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First-Time Home Buyer Programs in Oklahoma for 2018

Javier Simon
Oklahoma first-time home buyer programs

The state and federal government sponsor various Oklahoma first-time home buyer programs designed to give everyone the chance to lay their roots here. So don’t feel left out because of low income or a lackluster credit score. Some of these Oklahoma first-time home buyer programs are designed for people just like you. Others support specific groups like America’s military veterans, teachers and police officers. But if you need help finding the program that’s right for you, use our SmartAsset financial advisor matching tool. It connects you to local financial advisors based on your preferences. These professionals can help you find the best Oklahoma mortgage rates and terms.

Federal First-Time Home Buyer ProgramsFHA Loans  Pros – Low down payments
– No early payment penalty Cons – Down payment could be high for people with credit scores below 580 Eligibility – Having a credit score of at least 500 usually helps you secure one Best For – People with adequate credit scores and low-to-moderate income

If your income or credit history hinders you from obtaining a traditional mortgage, you may find a solution through an FHA loan. The Federal Housing Administration developed these loans to help low-income individuals with less-than-stellar credits scores.

In fact, a credit score of 580 can usually help you get an FHA loan with a 3.5% down payment—a rate now virtually unheard of in the conventional mortgage arena. Interest rates also usually dip far below those of conventional mortgages.

But because of a low down payment, you’d face mortgage insurance premiums to back the lender in the case you default. As with nearly any other mortgage, you’d also be responsible for closing costs. Still, these would be lower than you’d face with a conventional mortgage. However, your family, friends and even employment-assistance programs can cover closing costs as well as down payments. This isn’t the case with regular mortgages. However, make sure you keep documentation such as a letter indicating this is gift money and not a loan that you’re expected to pay back.

In addition, some agencies in Oklahoma provide down payment assistance services.

USDA Loans Pros – Designed for low-to-moderate-income individuals who otherwise couldn’t secure a mortgage
– Low-interest loans that can finance up to 100% of a home’s value
– Backed by the U.S. government, so lenders are less stringent on loan qualifications Cons – Lower credit scores could mean high interest rates Eligibility – Must be willing to move to a USDA designated area
Can’t make more than 115% of the median income for the area you wish to live in Best For – People who make low-to moderate income and are willing to move into a rural or suburban area designated by the USDA.

If you find yourself attracted to Oklahoma’s beautiful rural landscapes or suburban neighborhoods, you may find your way there with a USDA loan. The United States Department of Agriculture backs these mortgages to motivate individuals to move to America’s countryside. But even suburban homes near metropolitan areas fall under the USDA’s radar.

Although the government backs them, traditional lenders throughout Oklahoma issue these mortgages. Due to this arrangement, they usually allow low-interest rates. And you may qualify for no down payment.  To put that into perspective, taking out a conventional mortgage usually requires a down payment worth 20% of the home’s value.

A FICO credit score of at least 640 regularly earns you the best interest rates. You can still qualify for a USDA loan with a lower score or no credit history, but interest rates won’t be as generous. However, they’d still fall below those of conventional mortgages. To qualify, you must move into a single-family home in a designated area. Plus, you can’t make more than 115% of the median income in that space.

While the government doesn’t set a maximum borrowing limit for USDA loans, it largely depends on a version of your debt-to-income ratio. For instance, your total monthly mortgage payment can’t surpass 29% of your monthly income before taxes. Total monthly payments comprising your mortgage and all other bills can’t exceed 41% of your monthly income.

The USDA also issues direct loans that usually favor very-low-income individuals, as well as grants designed for home improvement.

VA Loans Pros – Backed by the U.S. government, so you don’t need to buy PMI
– Can secure low-interest loan with no down payment Cons – VA funding fee
– Appraisal process usually stretched longer than that tied to a conventional mortgage Eligibility – Most veterans and current service members of the U.S. military and their spouses are eligible Best For – Veterans and service members with low-to-moderate income and adequate credit history

Perhaps no one is more worthy of the American dream than those who fought for it. To help make that a reality, the Department of Veterans Affairs developed the VA loan. The department backs these loans, but several mortgage lenders throughout Oklahoma issue them.

To qualify, you must be one of the following.

  • U.S. military Veteran with 90 to 181 days of continuous service
  • Active-duty service member with at least 90 days of continuous service
  • National Guard or Reserve member who has served for at least six years or an honorably discharged member
  • Un-remarried surviving spouse of a veteran or service-member killed in the line of duty or from a service-related incident

VA loans typically carry low interest rates. You can also secure one with no down payment if you have a good credit score and meet other qualifications. In addition, the VA sets a limit on how much lenders can charge in closing costs.

But despite these benefits, you’d face a VA funding fee. This charge can stretch from around 2.15% to 3.3%. It would ultimately depend on several factors including your military service. Whether you had the loan before can also affect this ratio.

Good Neighbor Next Door Program Pros – Take a flat 50% discount off the price of a home in a revitalization area
– After three years, you can sell the home Cons – You must live in the home as your primary residence for at least three years
– Competitive selection and appraisal process Eligibility – Qualification is open to police officers, firefighters, K-12 teachers and EMTs who want to move to a revitalization area Best For – Eligible applicants with low-to-moderate income

Teachers, police officers, firefighters and emergency medical technicians provide vital services to the people they serve. Unfortunately, not all communities are home to a substantial number of these professionals. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) wants to change that with its Good Neighbor Next Door initiative.

However, this program doesn’t provide mortgages. It offers 50% discounts off the listing price of homes in “revitalization areas.” You can cover the rest by getting an FHA, VA, conventional loan or any other type of mortgage you qualify for.

The highly-competitive application process for this program involves preapproval from a Good Neighbor Next Door agent.

Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac

Oklahoma first-time home buyer programs

Pros – Several loan and repayment options for low-income individuals
– Very loose credit score requirements Cons – Some loans come with higher interest rates Eligibility – Varies based on loan type. But there are virtually no income requirements for loans to buy homes in underserved areas Best For – Low-income individuals who can’t secure a mortgage elsewhere

Established by the federal government, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac take a big portion of the mortgage market. They also work with local lenders to issue mortgages for low-to-moderate income Americans.

To meet this goal, Fannie Mae established HomeReady. Through this program, you can secure a low-interest mortgage with a down payment as low as 3%. However, you’d likely need a credit score of at least 620 to obtain a one with the best rates.

Taking out the loan also requires private mortgage insurance (PMI). However, you can cancel it after paying off at least 20% of the mortgage balance. In addition, you’d take on closing costs. However, outside sources such as gifts and grants can cover both down payments and closing costs. To qualify, you must meet certain income limits which vary based on county.

Those with credit scores below 620 may be interested in Freddie Mac’s HomePossible Program. You can qualify for one of these loans even if you have no credit history. This program offers many of the same benefits as the HomeReady options such as low interest rates, low down payments, PMI cancelation, and flexibility in covering closing costs. However, loan structures are different.

HomePossible 95 LTV loans with 5% down payments come in 15-to-30-year fixed-rate mortgages. They are also available in adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs). The 97 LTV loans with 3% down payments come only as ARMs. Income limits are also set each year by location.

NADL Pros – Very generous credit score requirements Cons – Funding fee tends to be lower than that of a traditional VA loan Eligibility – Home must be on Federal Trust land and other areas designated by the VA. Eligible veterans and current service members also must be one of the following. Best For – Native American service members, veterans and other eligible applicants with low-to-moderate income

The VA also sponsors the Native American Direct Loan Program (NADL). Despite its name however, other groups who served or serve can qualify. This includes Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders. To qualify, the home you’re eyeing must also be on Federal Trust land.

These loans usually charge low interest rates. Plus, they require no down payment nor PMI. Closing costs will also be considerably low. The VA is typically generous when it comes to income and credit score requirements.

Oklahoma First-Time Home Buyer Programs The Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency (OHFA) Pros – Low down payments
– Some options specifically designed for police officers, firefighters and teachers Cons – Income requirements can vary widely by location Eligibility – Meet income requirements that vary by area. See OHFA-registered lender in your area for latest rates Best For – First-time home buyers with low-to-moderate income

The Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency (OHFA) helps individuals get fixed-rate mortgages with low down payments. The program works with local lenders to offer “Dream,” “Shield” and “4 Teachers” mortgages. The Shield option is meant for police officers and firefighters.

“Dream” loans come with a 3.5% to 5% down payment. The other options come with a 3.5% down payment. The maximum home purchasing price stands at $275,665 for Dream loans. The max for the other types sits at $214,925.

To qualify, you have to meet different income limits that vary by loan type, location and family size. A registered lender can give you the latest details.

Tips for Finding Your Dream Home in Oklahoma

Oklahoma first-time home buyer programs
  • This report covers programs that apply to Oklahoma state. Local counties and cities may also offer benefits like down payment assistance programs.
  • House hunting can be a complicated task, especially when you factor in points like down payments and closing costs. To help you figure out the real cost, we developed our mortgage calculator.
  • Landing your dream home can be a complex process filled with paper work, research and number crunching. If you want some guidance, our SmartAsset matching tool can help. It asks you a few simple questions about your goals. Then, it links you with up to three local financial advisors who can best cater to your needs.

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