NewHomeSource quoted me in Who Qualifies as a First-Time Homebuyer? It opens,
As you consider purchasing a home, you may have come across down payment assistance programs that aim to assist first-time homebuyers.
“How can I qualify?” you might have asked yourself.
It turns out, you don’t always have to be a first-time homebuyer to qualify, even though it might say otherwise in the name.
“Freddie Mac defines ‘first-time homebuyers’ for its Home Possible program as someone who had ‘no ownership interest (sole or joint) in a residential property during the three-year period preceding the date of the purchase of the mortgage premises,’” says David Reiss, professor of law and research director for the Center for Urban Business Entrepreneurship at the Brooklyn Law School.
Freddie Mac, a government-sponsored home loan mortgage corporation, says that its Home Possible mortgages offer low down payments for low- to moderate-income homebuyers or buyers in high-cost or underserved communities.
Another federal mortgage association, Fannie Mae, also offers down payment assistance programs for first-time homebuyers.
“The Fannie Mae standard 97% LTV Options let first-time homebuyers put down 3 percent,” says Reiss. “The program defines a first-time homebuyer as someone who ‘had no ownership interest (sole or joint) in a residential property during the three-year period preceding the date of purchase of the security property.’”
Similarly, the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development defines a first-time homebuyer as an individual who has had no ownership in a principal residence three years prior to the closing date of the property.
Not a first-time homebuyer under these definitions? There’s hope for you still.
“Given the overwhelming dominance that the FHA, Fannie and Freddie have on the mortgage market, homebuyers who have sat out of the housing market for a while may find that they qualify for first-time homebuyer programs even if they have owned a home before,” adds Reiss.
Additionally, there are also assistance programs available for “displaced homemakers.” A displaced homemaker generally meets the following qualifications:
- Provided unpaid services to family members in the home, such as a stay-at-home parent,
- Were given financial assistance from another family member, but are no longer supported by that income and
- Are unemployed/underemployed with difficulty gaining employment or upgraded pay.
“A displaced homemaker or single parent will also be considered a first-time homebuyer if he or she had no ownership interest in a principal residence (other than a joint ownership interest with a spouse) during the preceding three-year time period,” Reiss says.