Help for Homebuyers and Homeowners
Are you in the market to buy a home? Or are you interested in lowering your monthly mortgage payments by refinancing your home? Benefits.gov provides information on many Federal resources that may ease the process.

Along with advocating for homeowners and for fair housing practices, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) facilitates loans for first-time mortgages. While HUD does not lend money directly to buyers to purchase a home, Federal Housing Administration (FHA)-approved lenders make loans through a number of FHA insurance programs. According to HUD, for those who can meet certain eligibility requirements, some of the many benefits of FHA loans are:

  • Lower cost: FHA loans have competitive interest rates because the Federal government insures the loans. Make sure to always compare an FHA loan with other types of loans.
  • Easier to qualify for: Because FHA insures your mortgage, lenders may be more willing to give you loan terms that make it easier for you to qualify.
  • Work with less than perfect credit: You do not need a perfect credit score to get an FHA mortgage. Even if you have had credit problems, such as a bankruptcy, it may be easier for you to qualify for an FHA loan than a conventional loan.
  • Low down-payments: FHA loans have a low 3.5 percent down-payment. Money for your down-payment can come from a family member, employer or charitable organization as a gift. Other loan programs do not allow this.
In order to initiate the loan application process, please visit the FHA Resource Center to contact an FHA approved lender.

If you are already a homeowner and would like to refinance your home, the U.S. Department of Treasury and HUD have come together to create MakingHomeAffordable.gov, which may be a helpful place to learn more about your options. Depending on the situation, homeowners can lower their monthly mortgage payments. If homeownership is no longer affordable or desirable, there is a program that can provide a way out, avoiding foreclosure. There are also options for unemployed homeowners and homeowners who owe more than their homes are worth.

Other Federal agencies sponsor home-buying and refinancing benefits in specific cases. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides Rural Housing Loans to applicants whose desired home is located in an eligible rural area and whose income does not exceed 60 percent of the area's median income. Also, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers VA Home Loans, which guarantee a percentage of home loans for eligible veterans, active duty service members, current Army Reserve and Army National Guard members, and certain surviving spouses. VA Home Loans can also be refinanced - if you would like more information you can visit our Home Loan Interest Rate Reduction Refinancing benefit page.

To find out if you are eligible for these and other programs, click "Start Benefit Finder" on the homepage to use our simple and confidential Benefit Finder.