Recent medical school graduates, saddled by high student loan debt, sometimes have a hard time qualifying for a first mortgage. Now, however, a growing number of lenders will consider future earnings potential of high earners in the medical profession as a way to offset high debt ratios. But specialty mortgages for young physicians aren’t the only unique loans available today.
Nationwide, there are a number of unique programs designed to help first-time buyers qualify for a mortgage loan. While some target specific professions, others are open to a wider range of applicants. They are definitely worth exploring if you’re interested in buying a home, but are not able to qualify for a standard home loan.
Here are some of the better known, widely-available options:
Good Neighbor Next Door
A HUD-sponsored program, this not-so-well-known option is available to firefighters and law enforcement officers, emergency medical technicians and teachers. The loans provide a discount of up to 50 percent of the asking price in select zones in the country known as revitalization areas. One stipulation is that the borrower must agree to live in the home for at least three years.
VA Loans — Zero Down
For anyone who has served in the military, and certain authorized civilian employees of the government, the zero down VA loan is one of the best specialty mortgages available.
Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac programs offered to low and moderate-income families also provide guidance and home-ownership information that can be invaluable for first-time borrowers. The education programs are specifically designed to address the common misconceptions about buying as well as providing education about property maintenance and financial responsibility.
Energy-Efficient Mortgage (EEM)
This specialty mortgage allows homebuyers to add green features to a home without making a larger down payment or paying a higher interest rate. The cost of energy-efficient improvements is simply rolled into the primary FHA or VA mortgage. It can be a cost-effective, simple way to add desirable improvements as well as value to a home.
FHA Rehabilitation Program
If a fixer-upper seems like the way to go for your specific situation, the FHA 203(k) program offers a loan option that might be a good fit. Basically, this mortgage is based on the value of the home after improvements are completed, and carries a down payment requirement as low as three percent. The funds needed for rehabilitation are included in the primary loan.
Native American Direct Loan
Essentially a VA loan for Native American veterans, this mortgage program is for homes on federal trust lands; it is a zero down 30-year fixed-rate mortgage with a low interest rate.
State And Municipal Programs
Many states and cities have grants or specialty programs available. It is always worth checking with local jurisdictions to what is offered that you might qualify for.
Interest Only Or Extended Term
Two other types of mortgage that are available to serve special needs borrowers are interest only loans and mortgages with terms up to 40 years.
If you think these might be of interest, be sure to ask for specifics from your trusted mortgage broker or lender.