Mortgage Assistance for First-Time Home Buyers with No Down Payment: How to Apply

There are several types of down payment assistance programs, like as grants, forgivable loans, deferred-payment loans, and more. Look for possibilities that qualify on Zillow listings.

Despite popular belief, which states that you must have a 20% down payment saved, there are a number of programs available to assist with down payment costs, so you might be able to purchase a home sooner than you might have imagined.

Saving for a home requires perseverance and hard work, but you might be shocked to hear that, with the aid of first-time buyer programs, many first-time home buyers only put down three to five percent of the transaction price at closing. Furthermore, a few choices for zero-down payments are offered.

What is help with a down payment?

First-time home buyers can start generating wealth via homeownership by using down payment assistance to help them save up a down payment on a property. There are several ways to help with a down payment, including grants, loans, vouchers, and more. help amounts can be applied toward principal or down payment reductions, closing cost help, or both. They can range from a few thousand to tens of thousands of dollars.

Non-profit organizations and local or state housing authorities provide down payment help programs. They function in tandem with loan programs such as those provided by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), which allow for a 3.5% down payment. Additionally, they work with conventional loan kinds as well as VA and USDA loans. Additionally, certain lenders who specialize in down payment help may offer their own programs or collaborate with state or local housing agencies.

advantages and disadvantages of down payment aid

The majority of first-time buyers are thought to benefit from down payment aid, but before committing to a program, it's crucial to weigh all the conditions and financial ramifications. Here are some noteworthy benefits and drawbacks.


  • Advantages: Quicken the home-buying process by requiring less savings.
  • Improve your understanding of home buying: The majority of down payment aid programs mandate that applicants complete a course, which can provide you with valuable knowledge about the process.
  • Some increase the closeness to public service jobs: Public servants can reside in closer proximity to their places of employment thanks to the Good Neighbor Next Door program.


  • Restricted years of ownership: You may not always sell your house as soon as you buy it. If you sell during the first three to five years of ownership, a common restriction calls for payback of the cash.
  • Some demand payment back: A few down payment assistance schemes include taking out additional loans on top of your monthly mortgage payment, which may need to be repaid in a matter of years. Certain programs impose a second lien on your property, which you may have to pay off with interest when you sell it or shortly after.
  • Can prolong closing process: If you need assistance with a down payment, your closing procedure might take longer than the typical 30-45 days.

Qualifications for down payment help

You must not have owned a house for the previous three years in order to be eligible for down payment help. Additionally, you have to provide documentation of a stable income, a good debt-to-income ratio, and a credit score of 620 or above.

More qualifying standards may apply to specific programs, such as the need that you stay in the house for a predetermined amount of time—between three and ten years, on average. Your eligibility may be impacted by certain programs' regional restrictions. You might also have to enroll in a course for education.

Are you eligible for more than one program that helps with a down payment?

It is feasible to be eligible for more than one program offering assistance with a down payment. For instance, FHA loans—which are well-liked by first-time homebuyers—can be paired with a down payment assistance program to help meet the down payment and mortgage insurance premium requirements.

Types of grants and programs for assistance with a down payment

Depending on your region and financial circumstances, you may be eligible for a variety of down payment help programs. These are some important kinds.


Grants for down payment assistance are non-repayable. Usually operated by local or state governments, these programs help qualified buyers with a portion of their down payment. They typically require you to live in your house for a certain number of years before selling and are only offered to first-time home buyers. You will be required to repay the grant amount at closing if you do sell your house before the prearranged time frame.

Forgivable loans

This kind of loan, which is structured like a second mortgage, is unrepayable until you sell the property before the predetermined number of years has passed, as the name suggests. Since there is no interest on these loans, your monthly payment will only be the principal.

Loans with deferred payments

A percentage of your down payment may be covered by this kind of loan. Repaid when you sell or refinance your mortgage, and it is also set up as an interest-free second mortgage.

Loans for a down payment

This second mortgage has no interest or a low rate. It pays for your down payment and is opened at the time of your first mortgage. Similar to your initial mortgage, it is paid back monthly over time, but typically at a very low interest rate.

How to request help with a down payment

The procedures to apply for assistance with a down payment are as follows.

1. Look into assistance for a down payment

Find out what local programs are available for down payment assistance by searching online first. Programs are listed by state on the US Department of Housing and Urban Development website. or complete the DPA eligibility questionnaire to see if you qualify.

2. Discuss down payment assistance options with a lender.

Additional excellent options for locating down payment help programs are your lender, mortgage broker, and real estate agent. To begin talking about your budget, get pre-qualified for a house loan.

3. formally request assistance with a down payment

This is the appropriate moment to formally apply for the program you want to employ to help with your down payment. Since every program is unique, be sure to pay close attention to the specifics of the application, the deadline, and the documentation needed.

4. Take a course on homeowner education

Before giving you any money, a lot of first-time buyer programs demand you to complete a homeowner education course. During the application process, you will be informed about any mandatory education for first-time buyers.

5. Obtain preliminary approval.

To find out how much you can pay, get your lender to officially pre-approve you. This will enable you to move fast as soon as you discover a house you adore. Next, get serious about looking for a home.

6. Look for a house

Begin looking for properties that fit your budget. You can find out on Zillow whether you qualify for down payment assistance programs for the house you're interested in and your loan requirements; to find out more, go to the home details page. Verify if the program you want to employ is available for the house you want to buy and your loan requirements.

7. Present a proposal

When you've located a property, collaborate with your realtor to craft a strong offer while staying within your means. And exercise patience: according to the Zillow Group Consumer Housing Trends Report 2021, 59% of buyers submit many offers on a property before having one accepted.

8. Apply for mortgage financing with help for a down payment.

You can proceed with financing, locking in your rate and starting the underwriting process, as soon as your offer is accepted. Your closing date will probably be a little bit later if you are using down payment assistance.

How long does it take to receive help with a down payment?

Your closing procedure will probably take longer than the usual 30-45 days because there will likely be some back and forth between your lender and the DPA agency you're using.

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