You may qualify as a first-time homebuyer even if it is not technically your first home. In this post, we will discuss what determines a first-time homebuyer.
Out of all the mortgage assistance programs, people are usually most familiar with the first-time homebuyer program. What people don’t usually know is that you may still qualify for first-time homebuyer benefits even if it is not technically your first home purchase. There are a few exceptions where even an individual who has purchased 2 or more homes can be considered a first-time homebuyer. What really matters is how long it has been since you purchased your last home.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development defines a first-time homebuyer as anyone who has not owned a home in the last three years. For example, say you purchased a home in 2007, sold it in 2012, and have been renting apartments since then. If you were looking to purchase a home now in 2021, you would be considered a first-time buyer. Another exception is for single parents. If you have only owned a home while being married to a previous spouse, you would also be eligible.
The last exception is for homeowners who have only owned mobile homes in the past. The key is that the home must not have had any permanent foundation.
The main takeaway is to not let the word “first-time” fool you as you may qualify without even knowing it. You may be missing out on assistance with closing costs and down payments.
Typically, there are a variety of loans a first-time home buyer can choose from. For example, an FHA loan is not geared specifically towards first-timers but is a great option as it only requires a small down payment and a minimum 580 credit score. There are additional conventional loan options that may work better for you, depending on your income and credit score. Smaller lenders (like us) may also have different options available for you.
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Raquel Gutierrez is the Marketing Director for Mint Mortgage and Mortgage Chicks. She focuses on business marketing and development. She has a B.A. in Psychology and Marketing.