyer Programs of 2020

NerdWalletJanuary 6, 2020
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On a similar note...
Ohio First-Time Homebuyer Programs

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If you are a first-time home buyer in Ohio, there's help to make homeownership more affordable. The state of Ohio works with mortgage companies, lenders and credit unions to offer home loans to people with low and moderate incomes, including first-time home buyers. You’re considered a first-time buyer if you haven’t owned a residence within three years.

The Ohio Housing Finance Agency, or OHFA, helps with 30-year fixed-rate conventional, Federal Housing Administration, Veterans Affairs and U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development mortgages that have relaxed income and purchase price limits.

Here’s what to know about national and state programs available in Ohio and what you need to qualify.

In this article

National first-time home buyer programs

These national mortgage programs may be used by first-time home buyers to make home-owning more affordable in any of the 50 states.

OHFA highlights and eligibility requirements

OHFA also has a number of programs that assist first-time buyers and others buying a home. Benefits include lower mortgage rates, down payment assistance, tax credits and combined financing for buying and renovating a home. Besides basic eligibility rules, each program may have additional requirements, including limits on income and maximum purchase price.

First-time buyers have several financing options through OHFA, including FHA, VA, USDA Rural Development and conventional mortgage loans with affordable 30-year fixed rates. Buyers can look up participating lenders and income and purchase-price limits. These loans, with somewhat different rules, are available to qualifying repeat buyers through the OHFA Next Home program.


  • Minimum credit score 660 for non-203(k) FHA loans, 640 for others.

  • Down payment assistance forgivable after seven years.

  • Mortgage tax credits available.

  • Incentives for recent college grads, military and helping professions.


  • Free home buyer education required.

  • Limits on debt-to-income, purchase price and borrower incomes.

  • First-time buyer requirement waived for eligible veterans.

  • First-time buyer requirement waived for homes in target areas.

Compare OHFA lenders

Ohio first-time home buyer loan programs

Summary: 2020 OHFA first-time home buyer programs

  • The Ohio Mortgage Tax Credit allows a tax credit of up to 40% of the mortgage interest you pay each year.

  • The Ohio Your Choice! Down Payment Assistance program offers cash to apply to your closing costs or down payment. The benefit can be as much as 5% of the home's purchase price.

  • Ohio Heroes allows discounted interest rates on home loans to military borrowers, first responders, educators, doctors, nurses and others.

  • Ohio Grants for Grads provides a discounted interest rate and down payment assistance of up to 5% of the home's purchase price to recent college grads.

Start learning about OHFA first-time home buyer programs at the agency’s website. You’ll find details on income and purchase price limits, and links to lenders who are acquainted with these programs and their requirements. You also can find program criteria by county here, or call OFHA at 888-362-6432.

Not a first-time buyer? You may find help from Ohio’s Next Home program.

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