Best Grants for Building, Buying, or Repairing a Home

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By Michael Warford Updated July 15, 2024

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If you worry that safe, affordable housing is outside your financial reach, it’s worth investigating housing assistance programs.

In general, funding is prioritized for:

  • First-time home buyers
  • Low- and very-low-income home buyers or homeowners
  • The elderly
  • Veterans or active duty service members with disabilities
  • Native American home buyers or homeowners
  • Homeowners or renters impacted by natural disasters or other emergencies

Here's a breakdown of some of the best grants for building a home, plus programs for buying and repairing.

ProgramValueWho qualifies?
HUD’s 203(k) Rehab Mortgage InsuranceAt least $5,000, or up to the cost of total demolition and reconstructionHome buyers purchasing a fixer-upper. Learn more.
VA’s Disability Housing Grants$8,415–117,014, depending on the type of disability and housingVeterans or active duty service members with service-related disabilities. Learn more.
DOE’s Weatherization Assistance ProgramAverage savings of $372 on energy bills annuallyLow-income households. Learn more.
Habitat for HumanityVaries; mortgage payments are usually capped at 30% of gross monthly incomeLow- to moderate-income households. Learn more.
Fannie Mae’s HomePathUp to 3% closing cost assistanceFirst-time home buyers who complete an online course and purchase a HomePath property. Learn more.
National Homebuyers Fund’s DPAUp to 5% of the mortgage loan amountAny home buyer, plus homeowners looking to refinance. Learn more.
HUD’s Revitalization AreasSteeply discounted home prices, ranging from $100 to 50% of the listing priceHome buyers in HUD-designated locations. Learn more.
USDA’s Rural Development Loans0% down for home buyersHome buyers or rehabbers in eligible rural locations. Learn more.
HUD’s Section 184 Indian Home Loan Guarantee ProgramA 1.25% down payment on loans under $50,000, or 2.25% down payment on loans over $50,000.American Indian and Alaska Native families. Learn more.
Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America (NACA) Mortgage0% down payment, no closing costs, and no mortgage insuranceLow- to moderate-income home buyers. Learn more.
USDA’s Section 504 Home Repair ProgramUp to $50,000 in combined loans and grantsVery-low-income households and elderly homeowners. Learn more.
FEMA Housing AssistanceVaries by needHomeowners and renters affected by natural disasters or emergencies. Learn more.
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Home building grants and home renovation programs

HUD’s 203(k) Rehab Mortgage Insurance

Though fixer-uppers are often available at affordable sale prices, renovation costs can quickly add up. HUD’s 203(k) Rehab Mortgage Insurance program is designed to help home buyers purchase and renovate a property — without the high interest rates and short timelines other loans demand.

The proposed repairs must cost at least $5,000 but can extend to total demolition and reconstruction (as long as the original foundation remains in place). The total value of the property must remain within the local area’s FHA mortgage limit.

If your property qualifies, you can use this program to address a number of costly rehab projects, including structural alterations, improved energy efficiency, installing a well or septic system, and more.

VA’s Disability Housing Grants

If you’re a veteran or service member with certain service-connected disabilities, you may qualify for a US Department of Veterans Affairs disability housing grant. These grants can help you buy a home, or renovate your current home to meet your needs.

Depending on your specific disability, you may qualify for one of two grants.

The Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) grant allows veterans and service members to buy, build, or renovate their homes. In 2024, the maximum grant amount is $117,014, or $47,130 if you’re living in temporary housing.

The Special Home Adaptation (SHA) grant also provides funding for purchasing, building, or renovating a home. In 2024, the maximum grant amount is $23,444, or $8,415 if you’re living in temporary housing.

If you receive either of these grants, you don’t have to use the funding all at once — it can be spread over up to six separate transactions over your lifetime.

DOE’s Weatherization Assistance Program

Each year, the Department of Energy (DOE) Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) helps low-income households reduce their annual energy costs by $372 or more on average.

Though financial assistance varies by property, the average home received weatherization measures worth $4,695 as of 2019.

Note that the program takes a "whole-house" approach to weatherization, often improving older homes’ overall safety. Along with energy-efficient improvements, participants might also receive help remediating mold, fixing roofing, or addressing other health and safety concerns.

Habitat for Humanity

Some low- to moderate-income individuals can become homeowners through Habitat for Humanity. To qualify for a Habitat for Humanity home, your income must not exceed 60% of the area median and you must demonstrate a need for safe and affordable housing.

If selected, you’ll need to perform “sweat equity,” which usually involves helping to build your own house or other Habitat for Humanity homes. The sweat equity can also include taking homeownership classes or volunteering at a Habitat ReStore.

Finally, you’ll need to pay an affordable mortgage. Habitat for Humanity uses that money to build other houses. The organization says it “makes a reasonable effort” to ensure that mortgage payments don't exceed 30% of your gross monthly income.

Home buying programs

Fannie Mae’s HomePath Program

The HomePath ReadyBuyer program provides up to 3% closing cost assistance to first-time home buyers. To qualify, you’ll need to complete an interactive online course (available in Spanish and English) that will guide you through the home-buying process.

The only catch is that this offer only applies to HomePath properties — foreclosed homes that are owned by Fannie Mae. These homes are sold as is and may require significant repairs or improvements.

The National Homebuyers Fund DPA Program

The National Homebuyers Fund, Inc. DPA program offers assistance with a down payment and/or closing costs — two upfront expenses that many buyers struggle to afford. Home buyers can receive up to 5% of the mortgage loan amount.

You don’t need to be a first-time home buyer to qualify, and you may be able to apply to the NHF DPA program to refinance your home. It’s available nationwide and compatible with a variety of common home loans.

However, you'll have to meet FICO, debt-to-income ratio, and income limit requirements. You’ll also have to work with one of NHF’s participating lenders.

HUD’s Revitalization Areas

Located across the US, Revitalization Areas are locations designated by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) under the National Housing Act.

Single-family homes within these Revitalization Areas may be eligible for two programs that offer discounted sales:

  • Asset Control Area (ACA) program
  • Good Neighbor Next Door (GNND) sales program

Under the ACA program, the Federal Housing Administration can offer steeply discounted pricing on certain foreclosed properties. These homes fall into three tiers:

  • Properties appraised at $25,000 can be purchased for $100
  • Properties appraised at more than $25,000 but less than $50,000 are discounted by $24,900
  • All other properties are sold at a 50% discount on their appraised value

Under the GNND program, law enforcement officers, teachers, firefighters, and EMTs are eligible to purchase homes at a 50% discount on the listing price (provided that the property is in a Revitalization Area).

USDA’s Rural Development Loans

The US Department of Agriculture’s Section 502 Guaranteed Loan Program helps low- to moderate-income households buy, build, or renovate a home.

The program allows qualified applicants to purchase a home with no money down by providing a 90% loan note guarantee to approved lenders. To qualify, participants must purchase or own a home in an eligible rural area, use that home as their primary residence, and not have a household income higher than 115% of the area median.

HUD’s Section 184 Indian Home Loan Guarantee Program

HUD’s Section 184 Indian Home Loan Guarantee Program provides financial assistance for American Indian and Alaska Native families, Alaska villages, tribes, or tribally designated housing entities. Today, eligible locations have expanded beyond tribal trust land.

The program allows Native borrowers to secure a home loan with a low down payment of 1.25% on loans under $50,000, or 2.25% on loans over $50,000. (Maximum loan limits vary by location.) This funding can be applied to buying, building, refinancing, or renovating your home.

All loans are 100% guaranteed by the Office of Loan Guarantee within HUD's Office of Native American Programs.

If you’re a Native American veteran, or a veteran married to a Native American, you may also qualify for the VA’s Native American Direct Loan (NADL) program.

Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America (NACA) Mortgage

The Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America (NACA) Mortgage provides home loans with no down payments and low interest rates to low- and moderate-income home buyers. There are no closing costs or mortgage insurance requirements.

To qualify, you’ll need to either have an income that’s less than 100% of the median income for the Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) or be purchasing a house in a US Census Tract where the median income is under 100% of the median income for that area’s MSA. You’ll also need to attend mandatory homeownership workshops.

Home repair grants

USDA’s Section 504 Home Repair Program

The USDA’s Section 504 Home Repair program provides up to a $40,000 loan to very-low-income homeowners who can't obtain an affordable loan elsewhere. Homeowners can use this funding to repair, improve, or modernize their homes.

Qualifying applicants who are 62 or older and cannot repay a loan may be eligible for a grant of up to $10,000. These funds can only be used to resolve health and safety hazards.

If a qualifying applicant can repay a portion of their loan, they may be eligible for a combination of loans and grants totaling up to $50,000.

FEMA Housing Assistance

If your home is damaged by a natural disaster or other emergency, you may be eligible for housing assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Qualified applicants can receive funding for temporary housing, home repairs, or even home replacement. You may also qualify for help paying for a wide range of other disaster-related expenses, ranging from childcare to medical bills.

Keep in mind that this financial support only applies to needs that are not covered by insurance. Applicants will also need to verify their identity and ownership or occupancy.

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