After choosing a first-time homebuyer program that you qualify for and benefit from, you will need to take steps to apply for the program and secure a loan for the purchase of your first home. In some cases, you may need to get pre-approved for the first-time home buyer program before you apply with a lender.
Most banks and lenders are approved for FHA loans. However, if you’re interested in obtaining an FHA loan, you will need to verify that your chosen lender is approved for FHA loans. Take the time to meet with a few different lenders in your area that are approved for FHA loans to learn more about the additional eligibility requirements of each of the mortgage lenders. Once you choose your lender, you can apply for an FHA with that lender directly.
Similar to FHA loans, the USDA first-time home buyer program is available through many lenders nationwide. Learn more about your local lenders and the eligibility requirements and application processes of each lender. Once you choose a lender that is approved for USDA loans, your lender can help you get prequalified for the loan. Be prepared to provide your chosen lender with your financial information, including copies of your W-2s, tax returns, and bank statements. If approved for a loan, your lender will inform you of the amount of the loan you qualify for and the down payment amount you will need to provide.
First-time VA home buyer programs work a little differently than FHA and USDA loans. The first step in securing a VA home loan is by obtaining a Certificate of Eligibility (COE). Your COE is your home loan pre-approval first-time home buyer certificate for a VA loan. You can obtain your COE in several ways, including:
- By mail
- Through select lenders
Once you are pre-approved for a VA home loan, you will need to determine what type of VA home loan you need. Most VA home loans are not financed directly through the VA. Instead, the United States Department of Veterans Affairs backs the loan to remove the financial risk imposed to your lender. As a result, you will need to meet any eligibility requirements that your chosen lender has before you can obtain a mortgage.
Finally, most state and local first-time home buyer programs are only available through select lenders. You will need to check with an approved lender about the eligibility requirements that you must meet and then apply directly through that lender unless a program states otherwise.