When Nolo published the latest edition of its Essential Guide to Buying Your First Home in 2017, one theme stood out among our participating experts: the satisfaction that came from helping would-be buyers who didn’t think they could afford a house purchase, by guiding them toward loan options that don’t require the traditional 20% down.
For instance, Sydney Andrews of Loanenvy.com said it’s, “a good feeling when a first-time homebuyer comes in, nervous, thinking they might not really be able to afford a home, and we can put them through the process and make their dream come true.”
And Lisa Shaffer of RPM Mortgage said, “. . . clients of ours have had a good income but not much saved up for a down payment, and we’ve been able to find them first-time buyer programs (either through the government or through niche programs offered by banks) to help them buy a home sooner than they’d thought possible.”
So there is hope. Yet a recent survey by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) found that 87% of non-homeowners think they’ll need to put at least 10% down in order to qualify for a home loan, and most were unaware of first-time buyer programs that allow putting down 5% or even less.
Why isn’t word getting out? Hard to say, but if you’re thinking about buying a home, sitting down with a mortgage broker to run the numbers and discuss your options is a promising first step.