Native American Down Payment Assistance Programs, Explained

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By Jamie Ayers Updated February 2, 2023


Native Americans looking to buy their first home may want to consider down payment assistance programs. The 184 loan, in particular, is an excellent way for Native Americans to secure a mortgage with a low-interest rate and small down payment. Find out more about this exclusive mortgage program.

down payment assisstance

Native Americans looking to purchase homes are eligible for special assistance programs, including down payment assistance. The HUD 184 loan is designed specifically for Native Americans looking to purchase a residence, particularly first-time home buyers.

Let’s take a look at what exactly the HUD 184 loan is, review eligibility requirements, and learn more about the down payment assistance.

Breaking Down the HUD 184 Loan

A HUD 184 loan refers to the Section 184 Indian Home Loan Guarantee Program. This program was made for Native Americans hoping to become homeowners. The program was first established in 1992 to help facilitate homeownership across these cultural groups and is run by HUD (the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development).

Section 184 financing allows Native Americans to secure a loan with low down payment requirements and flexible underwriting. These loans can be used to purchase properties both on and off of native and tribal lands. Native Americans can use this funding for existing houses, new construction, renovations, or refinancing.

The HUD 184 loan fully guarantees lenders that the investment will be repaid completely if the case of foreclosure.

Requirements for the HUD 184 Loan

There are a few stipulations around the type of residential housing that can be purchased with this type of loan. Borrowers can:

  • Purchase only single-family housing, with 1 to 4 bedrooms; commercial properties are not eligible for this type of funding
  • Secure a 30-year (or less), fixed-rate loan; adjustable rate mortgages are not offered
  • Purchase a residence only in eligible areas (see the eligible county map for more detail)

There are requirements for the borrowers eligible for this loan, as well. Borrowers must be of American Indian or an Alaskan Native descent, and must also be a member of a tribe recognized by the federal government (see full list of recognized tribes).

Homeowner Education

While not a direct requirement, part of the HUD 184 loan process includes homeowner education steps. This involves the buyer becoming educated on their spending habits, estimated budget, and other expenses. It also ensures the buyer understand the loan process, requirements, and mortgage terms before applying.

Benefits of the HUD 184 Loan

The HUD 184 loan program for Native Americans makes it easy for anyone in a recognized tribe to get approved for a home mortgage. This loan type has many advantages for qualified applicants including:

  • Low down payment requirements - loans over $50k require a 2.25 percent down payment, while loans under $50k only require a 1.25 percent down payment (lower than FHA loans)
  • Low mortgage interest rates - interest rates are determined by market rates, rather than the applicant’s credit score
  • Fee monitoring - the HUD 184 loan program keeps an eye on fees lenders charge to ensure borrowers are receiving the best loan options
  • Flexible application requirements - manual underwriting allows for flexibility in loan requirements, making it easier for eligible applicants to get approved

Finding a 184 Lender

Many leading mortgage companies offer 184 loans to Native Americans. There are a variety of different financial institutions applicants can choose from when searching for financing for this loan.

Native American Financial Lenders

For applicants wishing to stick with a tribal bank or tribal-affiliated institution, there are a number of lenders available in all 50 states, including:

  • Native American Bank
  • 1st Tribal Lending (Mid American Mortgage)

In addition, there are also a variety of regional and state-specific Native American banks to choose from.

Traditional Mortgage Lenders

Native Americans can also receive 184 loan funding services through a traditional bank or financial institution. Top mortgage lenders include:

  • First American Mortgage
  • Homestar Financial
  • WestStar (Everett Funding)
  • AmeriPro Funding
  • Bankers Mortgage Corporation
  • Capital Mortgage

Regional, state, and local banking institutions are also great choices for 184 loans. You can find a complete list of qualified lenders here.

How To Start Your 184 Loan

Now that you understand the specific requirements, benefits, and lenders associated with HUD 184 loans, you might be ready to start the financing process. We recommend partnering with a trusted agent before searching for lenders. An experienced real estate agent can help guide you through the entire home buying process, provide financial advice, and answer any questions you might have along the way.

Clever can help match you with the right agent and save money. All Clever agents are vetted and experienced. Plus, eligible buyers may receive cash back on the purchase price back after closing on a home. Click here to find out more and get matched with a talented local agent near you.

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