NIFA First Home Program
NIFA can help first-time homebuyers get a conventional, FHA, or USDA loan through the First Home Program. The First Home Targeted Program is for buyers who purchase a home located in a target area and do not need down payment and closing cost assistance. Buyers do not need to meet NIFA’s first-time homebuyer requirement. Maximum household income and purchase price limits are higher when a home is located in a target area
- Haven’t owned a home in the last three years
- Household income is less than the maximum household income limit
- Purchase a home that’s $381,000 or less in a target area, OR $311,000 or less in a non-target area
- Minimum 640 credit score
- 45% maximum debt-to-income ratio
- Finish a homebuyer’s education course
Target areas are designated by the federal government. The following counties have targeted census tracts:
Homebuyer Assistance Program (HBA)
This program includes a first and second mortgage loan. The interest rate for the first mortgage loan is higher because it includes down payment and closing cost assistance. The maximum amount for the second mortgage loan is 5% of the home’s purchase price, not to exceed $10,000. The term of the second mortgage loan is 120 months or 10 years. The interest rate on the second mortgage loan is 1%.
Potential buyers do not need to be a first-time homebuyer if:
- They are a qualified veteran who has been discharged from the service under conditions other than dishonorable OR
- They’re purchasing a home located in a target area within one of these counties: Adams, Douglas, Jefferson, Lancaster, or Scotts Bluff. Use our Geocoding/Mapping System to help identify whether or not a specific home is in a target area.
Homes in Nebraska are eligible, subject to the following purchase price limits:
Military Home Program
Active military members must meet NIFA’s first-time homebuyer requirement.
If you’re a qualified veteran or spouse, you aren’t required to be a first-time homebuyer, but NIFA will require a copy of your DD214 Form to determine eligibility.
If you are not eligible for a loan through the Department of Veterans Affairs, you have the option to choose either a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) insured loan, or a USDA Rural Development (RD) guaranteed loan.
National First-Time Homebuyer Loan Programs
- FHA Loans – FHA home loans are very popular with first-time homebuyers cause they require a 580 credit score with just a 3.5% down payment. Debt-to-income ratios up to 50% are allowed making them perfect for low-income borrowers.
- Conventional Loans – Conventional loans require a 620 credit score and a 5% to 20% down payment. If you put 20% or more down, mortgage insurance will not be required.
- USDA Loans – USDA mortgage loans are for low-to-median income borrowers buying a home located in a USDA-eligible rural area. They provide 100% financing with a 620 or higher credit score. Mortgage insurance is required but the rate is the lowest of any type of mortgage program available.
- VA Loans – Veterans of the U.S. military may be eligible for a VA home loan. No down payment or mortgage insurance is required and veterans with a 580 to 620 credit score are eligible.
- HomeReady and Home Possible Loans – Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae created the HomeReady and Home Possible loan programs for low-income first-time homebuyers whose income does not exceed 100% of the area median income requiring just a 3% down payment and a 620 credit score.
Statewide and Regional Programs
Programs by City/Town
Northeast Housing Initiative
P.O. Box 226
Allen, NE 68710-0226
Phone: (402) 635-2078
Contact: Linda Kastning or Kellee Nelson
Housing Development Corporation
301 S. Burlington Ave.
Hastings, NE 68902-1005
Phone: (402) 461-8407
Contact: Linda Addison, Executive Director
Lincoln County Community Development Corporation
P.O. Box 1413
502 South Dewey Street
North Platte, NE 69103
Phone: (308) 534-5095
Contact: Nancy Striebel
Three Rivers HDC
Pam Thomsen, Executive Director
448 South 13th Street, Suite 200
P.O. Box 212
Tekamah, NE 68061
Phone: (402) 374-2056
Buying a Home
Owning and Maintaining Your Home
Other Nebraska Resources