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Assistance is available for first-time homebuyers
by Annie Christian
Aug 26, 2011 | 1217 views | 0 0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Annie Christian
Annie Christian
In this current buyer’s market, many people have considered taking the plunge into home ownership. But in the strained local economy, many local residents are wondering how they could even afford a down payment. Many of those residents don’t realize they could save more money buying than if they continued renting. Various local and federal agencies have great options for first-time homebuyers. However, many of the people who qualify for assistance have never heard of these special grants and loans. These programs can be your key to homeownership, even if you’re struggling with the down payment. There is even assistance available for past homeowners.

These fantastic opportunities include:

Nevada Rural Housing Authority’s ‘Home at Last’

Home At Last offers interest rates as low as 3.35 percent on Fair Housing Authority (FHA), Rural Housing Service (RHS) or Veterans Administration (VA) 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages for first-time homebuyers in certain rural communities. If you need help with a down payment, you might be eligible for a 3 percent down payment grant and a mortgage loan for the remaining balance at 3.85 percent. If that isn’t enticing enough, you can save money on your tax bill with a credit of 20 percent or 40 percent (up to $2,000) of your annual mortgage interest paid.

Qualifications: There are no limits on your personal assets to be accepted into the program, but there are income limitations, which vary by county. For more information, visit

Nevada Housing Division first-time homebuyer program

This program provides assistance in every Nevada county. It offers low interest rates as well as assistance with a down payment or closing costs of up to $4,500. The loans available are: FHA, 203(b), Streamline 203(k), VA, RHS and Fannie Mae Conventional: My Community.

Qualifications: The homebuyers are required to take a six- to eight-hour homebuyer counseling class, offered for free by various community organizations. Homebuyers must also meet income and purchase price limits, which vary by county. For more information, visit

USDA loan program

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) offers great loans with no money down required, no mortgage insurance and low interest rates. No classes are required to qualify, and the program is even available to those who have previously owned a home.

Qualifications: Income limitations vary by area. Applicants might not currently own a home. Loans are only available in specific, rural areas. For more information, visit

Washoe Consortium Neighborhood Stabilization: This program sells rehabilitated, xeriscaped homes in the Stead, Sun Valley and Sparks core areas to first-time homeowners. At the time of this writing, three homes were available for purchase. These homes are perfect for lower-income families because they are designed to save money on monthly utilities. The homes come with a $5,000 grant for closing costs, as well as a $15,000 forgivable, interest-free loan.

Qualifications: Buyer must close in 60 days and provide 3.5 percent of their own funds. A homebuyer class is required and the buyer is subject to income limitations. For more information, visit

Western Consortium Program

This program provides up to $15,000 at no interest for first-time buyers in the following areas: Carson City, Churchill County, Fallon, Douglas County, Lyon County, Fernley, Yerington, Mineral County, Pershing County, Lovelock and Storey County. Payment of the loan is deferred until the home is sold, ceases to become the owner’s primary residence or the title is transferred, such as when the mortgage is refinanced. Escrow for homes purchased under this program closes in 45 days.

Qualifications: Homes must be in the specific areas listed, and cannot be located in a flood plain, nor can the home have been used as a rental in the previous 90 days. The buyer must have 1.5 percent in their own funds and must complete a homebuyer’s class before closing. This program is income-based with restrictions varying by location. For more information, visit

This is a great time to purchase a first home. Home prices and interest rates are very low, and a homebuyer has a great number of homes from which to choose. And for renters with a dream of owning a home but not enough cash in the bank for a down payment, help is available. The perfect starter home could be for sale right now, just waiting for you to get your down payment together. With these resources, you could be moving in much sooner than you ever could have imagined.

Annie Christian is a real estate broker and owner of The Annie Christian Real Estate Group. She helps with everything from buying and selling to foreclosure and short sale. To submit a question, call 351-5117. Her website is
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