Buying your first home is an exciting adventure! It can also feel overwhelming. The good news is that if you’re buying a home for the first time in Georgia, there are programs designed to make it easy and more affordable. And in Georgia, you may have owned a home in the past and still qualify! First time home buyers in Georgia are defined as buyers who have not owned all or part of their residence in the last three years. So whether you’re looking for down payment assistance, forgivable loans, or lower monthly interest, you’ll find everything you need to know below.
First Time Home Buyer Tax Credits & Down Payment Assistance in Georgia
The Georgia Dream Program is a great option for qualifying home buyers looking for down payment assistance with their FHA, VA, or USDA loans. To be considered for this program, you must be a first time home buyer/have not owned a home in the past 3 years, or be purchasing a home in specified areas in Georgia. Depending on where you are purchasing, the home price cannot exceed $200,000 or $250,000. Household income limitations apply, and you must be able to meet mortgage loan credit requirements. You must have less than $20,000 of liquid assets at your disposal, but be able to contribute at least $1,000 to your down payment. You must also work with approved lenders to qualify for Georgia Dream. If you meet all the requirements, and complete a homebuyer education class, there are three tiers of assistance available:
- Standard: $5,000
- PEN: $7,500 to public protectors, healthcare workers, members of the military, and educators
- Choice: $7,500 for home buyers with disabilities (or family members with disabilities)
Assistance granted by the Georgia Dream Program is considered a 0% interest loan that does need to be repaid. It acts as a second mortgage lien on your property. Repayment is due when you sell or refinance your home.
60 Executive Park South, NE, Atlanta, GA 30329, 1-800-359-HOME (4663)
First Time Home Buyer Programs in Georgia
The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) offers insured mortgages with low down payment and credit score requirements. Mortgage limits apply and vary depending on the type of home you are purchasing, and in what county. Click here to see what the lending limits are in Georgia. To qualify for an FHA loan, you must be able to put down 10% if your credit score is between 500-579. If your credit score is 580 or above, your down payment requirement is at least 3.5%. You must have a debt-to-income ratio below 43%, and have steady income and proof of employment.
If you are a veteran, member of the military, or eligible surviving spouse of a member of the military, you may qualify for a VA loan for your Georgia first time home. Assistance eligibility varies depending on your length of service, duty status, and service commitment. There are lots of benefits to VA loans: competitive interest rates, low or no down payments, grants to adapt your home to meet disability needs, and more.
USDA loans are offered by the United States Department of Agriculture. They are designed to help individuals with low-income purchase homes in rural and suburban areas. Loans can be used to purchase, build, repair or renovate a home. You may also use funds to purchase and prepare land. To qualify, you must have an income that is below 80% of the area median income. These loans can be used in Georgia and you must be without adequate housing but capable of making monthly mortgage payments (though further assistance may be available to you).
355 E. Hancock Avenue, Suite 300, Athens, GA 30601-2768, (706) 552-2587
First Time Home Buyer Program in DeKalb County
WE DeKalb was designed by the Decide DeKalb Development Authority to make home ownership more affordable in DeKalb County. The program is for home buyers who need assistance with down payment and closing costs, but whose earnings are too high to qualify for other programs. Depending on the type of loan you have selected, WE DeKalb provides 3%-5% down payment assistance. You must have a credit score of 660 or higher, and there are loan maximums you cannot exceed to qualify. WE DeKalb assistance does not need to be repaid, and you do not have to be a first time buyer to qualify!
One W Ct Square Suite 460, Decatur, GA 30030, (404) 687-2730
First Time Home Buyer Program in Gwinnett County
Homestretch is another great down payment assistance program for first time home buyers in Gwinnett County. Participants must have a credit score of 640, debt-to-income ratio below 43%, and earn less than 80% of the area’s median income. The program offers up to $7,500 of assistance in the form of a 5-year, 0% interest deferred loan. You must live in the home you purchase as your primary residence for at least five years. Assistance applies to single-family homes or townhomes and must pass the program’s inspection. Existing homes cannot cost more than $211,000, and $289,000 for newly constructed homes. Click here to get started on your Homestretch pre-application form!
446 West Crogan Street, Suite 275, Lawrenceville, GA 30046, (678) 518-6008
First Time Home Buyer Program in Fulton County
Fulton County’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) is a federal and state funded effort to combat decline in areas that have experienced high rates of foreclosure. Home buyers must purchase SNP designated homes in Fulton County. To be eligible, gross household income cannot exceed 120% of the area’s median income, and home buyers must qualify for a mortgage. You must be able to contribute at least half of the required down payment required by your mortgage broker. The program also requires 8 hours of homeownership counseling.
141 Pryor St. SW, Atlanta, GA 30303, (404) 612-4000
First Time Home Buyer Program in Atlanta
Invest Atlanta is a government authority dedicated to continuing prosperity in Atlanta. Part of their economic development efforts include programs and incentives for homeownership in Atlanta. To be eligible, you must be able to contribute $1,500 of your own money, and you may not own other properties. Properties cannot be manufactured, must be owner-occupied, and must pass inspection before closing. You may qualify for any of the following Invest Atlanta programs:
- HOME Atlanta 4.0: 3.5% grant toward closing costs and down payment
- Vine City Renaissance Initiative: $10,000 closing costs and down payment assistance in the Vine City area
- Atlanta Affordable Homeownership Program: up to $14,000 toward closing costs and down payment that is fully forgiven after 10 years living in the home
- ATL Home Renovation Advantage: up to $10,000 toward closing costs and down payment to homeowners with a home renovation mortgage; fully forgiven after 10 years living in the home
- Intown Mortgage Assistance Program: up to $10,000 toward closing costs and down payment; fully forgiven after 10 years living in the home
- Perry Bolton Mortgage Assistance Program: up to $20,000 of assistance to qualifying applicants purchasing a home in the Perry Bolton Tax Allocation District
133 Peachtree St. NE, Suite 2900, Atlanta, GA 30303, (404) 880-4100
First Time Georgia Home Buyer FAQs
Are first time home buyer programs worth it?
If you feel unprepared to buy your first home, first time home buyer programs are worth looking into. You will work with very knowledgeable counselors who can help you every step of the way.
Who is considered a first time home buyer in Georgia?
In Georgia, you are considered a first time home buyer if you have never owned a home before, or have not owned all or part of their residence in the last three years.
What programs are available for first time home buyers in Georgia?
The Georgia Dream Program is the statewide home buyer assistance program in Georgia.
Although buying a home is complicated, there are many programs designed to help first time buyers get to the finish line. Are you researching first time buyers programs in Georgia because you’re relocating? Let our movers help you get there! Call Wirks Moving today to discuss your move and get started on your free quote.