First Time Home Buyers 6 MIN READ

New Hampshire First-Time Home Buyer Programs and Grants of 2021

Boat dock in front of houses at sunset Written by Leigh Cooper

Key Takeaways:

  • First-time home buyers in New Hampshire can get free cash assistance to cover closing costs and down payment – up to 3% of their home loan cost.
  • Other programs like the Homebuyer Preferred Mortgage offer 97% financing (only 3% down payment) with additional cash assistance.
  • Up to $2,000 in tax credits are available every year for first-time New Hampshire homebuyers through the Home Start Homebuyer Tax Credit

So, you’re thinking about buying your first home in New Hampshire but not exactly sure where to begin? We hear you. House-hunting is tough for everyone, but it can seem downright impossible if you’re having trouble making ends meet. 

Fortunately, there are amazing resources available to the first-time home buyer in NH. These programs and grants can save you and your household thousands of dollars and help make the homeownership dream a reality. Here’s what you should know.

First-Time Homebuyers In New Hampshire: What You Need To Know 

Woman meeting with realtor at house

There’s no more powerful first step you can take than to do your research. The more you know about how this process works, the better off you’ll be when it’s time to make a move. 

Trusted websites like HUD.GOV are a great starting point for learning about the home buying experience. They can connect you with housing counseling agencies for first-time buyers, financial help for purchasing and maintaining your new residence, legal assistance, and other invaluable information to get you on the right path.

Educating yourself about the financial aspects of homeownership and money management is also key, especially if it’s your first time buying a home. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is an excellent resource online – check out their Money Smart financial education program, which was developed for people of all ages to improve their financial know-how. This program can be very useful when fostering new banking relationships – particularly when applying for a loan or mortgage towards your new home. 

Did You Know…

For first-time home buyers on a budget, it’s crucial to learn how to cut costs wherever you can – and that goes well beyond these assistance programs. For example, did you know that you can make your home more energy efficient with free and reduced-cost weatherization services? There are also home energy assistance programs that help with utility bills and home repairs to make your new home more energy-efficient. Learn more here

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Financial Aid For First-Time Homebuyers In New Hampshire

Realtor explaining paperwork to client

If you’re looking to own a new home in New Hampshire but struggling financially, good news – there are lots of helpful resources available. For example, New Hampshire Housing (gonewhampshirehousing.com) features a wide array of mortgage programs created to help people just like you become successful first-time homeowners. All of the programs they offer feature low down payment requirements, 30-year fixed rates, and zero hidden fees. 

For a detailed listing of statewide and regional programs (as well as programs by city/town), visit HUD.GOV’s Homeowner Assistance: New Hampshire page. Here are the top-rated programs that you should know about:

1. Home Flex Plus

When you’re buying a new home, one of the biggest obstacles can be the upfront expenses – i.e. your down payment and closing costs. The Home Flex Plus program helps you cover these costs with cash assistance up to 3% of your total home loan value.

This money is offered as a second loan – but unlike a traditional loan, you don’t need to repay it. As long as you don’t sell or refinance your house, the loan will be fully forgiven after 4 years. This program also has flexibility built into its requirements, as well as government-backed insurance – and it works for both outright purchases as well as refinancing.

Key features & requirements of Home Flex Plus

  • Up to 3% of the home loan amount is available in the form of cash funds for upfront property costs
  • Funds may be put towards prepaid costs of purchasing a new home, including down payment/closing costs
  • Minimum credit score of 680 is required
  • Property types that are eligible for the program include new-build or existing homes (consisting of “single family” dwellings and properties up to four units), FHA/RD/VA-approved condos, and manufactured/mobile homes that sit on their own property
  • Homebuyer education is required

For additional borrower and property eligibility requirements for the Home Flex Plus program, click here

2. Home Preferred Plus Mortgage

The Fannie Mae-backed Home Preferred Plus program is a conventional mortgage loan that helps you finance up to 97% of the cost of your home. In other words, you only need a 3% down   payment. That remaining 3% can be covered with a built-in cash assistance feature that’s very similar to the Home Flex program. This down payment / closing cost assistance is offered as a second loan that’s forgiven after four years.

Benefits & requirements of Home Preferred Plus

  • A 30-year fixed rate mortgage with low 3% down payment
  • Serves borrowers with incomes up to 80% Area Median Income (AMI)
  • To qualify for down payment and closing cost assistance, borrower income must be less than $135,300 
  • Offers lower monthly payments versus other conventional/government-issued loans

For additional borrower and property eligibility requirements for the Home Preferred Plus Mortgage program, click here

3. Single Family Housing Direct Home Loans in New Hampshire

This program assists applicants with low or very low incomes via payment assistance. Also known as the Section 502 Direct Loan Program, the assistance offered by this program is considered a subsidy; a provided amount of money that works to temporarily reduce the required amount of each mortgage payment. 

Several factors are taken into consideration when weighing applications for Single Family Direct Home Loans. Interested applicants, for example, need to demonstrate an adjusted income that meets or falls below area income limits in their home-shopping location. In addition, they must show both their ability and intent to repay the debt. If a property purchased under the program ever transfers, or the borrower no longer uses it as their primary residence, they may be required to repay their received subsidies in whole or in part. 

Key Features

  • The program offers a fixed interest rate, which will be based on the lower of either current market rates once the loan is approved or market rates at the time of closing.
  • Once payment assistance is applied, the Interest rate on the loan may be as little as 1%.
  • After approval, the loan terms can extend up to 33 years for payback, or 38 for applicants with what is considered “very low income.”
  • Typically, applicants will not need to submit a down payment, except in cases where their assets exceed certain program limits; in these scenarios, applicants may need to offer a portion of their assets towards payment.

For additional borrower and property eligibility requirements for the Single Family Housing Direct Home Loan, click here

Did You Know…

The USDA Rural Development’s Section 502 Direct Loan Program was created to enable rural residents with income in the “low” and “very low” specified range to own their own home, as well as providing financially challenged individuals (who would not have the opportunity otherwise) to become homeowners. Ultimately, the long-term goal of this rural development program is to provide affordable housing, which in turn will help generate prosperity, commerce, thriving communities, and overall quality of life in rural regions of the United States. 

4. Home Start Homebuyer Tax Credit

The Home Start Homebuyer Tax Credit is a federal Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC) program designed to make homeownership more affordable. It gives you a special tax benefit that’s proportional to the interest you pay on your mortgage. This can reduce your annual taxes by up to $2,000.

The Homebuyer Tax Credit isn’t just a one-time credit – it is an annual credit for the life of the original mortgage, for as long as you reside in the home. 

Key features & requirements

  • Long-term tax benefit to help low-income individuals afford homeownership
  • Reduces tax withholdings and increases take-home pay
  • May help you qualify for a higher priced home during the home buying process
  • The Homebuyer Tax Credit is a direct dollar-for-dollar reduction in an your federal taxes. It’s worth 10% to 50% of the interest paid on their mortgage, depending on your unique circumstances.

For additional borrower eligibility requirements and FAQs for the Home Start Homebuyer Tax Credit, click here

Did You Know…

For a limited time only, new homebuyers can receive a homebuyer tax credit from New Hampshire Housing. To qualify, borrowers must receive their financing through a New Hampshire Housing first mortgage, and some restrictions may apply. Visit here for more details!

Sources Cited:

1)      “New Hampshire First-Time Home Buyer Programs of 2020.” NerdWallet.com, January 15, 2020, https://www.nerdwallet.com/article/mortgages/new-hampshire-first-time-home-buyer-programs-of-2019. Accessed September 5, 2020.

2)      “Homeownership Programs.” New Hampshire Housing (nhhfa.org), (no published date), https://www.nhhfa.org/homeownership/homeownership-programs/. Accessed September 5, 2020.

3)      “Homeownership Assistance: New Hampshire.” U.S. Department Of Housing And Urban Development (HUD.GOV), (no published date), https://www.hud.gov/states/new_hampshire/homeownership/buyingprgms. Accessed September 5, 2020.

4)      “Understanding Our Mortgage Programs.” New Hampshire Housing (nhhfa.org), (no published date), https://www.gonewhampshirehousing.com/steps-to-homeownership/understanding-our-mortgage-programs. Accessed September 5, 2020.

5)      “Single Family Housing Direct Home Loans in New Hampshire.” USDA Rural Development | U.S. Department Of Agriculture, (no published date), https://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/single-family-housing-direct-home-loans/nh. Accessed September 5, 2020.

6)      “Home Flex Plus.” FHA.com, (no published date), https://www.fha.com/grants/home-flex-plus-new-hampshire-housing. Accessed September 5, 2020.


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