Home Improvement Loans

11 programs that help first-time homebuyers get a mortgage

Personal Finance Insider writes about products, strategies, and tips to help you make smart decisions with your money. We may receive a small commission from our partners, but our reporting and recommendations are always independent and objective.

  • To qualify for a conventional mortgage, you typically need a 620 credit score, 36% debt-to-income ratio, and 10% down payment.
  • But there are programs that help first-time homebuyers get mortgages even if they don’t meet conventional loan standards.
  • You may be eligible for a government-backed mortgage, a conventional loan backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, or a program specific to your state.
  • You can also get a special loan if your home requires significant repairs after moving in.
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Buying your home may feel like an insurmountable challenge, because you have to meet multiple requirements to qualify. Conventional mortgages typically mandate at least a 620 credit score and 36% debt-to-income ratio. Many lenders also ask for at least 10% toward a down payment.

These requirements can be tricky for first-time homebuyers to meet, especially if you’re young. Thankfully, there are plenty of programs designed to help out first-time homebuyers.

You do have to meet some conditions to qualify for such programs. But when it comes to your finances, these loans and grants have more lenient requirements for getting a mortgage than conventional loans.

Here are 11 programs for first-time homebuyers:

Unlike conventional loans, government-backed mortgages are guaranteed by federal agencies. If you default on your payments, then the agency pays the lender on your behalf. This guarantee allows lenders to offer you a mortgage even if you don’t meet the usual conditions for a conventional loan.

FHA loan

With a Federal Housing Administration loan, you only have to put 3.5% down. 

Lenders

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Should I get a personal loan for home improvements?

A homeowner’s first instinct may be to get a home equity loan or line of credit when they need money for a home improvement project. But in some cases, a personal loan could be a better choice.



a wooden bench in front of a building: House deck under renovation


© tab62/Shutterstock
House deck under renovation

With a personal loan, you know your total borrowing costs at the time you take out the loan, and you’re borrowing a fixed amount for a certain number of years with a fixed interest rate. To determine whether or not you should get a personal loan for home improvements, consider your priorities when it comes to interest rates, secured versus unsecured borrowing and tax benefits.

Should I get a personal loan for home improvements?

A personal loan can be a great way to finance a small to mid-sized home improvement project, like new windows or a room makeover. Whether or not a personal loan is the right fit for your next project really comes down to one thing: your financial health and history.

Before applying for a personal loan to finance your next project, it’s important to know both the benefits and the potential downsides. Here are a few examples to be aware of.

Pros

  • You won’t risk losing your home. If you can’t repay your home equity loan or HELOC, your lender can eventually foreclose, since these loans are secured by your home. While unsecured creditors can place a lien against your home if you don’t pay them – something many consumers are unaware of – the lien usually just makes selling or refinancing more difficult. It won’t get you kicked to the curb like a foreclosure will unless the creditor gets a writ of execution from a judge to force the sale of your property, which isn’t likely.
  • It’s easier to keep borrowing in check.
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Is an algorithm less racist than a home loan officer?

In 2015, Melany Anderson’s 6-year-old daughter came home from a play date and asked her mother a heartbreaking question: Why did all her friends have their own bedrooms?

Anderson, 41, a pharmaceutical benefits consultant, was recently divorced, living with her parents in West Orange, New Jersey, and sharing a room with her daughter. She longed to buy a home, but the divorce had emptied her bank account and wrecked her credit. She was working hard to improve her financial profile, but she couldn’t imagine submitting herself to the scrutiny of a mortgage broker.

“I found the idea of going to a bank completely intimidating and impossible,” she said. “I was a divorced woman and a Black woman. And also being a contractor — I know it’s frowned upon, because it’s looked at as unstable. There were so many negatives against me.”

Then, last year, Anderson was checking her credit score online when a pop-up ad announced that she was eligible for a mortgage, listing several options. She ended up at Better.com, a digital lending platform, which promised to help Anderson secure a mortgage without ever setting foot in a bank or, if she so desired, even talking to another human.

In the end, she estimated, she conducted about 70% of the mortgage application and approval process online. Her fees totaled $4,000, about half the national average. In November 2019, she and her daughter moved into a two-bedroom home not far from her parents with a modern kitchen, a deck and a backyard. “We adapted to the whole COVID thing in a much easier way than if we were still living with my parents,” Anderson said this summer. “We had a sense of calm, made our own rules.”

Getting a mortgage can be a harrowing experience for anyone, but for those

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H2O Waterproofing Birmingham Partners with Acorn Finance To Offer Easy Access To Home Remedial Schemes

“At H2O Waterproofing, we pride ourselves with providing our customers with the best customer experience, one waterproofing job at a time. – H2O Waterproofing”

In a bid to provide more pocket-friendly waterproofing services to its customers, H2O waterproofing LLC has partnered up with leading financial service agency, Acorn Finance. With an increasing demand for waterproofing around homes and offices, the team at the agency has identified this partnership as a way to bolster their offers and attract customers who are interested in home improvement.

Most homeowners report that water intrusion is their worst fear. This is understandable considering that moisture causes ugly stains and damage to walls, and in severe circumstances, structural foundations can be threatened. A representative at H2O Waterproofing disclosed that unwanted water intrusion is mostly caused by unfortified and weak structures or roofs. With the right quality of waterproofing, sealants, and remediation measures in place, the damage can be controlled to a great extent or even made to disappear permanently.

H2O waterproofing has long been serving the community of Birmingham and surrounding areas, offering a variety of home improvement and remediation services. H2O Waterproofing is currently the only company in Alabama that specializes in exterior and interior waterproofing. The company serves both homeowners and businesses alike, and with Acorn Finance now in the picture, prospective clients can expect affordable offers.

Among the many services provided by H2O are Basement and crawlspace waterproofing, foundation repair and renovation, and mold and mildew remediation. H2O also offers customized commercial waterproofing solutions for both large and small businesses. H2O is preferred by many because of its innovative use of technology in waterproofing. An example is the use of polymer-modified asphalt membranes, foundation boards, and strip drains. They are widely referred to as the latest drainage technology and water sealant methods available

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3 expenses people don’t consider when they buy a second home

Personal Finance Insider writes about products, strategies, and tips to help you make smart decisions with your money. We may receive a small commission from our partners, like American Express, but our reporting and recommendations are always independent and objective.

As with any home, the costs of a second home don’t stop at the mortgage.

There are a lot of costs associated with owning a second home, and you’re responsible for anything that comes up. You’ve probably considered the costs of property taxes and HOA fees for your second home, and factored those things into your budget when deciding how much you can afford to spend on a second home.

But, there are some expenses you may not have thought of that will apply to your second home. Here are three expenses you should consider before making the leap to a second home. 

You may need to increase your life insurance and disability insurance coverage

If you haven’t considered how owning a second home could affect your life insurance and disability insurance coverage, you probably should. 

Mortgage debt should be factored in when deciding how much life insurance coverage you need. Buying a second home could mean taking on a second mortgage, so you’ll want to make sure that your life insurance coverage is high enough to cover both home payments, if necessary. But, increasing your coverage amount could mean adding to your monthly cost for life insurance.

Similarly, disability insurance can help you pay the bills each month if you become disabled but rely on an income to make ends meet. It can provide a replacement income to pay the bills if you’re ill, injured, or otherwise unable to work. While it’s sometimes offered through your workplace, that coverage often isn’t enough.

“Have enough disability insurance that you can

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