How to Get a Government Grant to Build Your Dream Home

By 

Clever Real Estate

Updated 

April 29th, 2019

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Coming up with the money to build a dream home isn’t easy. Luckily, there is a long list of government-backed (and private-sector) grants that can help make homeownership a reality — even if you have bad credit or low income. Learn more.

Have you always wanted to build your dream home but have no idea how to get the funds to do that? Read on to find out how to get a government grant to build your dream home.

Most states have programs in place to help homeowners either buy, build, repair or improve homes. There are also several federal government programs available to explore. While many of these programs are loans that you finance at market —and, occasionally, below-market interest rates—there are some program available that are grants to build a home.

The requirements for each of these programs will vary. Yet, as with most government programs, there's a lot of paperwork.  Some of the federally based programs, such as the Weatherization Assistance Program, is a federal program but applicants apply for the grants through their state offices.

Getting a grant for your home requires more research.  Review your state government’s website for opportunities. Also make sure you search local opportunities within your community  as well. This should turn up more available grants for you.

Grants to Build a Home

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Under the Single Family Housing Repair program, commonly called the Section 504 Home Repair program, USDA offers grants to low income homeowners to remove health and safety hazards in their homes.

Grants in the amount of $7500 are available.

U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)

Under the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), the DOE is able to issue grants to low-income families and provide help with home weatherization. Applications for these grants is done at the state level and if interested, it’s best to check with your local state weatherization website for the specifics on what is available and how to proceed.

Grants are available for up to $7105 as of 2016.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

There are two grant programs available for servicemen and veterans with disabilities. The Specially Adapted Housing Grant (SAH) and the Special Housing Adaptation (SHA) programs.

SAH grants help veterans with certain service-related disabilities be able to live independently in a barrier-free environment. That can mean building a new home or reconstructing an existing home to fit their requirements.

An SHA grant enables veterans with service-related disabilities to adapt or buy a home that accommodates their disability.

While these are some programs to consider when looking for a grant to build a home, there are several others that can be found at a local and state level. One site that is continuously scouring the internet for new programs is DSIRE.org. If you are interested in other programs that are specific to your area, then check out DSIRE.org for a listing of opportunities that are local to your state or city. Another site to check out for local programs in your area is HUD’s local buying page.

Additional Programs to Consider

Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

Perhaps the best known of all government programs to build a home or renovate a home is HUD’s 203k Program. Under this financing program homebuyers are able to buy or refinance a home that needs work done or that the homeowner wants to renovate.

Homebuyers don't have to get both a home improvement loan and long-term financing once the construction is complete. There is one permanent loan at competitive interest rates, insured by the U.S. government.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

FEMA does provide grant funds to homes damaged in emergency areas. Specifically homes that became damaged during natural disasters.

Available funds for emergency home repairs, and are not a source of funding for a home renovation or total repair project in most instances.

Fannie Mae HomePath Program

While the HomePath program doesn't provide grants for building or renovating a home, it does provide up to 3% of the purchase price as cashback to go towards closing costs. Those savings mean less out of your pocket when buying and more cash available to create your dream home.

National Homebuyers Fund, Inc (NHF)

The National Homebuyers Fund, Inc provides up to 5% of the purchase price to cover down payments or closing costs. The NHF provides funds as a gift or as a 0% interest rate that they forgive within 3 years of owning the home.

This program isn’t financing actual renovations or repair costs. It does offer homebuyers’ grant funds towards their project. This frees up your funds to go towards renovation expenses.

Good Neighbor Next Door

This HUD developed program offers law enforcement offices, teachers through 12th grade, firefighters and EMT service providers the opportunity to buy homes in community revitalization areas at a discount of 50% off the list price of the home.

That purchase price discount could allow a home buyer to have built-in equity and get financing to complete renovations and repairs on a home.

According to Apartmentlist.com, 80% of millennials want to buy a home but struggle with having the funds to afford a home. Get creative and search out opportunities in the form of grants or other federal, state and local programs. Perhaps building your dream home can happen sooner than you think!

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