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There are lots of programs to help a first-time homebuyer get a mortgage. FHA, VA, and USDA loans all cater to first timers, with low down payment requirements and flexible credit scoring. There’s also the Good Neighbor Next Door for teachers and local service personnel and HUD’s Dollar Homes for foreclosures.

Here’s some more detail on the most useful home buyer programs you might miss out on if you rush the home buying process. They could score you some big savings. 


This is the go-to program for many Americans, especially first-time homebuyers and those who have a credit history that’s … let’s say shaky. The Federal Housing Administration guarantees a portion of home loans, which frees lenders to broaden their acceptance standards. With FHA backing, borrowers can qualify for loans with as little as 3.5% down.

FHA loans do have an up-front and ongoing additional cost built in: mortgage insurance premiums. This protects the lender’s stake in the loan if you default.


The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs helps service members, veterans and surviving spouses buy homes. The program is especially generous, often requiring no down payment or mortgage insurance. But like a lot of military operations, the approval track is built for accuracy, not speed.

My First Texas Home
Taxable Mortgage Program (TMP Program 78) offering mortgage loans at more competitive, fixed, low interest annual percentage rates with down payment assistance for first time homebuyers.

Visit the My First Texas Home page.

Texas Mortgage Credit Certificate Program
Increases a family's disposable income by reducing its federal income tax obligation. The tax credit is valid for the term of the mortgage loan as long as the borrower occupies the property as their primary residence.

Visit the Texas Mortgage Credit Certificate Program page.

San Antonio (HIP)

This Home Incentive Ownership (HIP) program has available funds to assist with purchaing a home within the boundaries of the City of San Antonio. Financial assistance in the form of a 0% interest, no payment loan, is provided to qualified homebuyers who do not exceed 80% of the Area Median Income for their household size, in accordance with Department of Housing & Urban Development guidelines. 


This one may surprise you. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has a homebuyers assistance program. And no, you don’t have to live on a farm. The program targets rural areas and allows 100% financing by offering lenders mortgage guarantees. There are income limitations, which vary by region.