When shopping for your first home, there are certain challenges that go beyond location, renovation, and making sure you have the right credit score. It’s tempting to take on the first mortgage provider that comes along, just to keep the process moving forward. But don’t miss out on special programs that offer you great savings!

FHA (Federal Housing Administration)

This is a popular go-to program for first-time buyers who have credit scores that are… less than ideal. What makes this so desirable is that with FHA backing, borrowers qualify for loans with only a 3.5% down payment. This also comes with mortgage insurance premiums, so make sure that your monthly payments will still be affordable.

USDA (United States Department of Agriculture)

Surprisingly, you don’t need to buy a farm to qualify! Assistance from the USDA targets more rural areas. There are income requirements which vary based on location, so do your research to see if you make the cut.

VA (Veterans Affairs)

Active service members, veterans, and surviving spouses can take advantage of some very beneficial programs offered by the VA. Often these loans require no down payments and no mortgage insurance! Discuss the terms with your local branch for more information.

Home Improvement Programs

Tackling a fixer-upper? The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) offers 203(k) lends money that includes the cost of improving the property, such as contract work.

Another loan offered by the FHA is the Energy Efficient Mortgage (EEM) which benefits individuals with energy-saving green features. This loan doesn’t require an appraisal and gives you some flexibility to extend the limits of the loan to make improvements.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

Want an even lower down payment? Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac offer their own versions of homebuyer programs for newbies. The borrower must be a first-time buyer and meet certain loan limits. The best part is that they only require a 3% down payment!

State-sponsored Programs

While the federal government has some great options, individual states have their own special programs too. Check and see if you can qualify for special grants, state tax credits, and closing cost assistance in addition to your mortgage for extra savings.