First-Time Homebuyer Programs Available in Las Vegas

Buying your first home can be simultaneously nerve-wracking and exciting! After all, you’re about to move into the home that you’ve dreamed of owning for years. When you buy a new house, however, there’s more to the process than just getting the keys and opening the door. Purchasing a home is a process with many steps along the way, and that includes financial planning. If you’re worried about financing a home, there are programs available to help first-time homebuyers finance their home.

What should first-time Nevada homebuyers know?

Right now, housing prices are above the national average in Nevada. That might sound discouraging for people who are buying their first home, but luckily there is financial help available to make a home purchase possible. Assuming you are eligible for assistance, you can access benefits like free counseling, and you may be able to get cash assistance to help finance a down payment and closing costs.

What are average Nevada home prices?

As of August 2023, the average home price in Nevada was $400,100. That number is down slightly by 0.5% from the previous year, but it is still high, and still above the average home price nationwide. Assuming you are buying a house at the average price, the standard 20% down payment would amount to $80,020. Nevada allows you to make a down payment as low as 3% in some circumstances, which translates to a down payment of $12,003. If you don’t think you have sufficient funds to comfortably make a down payment for a home that price or higher, you might qualify for a Nevada first-time homebuyer assistance program.


What loans are available to help Nevada homebuyers?

Fortunately, Las Vegas homebuyer assistance is available through several programs for people looking to buy their first home, which are:

  • Conventional 97
  • FHA loan
  • VA loan
  • USDA loan
  • The Conventional 97 program is available through either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. This program has a minimum requirement of a 3% down payment. You can apply for assistance through Conventional 97 if your credit score is 620 or higher. You may need to pay mortgage insurance, which is called private mortgage insurance (PMI) if you make a low down payment. PMI is an extra payment that lenders will add to loans for people with lower credit scores or who make low down payments. With this program, you can typically stop your PMI payments after a few years.

An FHA loan is backed by the Federal Housing Administration. FHA loans are available to people with lower credit scores of 580 who may not be eligible for loans that require a higher credit score. With an FHA loan you’ll need to make a minimum down payment of 3.5%, which is just above the minimum threshold for Nevada. Although this program offers assistance to homebuyers with low credit scores, that means you’ll need to keep making mortgage insurance payments for a longer time, which is either until you pay off the loan, move, or switch to a different kind of mortgage.

First-time homebuyers who are veterans, active military members, part of the National Guard, or reservists are eligible for a Veterans Affairs (VA) loan. VA loans don’t have a set minimum credit score requirement, but most lenders look for a credit score of at least 620. VA loans are offered with some of the lowest rates that you’ll find among first-time homebuyer programs, so if you are eligible for a VA loan, that’s one of the best programs to go with. Another advantage of a VA loan is that you won’t have any ongoing mortgage insurance premiums to pay after closing.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) also backs loans. These loans, called USDA loans, are available to people with low or moderate income levels who are specifically buying homes in rural places. There is no set minimum requirement for a down payment with a USDA loan, but you will still need to make mortgage insurance payments. Although they don’t have a down payment requirement, most lenders in this program look for a credit score of at least 640.


State-specific programs

If you’re looking for home buying help Las Vegas, another good resource is the Nevada Housing Division, which gives financial assistance to first-time homebuyers. Through the State of Nevada, you can get mortgages with 30-year terms that have varying options for down payments. You can also get financial assistance for closing costs through these programs, which are available to homebuyers across the state. Some requirements vary based on the specific program you are interested in, but all require you to complete a homebuyer education course and use the finances for buying a primary residence.

The following programs are available through the State of Nevada:

Home is Possible (HIP)

The HIP program is a 30-year loan program with a fixed interest rate, but the interest rate is competitive. To be eligible for the program you must be a Nevada resident and looking to buy your first home, which is defined as someone who has not purchased a house in the past three years. People who qualify are those who typically have a household income of $105,000 or less, and the home they want to buy costs $766,550 or less. Program participants may get assistance with their down payment.


Home First

This program is also a 30-year loan structure. Those who don’t have a high income buy want home buying help Las Vegas should consider Home First, which has just a few requirements, including a down payment amount of $15,000 and a home purchase up to $570,000 max. Income limits apply, and lenders usually request a minimum credit score of 660.


Home is Possible for Teachers

Teachers in Las Vegas who teach grades K-12 may be eligible for this loan, which is completely forgiven if you stay in your house for at least five years. You can’t own other real estate at the time of closing to get this loan, but you also cannot have purchased real estate in the past three years. This loan provides up to $7,500 in down payment assistance.


Home is Possible for Heroes

The HIP program is a 30-year mortgage with a fixed interest rate. Usually, rates are competitive with this program, which is an added appeal. The HIP program is offered to veterans and active duty service members. It’s a good idea to consult a loan officer if you want to apply through this program, as the eligibility requirements and details can be complex. However, a loan officer can help you determine if you’re eligible.

Contact a knowledgeable and helpful loan officer today for more details about how first-time Nevada and Las Vegas homebuyers can benefit from state and federal assistance programs.