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New York State First-Time Home Buyer Programs of 2018

Finding the Right Mortgage, Mortgages
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The State of New York Mortgage Agency offers special programs to qualified first-time home buyers who want to purchase property in-state. If you haven’t owned a primary residence during the past three years, you’re considered a first-time home buyer.

The first-time buyer requirement is waived if you are a U.S. military veteran applying to purchase a home or you’re buying a home in a federally designated “target area” — an economically disadvantaged neighborhood where homeownership may provide a boost to the local quality of life.

IN THIS ARTICLE:
National first-time home buyer programs
New York first-time home buyer programs

National first-time home buyer programs to consider


FHA Loans

National program

What you need to know

Best for home buyers with low credit scores or looking for low down payments. This is the go-to program for many Americans, especially first-time home buyers and those who have a credit history that’s … let’s say shaky. The Federal Housing Administration guarantees a portion of home loans, which


Conventional Mortgage

National program

What you need to know

Best for home buyers with good credit looking for low down payments or limited mortgage insurance premiums. 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


USDA Loans

National program

What you need to know

Best for home buyers living in rural areas and looking for low down payments. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has a home buyers assistance program. And no, you don’t have to live on a farm. The program targets rural areas and allows 100% financing by offering lenders mortgage guarantees. There


VA Loans

National program

What you need to know

Best for military home buyers. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs helps service members, veterans and surviving spouses buy homes. VA loans are especially generous, often requiring no down payment or mortgage insurance. But like a lot of military operations, the approval track is built for

SONYMA highlights and eligibility requirements

Highlights

  • There is no credit score requirement for mortgage programs
  • Nontraditional credit is considered for some programs
  • Mortgage insurance is required on loan-to-value >80%
  • Down payment assistance is offered (See Down Payment Assistance Loans below)

Eligibility

  • Borrowers must have a minimum of three lines of credit that have been active for at least 18 of the past 24 months — and paid on time
  • Overall debt-to-income ratio of 45% or less
  • Must meet county limits on household income and purchase price
  • Maximum LTV of 97% for single-family homes
  • Two-year employment history
  • Borrower contribution of at least 1% on LTV >95%
  • Attend a home buyer education course

» MORE: 25 tips for first-time home buyers

New York State Home Buyer Assistance Programs


Achieving the Dream

State program

Learn more

at SONYMA

What you need to know

Best for lower income home buyers looking for low down payments and low interest rates. The Achieving the Dream program is offered to lower-income, first-time home buyer applicants. Borrowers will receive reduced interest rates and a lower down payment requirement on a 30-year loan. The mortgage


Conventional Plus Program

State program

Learn more

at SONYMA

What you need to know

Best for home buyers looking for down payment assistance, closing cost assistance, and relaxed approval standards. This loan wraps a lot of features into one program. It’s the Swiss army knife of mortgage assistance: Take a 30-year loan for purchase or refinance, throw in down payment assistance,


Low interest Rate Program

State program

Learn more

at SONYMA

What you need to know

Best for lower income home buyers looking for low interest rates. Low-to-moderate-income home buyers get a favorable interest rate in SONYMA’s Low Interest Rate Program — though published rates for the Achieving the Dream Program are even lower.


Down Payment Assistance Loans

State program

Learn more

at SONYMA

What you need to know

Best for first time home buyers looking for down payment assistance. A down payment assistance loan can be combined with any SONYMA mortgage program. It’s structured as a second mortgage, but there are no monthly payments required, and interest is not charged. In fact, the loans are forgiven after


Homes for Veterans Program

State program

Learn more

at SONYMA

What you need to know

Best for home buyers with military backgrounds. This program aims to help veterans and active-duty U.S. military personnel buy a home, even if it’s not their first. The loans offer favorable terms, and down payment assistance is available. Military-affiliated borrowers don’t have to meet


RemodelNY

State program

Learn more

at SONYMA

What you need to know

Best for home buyers with plans to remodel. RemodelNY is a purchase and renovation mortgage rolled into one. Whether you have your eye on a fixer-upper or a home that simply needs a few upgrades, this SONYMA 30-year loan may be just what you need to enhance that home’s curb — and family — appeal.


Energy Star Labeled Homes Program

State program

Learn more

at SONYMA

What you need to know

Best for home buyers planning to make energy-efficient upgrades. If you’re buying new construction or building a home, this program allows you to install energy-efficient upgrades. This can include windows, insulation, appliances, lighting, and heating and cooling systems.


FHA Plus Program

State program

Learn more

at SONYMA

What you need to know

Best for home buyers looking for lower mortgage insurance costs. Available for new home buyers or existing homeowners, the FHA Plus Program incorporates SONYMA’s down payment assistance with an FHA-backed mortgage. This can help you reduce the mortgage insurance premium you pay on an FHA loan.


Graduate to Homeownership Program

State program

Learn more

at SONYMA

What you need to know

Best for home buyers that have recently graduated college. An innovative program geared to recent college graduates, SONYMA provides down payment assistance, favorable interest-rate loans and homebuying education to prospective borrowers. A unique qualifier: Applicants must be looking to buy their


Neighborhood Revitalization Program

State program

Learn more

at SONYMA

What you need to know

Best for home buyers willing to renovate vacant homes. A major priority for New York state’s home buyer initiatives is to improve neighborhoods and revitalize communities. The Neighborhood Revitalization Program offers cash and financing assistance for prospective homeowners to buy and renovate

Your next step

Remember, the lender you work with may have additional borrower requirements than those stated in any SONYMA assistance program. They may include credit score minimums or other credit qualifications. So, dig into the programs you’re interested in, learn all you can, then talk to a few lenders about the possibilities.

For full details on any SONYMA program, visit the SONYMA website.

To find participating lenders, search the SONYMA lender list.

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