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Idaho First-Time Home Buyer Programs of 2019

March 21, 2019
Finding the Right Mortgage, Mortgages
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If buying a first home feels like a stretch, you might benefit from a first-time home buyer program offered nationally or within the state of Idaho. A variety of loan and grant programs are available to put homeownership within reach for residents of the Gem State.

National first-time home buyer programs

Offered by most lenders, these nationally available loans have low down payment requirements, which makes qualifying easier for many first-time buyers.

 

Conventional mortgage

National program

Best for

Low down payment

Limited mortgage insurance premiums

What you need to know

First-time home buyers can get a conventional home loan with as little as 3% down if the mortgage meets requirements set by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. And if you put at least 20% down, you won’t have to pay mortgage insurance. Most lenders require a minimum credit score of 620 to qualify for a

 

FHA loans

National program

Best for

Low credit score

Low down payment

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

 

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

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

Idaho Housing first-time home buyer programs

The Idaho Housing and Finance Association offers purchase and refinance loans through a network of approved lenders for first-time and repeat home buyers, as well as down payment and closing costs assistance. The association’s home buyer tax credit program is available statewide to first-time buyers and repeat buyers in specific counties. In Idaho, you’re considered a first-time buyer if you haven’t owned a primary residence in at least three years.

Idaho Housing highlights and eligibility requirements

Highlights

  • Offers competitive interest rates for purchase and refinance mortgages.
  • Down payment and closing cost assistance available.
  • Some loan programs have reduced mortgage insurance requirements.
  • Tax credit program is open to repeat home buyers in targeted counties and first-time buyers in all counties.

Eligibility

  • Meet income and purchase price limits in your county.
  • Have a minimum credit score of 620 (this requirement is higher for some programs).
  • Complete a home buyer education course. One of the partners in a couple must complete the course if both are first-time home buyers.
  • Work with a lender approved by the Idaho Housing and Finance Association.

Fannie Mae HFA Preferred

State program

Best for

Low down payment

Low mortgage insurance requirement

What you need to know

The loan program allows a down payment as low as 3% and reduces mortgage insurance requirements to make monthly payments affordable. The program is open to first-time and repeat home buyers. Borrowers can also apply for Idaho Housing’s down payment and closing costs assistance and the Mortgage

 

Fannie Mae HFA Preferred Risk-Sharing

State program

Best for

Low down payment

No mortgage insurance requirement

What you need to know

The program allows for a down payment as low as 3% with no mortgage insurance requirement for first-time and repeat home buyers. Borrowers can also apply for down payment and closing costs assistance, as well as the Mortgage Credit Certificate, which is a tax credit program for home buyers.

 

Freddie Mac Home Possible Advantage

State program

Best for

Down payment assistance

Closing cost assistance

Low down payment

Low mortgage insurance requirement

What you need to know

The loan program reduces mortgage insurance requirements to make monthly payments more affordable for first-time and repeat home buyers. The down payment requirement can be as low as 3%, and borrowers who fall below certain income limits are eligible for a grant that can be put toward a down payment

 

Forgivable Grant for Down Payment/Closing Costs

State program

Best for

Down payment assistance

Closing costs assistance

What you need to know

Available for purchase and certain refinance loans through Idaho Housing, this program provides a grant to help with a down payment and closing costs. The assistance is in the form of a zero-interest forgivable loan. After four years, the loan starts being gradually forgiven. After seven, the loan

 

Second Mortgage for Down Payment/Closing Costs

State program

Best for

Down payment assistance

Closing costs assistance

What you need to know

This program provides a loan at 5% interest over 10 years to help with a down payment and closing costs. Borrowers could qualify for a loan of up to 3.5% of the property’s sales price or appraisal value (whichever is less), but it depends on the type of mortgage chosen. Borrowers must contribute at

 

Mortgage Credit Certificate

State program

Best for

Tax credit

What you need to know

This tax credit is open to all Idaho first-time home buyers and repeat buyers in targeted counties. The program lets a home buyer get a federal tax credit of up to $2,000 annually for 35% of the mortgage interest paid each year.

 

Your next step

You can read more about Idaho home buyer programs and check your eligibility by filling out a form on Idaho Housing’s website. To apply, you’ll need to work through a participating lender. After searching by location or for a specific company, you can start shopping. For more information on how to weigh options, see our tips for finding the best mortgage lender.

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