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Wisconsin First-Time Home Buyer Programs of 2018

July 6, 2018
Finding the Right Mortgage, Mortgages
wisconsin-first-time-home-buyer-programs
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Buying a first home can be intimidating, but the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority, or WHEDA, offers programs to make it easier for first-time home buyers.

For the WHEDA programs, a first-time home buyer is considered to be someone who has not owned a home in the past three years. Qualified veterans and people buying in lower-income federally designated target areas can qualify for these programs, too.

National first-time home buyer programs

For residents in all 50 states, these national loan programs allow low and sometimes even no down payments.

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

Guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, these mortgages are available to military members, veterans and surviving spouses. If you qualify, you’ll see benefits such as no minimum credit score and no down payment or mortgage insurance, but you'll likely have to pay a VA funding fee.

 

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

 

WHEDA first-time home buyer programs

Programs offered by the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority, or WHEDA, can apply to first-time home buyers and in some cases to repeat buyers. Some programs allow borrowers to accept down payment assistance. There are income limits as well as limits on loan amounts or purchase prices.

WHEDA highlights and eligibility requirements

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages for first-time home buyers, repeat buyers and veterans.
  • Down payment and closing cost assistance available; income limits apply.
  • Mortgage interest tax credit available.

ELIGIBILITY

  • The home must be in Wisconsin and be the primary residence.
  • Most programs require a minimum 620 credit score.
  • Home buyer education required for most programs.
  • Program-specific requirements may apply.

» MORE: Tips for first-time home buyers

First Time Home Buyer (FTHB) Advantage

State program

Learn more

at WHEDA

Best for

Low mortgage rates

Down payment assistance

Closing cost assistance

What you need to know

Wisconsin's first-time home buyer assistance program offers 30-year fixed-rate mortgages at low interest rates for buyers who have credit scores of 620 or higher. There are limits on household income as well as on mortgage loan amounts. Borrowers can buy houses, duplexes and eligible condominiums

 

WHEDA Advantage

State program

Learn more

at WHEDA

Best for

Low mortgage rates

Down payment assistance

Closing cost assistance

What you need to know

This program offers 30-year fixed-rate mortgages at low interest rates. The loans are available to first-time and repeat buyers. Borrowers must have a credit score of 620 or higher. The program carries limits on household income and loan amounts. Borrowers can buy houses, duplexes and eligible

 

Veterans Affordable Loan Opportunity Rate (VALOR)

State program

Learn more

at WHEDA

Best for

Military

Low mortgage rates

What you need to know

VALOR offers a reduced-rate mortgage for qualified veterans. The program is available for first-time and repeat home buyers. It is offered to veterans with an honorable discharge or certain members of the military who have completed a period of active military obligation and then re-enlisted. The

 

WHEDA Tax Advantage

State program

Learn more

at WHEDA

Best for

Tax credits

What you need to know

First-time home buyers, eligible veterans and repeat buyers who purchase homes in low-income "targeted areas" can save on their taxes with this mortgage credit certificate. It provides a federal tax credit each year for the life of the loan. Veterans and buyers in federally designated "target areas"

 

Capital Access Advantage

State program

Learn more

at WHEDA

Best for

Down payment assistance

Closing cost assistance

What you need to know

This program offers down payment and closing cost assistance in the form of a 0% interest-rate loan that doesn’t require monthly payments. The maximum amount is $3,500. The loan is backed by the home, and doesn't have to be repaid until the home is sold or the mortgage is refinanced or paid off.

 

Easy Close Advantage

State program

Learn more

at WHEDA

Best for

Down payment assistance

Closing cost assistance

What you need to know

This assistance for down payment and closing costs comes in the form of a 10-year loan. The interest rate on Easy Close Advantage is the same as the rate on the primary mortgage. The maximum amount depends on the type of primary mortgage: If it's a WHEDA FHA Advantage, the assistance maxes out at

 

Your next step

You know the basics of first-time home buyer programs available in Wisconsin. If you want to dig into the specifics, visit the WHEDA website.

WHEDA doesn’t approve loan applications or lend money; instead, it relies on a network of participating lenders. If one of the above home buyer programs looks like a good fit or you need help deciding which option is best, reach out directly to a participating lender for more information.

» MORE: Best low-down payment mortgage lenders

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