Advertiser Disclosure

Georgia First-Time Home Buyer Programs of 2018

July 30, 2018
Finding the Right Mortgage, Mortgages
Georgia First-Time Home Buyer Programs of 2018
At NerdWallet, we adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity to help you make decisions with confidence. Some of the products we feature are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.
We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity. Some of the products we feature are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.

In the Peach State, first-time home buyers — considered to be buyers who haven’t owned a home in three years — can look to the Georgia Dream Home Ownership Program for help finding mortgage financing. The home loan rates and fees are set by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.

National first-time home buyer programs

Wherever you live in the 50 states, these loan programs make homebuying more affordable, helping first-time home buyers overcome obstacles like limited income, low credit score or lack of a down payment.

Conventional mortgage

National program

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,

 

FHA loans

National program

Best for

Low credit score

Low down payment

What you need to know

Mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration, or FHA, offer relaxed qualification requirements, especially when it comes to down payment and credit score. You can qualify for an FHA home loan with a credit score as low as 500, but you’ll need a 10% down payment. If your score is 580 or

 

VA loans

National program

Best for

Military

Low down payment

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

 

USDA loans

National program

Best for

Low down payment

Rural

What you need to know

The USDA home loan program encourages rural and suburban homeownership by offering zero-down-payment mortgages to lower-income buyers. Borrowers with nontraditional credit data, like rent or utility payments, can still apply, but those with a score of 640 or above will experience faster loan

 

» MORE: What it takes to qualify for an FHA home loan

Georgia first-time home buyer programs

A wide range of mortgage options exist for first-time home buyers through the Georgia Dream program, including 30-year fixed-rate Federal Housing Administration (FHA), Veterans Affairs (VA) and U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development loans with low down payment requirements, or conventional home loans with a 20% down payment. There are several ways to qualify for down payment assistance.

Georgia Dream program highlights and eligibility requirements

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Affordable mortgage rates
  • Prepared borrowers usually close in about 60 days
  • Most first-time home buyers receive down payment assistance

ELIGIBILITY

  • 640 minimum credit score
  • Buyers must invest at least $1,000
  • Home buyer education required

Georgia Standard Down Payment Assistance

State program

Learn more

at Georgia Dream Homeownership Program

Best for

Down payment assistance

What you need to know

All borrowers eligible for a Georgia Dream mortgage may qualify for $5,000 in down payment assistance. It’s possible to receive $7,500 if you are eligible for either the PEN or Choice programs. If you receive funds from any of the down payment assistance programs below, you’ll need to repay the

 

Georgia PEN

State program

Learn more

at Georgia Dream

Best for

Health care professions

Educators

First responders

Military

What you need to know

Home buyers who work as public protectors, educators and health care providers, or who are active military service members and National Guard, may receive up to $7,500 total. You’re eligible if you are: * an employee of a police, sheriff’s, highway patrol, probation, correctional or fire department,

 

Georgia Choice

State program

Learn more

at Georgia Dream

Best for

Disabilities

What you need to know

If you are disabled or have a disabled family member living with you, you may qualify for $7,500 in down payment assistance through the Choice program.

 

» MORE: 25 tips for first-time home buyers

Your next step

Find details about the Georgia Dream mortgage and Georgia Dream Down Payment Assistance programs, including income and purchase-price limits and a map of targeted counties, at www.GADream.com. For additional information or assistance, email housing@dca.ga.gov.

Only certain lenders are approved by the state to offer Georgia Dream mortgages. Buyers begin the application process by finding a participating lender that can review the requirements with you and help you apply for pre-qualification and preapproval. Lenders may have additional requirements for borrowers. All lenders are required to offer home buyers the same rates and fees.

If your credit score is too low to qualify for a Georgia Dream mortgage, there’s still hope. Ready, Set, Go is a home buyer program that helps would-be homeowners work on improving their credit scores to become eligible for a Georgia Dream home loan.

More from NerdWallet:

Compare Georgia mortgage rates

Find the best Georgia mortgage lenders

See first-time home buyer programs by state