Down Payment Grants for Women

Cheryl Cirelli
Woman with house

Coming up with a sum of money for a down payment on a new home can often be a challenge. You may quickly find that grants specific to women are rarely available for assisting with a down payment on a new home. There are several other options to consider that can get you into the home of your dreams by assisting you with the down payment and other fees required for a new mortgage.

Local Resources

Even though it may be difficult to find grants specific to assisting women with purchasing a home, there may be local resources in your area that can help. Check with your local church, area government or nonprofit organizations in your community to find out if assistance is available. While these organizations may not advertise that they offer help, many often have funding available to those in need.

Programs That Can Help

There are many programs designed to assist people with purchasing a home, regardless of gender. Some programs offer low down payments while others require no down payment at all. Some programs to check out include:

Veteran's Administration

The Veteran's Administration (VA) offers mortgage guarantees with no down payment requirement. Whether you are a woman in the military, retired from the military, a reservist or a national guard, or are a surviving military spouse who is on active duty, there are programs designed to assist you with purchasing a home.

A VA loan is issued by a private lender to eligible veterans purchasing a home as a primary residence. The VA guarantees the loan against loss if you fail to repay the loan.

In order to qualify for a VA loan and waive a down payment, you must meet specific eligibility requirements. You will need a VA issued certificate of eligibility as well other documentation such as your marriage certificate or death certificate of the deceased military spouse.

First Time Homebuyers

Women who are first time homebuyers can take advantage of loans issued by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), a division of HUD. The FHA insures loans, making it possible to get lower down payments as well as reduced closing costs. FHA loan down payments can be as low as 3.5 percent of the home price and often closing costs and other fees can be included into the loan amount.

There are two types of FHA down payment assistance programs:

  • Seller Assistance Programs: The seller of the home may help with the costs of the down payment through a program offered by a nonprofit organization such as Nehemiah or Neighborhood Gold. These programs do not require a second mortgage or repayment schedule.
  • Second Mortgage: Down payments may be financed by a second mortgage, which may require no initial payments and many programs such as ones in California including CHFA will give buyers 100 percent financing while others such as Access 2000 require no money down.

For any type of FHA program, you will first need to qualify for an FHA loan and meet specific requirements. Requirements include showing at least two years of steady income with an employer, no recent bankruptcy or foreclosures and a minimum credit score of 620 or higher.

Low Income Assistance

Women who fall into the category of low income should speak with a reputable, local real estate agent or mortgage broker in their community. These real estate professionals may have information about local programs as well as other special financing options.

Home Investment Partnerships (HOME) is a program that provides down payment assistance to low-income women and families. There are specific income limits to quality for funding. Grants are not issued to individuals but to jurisdictions that can distribute funds in their local communities. You will need to contact and sign up with the Office of Affordable Housing to find out if you qualify for assistance.

Be Prepared with Important Information

Before applying for down payment assistance, be sure that your finances are in order. There are often typical disqualifications for assistance including defaults on loans, tax liens, unpaid child support, prior foreclosure and a recent bankruptcy. You will be asked to provide income and tax documentation as well.

Turn Your Dream Into Reality

Many women feel like they may never own a home. Luckily, there are options for assisting with down payments and other fees associated with purchasing a home. If you take time to do your research and apply for the various programs, you can turn your dream of home ownership into reality.

Down Payment Grants for Women