Thinking of buying your first home in Utah? Congratulations! While there are likely thousands of things you are thinking about as a first-time home buyer, Utah has some lending options you don’t want to miss.
Options for First-Time Homebuyers in Utah
We won’t sugarcoat it—buying a home for the first time is hard. You may have some money saved up, but chances are if you’re anything like most of the other 327.16 million Americans—you need to borrow some money first.
There are a few ways you could go about that.
You can look into the loans provided through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, as well as factions of the government, or you could look into state-specific loans. Both types may be available through your credit union or bank.
When applying for each loan, they’ll take a look at your credit report, debt to income ratio, the amount of money you have available for a down payment and closing costs.
Here are your Utah loan options for first time home buyers.
Federal First Time Home Buyer Programs
Who They’re For: Those with a lower credit score (500 or higher) and a low down payment.
- Down payment options start at 3.5% and go up from there
- If you have a credit score below 580, expect a higher down payment
- You must pay mortgage insurance for the life of the loan
- Find a certified FHA lender and shop around for the best interest rates
Who They’re For: Former or current military members and their immediate family with low down payments.
- No private mortgage insurance required
- Typically has lower closing costs than conventional loans
- There is a funding fee required in lieu of mortgage insurance
- Need a credit score of 620 or above
- The application process takes a bit longer than other loans
- Can only be used on a primary residence (not investment properties)
- Must be eligible for VA Home Loan Certificate of Eligibility
Who They’re For: Those who have been denied conventional loans and who earn less than 115% of the U.S. median income.
- For buying homes in rural and semi-rural areas
- No down payment if your credit score is high. If it’s lower, you may have to pay a down payment of about 10%
Extra Advice: There are many areas that are still considered rural or semi-rural in Utah. If you are having difficulty locating some, check out properties in the northern and eastern sides of the state. While these areas experience more severe weather changes, the homes and land may be eligible for USDA loans.
Good Neighbor Next Door Program
Who It’s For: Emergency personnel and teachers of pre-K through 12th grade.
- Not a loan, the Good Neighbor Next Door Program offers a flat 50% discount on the home’s value.
- Participants encouraged to use a loan to buy the house, but you can pay with cash
- You can sell the home after 3 years and keep the equity
- Not available in most areas
Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac
Who They’re For: Those who don’t qualify for other federal programs but still need help paying for the costs of buying a house.
- Different types of loans available (most common are Home Possible and HomeReady)
- Low down payment (minimum of 3%)
- No credit history required for some loans
- Have higher interest rates than some of the other programs
- Income requirements determined by the location
- Requires private mortgage insurance with down payments less than 20% (can remove it once you have 20% equity, though)
Who It’s For: Native American veterans with a low down payment.
- 0% down payment
- Low credit ok
- No private mortgage insurance
- Lower closing costs than conventional loans
- Eligible for homes on allotted lands, Alaska Native corporations, Pacific Island territories, or federally-recognized trusts.
Loans for First Time Homebuyers in Utah
Who It’s For: Those with okay credit (660 or above) and limited income with a low down payment.
- Competitive interest rates for primary mortgages
- Second mortgage has higher interest rates
- Payment assistance programs for closing cost assistance, down payment assistance, or both
- Can be used on manufactured homes (in certain circumstances)
- Must have both mortgages insured (if putting less than 20% down)
Who It’s For: Those who don’t qualify for the HomeFirst program, with limited income and a credit score of 660 or higher.
- Slightly higher interest rates more restricted income limits than HomeAgain loan
- Same credit score requirements and down payment assistance program
- Can get a second mortgage for up to 6% of the primary mortgage amount
- The second mortgage can be used for down payment and closing costs
- 2% higher interest rate on the second mortgage than the primary mortgage
Who It’s For: Borrowers who can’t afford to pay a 20% down payment, have lower credit scores, and make a low-to-moderate income.
- Low down payment required
- 620 minimum credit score
- Can get a second mortgage for up to 4% of primary loan value (higher interest rates on the second loan).
- Must earn less than $82,500/year
- Home price must be less than $294,500
- Need to complete a homebuyer education course (some are free, others cost around $35). There are multiple throughout Salt Lake City, as well as other areas in the region
- Homebuyer education course needs to be completed within 90 days of closing
UHC NoMI Loan
Who It’s For: Utah homebuyers with good credit but low down payment and closing costs
- Higher interest rates than other loans
- No mortgage insurance needed
- Can get second mortgage for up to 5% of primary mortgage value
- Credit score of 700 or above required
- Need to complete a homebuyer education course (four to eight hours)
- Income and purchase price dependent on home location
Grants for Veterans
Who They’re For: Military members and veterans without much savings
- Not a loan
- You can get up to $2,500 to go toward the costs of homeownership
- Must be eligible for VA Home Loan Certificate of Eligibility
- Available if you own homes in other states
The market in Utah is still leaning in the seller’s directions, with the average home price at $325,400. Interest rates are rising as well, so make sure to get your loan locked in while the rates are still considered low!
The loans and grants available specifically to Utah residents are geared toward those who have lower income rates, have limited savings available, and need help making a down payment or paying for closing costs. To find a house that meets the loan criteria, talk to your Utah real estate agent.