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Massachusetts First-Time Home Buyer Programs of 2018

July 30, 2018
Finding the Right Mortgage, Mortgages
Massachusetts First-Time Homebuyer Programs
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Buying a house in Massachusetts can seem like an impossible goal, especially if you’re a first-time home buyer, have low to moderate income or have struggled to save for a down payment.

The good news is there are several mortgage programs, local and national, designed to help first-time home buyers and others achieve their homeownership goals in the Bay State.

National first-time home buyer loans

Available through lenders across the country, these loan programs help first-time home buyers qualify for a mortgage through relaxed down payment and credit requirements.

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

 

Massachusetts first-time home buyer programs

Available through the Massachusetts Housing Partnership and the Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency, or MassHousing, these loans and assistance programs may make it easier to buy your first home.

Highlights and eligibility requirements

Highlights

  • Down payment assistance up to $12,000
  • Mortgage payment protection available in case of job loss
  • Affordable mortgage insurance options
  • Multiple loan options for veterans, active duty military and their families

Eligibility

  • Borrower must meet credit, asset, income and loan limits of program and lender
  • Property must be located in Massachusetts and be the borrower’s primary residence
  • Borrower must complete a home buyer education course
  • Some loans have specific debt-to-income limits

» MORE: Tips for first-time home buyers

One Mortgage

State program

Best for

Low mortgage rates

Low down payment

What you need to know

Offered by the Massachusetts Housing Partnership, this 30-year mortgage has a fixed, discounted interest rate and low down payment requirement, generally 3% of the purchase price. Unlike some other loans, One Mortgage doesn’t require mortgage insurance just because you put less than 20% down, and

 

MassHousing mortgage

State program

Best for

Low down payment

Low mortgage insurance

What you need to know

This 30-year mortgage, offered through the Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency, or MassHousing, features fixed interest rates and low down payment options. If required, you can choose from several affordable mortgage insurance programs, including a lender-paid option. Each mortgage insurance option

 

Rehabilitation mortgage

State program

Best for

Home improvements

Low down payment

Closing cost assistance

What you need to know

If you’re considering a fixer-upper, this mortgage program can combine purchase and renovation costs into one loan. Featuring low down payment requirements as well as closing cost assistance, the MassHousing Mortgage with Rehabilitation allows qualified borrowers to finance up to 50% of a home’s "as

 

Operation Welcome Home

State program

Best for

Military

Down payment assistance

Closing cost assistance

What you need to know

This loan program creates an affordable path to homeownership for active duty military members, honorably discharged veterans, members of the Reserves and National Guard, and Gold Star Family members. Though typically reserved for first-time home buyers — those who haven’t owned a home in the past

 

Buy Cities mortgage

State program

Best for

Low down payment

What you need to know

If you’re considering a home in Attleboro, Brockton, Cape Cod and the Islands, Fall River, New Bedford, North Quabbin, Quincy, Southbridge, Springfield, Taunton or Worcester, the Buy Cities loan program may make it more affordable. This program offers qualified borrowers a fixed-rate mortgage with

 

Down payment assistance

State program

What you need to know

If you qualify for a MassHousing mortgage, you may also be eligible for help making the down payment on your first house. MassHousing will lend up to 3% of the home’s purchase price or $12,000, whichever is less, for a down payment. You can’t make more than the median income for your area and may

 

Your next step

Now that you have some basic information about state-sponsored mortgage products, it’s time to delve into each loan program’s requirements so you can choose the right loan for your needs.

For full details on the One Mortgage program, visit the Massachusetts Housing Partnership’s website.

To learn more about any of the other first-time home buyer loan programs mentioned above, visit the MassHousing website.

» MORE: See the best Massachusetts mortgage lenders

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