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2022 West Virginia First-Time Homebuyer Programs

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When you’re ready to buy your first home in West Virginia, you may want to investigate first-time homebuyer programs available to residents. A variety of first-time homebuyer programs are available that provide down payment and closing cost assistance, low-interest loans and tax credits. These programs require you to live in the home as your primary residence and may require you to repay the assistance if you refinance or sell your home before a specified time.

West Virginia statewide and local first-time homebuyer programs

As a first-time homebuyer, you may be eligible for one of a variety of statewide, regional and local homeownership programs available in West Virginia. You can find information on state and local homebuyer programs on HUD’s West Virginia website or the West Virginia Housing Development Fund site.

Program name Assistance amountAssistance typeWhere it’s available
WVHDF Homeownership ProgramHouse price of $311,979 to $381,30830-year fixed-rate mortgageStatewide
WVHDF Down Payment and Closing Cost Assistance$7,500 to $10,000Fixed low-rate down payment and closing cost loan Statewide
Home BlendUp to $27,000Forgivable down payment and closing cost loanCity of Charleston and Kanawha County
Homebuyer Assistance ProgramUp to $14,500Down payment and closing costsCity of Martinsburg and Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan Counties

What to know about different types of down payment assistance

First-time homebuyers in West Virginia and other states face a big hurdle to accumulate the cash needed for a down payment and closing costs. Another challenge can be qualifying for a mortgage with a low interest rate. Several programs are available to help West Virginia residents make the move from renter to homeowner.

Generally, a West Virginia resident must be a first-time homebuyer and meet income limits to qualify for down payment assistance. State, regional and local down payment assistance programs are usually in the form of a second loan with either zero interest or a low interest rate.

Some are forgivable loans with no payments required as long as you stay in the house for a specific time. Other loans require payments, such as the statewide down payment assistance program, which is in the form of a 15-year loan with a current interest rate of 2%.

How West Virginia first-time homebuyer programs work

There are several steps to apply and qualify for a first-time homebuyer program in West Virginia. First, you need to find out general information about the programs available to you and whether you may qualify. One place to start is the West Virginia Housing Development Fund. You can also search for regional and local programs. Allow yourself plenty of time to take the following steps to potentially take advantage of first-time homebuyer programs in West Virginia.

  1. Sign up for homebuyer education. Most first-time homebuyer programs require you to complete an online or in-person homebuyer class that will help you prepare for the process of finding, financing and maintaining a home. Homebuyer education is valuable  for every prospective homebuyer.
  2. Find out if there are income limits and/or home price limits. Most first-time homebuyer programs have limits on your income and other guidelines to meet to qualify.
  3. Choose a lender with experience with first-time homebuyer programs in West Virginia. Homebuyer programs require special training for lenders. Many programs provide a list of preferred lenders or you can ask a local lender if they can help you navigate the steps.
  4. Check out repayment requirements. If you plan on moving in a few years, homebuyer assistance programs may not work for you. Most require you to repay some or all of your benefit if you move or refinance before a specific time limit.

West Virginia first-time homebuyer program requirements

Multiple guidelines are usually in place for first-time homebuyer programs, such as income limits or repayment rules. These guidelines can change occasionally, so be sure to check with your mortgage lender or local housing finance agency for the latest information.

Program name Credit score minimumDTI ratio maximumMaximum income limitHow long you have to live in home
WVHDF Homeownership ProgramDepends on lenderDepends on lender$65,760 to $136,500n/a
WHDF Down Payment and Closing Cost Assistance ProgramDepends on lenderDepends on lender$65,760 to $136,500n/a
Home BlendDepends on lenderDepends on lender$34,250 to $52,85010 years
Homebuyer Assistance ProgramDepends on lenderDepends on lender$41,550 to $103,0005 years

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

Most homebuyer assistance programs in West Virginia and other locations require you to meet income limits. These programs are designed to help first-time buyers and repeat buyers who live in low to moderate income households and may struggle to accumulate the cash needed for a down payment and closing costs. Typically the income limits are updated annually and are based on HUD’s median income data and vary by county.

National first-time homebuyer programs

While your attention may be focused on how to access first-time homebuyer assistance programs in West Virginia, some of these programs are a supplement to a traditional mortgage loan. To qualify for homebuyer assistance in West Virginia, you may also need to qualify for a mortgage from one of the programs listed below. These national loan programs are all also open to repeat buyers and not exclusive to first-time homebuyers.

Conventional loans. Loans that meet the guidelines established by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are available from a variety of lenders. These loans meet specific limits established for different housing markets and often have requirements for a minimum credit score and a maximum debt-to-income ratio. Generally, conventional loans are harder to qualify for than government-backed loans, and require private mortgage insurance for borrowers who make a down payment of less than 20%. The Fannie Mae HomeReady® and Freddie Mac Home Possible® programs offer mortgage insurance premiums lower than FHA loans for qualified buyers.

FHA loans. FHA loans, which are insured by the Federal Housing Administration, are popular with first-time homebuyers. FHA mortgages are typically easier to qualify for than conventional loans, which appeals to buyers with a lower credit score or a higher debt-to-income ratio. FHA loans require a down payment of 3.5% and require two types of mortgage insurance, paid upfront and monthly.

VA loans. If you are a veteran or active member of the military, your best mortgage option may be a VA loan, insured by the Veterans Affairs department. Not only can you avoid the need for a down payment, VA loans also don’t require mortgage insurance. VA lenders work with borrowers to make sure they can afford the payments, but the loan amount is only limited by the ability of borrowers to repay it.

USDA loans. Another zero-down-payment option that is popular with first-time homebuyers is a USDA loan. The Dept. of Agriculture runs the USDA mortgage program to increase homeownership rates in rural areas, particularly among low and moderate income households. To obtain a USDA loan, you must buy a home within a designated rural area and meet the local income limits.

FAQs about West Virginia’s first-time homebuyer programs

Who qualifies as a first-time homebuyer in West Virginia?

To qualify as a first-time homebuyer in West Virginia, you must not have owned a home in the three years prior to the closing date on your home purchase. West Virginia’s homebuyer programs follow the federal rule for who qualifies as a first-time homebuyer. That means you can have owned a home in the past,  just not the recent past. And you may qualify even if you owned more recently if you co-owned the property with an ex-spouse.

Can I qualify for down payment assistance in West Virginia?

Whether you can qualify for down payment assistance in West Virginia depends on several factors, including your ability to obtain an approval for a mortgage. Your eligibility also depends on completing a homebuyer education class, income limits and the availability of funds for the program.

How much of a down payment do I need to buy a house in West Virginia?

The down payment you need to buy a home in West Virginia depends on two factors: the price of the home you hope to buy and the loan program you choose. A down payment is typically a percentage of the home price and can range from 3% to 3.5% minimum for some loan programs. However, you may qualify for a loan with zero down payment. Down payment assistance programs in West Virginia can reduce the amount of cash you need to buy a home in the state.

Home price trends in West Virginia’s major areas

West Virginia is among one of the more affordable states to buy a home, even in the state’s major metro areas, although home prices are rising. For example, in Kanawha County, home to Charleston, the median home price rose by 11.5% between the fourth quarter of 2020 and the fourth quarter of 2021, to $124,501, or a monthly payment of $477 for a 30-year fixed-rate loan (up from $414 the previous year).

In Cabell County, home to Huntington, the median home price rose 10.6% year-over-year to $145,577, which requires a monthly payment of $558, up from $487 in the previous year. In Monongalia County, home to Morgantown, prices rose 12.7% year-over-year to $243,406, with a monthly payment of $933, up from $825.

 

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