June 2, 2016

Three Ways First-time Homebuyers Can Take Their Best Shot at Homeownership

VHDA provided the following guest blog post on Cruvita.com.

If you’re thinking about buying your first home, you may be wondering where the down payment will come from, how much you can afford, and whether you’re prepared for the responsibilities of homeownership. If that sounds like you, there are a number of programs available to help. From California to New York and Texas to Michigan, housing/development agencies offer a number of programs to assist first-time homebuyers. In Virginia, for example, the Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA) offers programs to help Virginians attain quality, affordable housing.

Here are three programs that are common in many states and can help make your dream of homeownership a reality:

Federal Tax Credit for First-time Homebuyers. 
If you’re eligible, a Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC) could save you thousands of dollars by reducing the amount of federal income tax you owe. Unlike an income tax deduction, an MCC is a dollar-for-dollar credit against your federal income tax liability. The MCC is effective for the life of your mortgage, so you could potentially save money on your taxes every year, for as long as you live in your home. You must ask about an MCC when you first apply for a mortgage — if you wait until after you’ve applied, it will be too late!

Homebuyer Class. 
Many local or state housing/development agencies or local nonprofit organizations offer in-depth courses for homebuyers. They cover topics such as credit, setting up a spending plan, working with a lender and real estate agent, the home inspection and the closing process. Classes may be offered in multiple languages and students may be able to choose online or classroom training. Each state will vary, but in Virginia, you can find a class or take it online at vhda.com/FreeClass.

Affordable Home Mortgages. 
Local or state housing/development agencies typically offer a variety of home mortgage loans for first-time homebuyers. Some of these loans are fixed-rate, 30-year mortgages, and some don’t require a down payment. Many loans have maximum income and sales price limits and/or loan limits, which vary according to where the home is located. Contact your local or state housing/development agency to get all the details on these affordable home mortgages. Your mortgage lender can provide this information as well.

Financing your home is just one part of the process. There are lots of tools and resources, like Cruvita, that can help you find your next home. With lenders, real estate agents and programs like these, homebuyers can take their best shot at homeownership, and hopefully take home a win!

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