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Nebraska First-Time Homebuyer Programs

If you live in Nebraska and are in the market for your first home, the state has several assistance programs that cater to first-time buyers like you. These programs can help you navigate a sometimes overwhelming process and manage some of the hefty upfront costs associated with homebuying.

In addition to mortgage loan assistance, Nebraska offers programs to help educate first-time buyers, including workshops and counseling.

In this guide, we will cover:

Nebraska first-time homebuyer programs

The Nebraska Investment Finance Authority (NIFA) helps first-time buyers find home loans that can be tailored to their budget. NIFA’s resources include educational classes and several first-time homebuyer programs that can provide financial help when needed.

In January 2019, we researched first-time homebuyer programs in Nebraska, which included reviewing program websites and Nebraska Investment Finance Authority guidelines. Here’s what first-time homebuyers in Nebraska need to know.

Eligibility for Nebraska assistance

Each of these programs comes with unique features, eligibility requirements and application processes.

  • Income
  • Education
  • Credit score
  • Debt-to-income ratio
  • Purchase price limits

Note: You can check current mortgage rates for Nebraska here.

First Home Plus

The First Home Plus program provides mortgage loans for first-time homebuyers without providing assistance with closing costs or down payments.

Features

  • Fixed rates
  • 30-year terms
  • Low down payment; sometimes no down payment required depending on individual qualifications
  • Different loan options (government or conventional)
  • Low mortgage insurance (for conventional loans)
  • Education
  • No prepayment penalties

Eligibility

  • Income — Residents who are at least 18 years old with some gross annual income will be considered, and the maximum income depends on the size of the household. Washington County, for example, allows a maximum income of $81,600 for a household of no more than two, while those with three or more can max out at $93,840.
  • Purchase price limits — Property price limits are either $250,000 in non-target areas or $300,000 in target areas for a single unit. Target areas are federally designated low-income areas, such as certain tracts within Adams County, Douglas County, Jefferson County, Lancaster County and Scotts Bluff County.
  • Education — homeowner classes must be completed before closing.
  • First-time homebuyer requirement — Borrowers must have not owned a primary residence in the last three years.
  • Credit score — Borrowers must have at least a 640 credit score.
  • Debt-to-income ratio cannot exceed 45%.

How it works

To get started on the application process with any Nebraska Investment Finance Authority programs, you can first fill out this quick form to ensure you are eligible. The website doesn’t offer more detail or further steps, so for more information, you should contact the agency directly at  800-204-6432 or [email protected].

First Home Focused

The First Home Focused program is available to people who want to buy a new home in a target area without any closing costs or down payment help.

Features

  • 30-year terms
  • Fixed rates
  • No prepayment penalties
  • No mortgage insurance (only when you qualify for a conventional loan and you put down at least 20%)

Eligibility

  • Income — Limits are based on the location of the home and household size and those in target areas can have higher limits. For example, those in Washington County with one or two household members can make a maximum of $81,600, while those with three or more can have a maximum income of $93,840.
  • Purchase price limits — These depend on the number of units in the home, but those who reside in target areas can be subject to higher limits.
  • Credit score — Borrowers must have at least a 640 credit score.
  • Debt-to-income ratio cannot exceed 45%.
  • Education — Borrowers must complete a class before they close on their new home.

Homebuyer Assistance (HBA)

The Homebuyer Assistance program is tailored for first-time buyers who need assistance with closing costs and down payments.

Features

  • 30-year loan terms
  • Fixed rates
  • Down payment assistance (as high as 5% of purchase price)
  • Closing cost assistance (as high as 5% of purchase price)
  • Low second mortgage rate (with a 10-year term)
  • Reduction of out-of-pocket expenses
  • Different loan options (government and conventional)
  • Education
  • No prepayment penalties

Eligibility

  • Income — Gross annual income of residents who are 18 years of age or older will be considered, with the maximum income dependent on the size of the household. For example, those living in Lancaster County can have a maximum income of $78,400 for a household of up to two or a maximum of $90,160 for households of three and more.
  • First-time buyer — Borrower must have no ownership interest in a primary residence from the last three years.
  • Purchase price — The property price limit is either $250,000 for non-target areas or $300,000 in a target area for a single unit.
  • Education — A class must be completed before closing on a new home.
  • Credit score — Borrowers must have at least a 640 credit score.
  • Debt-to-income ratio cannot exceed 45%.

Military Home

The Military Home program offers a home loan to active military and qualified veterans who are first-time buyers and don’t seek assistance with down payments or closing costs.

Features

  • 30-year terms
  • Fixed rates
  • Low or zero down payment
  • Government loans available
  • Education
  • No prepayment penalties

Eligibility

  • Active military members or qualified veterans may be eligible.
  • First-time buyer — Active military members cannot have owned a primary residence in the past three years. Discharged veterans can be exempt from this rule.
  • Income — Gross annual income is considered for residents of the home who are at least 18 years of age, with a maximum income limit dependent on household size. For example, in Polk County a household with one to two family members can have a maximum income of $75,600, while those with three or more can max out at $86,940.
  • Purchase price — The property price limit is either $250,000 in non-target areas or $300,000 in target areas for a single unit.
  • Education — Borrowers must take a required homebuyer class before closing on a new home.
  • Credit score — Borrowers must have at least a 640 credit score.
  • Debt-to-income ratio cannot exceed 45%.

National first-time homebuyer programs

While Nebraska has several programs for homebuyers, there are also many other options found nationwide that target first-time homebuyers. For example, the Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program offers borrowers with low-to-moderate income help with buying a home in a rural neighborhood. The USDA also provides home loans, such as The Single Family Housing Direct Home Loan (Section 502 Direct Loan Program); these loans are aimed at low-income borrowers who want to buy in rural areas. Check out this general guide to first-time homebuyer programs to learn what other help is available.

 

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