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Today’s Rates for First Time Homebuyers in Georgia
Wednesday, February 10, 2016
Mortgage rates are at 3.99% for the 30 year fixed loan program and at 3.13% for the 15 year fixed. As for variable rates, the 5/1 ARM rate currently stands at 3.50%. Check out FHA and VA rates as well if you are doing low or no down payments.
Georgia First Time Home Buyer Checklist
Find your loan program options. If you're moving to an eligible area, you may qualify for a zero down payment loan through USDA. Veterans may be eligible for VA loans, which do not require cash down. The content in the paragraphs below should give you an idea of where you may fall.
Get to know your credit score. Your credit should be somewhere above 600, but few lenders accept scores in the high 500s. If your credit score needs a boost, work on improving it before you try to take out a mortgage. Once annually, you're able to request a free credit report from the three major credit bureaus.
Compare interest rates from different lenders in your area of Georgia. Choose one who not only provides a great offer, but carries a high rating from the Better Business Bureau.
Get pre-approved. Once you've picked a lender, provide your last two pay stubs and tax returns from the past two years, along with any other requested documents.
Formulate a budget. You could be pre-approved for a loan amount that is bigger than you had anticipated, but do not base affordability on the sum provided. Remember - pre-approvals are not guaranteed, and only you know what you can truly afford.
Get home shopping. Be sure to avoid excessive purchasing, and do not take out new installment loans, open credit lines, or anything else that could weaken your financial standing. Lenders will check your accounts again before finalizing your loan.
Low Down Payment Loans Through FHA
If you’re a first time home buyer without a lot to put down, a Georgia FHA loan may accommodate you. FHA loans are backed by the government and designed to help home buyers with limited upfront funds receive financing.
Down payment: 3.5%
Minimum acceptable credit score: 580 (varies)
Mortgage insurance: Upfront (1.75% loan amount) and monthly
Property guidelines apply and are verified via home inspection
You can find additional information about FHA loans on the Georgia page of the FHA website.
No Down Payment Loans Through USDA
The United States Department of Agriculture backs home loans for zero down to Georgia home buyers looking to move to or live in rural areas. Find out if your buying city is eligible by searching the USDA's property map. Note that popular areas like Savannah, Atlanta, Macon, and Athens are not eligible.
Down payment: None required; financing up to 102% available depending on home appraisal
Minimum acceptable credit score: 620
Mortgage insurance: Upfront (2% loan amount) and monthly
Income maximums apply
Georgia Grant and Assistance Programs
The Georgia Department of Community Affairs (Georgia DCA) offers the Dream homeownership program for first time home buyers within income and asset limits. Income depends on household size and location, but may not surpass $79,500. There are no geographic restrictions, so popular areas like Savannah, Macon, Atlanta and Athens are included.
Participants receive 30 year, fixed-rate mortgage loans which are eligible for down payment assistance. In order to qualify for a down payment assistance loan, borrowers must invest a minimum of $1,000 upfront and complete credit counseling.
There are different options for down payment assistance:
Standard: $5,000; all Georgia Dream loan eligible home buyers may take advantage of the standard down payment assistance if they qualify.
Pen: $7,500; eligible borrowers are qualified military, education,or health care industry workers.
Choice: $7,500; eligible borrowers have a disabled household member.