Nationwide first-time homebuyer programs

It’s not so easy to find a lender in the private market and secure a “conventional” mortgage. You often need a credit score of at least 620 to impress, plus at least 5% of the purchase price in cash for a down payment.

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

That’s why many first-time homebuyers will find it easier to go through the federal government for one of these nonconventional mortgages.

FHA loans

Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans were created following the Great Depression to encourage homeownership. In the mid-1930s, only about 40% of Americans actually owned their homes.

With a typical credit score requirement of just 580 and a minimum down payment of 3.5%, these loans are much more accessible. However, if you put down less than 10% upfront, you will also have to pay the added expense of a mortgage insurance premium (MIP).

The FHA's Loan Requirements Explained.

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

See Guide

VA loans

At the tail end of World War II, Congress passed an act to increase benefits for veterans. From that, VA loans were created, making it possible for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to guarantee or insure home, farm and business loans made to veterans by lending institutions.

Active service members, veterans and some surviving military spouses can all qualify for VA loans. You won’t be asked for a down payment or to pay mortgage insurance, but there is a funding fee when you take out a VA loan.

USDA loans

Another loan that doesn’t require a down payment or private mortgage insurance is the USDA loan. These loans are targeted to lower-income rural and suburban Americans and are guaranteed by the United States Department of Agriculture.

There are a few fees associated with these loans. You’ll pay both an upfront 1% guarantee fee and an annual 0.35% fee. But in most cases, the mortgage insurance associated with other types of loans adds up to more than the USDA’s fees.

To see if you qualify for a USDA loan, lenders will look closely at your annual income. Borrowers have to fall under strict income limits, since this type of loan is reserved for lower-income households.

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. You can find the limits for your region on the USDA’s website.

Who qualifies for WCDA loans and programs?

The Wyoming Community Development Authority (WCDA) was created to help low- to moderate-income residents of Wyoming buy and retain affordable housing. To ensure aid goes to those who need it most, there are income and purchase price limits to qualify for all of WCDA’s programs.

You’ll also have to meet the standard home loan qualifications for credit, debt ratios and proof of income. And for first-time homebuyers, you’ll have to complete a homebuyer education program.

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

Programs for first-time homebuyers in Wyoming

Wyoming first-time home-buyer programs

Between its first loan and down payment assistance programs, the WCDA makes buying a home a possibility for more Wyomingites. However, the agency doesn’t grant home loans directly. To apply for assistance from the authority, you’ll work through one of its participating mortgage lenders.

The organization also provides hopeful homebuyers with a number of resources, including a homebuyer checklist and a list of its current interest rates.

First-Time Homebuyer

WCDA’s standard First-Time Homebuyer program offers home loans with 30-year fixed interest rates. This program is reserved exclusively for first-time homebuyers, but that definition includes anyone who hasn’t owned a home in the last three years.

To qualify, you’ll have to intend to use the home as your primary residence, and it must be a single-family home. With the First-Time Homebuyer loan, you can also use WCDA’s Homestretch Down Payment Assistance second mortgage loan.

Spruce Up

This program offers a borrower buying a home in need of repair a loan that covers both the purchase of the home as well as the repairs. By folding both costs into one loan, you’ll save on the closing costs associated with two separate loans.

Spruce Up is only for first-time homebuyers. You’ll have to meet the qualifications for the First-Time Homebuyer program to be eligible for this loan program.

You can use the additional funds — which go beyond the purchase price — to cover:

  • Minor remodeling and nonstructural repairs.
  • The repairing or replacement of plumbing, heating, AC and electrical systems.
  • Updates to improve functionality or modernize the home.
  • Roofing repairs or replacement.
  • Improving the home’s energy efficiency.
  • Making the home more accessible for persons with disabilities.

Advantage

This loan refinancing program offers financing to both first-time homebuyers and current homeowners. The loan features 30-year fixed interest rates with no purchase price limit. However, your household must be within WCDA’s income limits, and the home must sit on 10 acres or less.

You’ll also need to have a minimum credit score of 620 and plan to occupy the home as your principal residence for at least one year. First-time homebuyers will also have to complete the homebuyer education program.

The Mortgage Underwriting Process Explained

A walkthrough of proven steps to getting a mortgage approval.

See Guide

HFA Preferred

This home loan and refinancing program is open to both first-time homebuyers and current homeowners in Wyoming. It offers borrowers a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage with no purchase price limit, but the WCDA’s income limit still applies.

Like the Advantage program, to qualify: your home must sit on 10 acres or less; you’ll need a credit score of at least 620; and you must occupy the home as your principal residence for at least one year.

Down Payment Assistance (DPA)

WCDA offers two down payment assistance loan options to help homebuyers cover their down payment and closing costs. Both feature a $10,000 maximum loan amount and a minimum credit score requirement of 620. Borrowers must also contribute at least $1,500 of their own funds.

A Home$tretch DPA loan can be paired with a First-Time Homebuyer or Spruce Up first loan. Your down payment assistance loan will feature a 0% interest rate with no monthly payments — you won’t have to pay it back until you sell the house, refinance or pay off your mortgage. The average loan amount is $5,500. The Amortizing DPA can be paired with the HFA Preferred or Advantage home loans. It features a fixed interest rate with low monthly payments over a 10-year term.

Mortgage Credit Certificate

The Mortgage Credit Certificate Program is a tax credit program for first-time homebuyers. It offers you a direct dollar-for-dollar credit on your federal taxes for a percentage of the interest you pay on your mortgage every year. The actual value of the credit can vary, depending on your financial situation.

To qualify for the MCC program, you’ll have to meet the requirements for one of the WCDA’s first-time homebuyer loans either through the HFA Preferred or Advantage programs.

The Best Lenders for a Mortgage

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Next steps

With all of these options available to you for buying your first home in Wyoming, you might be wondering where you even begin.

Before you try to qualify for a mortgage, you’ll want to ensure your credit score meets the requirements for either state or national programs.

The site Credit Sesame can offer you a free look at your current score. If it’s a little low, there are plenty of steps you can take. Self credit repair is one option to help you get the score you need.

You’ll also need to gather a series of documents to prove you have a steady income and, depending on the type of loan you want, money in the bank.

After that, you can think about getting pre-approved for a mortgage so you can search for your first home.

Support for new homebuyers in other states

Arizona Department of Housing (ADOH) Read More
Arkansas Development Finance Authority (ADFA) Read More
California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA) Read More
Colorado Housing and Finance Agency (CHFA) Read More
Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA) Read More
Delaware State Housing Authority (DSHA) Read More
Florida Housing Finance Corp. (Florida Housing) Read More
Georgia Dream Read More
Hawaii Housing and Finance Development Corporation (HHFDC) Read More
Idaho Housing and Finance Association Read More
Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) Read More
Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA) Read More
Iowa Finance Authority (IFA) Read More
Kansas Housing Resources Corporation Read More
Kentucky Housing Corporation (KHC) Read More
Louisiana Housing Corporation (LHC) Read More
MassHousing (Massachusetts) Read More
Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) Read More
Minnesota Housing Read More
Missouri Housing Development Commission (MHDC) Read More
Montana Board of Housing (MBOH) Read More
Nebraska Investment Finance Authority (NIFA) Read More
Nevada Housing Division Read More
New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority (MFA) Read More
State of New York Mortgage Agency (SONYMA) Read More
North Carolina Housing Finance Agency (NCHFA) Read More
Ohio Housing Finance Agency (OHFA) Read More
Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency (OHFA) Read More
Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) Read More
Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) Read More
South Dakota Housing Development Authority (SDHDA) Read More
Tennessee Housing Development Authority (THDA) Read More
Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) Read More
Utah Housing Corp Read More
Virginia Housing Read More
Washington State Housing Finance Commission (WSHFC) Read More
Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) Read More
Wyoming Community Development Authority (WCDA) Read More

About the Author

Sigrid Forberg

Sigrid Forberg

Staff Writer

Sigrid is a staff writer with MoneyWise. A graduate of Carleton University's journalism program, she spent the better part of the last six years writing about business and retail. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, baking and riding her bicycle.

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