Nelson Zide
ERA Key Realty Services | 508-277-7794 | nelson@nelsonzide.com


Posted by Nelson Zide on 2/21/2018

Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or someone who has previously owned a home at some point in their life, you most likely know how expensive buying a house can be.

Fortunately, there are many organizations who would agree and who seek to help qualified buyers. There are a number of programs available at the state, local, and federal level designed to help certain buyers purchase a home.

There are also a number of myths around these programs, such as what the term “first-time homebuyer” really means.

In this article, we’ll talk about some of the programs you can look into to get help paying for a home.

Who Qualifies as a First-Time homebuyer?

Contrary to what it sounds like, you can still qualify as a first-time homebuyer if you’ve owned a home in the past. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has been helping people achieve their goal of homeownership since the 1930s. The FHA connects first-time homebuyers with lenders if the buyer meets certain criteria. Those criteria are:

  • Someone who hasn’t owned a home in the time previous three years. This includes spouses.

  • A single parent who previously owned a home with a former spouse, or a “displaced homemaker” who has only owned a home a former spouse.

  • People who have only owned homes that didn’t meet building code or a residence not fixed to a foundation.

The way the FHA helps buyers secure an affordable home loan is by insuring the mortgage. This makes it safer for lenders to approve you for a better rate for your home loan.

Veteran, Rural, and Native American Loan Programs

Aside from FHA loans, you might also qualify for a VA loan, a USDA program, or the Section 184 Indian Home Loan program.

VA loans from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs help veterans secure low-interest loans with affordable down payments. They will also help repeat veteran home buyers who have had financial difficulties in the past such as foreclosure and bankruptcy.

The Section 184 Indian Home Loan Guarantee Program works similarly to an FHA loan in that the federal government insures the loan so that the buyer can receive a better rate and lower down payment.

This program is designed for American Indian and Alaska Native families. However, not every state is eligible for the loan.

The United States Department of Agriculture is another federal department that offers mortgage assistance. You don’t need to be a farmer or have agricultural aspirations to be approved for a USDA loan. Rather, these loans are designed to help develop rural areas by offering loans with no down payments.

State, Local, and Private Programs

Each state in the United States offers various buyer’s assistance and incentive programs. Be on the lookout for programs specific to your area to find low-interest rates and affordable down payments.

Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and other companies work with lenders to create affordable lending programs throughout the country. Remember to shop carefully when dealing with private lenders and look out for hidden costs.





Posted by Nelson Zide on 2/7/2018

If you’re hoping to buy your first home in the near future, you’re likely wondering about the different types of mortgages that you may qualify for. Since the 1930s, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has been insuring home loans for first-time homeowners across America.

This program helps people achieve homeownership who typically wouldn’t be able to afford the down payment or pass the credit score requirements to secure a traditional mortgage.

In today’s post, we’re going to answer some frequently asked questions about FHA loans to help you decide if this is the best option for your first home.

Does the FHA issue loans?

Although they’re called “FHA loans,” mortgages are not actually issued by the FHA. Rather, they’re issued by mortgage lenders across the country and insured by the FHA.

Will I have to make a down payment?

With an FHA loan, your down payment can be as low as 3.5%, significantly lower than traditional loans at 20% down payment. However, you will be required to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI) in addition to your monthly mortgage payments until you have paid off 20% of the home. So, the best case scenario would be to save as much as possible for a down payment to reduce the amount of mortgage insurance you have to pay.

What are the benefits of an FHA loan?

The three main reasons to secure an FHA loan are:

  • You can qualify with a low credit score

  • You can make a smaller down payment than traditional mortgages

  • Your closer costs will be less expensive

Where do I apply for an FHA loan?

You can apply for an FHA loan through a mortgage lender. You can also work with a mortgage broker to help choose a lender.

Is an FHA loan the only loan option for low down payments?

There are multiple loan programs offered at the state and federal level to help individuals secure a mortgage with a lower down payment. They can be provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs, the USDA, or state-sponsored programs. Lenders also often sponsor their own programs to attract potential borrowers. However, always make sure you compare these programs to make sure you’re making the best long-term financial decision.

Do all FHA loans offer the same interest rates and costs?

No. Since the loans are only insured by the FHA, it’s up to the lender to determine your interest rate and fees. So, it’s a good idea to shop around for the best lender.

How high does my credit score have to be to qualify for an FHA loan?

You can secure a mortgage with a down payment as low as 3.5% with a credit score of 580 or higher. However, if you can afford to make a larger down payment, you can secure an FHA loan with a credit score as low as 500.

If your score is in the 500-600 range, it’s typically a better idea to spend a few months building credit before applying for a home loan.

What information will I need to apply?

You’ll need to gather all of the same information that you would for a typical mortgage. This includes W2s from your employer(s), two years of submitted tax forms, your current and former addresses from the past two years, and your gross monthly salary.

I’ve owned a house before, can I still qualify for FHA loans?

Even if you’re not a first-time homebuyer you can still qualify for an FHA loan. However, you cannot qualify if you’ve had a foreclosure within the last three years or have filed for bankruptcy within the last two years.




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Posted by Nelson Zide on 1/18/2017

If you’re trying to decide whether it’s best to move from your current home or to make the necessary improvements on the home, it’s not an easy decision. One thing you may have to consider is how to get the capital in order to have those home improvements done. 

There’s a variety of options available to you in order to secure a loan to renovate your home. Whether you need to renovate the kitchen, build out from your current property, or replace the heating system, there’s ways that you can get the money to complete these necessary updates. 


One thing to consider about any of the options discussed is that you don’t want to be paying for home improvement loans until you need to update everything once again. If you’re preparing to sell your home, making improvements is a wise choice, as it can increase the return that you’ll get on your home. 

Don’t Run Out Of Cash


 If you cannot complete the improvements that you started, you may not be able to get another loan to complete them. You can typically borrow between 80 and 90% of your home equity. The downside to refinancing your home or taking out home equity lines of credit is that you’ll need to pay closing costs once the loan is approved. In other words, you’ll need to put out some cash in order to get some cash. 

Use Your Own Cash

If you have some cash saved up, it’s wise to just do one project at a time. This can take some time, but can be more economical in the long run. If you don’t need to complete your repairs in a hurry, then using your own savings is a good idea.

Refinance Your Home

If you would benefit from a lower interest rate, refinancing your home can be a great option. As long as the cost of repairs doesn’t exceed the number of years that the updates will last, refinancing makes sense. 

Home Equity Credit Line


If your mortgage is locked in and working for you, home equity lines of credit are always a good option. You can draw money out as you need it and pay it back as you go. You won’t need to pay interest until you use the money and the loan is good for 10 years. The downside is that if you don’t make the payments, you could lose your home.   

Home Equity Loans

This type of loan allows you to borrow a fixed amount and then pay back the loan with a fixed monthly installment. A 15 year term is typical of this type of loan.


Construction Loans


A construction loan can be used to build a house or to make large-scale renovations. These loans are short-term and not always easy to find access to. Not to mention that they are heavily managed and perhaps the least popular option presented here. 


FHA 203K Loans


This type of loan is generally used to purchase a home that is in need of much repair. The downside is that you’ll need mortgage insurance for the entire life of the loan. Less complicated repairs often offer a more streamlined FHA loan of up to $35,000. 


FHA Title 1 Loans


These loans provide up to $25,000 for home improvements. The money is insured by the federal government and can be obtained from approved lenders. Homeowners don’t need access to equity in order to get one of these loans and they are available in 20 year terms. 


These are just some of the options that are available to you as a homeowner seeking ways to get cash to make improvements to your home. You can tap into other types of personal loans including credit cards. Really, you need to do what’s best for your finances. It’s good to know that there’s options available to you to improve your home.




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