First Time Home Buyer Information – Frequently Asked Questions

  • Are there special financial programs that can help me purchase my first house?

    Financial assistance to buy your first home can take several forms: grants, assistance in the form of low rate loans, and matched savings programs. The availability of these programs vary in different areas. Check with the HomeSmart Oregon partner in your area to explore your options.

  • Are banks making loans for home purchases these days?

    Yes. Your local HomeSmart Oregon partner is ready to connect you with resources to help you buy your new home.

  • Isn’t 20% down required to get a mortgage loan?

    No. There are down payment assistance programs (up to $30,000 in some areas) that make 100% financing an option. Also, loan programs can requires as little as 3.5% down. Your local HomeSmart partner can help you evaluate what you can borrow, and connect you to the loan program that makes sense for you.

  • Don’t I need a high credit score to qualify for a mortgage loan program?

    Though credit criteria has tightened, buyers are still getting mortgages. Talk to your local HomeSmart Oregon partner and see where you stand. If your credit is a challenge, they will work with you to help improve it, increasing your options and eligibility for a mortgage loan that meets your home-buying needs.

  • Are down payment assistance programs still available?

    Yes. Down payment assistance programs are available, however they may vary depending on where you live. Offerings may include grants, matched savings grant programs (the Individual Development Account, or IDA) and very low interest rate second mortgages. Contact your local HomeSmart Oregon partner for details.

  • What is the Individual Development Account (IDA) or Matched Savings Program?

    The IDA program helps eligible buyers save for down payment and/or closing costs. To be eligible, borrowers must be at or below 80? area median income for your household size and complete Financial Fitness and home buyer education classes with the HomeSmart Oregon partner agency.

  • Why shouldn’t I wait to get into the market?

    Interest rates are at an all-time low. The current interest rates could save you tens of thousands of dollars over the life of a 30 year loan. Righ now is a great time to buy or refinance a home.

  • Will one-on-one individual pre-purchase consultation help me avoid default and foreclosure?

    Most studies have found that pre-purchase counseling leads to positive results, reducing delinquency anywhere from 19 to 50 percent, although one study reported no impact. Research in 2001 found that face-to-face counseling was most effective, resulting in a 34 percent reduction in delinquency for participating homeowners.

  • How will I know if I’m ready to buy a home?

    HomeSmart Oregon coach will work with you to develop a home purchase plan that you can sustain over time. During your individual consultation(s) your coach will help you determine how much you can afford to pay for a home, identify assistance programs that may help you, and determine what steps you need to take to set you on a path to sustainable home ownership.