Tennessee First-Time Home Buyer Programs of 2020

NerdWalletJanuary 23, 2020
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Tennessee First-Time Home Buyer Programs of 2018

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A house is the biggest purchase many people ever make. If you’ve never applied for a home loan before, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. That’s why the Tennessee Housing Development Agency, or THDA, created a program to help first-time home buyers through the process.

Some nationally available loan programs may also reduce barriers to homeownership, thanks to relaxed eligibility requirements. Keep reading to learn more about first-time home buyer programs available in the Volunteer State and beyond.

National first-time home buyer loans

THDA highlights and eligibility requirements

THDA programs are available to Tennesseans who haven’t owned a home before, as well as repeat buyers who haven’t lived in a home they own for at least three years or who are buying a home in an area designated as economically disadvantaged. Active-duty service members, veterans and spouses are also eligible.

If you want to buy a house but worry you won’t qualify for a mortgage, the THDA Great Choice Home Loan program can help by providing down payment and closing cost assistance.


  • Includes government-backed and conventional loan options.

  • Great Choice mortgage payments help fund programs for the elderly, people with disabilities and the homeless.

  • 30-year, fixed-interest-rate loans.

  • Loans and assistance programs available through lenders across Tennessee.


  • Borrower must be a Tennessean with a minimum credit score of 640.

  • Borrowers must meet income and loan requirements.

  • Borrowers must complete home buyer education course to get down payment assistance.

  • Property must not exceed purchase price limits, which vary by county.

Compare THDA lenders

THDA first-time home buyer loan programs

Summary: 2020 THDA first-time home buyer programs

  • Great Choice loan for help with down payment and closing costs.

  • Homeownership for the Brave for reduced interest rates and low down payments for active-duty service members, veterans and reservists.

  • Great Choice Plus for down payment and closing costs assistance.

  • Hardest Hit Fund for help with down payment and closing costs for buyers in designated ZIP codes.

Now that you’re more familiar with the basics of loan programs for first-time home buyers in Tennessee, it’s time to dive into the specifics. Know that THDA doesn’t review applications or lend money; it relies on a network of lenders that may have additional borrower requirements. Your next step is to talk to a THDA-approved lender to find out exactly what it takes to get qualified.

For full details on the programs listed above, visit the THDA website.

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