What is a First-Time Home Buyer?

Read Time: 3min
Last Updated: 9/10/2021

For first-time home buyers, 2020 has proven to be the year when buying a home at incredibly low home mortgage rates could be the deal of the decade. What is a first-time home buyer, and what are the benefits that come with being one?

What is a First-Time Home Buyer?

“What is a first-time home buyer?” seems like an obvious question, but the truth may surprise you! While a first-time home buyer is any person buying their first primary residence, there are several instances where you can don the title “first-time home buyer” even after the purchase of your first primary home. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development addressed the burning question, “what is a first-time home buyer?” The answers may surprise you

It’s important to note that first-time home buyer qualifications can vary based on state laws. Check your state housing and urban development regulations to determine if your situation qualifies you as a first-time home buyer:

  • If you are an individual with no ownership in a principal residence for three years, ending on the third anniversary that the property was purchased. In common-law states, a spouse can apply for a mortgage without their significant other. This means the significant other would still qualify as a first-time home buyer since he/she was never responsible for the mortgage.
  • A single parent who only owned a home with a former spouse while they were married.
  • Displaced homemakers.
  • Individuals who’ve owned a primary residence not permanently attached to a permanent foundation, such as a mobile home.
  • Individuals who’ve owned property are not in compliance with state and local building codes that cannot be compliant for less than the cost of constructing a permanent structure.

What Is A First-Time Home Buyer Perk?

Being a first-time home buyer comes with exclusive perks like special loan programs designed to work with the common obstacles first time home buyers might have, like student loans or credit card debt and low credit scores. These programs cut buyers a little slack in the form of low down payment and credit score requirements, and federal insurances on the loan.


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First-Time Home Buyer Loan Programs

While the availability of first-time buyer programs varies based on mortgage lenders, the following loans are prevalent among first-time buyers.

FHA Loans

The Federal Housing Administration insures FHA loans. FHA loans are popular among first-time buyers who may have less than stellar credit scores and a lower down payment.

USDA Loans

Similar to an FHA loan, USDA loans help first-time home buyers qualify for low mortgage interest rates with as little as zero percent down payment. However, USDA loans have more stringent qualifications, requiring applicants to meet income limits and location requirements.

VA Loans

For veterans entering the home buying process, VA loans are a fantastic option. VA loans offer attractive interest rates, zero down payment requirements and leniency for less than stellar credit. There is one situation that allows a non-veteran to earn a certificate of eligibility for a VA loan. A surviving spouse of a service member who died in the line of duty can apply for a VA loan and take advantage of the benefits that come with it.

Aside from these common home loan programs available to first-time home buyers, there are several other programs designed to help first-time buyers, including:

  • Good Neighbor Next Door
  • Homeownership for Public Housing Residents
  • Indian Home Loan Guarantee Program 
  • Local First-Time Home Buyer Programs and Grants
  • Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac Loan Program 
  • HomePath Ready Buyer Program
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If you’re looking to buy your first home, Wyndham Capital Mortgage is ready to help. Not only do we have the most competitive mortgage rates and low closing costs, but we also make it easy to compare mortgage rates and offer a 100% digital home loan pre-approval you can apply for anywhere, anytime. Not sure if you’re ready for the big move? Ask a loan officer if now is the right time to dive into homeownership.


Interested in learning more about how Wyndham Capital can help you achieve your home lending goals?

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