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How to buy a house with no money down

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There are a few alternatives to a conventional mortgage in which you can buy a house with no money down. Maskot/Getty Images Coming up with the cash for a down payment can be a big hurdle for anyone hoping to become a homeowner.
Most financial experts recommend aiming for a 20% down payment to avoid paying extra each month for private mortgage insurance. But saving 20% can be difficult.
Luckily, there are alternatives to a conventional mortgage that can help you buy a house with no money down. The US government offers home loans for homebuyers in a financial squeeze, but of course, there are some trade-offs. While these loans may come with favorable terms, like lower interest rates, there's usually a high standard for qualification. Obtaining one of these loans also doesn't let you off the hook completely, as you still need cash to cover closing costs, and once you're in the home, monthly mortgage payments.
Below are three of the most common government-backed loans for homebuyers, which are offered by a variety of lenders nationwide. Note that many states offer their own home-loan assistance programs as well, specifically for first-time homebuyers.
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Veterans Affairs (VA) loan
Active and former members of the military have access to the Veterans Affairs (VA) loan to finance a home purchase, often with a lower interest rate than a conventional mortgage. This loan requires no down payment and no mortgage insurance, but comes with strict guidelines, including abiding by the "minimum property requirements" standard.
The buyer must also pay a "funding fee," which protects the lender in case of default. The exact fee amount depends on the buyer's military service, down payment amount, and whether they've had a VA loan in the past, and is expressed as a percentage of the total loan. The fee can be paid upfront or tacked on to the total loan amount.
Closing costs are usually limited with a VA loan, though the buyer is still responsible for paying them in most cases.
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United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) loan
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) loan helps people in rural areas buy homes with zero money down. To qualify for the Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program, you have to meet certain income requirements — described as "low-to-moderate" income — which vary by state.
The USDA is fairly liberal with its definition of "rural" and even considers some suburban areas (you can check specific addresses using this map on the USDA website).
There's no minimum credit score to obtain a USDA loan, although a score of 640 or higher and a debt-to-income ratio below 41% typically qualifies for automatic underwriting.
Despite zero down payment obligation, the buyer is expected to pay an upfront "funding fee" equal to 1% of the total loan amount to protect against default, plus a USDA-specific 0.35% fee that's calculated as a percentage of the loan amount each year, but tacked on to monthly payments and paid to the mortgage lender.
Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan
The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan allows buyers to put down just 3.5% of the purchase price of a primary residence, but requires a credit score of 580 or higher and a debt-to-income ratio below 43%. If you have a credit score between 500 and 579, you have to put down 10%.
FHA loans do require mortgage insurance — made as one upfront payment plus monthly payments — and will also usually come with a higher interest rate than a conventional mortgage would. The buyer is also responsible for closing costs.
The maximum FHA loan amount varies by location, but for a single family home ranges from $356,362 in a low-cost area to $822,375 in a high-cost area in 2021.
More Mortgage Coverage

The average mortgage interest rate
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Fixed-rate vs adjustable-rate mortgages
How to qualify for a mortgage
Saving money for a mortgage deposit

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To get a good mortgage deal with low interest rates, you often need a dauntingly big deposit. Follow our step-by-step guide on how to make saving for a house or flat manageable and turn your home-buying dream into reality.

    Step 1 – Weigh up your options
    Step 2 – Work out how much to save each month
    Step 3 – Get started
    Step 4 – Watch your savings grow

Step 1 – Weigh up your options
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We’ve set up the budgeting and saving community Facebook group as a place to share ideas and inspiration for how to be better with our money. Request to join here.

The average first-time buyer puts down a 20% deposit on their first home, which could mean finding a daunting £20,000 or more.

However, the supply of 90% mortgages is increasing and there are a variety of other ways to reduce your payments:

    Bank of mum and dad: parents might help with cash gifts, informal loans, or more formal arrangements with the mortgage lender to provide part of the deposit or act as guarantor (in which case, they become liable for paying the mortgage if you can’t).
    Buy with friends or family: you might be able to club together to buy a home jointly, but think through how this will work later on if one of you wants to sell their share.
    Shared ownership: if you currently rent a council or housing association property and have a household income of less than £80,000 (outside London) or £90,000 (inside London), you might be eligible to buy part of a home and rent the rest. This reduces the size of the mortgage and deposit you need, so you pay less for the mortgage but also have to pay some rent.
    Help to Buy and other shared equity schemes: these help you buy a new-build home. You typically need a deposit of only 5% and the government or the developer lends you the rest of the deposit – up to a further 20%. Under Help to Buy this loan is free for the first five years but you need to plan how you will pay the yearly fee kicking in from Year 6 onwards. It is only available for new-build homes.
    Some mortgage deals cover your valuation and legal fees: reducing the amount of up-front money you need to find on top of the deposit.

Checking house prices in the area where you want to buy, and deciding whether any of the options above could be for you, will help you work out the size of the mortgage deposit you’re going to need.
Find out about Help to Buy and other housing schemes.
Step 2 – Work out how much to save each month

Use our Savings calculator to help you work out how much you can save.

Once you know the amount of deposit you’ll need, make a plan to reach this goal.

Regular saving is more effective than relying on irregular one-off sums.

How long it will take depends on how much you can afford to set aside each month. Be realistic about how much you can afford.

For example, suppose you want to buy in three years’ time and will need £10,000: you’ll need to save around £265 a month.

But, if you only feel comfortable saving £150 a month, you will need to plan on buying in just over five years’ time.

This might seem a long wait, but it is better than trying to save too much and giving up altogether.
Step 3 – Get started
Top tip

Set up a regular payment (direct debit or standing order) to automatically transfer a set amount into your savings each month.

Strike while the iron’s hot! Decide where to stash your savings.

Maybe you already have an online bank account letting you set up a separate pot for your goal. Otherwise, open a separate savings account.

You could opt for an instant access account. But, since it will most likely be some years before you’re ready to buy, you might want to look at accounts tieing up your money but offer better interest.

    Find out about Direct debits and standing orders.
    Read our guide on Cash savings at a glance for ideas

Price comparison websites

Comparison websites are a good starting point for anyone trying to find a savings account tailored to their needs.

We recommend the following websites for comparing savings accounts:

    Money Saving Expert
    Money Supermarket
    Which?opens in new window


    Comparison websites won’t all give you the same results, so make sure you use more than one site before making a decision.
    It is also important to do some research into the type of product and features you need before making a purchase or changing supplier.
    Find out more in our guide to comparison sites.

Step 4 – Watch your savings grow
Did you know?

Four out of five Britons would prefer to own their home rather than rent. An estimated eight out of 10 under-30s rely on help from parents to buy their first home. (Source: The Council of Mortgage Lenders)

Review your savings account at least once a year to check you’re getting the best rate of interest.

Make sure you use your yearly cash ISA allowance so you don’t pay tax unnecessarily.

Many ISAs tempt you with a bonus for the first few months or year but then fall back to dismal rates.
What to do next

    Open a savings account if you don’t already have one – go online or pop into your bank or building society.
    Check whether you can reduce the deposit you need, for example, through a Help to Buy scheme or family support.
    Set up a regular payment into your savings account every month. Use this downloadable template (DOC 25KB) to send a standing order instruction to your bank.

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Buying your first home isn’t easy. Know that there are plenty of grant and assistance programs that can give you a hand.

Olivia Bernard, a 24-year-old nurse in Atlanta, recently purchased her first home with the help of both a county grant and a grant for nurses.

If you meet certain qualifications, you may be eligible for down payment assistance programs, loans, grants, or other services. These programs are often offered by your state, county, or municipality — and may even allow for buyers who aren’t entirely new to homeownership. Usually, they come with income or asset restrictions, location qualifications, or credit score requirements.

Those who meet the following conditions qualify as first-time home buyers, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) considerations:

For exactly three years prior to the date of purchase of the new property, an individual with no ownership in a primary residence, or someone with a spouse who meets this criteria
An individual who only owned with a former spouse during marriage, but is now a single parent
A person who had only owned with a former spouse and is now considered a displaced homemaker
A person who has only owned nonpermanently fixed foundation residences (based on applicable regulations)
An individual who has only owned a property that could not meet state, local, or model building codes. The property in question also must be deemed unable to be brought into compliance for less than the cost of constructing a permanent structure.

Below, we’ve outlined the most common types of assistance programs that first-time home buyers should know about. We also recommend checking with your state and local housing departments, HUD-approved housing counseling agencies, and your real estate agent to see what’s available in your area.
State and Local First-Time Home Buyer Programs

Your state, county, and city should be the first places to look for first-time home buyers’ assistance. State and local governments often have funds dedicated to down payments or closing costs, either in the form of grants that don’t need to be paid back or low-interest loans where payment is deferred for a number of years.

Many programs have income restrictions and are intended for people with low to moderate incomes, and many require the home to be your primary residence. Each state program is different. They offer a variety of competitive interest rates, down payment assistance, closing cost assistance, or tax credits. Each state has its own loan type qualification. Check your state for more details.
First-Time Home Buyer Programs by State
States (A-M) First-Time Home Buyer Program/Lender/Grant States (M-W) First-Time Home Buyer Program/Lender/Grant
Alabama Step Up Program Missouri First Place Loan Program
Alaska First Home Limited Montana BOND Advantage Down Payment Assistance Program
Arizona Home Plus Program Nebraska First Home Program
Arkansas Move-Up Loan Program Nevada Home is Possible Program
California CalHFA Conventional Program New Hampshire Home Preferred Plus
Colorado Home Access Program New Jersey First-Time Home Buyer Program
Connecticut Home Buyer Assistance Programs New Mexico First Home
Delaware Welcome Home Program New York Achieving the Dream Program
District of Columbia Home Purchase Assistance Program North Carolina Home Advantage Tax Credit
Florida BOND Program North Dakota First Home Purchase Assistance Program
Georgia Dream Program Ohio Home Buyer Program
Hawaii Down Payment Assistance Loan Program Oklahoma Home Buyer Down Payment Assistance
Idaho First Loan Program Oregon BOND Residential Loan Program
Illinois Access Mortgages Pennsylvania Preferred Program
Indiana Indiana Home Solutions Rhode Island RIHousing First-time Home Buyer Loans
Iowa First Home Plus Program South Carolina Homeownership Program
Kansas First Time Home Buyer Program (HOME) South Dakota First-time Home Buyer Program
Kentucky Mortgage Credit Certificate Tennessee Great Choice Home Loan
Louisiana Delta 100 Program Texas My First Texas Home Program
Maine First Home Loan Program Utah First Home Program
Maryland 1st Time Advantage Loan Vermont MOVE Program
Massachusetts MassHousing First Time Home Buyer Virginia Down Payment Assistance Grant
Michigan MI Home Loan Washington House Key Opportunity Program
Minnesota Start Up Loan Program West Virginia HOMEownership Program
Mississippi Smart Solution Program Wisconsin First-Time Home Buyer Advantage
Wyoming First-Time Home Buyer Program
Federal First-Time Home Buyer Programs
HomePath ReadyBuyer Program

This Fannie Mae program offers first-time home buyers up to 3% closing cost assistance on eligible homes (foreclosed Fannie Mae properties). You must take a required online home-buying education course before submitting an initial offer.
Good Neighbor Next Door

Intended for teachers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, and law enforcement, this HUD program offers a 50% discount on the list price of eligible homes, as long as you live on the property as your sole residence for 36 months.
Federal Loans
FHA loans

Insured by the Federal Housing Administration, an FHA loan is a mortgage issued by an FHA-approved lender intended for borrowers with low to moderate income. This type of loan allows for a small down payment (as low as 3.5%, as of June 2020) and lower credit requirements (580 or above) than most conventional loans. If your credit score ranges between 500 and 579, you can still get an FHA loan with a 10% down payment. The downside is that you’ll have to pay private mortgage insurance, meaning higher monthly payments, since your down payment is less than 20% of the home value.
USDA loans

Those looking to buy in certain rural areas may be eligible for a loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. USDA loans are guaranteed loans that offer 100% financing (meaning, no down payment) to households with low to moderate income that purchase homes in eligible areas. USDA loans are offered by nationally approved lenders and typically require credit scores of 640 or higher. If your credit score is lower than 640, you may need to provide additional rent and utility payment history documentation.

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Home Learn How To Buy A House With No Money Down

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How To Buy A House With No Money Down

Victoria Araj7-minute read

June 04, 2021


*As of July 6, 2020, Quicken Loans is no longer accepting USDA loan applications.

Many potential homebuyers wonder how much they’ll need to save in order to get a mortgage. But did you know it’s possible to buy a home without a down payment?

We’ll take a look at some options you have when you want to buy a home without a down payment. We’ll also show you a few alternatives for low down payment loans as well as what you can do if you have a low credit score.
Overview: The Zero-Down Mortgage

As the name suggests, a zero-down mortgage is a home loan you can get without a down payment. A down payment is the first payment you make toward the home, and it’s due when you close on your home loan. Lenders usually calculate your down payment as a percentage of the total amount you borrow.

For example, if you buy a home for $200,000 and you have a 20% down payment, you’ll bring $40,000 to the table at closing. Lenders require a down payment because it lowers the risk that you won’t pay your bills. Down payments are a major hurdle for many homebuyers, as it can take years to save up for a lump sum of cash.

You can only get a mortgage with no down payment if you take out a government-backed loan. Government-backed loans are insured by the federal government. In other words, the government (not your lender) foots the bill if you stop paying back your mortgage.

The government offers insured loans to people who need financial assistance to buy a home. This means that government-backed loans are less risky for the lender, and they can expand their usual loan criteria to people with riskier financial profiles, such as borrowers with no down payment.

There are currently two types of government-sponsored loans that allow you to buy a home without a down payment: USDA loans and VA loans. Each loan has a very specific set of criteria you need to meet in order to qualify for a zero-down mortgage.

You may want to get a government-backed FHA loan or a conventional mortgage if you find out you don’t meet the qualifications for a USDA loan or a VA loan. Both of these options will allow you to make a low down payment.
The right home is out there.

Find it online at
See Home Listings
Options For A Zero-Down Mortgage

Let’s take a look at how you can get a USDA loan or a VA loan, the two loans that allow you to buy a home without a down payment.
USDA Loans

A USDA loan is a loan backed by the United States Department of Agriculture. Rocket Mortgage® does not offer USDA loans at this time.The government offers USDA construction loans and USDA loans to encourage development in rural and suburban areas. You can get a USDA loan with $0 down. USDA loans also have lower fees than other types of loans.

Both you and your home must meet a few criteria to qualify for a USDA loan. First, your home must be in a rural or suburban area. Check out the USDA’s map of eligible areas to find out if your home qualifies. On this map, anywhere outside of an orange zone qualifies as a rural area. In addition, your home cannot be a working farm, it must be a single-family unit and you must live in the home as your primary residence.

You also need to meet a few financial requirements to qualify. The combined gross income in your household cannot be more than 115% of the median income of the county your home is in. Your debt-to-income ratio shouldn’t be higher than 45%, and you must have a FICO® Score of at least 640.
VA Loans

You may qualify for a VA loan if you’re an active-duty service member, member of the National Guard, veteran or the spouse of a deceased veteran. VA loans are backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs and are another option if you want to buy a home with no down payment. VA loans also allow you to pay a one-time VA funding fee that’s 2.3% of your loan value in lieu of mortgage insurance. For each subsequent use of a VA loan, the funding fee with no down payment is 3.6%.

In order to qualify for a VA loan, you must meet any one of the following service requirements:

Served 90 consecutive days of active service during wartime
Served 181 consecutive days of active service during peacetime
Served for more than 6 years in the National Guard or Reserves or at least 90 days under Title 32 orders, with at least 30 of those days being consecutive
Be discharged by reason of service-connected disability
Be the spouse of a service member who died in the line of duty or from a service-related disability

In addition to service requirements, you should have a credit score of at least 580 to get a VA loan.
Take the first step toward the right mortgage.

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Options For A Low Money Down Mortgage

Don’t qualify for a USDA or a VA loan? There are still a few ways that you can buy a home without spending years saving for a down payment. Let’s learn more about low down payment loan options.
Conventional Loans With PMI

Many people believe that if they want to get a conventional loan, they need a 20% down payment. This isn’t actually true. Depending on your lender, you can get a loan with as little as 3% down. The confusion comes from the private mortgage insurance (PMI) requirement.

Your lender will require you to pay PMI as a condition of your loan if your down payment is less than 20% of the loan amount. PMI is a type of insurance that protects your lender if you stop making payments on your loan. Regardless of the fact that you’re the one paying for it, PMI offers no benefits. As a result, most people want to cancel PMI as soon as possible. You can contact your lender and request that they cancel your PMI plan as soon as you reach 20% equity in your home.
Home Possible® Loans From Freddie Mac

You may also want to consider a Home Possible® loan from Freddie Mac if you have low to moderate income compared to others in your area. Home Possible® loans allow you to buy a home with a 3% down payment and lower mortgage insurance options. You can’t earn more than 100% of the median income in your area to qualify. Unlike USDA loans, this stipulation only applies to the parties on the loan, not your entire household.
FHA Loans

FHA loans, which you can get with as little as 3.5% down, are backed by the Federal Housing Administration and are loans for people who have low to moderate income. FHA loans have fewer requirements than USDA and VA loans. For these loans, you must plan to live in the property you’re buying as your primary residence, buy a home that meets livability standards and move in within 60 days of closing.

It’s important to keep in mind that you’ll need to pay for mortgage insurance throughout the life of the loan if you have a down payment of less than 10%. Some people get an FHA loan, wait until they build 20% equity in their property and then refinance to a conventional loan as a workaround. This eliminates the lifetime mortgage insurance requirement.
Down Payment Assistance (DPA)

An alternative to low money down loans is down payment assistance (DPA). If putting money down on a house is a huge hurdle for you, but you can't qualify for a government-backed loan, a DPA might be the right solution for you. The requirements for these grants are typically fairly easy to meet, so it's well worth it to look into your DPA options and see what you can qualify for.
Mortgage Options For Bad Credit

Is bad credit stopping you from getting a mortgage? Credit plays a very important role in your ability to get a mortgage. Here are two solutions if you’re more concerned about your credit score than your down payment:
If Your Credit Score Is 500 – 580...

FHA loans aren’t just great for people with a low down payment. They’re also a viable option if you have a low credit score. All you need is a credit score of 580 to get an FHA loan combined with a lower down payment. However, you’ll have to make up for it with a larger down payment if your credit score is lower than 580. You may be able to get a loan with a credit score as low as 500 points if you can bring a 10% down payment to closing. The minimum credit score with Rocket Mortgage® is 580.
If Your Credit Score Is Under 500 ...

You’ll need to raise your credit score if it’s below 500 or you don’t qualify for an FHA loan. Even if you can get a loan right now, there are plenty of benefits to applying for a loan with a higher score. A higher credit score gives you more lender choices and access to lower interest rates. An interest rate that’s just a fraction of a percentage point lower can save you thousands of dollars over the course of your loan, so investing in your score is worth the effort.

Here are a few tips to help raise your credit score:

Pay down your outstanding debt.
Reduce the amount of money you put on your credit card each month.
Always make your credit card and loan payments on schedule.
Take out a small personal loan and pay it back.
Apply for a secured credit card, which is a credit card that requires a deposit you’ll need to pay back in full.
Remove any errors on your credit report.
Wait patiently while your accounts become older and more appealing to lenders.

Is A Zero-Down Or Low Money Down Loan Right For You?

If you meet the requirements and can qualify for a USDA, VA, FHA or Home Possible® loan, not having to pay an enormous down payment is definitely an advantage, especially if you still have to pay closing costs. Avoiding or reducing your down payment means you have savings to fall back on when emergencies arise.

This is a good thing to keep in mind if you're on the fence about your down payment strategy. It isn't necessarily a better financial decision to put more money down than less. Making the full 20% down payment and avoiding PMI isn't ideal if it means emptying your savings account. Take a close look at your finances and make sure you explore all your options before putting money down on a house.

If you're in the process of buying a house, you know that many lenders prefer borrowers who can provide a 20% down payment. Luckily, you have plenty of options for no or low money down mortgages.

Government-backed USDA and VA loans can allow you to buy a home with $0 down. The fact that these loans are backed by the federal government allows lenders to be more lenient with down payment requirements. Both you and your home must meet USDA loan standards to qualify for a mortgage, and you must meet service requirements with a VA loan.

You may also be able to get a conventional loan with a low down payment. Freddie Mac’s Home Possible® program offers lower monthly mortgage insurance payments and loans with 3% down. You can also get a government-backed FHA loan with 3.5% down, which is a great option if you have bad credit. Depending on your down payment amount, it’s possible to get an FHA loan with a score as low as 500 points. You’ll need to increase your score before you apply for a loan if your score is lower than 500.
Take the first step toward the right mortgage.

Apply online for expert recommendations with real interest rates and payments.
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Victoria Araj

Victoria Araj is a Section Editor for Quicken Loans and held roles in mortgage banking, public relations and more in her 15+ years with the company. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism with an emphasis in political science from Michigan State University, and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Michigan.

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Home Learn Buying A House With Low Income

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How To Buy A Home With Low Income

Molly Grace8-minute read

May 30, 2021


If you’re wondering if your income is insufficient to qualify for a mortgage and purchase a home, you aren’t alone.

While it certainly can be challenging to purchase a home on a lower-than-average income, there are a variety of loan options and programs available that help make homeownership more attainable for low-income folks.

Here’s everything you need to know about buying a house with low income:
Can I Buy A House With Low Income?

Though there’s no minimum income requirement for buying a home, it can still be tricky for those earning middle to low incomes to get approved for a mortgage and purchase a home.

This is often due to mortgage down payment requirements, debt-to-income ratio (DTI) limits and credit requirements.

However, with the help of certain loan types or programs, homeownership may be more feasible than you realize.
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Low Income Home Loan Programs

Let’s take a look at some of these programs that aim to help those with low incomes or low credit scores get into a home.
USDA Mortgages

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) runs a loan program that offers mortgages to low- to moderate-income households in rural areas. The program is called the Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program.

Through this program, the USDA backs mortgages offered by participating lenders. This government backing allows these lenders to offer 100% financing, meaning that these loans don’t require you to put any money down.

Because saving up for a down payment is often the biggest hurdle for hopeful home buyers, especially those with lower incomes, USDA loans can help those who qualify get into a home that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford.

How do you qualify for a USDA loan? In addition to meeting credit requirements (typically a 640 credit score and a DTI below 41%), you’ll also need to live in an eligible rural area and meet income requirements.

To meet income eligibility requirements, your combined household income can’t exceed 115% of your area’s median household income. For location eligibility, you can check out the USDA’s website. You may be surprised to find that in addition to rural areas, many suburban areas are also eligible for USDA financing.
VA Mortgages

If you’re eligible for a VA mortgage, this is another great 0% down option that can help low-income borrowers get into a home.

VA loans are backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs, similar to how the USDA backs USDA loans. These loans are guaranteed by a government agency (in this case, the VA) so that lenders can offer better terms, such as low or no down payments and lower interest rates, to borrowers who might be considered risky by conventional loan standards.

VA loans are available to those who have served or are currently serving in the military. This includes veterans, active-duty service members, National Guard members and Reserve members who meet minimum service requirements. Certain surviving spouses may also be eligible to get a VA loan.

VA loans offer a variety of great benefits to those who are eligible, including lower interest rates, no required down payment, no mortgage insurance and more lenient credit and DTI requirements.
FHA Loans

One more popular option among government-backed mortgages is the FHA loan. These loans are guaranteed by the Federal Housing Administration, which is part of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

These loans have more lenient requirements that can help low-income borrowers or those with poor credit histories. They have lower credit score requirements, low down payment requirements and, potentially, low closing costs.

With an FHA loan, it’s possible to put down as little as 3.5% on your home purchase, even with a credit score as low as 580.
HUD Homes

When a home purchased with an FHA mortgage is foreclosed on, HUD will attempt to recoup some of its losses by auctioning off the home as a HUD Home.

These homes are typically sold below market value, making them an attractive option for those with less buying power. However, HUD Homes, like other types of foreclosures, are sold “as-is,” which means that no repairs will be completed prior to the sale.

If you purchase a cheap HUD Home that ends up needing lots of repairs and updates, you risk spending more money than you would have if you’d just purchased a home on the regular market. If you’re interested in purchasing a HUD Home, it’s vital to get a home inspection and consider whether you can afford any repairs the property may need.

You can find HUD Homes for sale in your state on the HUD Home Store website.
Homeownership Voucher Program

The housing choice voucher program (sometimes referred to as Section 8), which provides rental assistance to very low-income families, has a program that allows these same families to use their vouchers to purchase and own their own homes. This program is called the Housing Choice Voucher homeownership program.

Housing voucher programs are administered by local public housing agencies, and not every local agency offers the homeownership option as part of their program. If you’re interested in using your housing voucher to pursue homeownership, be sure to check with your area’s public housing agency.

If your local agency does offer this program, you’ll need to meet income requirements. Those who aren’t elderly or disabled will need to meet employment requirements. You’ll also need to be a first-time home buyer and complete a homeownership counseling program, in addition to any requirements set by your public housing agency.
HomeReady And Home Possible

HomeReady and Home Possible are two different conventional loan products offered by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, respectively.

Remember how on government-backed loans various government agencies guarantee certain loans offered by lenders? Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac play a similar role in the lending of conventional (nongovernment-backed) loans.

For low-income borrowers, regular conventional loans can sometimes be harder to qualify for, especially if you’re having a hard time saving up for a down payment. HomeReady and Home Possible loans allow buyers to finance up to 97% of their home purchase, meaning borrowers can make down payments as low as 3%.

Though there are some differences between these two programs, they both have similar requirements, including that borrowers meet income limits for their area and take a homeownership education course prior to purchasing.
Good Neighbor Next Door

Good Neighbor Next Door is a HUD program that helps law enforcement officers, teachers, firefighters and emergency medical technicians purchase a home by offering them a 50% discount off the list price on eligible HUD Homes located HUD-designated Revitalization Areas.

However, inventory tends to be very limited; at the time of publishing, only a few states had homes available. You can check out available listings on the HUD Home Store website.

If you find a home you’re interested in, keep in mind that you’ll need to meet the program’s specific requirements for your profession, and you’ll have to live in the home for at least 3 years
State Or Local Assistance

If you’re unable to buy a home without a little bit of help, it’s always a good idea to check out what assistance your state or local government offers hopeful homeowners. Local charities or nonprofits may have support available as well.

Some state or local housing agencies may offer down payment assistance, sometimes in the form of grants or forgivable loans.

You should also look into your state’s mortgage credit certificate program, which gives homeowners a tax credit for interest paid on their mortgage.
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Tips For Buying A House With Low Income

Here are some things that can help you as you work towards your homeownership goals.
Work On Your Credit Score

Having a good or excellent credit score can help boost your mortgage approval odds. If your current score isn’t the best, you can work to improve it by striving to make on time payments, paying down debt if you’re able to and keeping your credit utilization (the amount of credit you use compared to your total credit limit) as low as possible.

The credit score you’ll need to buy a house will vary depending on the type of loan you get. Conventional loans typically require a score of at least 620, while FHA loans often require at least 580.

Increasing your credit score can help you save money on your mortgage, as those with higher scores tend to be offered better interest rates.
Outline A Budget

Knowing exactly how much you can afford to spend each month on housing will help prevent you from taking on a larger mortgage than what you can comfortably handle.

When planning this out, keep in mind any additional costs you might have as a homeowner that you don’t currently have to factor into your budget. Repairs and regular maintenance can quickly add up; be sure to include those potential costs in your monthly homeownership budget as well.
Save For A Down Payment

Unless you qualify for a no money down mortgage option, you’ll have to figure out how much you’ll need to save for your down payment.

If you’re able to qualify for a loan with a low down payment option, you may be able to put down just 3.5% or 3%. On a $200,000 home, this equals a down payment of $7,000 or $6,000, respectively.

However, you’ll also need to save some additional money to cover your closing costs. Plus, you’ll typically be required to have a certain amount of money in your savings as reserves, so that your mortgage lender knows you’ll be able to cover your mortgage payments if you were to temporarily lose your source of income.

Determine how much you’ll need for all your home buying-related costs, and then create a plan for how you’ll save for it.
Use A Co-Signer

In some cases, it’s possible to have someone else co-sign your mortgage loan. In these situations, the co-signer’s financial and credit information will be considered in addition to yours in determining whether you’ll be approved for a mortgage.

However, this also means that your co-signer is on the hook if you’re unable to make your monthly payments. Be sure to talk with your co-signer about expectations and what you’ll do if you’re having trouble meeting your mortgage obligation.
Consider First-Time Home Buyer Programs

If you’re a first-time home buyer, there are a variety of programs at the national, state and local level available to help you get into a home. Read up on some of the programs, loans and grants that are especially helpful to first-time buyers.
Pay Off Debt

If you can decrease the total amount of debt you owe, you’ll lower your DTI, which can help your mortgage approval odds and boost your buying power.

Obviously, this is easier said than done. You might look into consolidating all your debt into a lower-interest loan and using the money you’re saving on interest each month to pay off more of your debt.
Start Your Home Buying Journey Today

Just because you aren’t a high earner doesn’t mean you can’t become a homeowner.

As you prepare for homeownership, be sure to explore all the loan options available to you and read up on how the home buying process works.

Ready to apply for a mortgage? You can get started online with Rocket Mortgage®.
Get approved to buy a home.

Rocket Mortgage® lets you get to house hunting sooner.
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Molly Grace

Molly Grace is a staff writer focusing on mortgages, personal finance and homeownership. She has a B.A. in journalism from Indiana University. You can follow her on Twitter @themollygrace.

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Good Financial Cents

Make Money
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18 Easy Ways To Get Free Money Fast

Jeff Rose, CFP® | November 03, 2020
Advertiser Disclosure (How We Make Money)
We have an advertising relationship with the companies included on this page. All of our content is based on objective analysis, and the opinions are our own. For more information, please check out our full disclaimer and complete list of partners.

Treasure hunters would revel at the idea of getting free money. But is it really a thing? I mean, are there seriously companies out there that will just give money away because they are nice? Yes, and no. Companies often pay out sign up bonuses when you use a new service. Some of the best (and easiest) ways to get free money are to switch services that you use every day anyway, such as bank accounts or credit cards.

Other companies will pay smaller bonuses for you to try their app. Take a look at this list of ways to get some free money fast, and choose the best options for you.

Attention student loan holders: Now is a great time to refinance your private student loans to get a better rate and save on your overall monthly payments. Best of all, this is totally free to do! However, if you have federal loans, we recommend you not refinance them at this time as you may lose forbearance and other protections.

We all need our savings accounts to be much larger than they are. But with bills, credit card debt, and our careers, it sometimes feels almost impossible to increase our savings.

If you don’t think it’s possible to boost your savings, then you might be surprised to find out how easy it is to score a few extra bucks each month. And thanks to the internet, all it usually requires is filling out some paid surveys, playing around on the web, or signing up for a few specific offers.

Doing just a few of these things can easily add up to thousands of dollars in cash each year, so what are you waiting for?
18 Ways to Get Free Money Fast

Quick Guide to Get Free Money:

Refinance Your Student Loans
$45 For Taking online surveys
Lower your mortgage payment
Consolidate your debt
Get rebates from local retailers
$5 signup bonus with Inbox Dollars
Rack up some Swagbucks
$10 signup bonus with Ebates
Let Trim save you money
Get refunds with Paribus
Microinvesting app bonuses
Score a bank bonus.
Invest money with Stockpile.
Get paid to budget
Get paid for selfies.
Use rewards credit cards.
$1000 guaranteed w/Lyft
Book reservations with Seated.

Want some free money of your own? Are you a college student looking for ways to make money while in school?

While you might not get rich quick with the items on the list, you’ll be getting free money with very little effort.

Check out these 18+ companies that offer free money when you complete simple tasks in your spare time:
1. Refinance Student Loans

Chances are good you have student loans. Have you considered refinancing them?

Refinancing means a lender pays off your existing loans and creates a new, single loan to be paid back at (ideally) a lower interest rate. This is appealing to borrowers because it consolidates monthly loan payments and saves you money!

The *extra* good news is that many refinancing companies will pay you cold, hard cash to refinance with their company.

Check out our review of the best student loan refinance companies
2. Give your opinions for money.

Online survey sites have become a top way for people to cash in doing something pretty mindless in their spare time. While there are a ton out there to choose from, Survey Junkie has one of the longest histories and a consistent record of paying their users.

Just sign up for any one of these free accounts and you’ll be on your way to scoring free money for your musings on everything from new products to advertising campaigns. Some, Pinecone Research, for example, will ship you products to try and then answer questions on them.
3. Lower your mortgage payment.

Today’s historically low rates are spurring a refinance boom. By refinancing your mortgage, you not only can lower your interest rate and free up cash flow in your budget, but you can quite possibly take equity out of your home, and put it in the bank.

While not everyone owns their home, refinancing to a lower rate is an easy way to get hundreds of dollars per month free by simply lowering your interest expense.
4. Consolidate your debt to find extra money.

Personal debt such as medical or credit card debt can be consolidated at a lower rate. In a similar way to refinancing a home, if you consolidate your debt, it should be at a lower average rate in order to free up money in your monthly payments. There are two great ways to consolidate your debt:

Personal Debt Consolidation Loan
Online lenders such as Upstart, will work with you on a variety of debts to get them into one low payment, freeing up cash.

Open a 0% Balance Transfer Credit Card
Another great option if you’re only working with credit card debt, is to use a 0% balance transfer card. Many cards have 0% interest options out to 18 months or more. Make sure you have a long term plat to pay your card off, but this option will net you some short term reprieve from bills.
5. Get rebates at local retailers.

Ever heard of MyPoints? Simply put, it’s a website that offers points for nearly anything you can do online – from shopping to online surveys.

With MyPoints, the “points” you can redeem are good for cash back and a variety of gift cards to stores like, Best Buy, Nike, and even GameStop.

A gift certificate to Applebee’s, for example, starts at just 790 points. Paypal cash, on the other hand, starts at just 3,970 points.

To get started with MyPoints, all you have to do is sign up for a free account and use the site to shop online, take surveys, watch videos, or participate in fun, daily polls. It’s as simple as that.

You do not have to limit yourself fo MyPoints, there are many options available, here are some of our top picks:

$10 Sign Up bonus, $20 after redeeming 10 offers


Earn a $10 gift card when you spend $20

6. Earn a free $5 with Inbox Dollars.

Inbox Dollars is yet another website intent on paying you for living and breathing. In all seriousness, the tasks Inbox Dollars pays for are crazy-easy. Simply surf the internet, use the website to play games, complete surveys or questionnaires, or print grocery coupons to score free cash!

It’s fairly easy to earn an extra $20 – $30 per month for regular use, plus you can get a free $5 just for signing up.

If you like to get free money, it’s hard to beat this offer. Read more in our Inbox Dollars review.
7. Rack up some Swagbucks.

Swagbucks are ridiculously fun and easy to earn. Believe it or not, this website will pay you free money to shop online, watch videos (or space out and pretend you’re watching) surf the internet, or answer survey questions. Have you ever heard of a part-time job that will pay you just to hang out?

Once you start earning Swagbucks, you’ll learn all the fun ways you can redeem them as well. For example, you can cash in your Swagbucks for a wide range of gift cards. Don’t like that option? Turn in your points for PayPal cash instead.

Signing up is free and you literally have nothing to lose, either. If you’re going to be on the internet, why not get paid? You can learn a little more about Swagbucks in our full Swagbucks review.
8. Score an easy $10 with Ebates.

Ebates (Rakuten) is a great place to earn money for all sorts of online tasks, but you’ll also get a $10 welcome bonus just for signing up and making a $25 purchase.

Simply open an account, spend $25 at an online store like,,, or, and the $10 bonus is yours for the taking.

And if you use Ebates for the long haul, you’ll earn even more. Just by clicking through the website when you shop online, you can earn up to 40 percent cash back at certain stores. Sounds pretty good, huh?
9. Let Trim save you money automatically.

Trim is an app that tracks your spending and automates the day-to-day process of saving money for you, helping you cut out recurring charges for services you no longer need.

Trim markets itself as an assistant that saves you money, helping you tackle debt and strategically cut down on your spending. The app even checks competitors’ prices on products like your auto insurance to ensure you’re getting the best rates for the services you use.
10. Get refunds with Paribus.

Have you ever bought something only to find out the price dropped a few days later? With Paribus, you can get that money back with zero effort. All you do is shop online as usual and let Paribus monitor your confirmation emails from retailers. Whenever the price drops on what you buy, Paribus helps you get refunded.

You can use Paribus to save with popular retailers, like Target, Amazon, Walmart, Nordstrom, and more. Paribus also applies its services to hotel bookings through Expedia, Priceline,, Marriott, and Hilton.

Paribus compensates us when you sign up for Paribus using the links provided.
11. Collect Cash from Microinvesting Apps

You might think that the only way to make money by investing is through the…. Investments, right?

Nope! These investing platforms and microinvesting apps will pay you cash just for signing up!
Stash Invest

$5 Welcome Bonus


$5 Sign-Up Bonus

12. Score a bank bonus.

All kinds of banks offer a bonus if you are willing to put a certain amount of cash on deposit or sign up for direct deposit. From Chase to Huntington Bank and others, these bonuses can add up to some serious cash if you can meet their requirements!

My post on the best online checking accounts highlights some of the best deals in this space, but you can also check with local banks to see what they offer. Just make sure you read the fine print and watch out for any “gotchas” or requirements you don’t understand.

$150 for a $15k deposit, $200 for a $20k deposit


$400 for a $5k deposit

bank of america

$100 if you set up Direct Deposit


$100 for all new customers

Another way to score bonuses from the bank is to simply have an interest-earning savings account. So after you get that checking account bonus, find a high yield savings account, too.
13. Invest money with Stockpile.

Stockpile makes investing easy and affordable, offering you thousands of stock and ETF options. You can buy fractional shares of companies like Apple and Netflix. Best of all, you get $5 to invest when you sign up.

If you were thinking of joining an investment app already, you might as well earn $5, right? Join today for a free bonus, $0.99 trading fees, zero management fees, and no account minimums. You’ll be glad you did.
14. Get Paid to Budget

How good are you at managing and saving money? If you’re like most people, the answer is not that great.

But the procrastination to “finally get your financial order in life” is over, my friend! The following companies will actually pay you if you let them help you.

$5 Welcome Bonus


$5 Welcome Bonus

15. Get Paid for Selfies

This is a funny one. Basically, a company called Pay Your Selfie will pay you to take pictures of yourself in various locations.

They use the information to help companies do marketing in different parts of the country based off of demographic data (age, gender, race, etc.)

The pictures are all very easy and your first $1 is just for taking a quick pic of yourself. There are always a good number of selfie tasks waiting and people are making a little side money just for taking a few pictures.
16. Sign up for a rewards credit card.

Rewards credit cards offer something for nothing if you are able to meet a small minimum spending requirement. This free cash usually comes in the form of a signup bonus, and can easily be worth hundreds.

Since a lot of rewards credit cards don’t even charge an annual fee, you can get this money for free provided you never pay interest on your purchases. Super cool, huh?

Below are a few cards I recommend from financial institutions I’ve worked with in one capacity or another over the years and trust:
Card Reqs Bonus
Capital One Quicksilver Spend $500 in first 3 mos $150
Wells Fargo Cash Wise Spend $500 in first 3 mos $150
Chase Freedom Spend $500 in first 3 mos $150
Bank of America Cash Rewards Spend $1k in first 3 mos $200
17. Earn a Guaranteed $1,000 with Lyft

I assume you’re familiar with Lyft, the ridesharing competitor to Uber. I actually find Lyft to be cheaper and have better experiences with the drivers.

Speaking of, how would you like to earn a guaranteed $1,000 to become a Lyft driver? Yup! That’s what the company is offering right now.

It’s part of a program called Earnings Guaranteed. According to the Lyft website, the promotion says drivers will earn a guaranteed amount within a certain time frame. If the driver does not make the guaranteed amount within the time frame, Lyft will cover the difference!

And right now the guaranteed amount is $1,000! Easy money.
18. Book reservations with Seated

Seated is an app that can earn you up to 30% back on your meals, and it’s practically effortless. Seated is incredibly easy to use. You just download the app and book your dinner reservations with one of Seated’s partner restaurants.

Each time you book, you’ll get up to 30% back in the form of gift cards for companies like Amazon and Starbucks. The only drawback when it comes to Seated is location. Seated is currently only available in major cities, currently Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, NYC, Philadelphia, and San Francisco.

If you live in one of those cities, you can get free money as fast you can download the app and get to your favorite restaurant.
The Bottom Line

The internet offers a treasure trove of ways to get free money in a pinch. While many of these options won’t make you rich, they will hopefully meet your short term needs. And most of the time, all you have to do to get started is sign up and complete mindless tasks like watching videos or answering survey questions.

The free money is out there for the taking; it’s up to you to get out there and seize it!
About the Author
Jeff Rose, CFP®

Jeff Rose, CFP® is a Certified Financial Planner™, founder of Good Financial Cents, and author of the personal finance book Soldier of Finance. Jeff is an Iraqi combat veteran and served 9 years in the Army National Guard. His work is regularly featured in Forbes, Business Insider, and Entrepreneur.
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Talking about all this, I can only laugh because i remember when I too was looking for ways on how to improve my credit score, I spent hours online, contacting people and watching vidoes, signing up here and there all to no avail until I stumbled upon Cyberdecoders00. i re

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