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Nov 22

First-Time Home Buyer Programs

by Mary Teresa Fowler
First Time Home Buyer Programs

The Federal First-Time Home Buyers' Tax Credit has expired but there is still help out there for first-timers. No doubt, the federal tax credit had encouraged people to become home owners and increased home sales. When this assistance ended, sales fell flat and first-time home buyers turned to other sources of help including 'angel investors' (family and friends). Yet there are still 'official' programs in place for first-time home buyers – at least on the municipal level.

Visalia, California

The City of Visalia, CA, is in the habit of helping home buyers. The city has offered assistance for home renovation as well as help with housing for lower-income, working families. Now Visalia is throwing its support (and funding) behind first-time homebuyers. The details of this latest program were spelled out in a recent city report.

"First-time homebuyers or those who have not owned a home in the last three years may be eligible to receive as much as $20,000 to help purchase a brand-new home with a maximum purchase price of $200,000," stated a City Of Visalia report released on November 19, 2010.

Workshops are planned for December 11 allowing Visalia residents to learn more about the program. The city is being supportive of their first-time homebuyers but, ultimately, there is a hope that the initiative will have a positive effect on Visalia's economy. The city expects that first-time home buyer assistance will encourage building in already-approved subdivisions. The program is expected to inspire first-timers and inject energy into the local housing market.

Visalia, builders to aid homebuyers with $20k stimulus program

Cambridge, Massachusetts

The Cambridge Financial Assistance Program offers a grant to potential first-time home buyers. This program helps with their down payment and closing costs. The home must be the buyer's primary residence. As well, the buyer must agree to restrictions limiting the sale of the property. Buyers must have been lived in Cambridge for at least one year.

Applicants must reveal their gross family income, amount of monthly debt, savings for a down payment, and the estimated purchase price of the property. A financial assistance program also allows eligible first-time homebuyers to “buydown” the purchase price of a home. Applications are available through the Cambridge Community Development Office.

Taunton, Massachusetts

The city of Taunton, MA, assists eligible home buyers with down payments (half of 5% down payment cost) and closing costs (up to $10,000). Eligibility is tied to income guidelines set forth by HUD (Housing and Urban Development Department). Applicants must have proof of income and debt. In addition, they must attend pre-purchase and post-purchase home buyer training courses. Applicants must be planning to reside at the property.

First-Time Home Buyer Grants in Massachusetts

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Minneapolis, MN, offers various first-time home buyer programs. The Minneapolis Advantage Program (MAP) offers a $10,000, zero-percent interest loan that is forgiven over five years. The Home Ownership Works (HOW) program gives first-time home buyers an opportunity to move into recently remodeled homes. Check out other programs for first-time home buyers in Minneapolis.


There are excellent programs available across the country for first-time home buyers. The guidelines may vary slightly according to the municipality. Generally, the programs are available to first-time buyers or those who have not owned a home within three years.

Most municipal programs are available on a first-come, first-served basis. The best advice for first-time home buyers is to check into these initiatives at the earliest possible date. Funds can run out for municipal programs. When cities reissue funds for a program, they may change its rates and parameters.

Have You Received Help Through A First-Time Home Buyers' Program?

Image courtesy of treblogs.com

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