Programs for first-time homebuyers in Kentucky in 2021

The KHC offers a number of programs to help Kentucky residents afford to buy a home, from mortgage loan programs to down payment assistance and federal tax credit programs.

The housing agency also offers potential homebuyers access to resources including housing counseling and education, and a homebuying guide.

Conventional Preferred Program

The Kentucky Housing Corporation offers a few different loan programs, including the Conventional Preferred program. These home loans have 30-year fixed interest rates, so your rate won’t change over the life of the loan. The mortgages are serviced by the KHC and maintained in Kentucky, not sold off the way other mortgages are.

To qualify for this program, you’ll need:

  • A minimum credit score of 660.
  • A down payment of 3% of your purchase price.
  • To pay monthly mortgage insurance.
  • An income that doesn’t exceed 80% of the local median income.

With the Conventional Preferred Program, you also can make use of any of the state’s down payment assistance programs for help with your closing costs.

Conventional Preferred Plus 80 Program

Many of the requirements for the Preferred Plus 80 program are similar to those for the Conventional Preferred Program loans. You’ll need:

  • A minimum credit score of 660.
  • A down payment of 3% of your purchase price.
  • Monthly mortgage insurance.
  • An income that doesn’t exceed your county’s “secondary market” limit.

And, the KHC’s down payment assistance programs can be used in conjunction with the Conventional Preferred Plus 80 program.

Home Buyer Tax Credit

This tax credit gives you a dollar-for-dollar reduction on your federal taxes of up to 25% of the interest you pay on your mortgage for each calendar year you occupy your home. The credit is available for all first-time homebuyers.

To qualify, your home’s purchase price must be under $294,600 and the money you make must be within the income limits for your county and household size.

You can apply for the tax credit through your approved lender for an FHA, VA, USDA or conventional 30-year fixed rate mortgage loan.

Regular Down Payment Assistance Program

To help cover your down payment and closing costs, your approved lender can help you apply for a down payment assistance loan. For homes with a purchase price of up to $327,334, KHC’s Regular Down Payment Assistance program will offer the buyer a loan of up to $6,000 in $100 increments. The loan has a 10-year term at a 5.5% interest rate. The program is available to all KHC first mortgage loan recipients.

Affordable Down Payment Assistance Program

The purchase price limit for the Affordable Down Payment Assistance Program is also $327,334, but if you meet this program’s income limits, you can receive an up to 10-year, $6,000 loan at just 1% interest.

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First-time homebuyer qualifications in Kentucky

The Kentucky Housing Corporation offers a number of programs for first-time homebuyers from low- to moderate-income households. You’ll work with an approved lender on the application process to qualify for the KHC’s assistance programs.

To qualify for the agency’s loans, you must:

  • Fall within your county’s “secondary market” income limit for qualifying for a reduced-interest loan with fewer overall requirements.
  • Be a U.S. citizen or qualified noncitizen.
  • Have a credit score of at least 620 (though some programs will require a higher score).

More: Get a free credit score and credit monitoring from Credit Sesame.

Nationwide first-time homebuyer programs

A “conventional” mortgage sourced through the private market can have pretty demanding requirements, including a credit score of at least 620 and a typical down payment of 5%.

More: Use these savings accounts to build up your down payment.

Those standards can be tough to meet when you’re a first-time buyer, so you may want to look into one of these nonconventional mortgages offered through the federal government.

FHA loans

FHA loans were created by the Federal Housing Administration, which is part of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, to help more Americans become homeowners.

These loans typically have less stringent requirements. You’ll need a minimum credit score of 580 and are able to make just a 3.5% down payment, but if you can put more money down upfront, you could be eligible with a credit score as low as 500.

The FHA's Loan Requirements Explained.

A walkthrough of how to meet the FHA's requirements.

See Guide

VA loans

These loans were created thanks to an act passed by Congress in 1944 to help veterans secure homes. As a result, today’s U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) can guarantee or insure home loans made to veterans by various lending institutions.

Active service members, veterans and some surviving military spouses can all qualify for a VA loan. There are fees associated — notably a sizable funding fee — but borrowers are exempt from down payment and mortgage insurance obligations.

USDA loans

USDA loans are for lower-income rural and suburban Americans and are guaranteed by the United States Department of Agriculture. Like VA loans, these loans don’t require a down payment or private mortgage insurance.

With a USDA home loan, you’ll have to pay a few fees: an upfront 1% guarantee fee and an annual 0.35% fee. But the total cost still ends up lower than the amount you’d pay in mortgage insurance on another type of loan.

These loans aren’t ideal for most households: They have a strict income limit. The current income limits in most parts of the U.S. are $86,850 for one- to four-member households and $114,650 for five- to eight-member households, but the thresholds may be higher if you live in a county with a steeper-than-average cost of living. The USDA’s website has the exact figures for each region.

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Next steps

Now that you know all your options, you may be asking yourself: “What next?”

A great first move would be to take a look at your credit score and see how you measure up to your ideal loan’s requirements. You can get a free score through the site Credit Sesame.

Is your score disappointing? That’s OK; you have plenty of options. An organization like Self credit repair can help you bring your score up.

Once you’re in good shape, don’t forget to gather the important documents you’ll need to prove you’ve got money in the bank and cash flowing in.

Then you can finally think about getting pre-approved for a mortgage and start shopping for your new place.

First-Time Homebuyer Programs by State
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About the Author

Sigrid Forberg

Sigrid Forberg

Reporter

Sigrid is a reporter with MoneyWise. Before joining the team, she worked for a B2B publication in the hardware and home improvement industry and ran an internal employee magazine for the federal government. As a graduate of the Carleton University Journalism program, she takes pride in telling informative, engaging and compelling stories.

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