If your income and savings are making home buying a challenge, consider these options…
1. Investigate local, state, and national down payment assistance programs. These programs give loans or grants to cover all or part of your required down payment. National programs include the Nehemiah program ( http://www.getdownpayment.com ) and the American Dream Down Payment Fund from the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development ( http://www.hud.gov ).
2. Get the seller to provide financing. In some cases, sellers may be willing to finance all or part of the purchase price of the home and let you repay them gradually, just as you do a mortgage.
3. Consider a shared-appreciation, or shared equity, arrangement. Under this arrangement, your family, friends, or even a 3rd party may buy a portion of the home and thus share in any appreciation when the home is sold. The owner/occupant usually pays the mortgage, property taxes, and all maintenance costs, but all investors’ names are usually on the mortgage. There are companies that can help you find such an investor if your family can’t participate.
4. Get help from your family. Perhaps a family member will loan you money for the down payments and/or act as a cosigner for the mortgage. Lenders often like to have a cosigner if you have little credit history.
5. See if you can qualify for a short-term 2nd mortgage to give you the money to make a higher down payment. This may be possible if you have a good income and little other debt.
Reprinted from Realtor Magazine Online by permission of the National Association of Realtors, Copyright 2005, All rights reserved.