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9 low-income home loans for single mothers

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Single women accounted for 20% of first-time, and 18% of repeat home buyers in 2021, according to the National Association of Realtors. That same year, a Freddie Mac study found that 58% of single female head of household renters didn’t believe they would be able to afford a home.

Even though the journey to homeownership has its challenges, it is possible for single moms to buy a home with the right knowledge and resources, including steady employment. And home ownership has many benefits, like equity and tax deductions.

Keep reading to discover affordable mortgage loan options and education programs to help single moms with aspirations of homeownership:

How hard is it to buy a house as a single mom?

No matter your income, there are many programs to help single moms achieve homeownership. It can be an uphill battle to ensure you are financially capable of owning a home and making regular payments, but there are many programs available to help you buy a house as a single mom.

Low-income home loans

There are a lot of home loan options available for low-income households. Learn more about these helpful programs so you can choose the best fit. Ask your preferred lender which programs they offer for creditworthy, low-income borrowers.

1. HomeReady® Mortgage from Fannie Mae

As a borrower, your income must be 80% of the area median income (AMI). You can use the Fannie Mae AMI lookup tool to check your geographic area’s AMI.

You’ll need a minimum 620 credit score to apply, though 680 can unlock better rates. Down payment options are as low as 3% and funding from relatives, grants, and Fannie Mae Community Seconds is allowed. There are no geographic restrictions. 

You can get reduced mortgage insurance that cancels once you reach 25% equity. Finally, you must take the Fannie Mae HomeView online course or an approved alternative HUD-approved course to be eligible. 

2. FDIC loans via Operation HOPE Home Buyers Program

Operation HOPE Home Buyers Program helps low-income home buyers through FDIC-approved loans, down payment assistance, and first-time buying assistance.

Operation HOPE offers multiple programs to increase financial knowledge in underserved communities. Its first-time home buyer education program provides HUD-certified coaches to guide you through the home loan process.

You’ll get group training as well as one-on-one coaching that extends beyond the classroom. When you are ready to pursue an FDIC loan, your Operation HOPE team will continue to provide support. They can also connect you with other professionals along the way.

3. FHA Home Loan

Check into getting a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan, which offers lowered closing costs and down payments. The FHA offers fixed-rate loans available in 15- and 30-year terms nationwide.  

Borrowers enjoy low down payments and closing costs. It’s ideal if you have moderate to low income and a low credit score.

With a score of 500 to 579, you'll need a down payment that is 10% of the cost of the home. At 580 or more, you’ll only put 3.5% down.

With an FHA loan, you must pay mortgage insurance, and if you put down less than 10%, you will pay it for the life of the loan. 

The property you want to buy must meet FHA eligibility requirements. For example, the FHA loan limit range for homes across the country is $420,680 to $970,800. You can check your specific area with this FHA lookup tool.

4. Home Possible® home loan from Freddie Mac

If you’re looking for low income home loans for single mothers, a Freddie Mac Home Possible mortgage could be right for you. With as little as 3% down, you can become a homeowner. To be eligible, your income cannot exceed 80% of the area median income (AMI).

Use the Home Possible Income and Property Eligibility Tool to look up a specific property’s AMI limits.

There are no geographic limits on loan amounts, and you can apply even if you do not have a bad credit score due to lack of credit history (though approval isn’t guaranteed). Mortgage insurance is required on one-unit properties, but once your loan balance is less than 80%, is no longer required. 

5. Fannie Mae

HomePath properties are Fannie Mae-owned homes offered to the public at a discount after the previous owner defaulted on a Fannie Mae-owned mortgage. These mortgages come with low down payments, renovation loan eligibility and closing cost assistance of up to 3% of the home’s purchase price.

6. VA Home Loans

If you are an active duty or reserve member of the armed forces, veteran, or eligible spouse, a VA loan could be the best way to go. If approved, you won’t need to provide a down payment or mortgage insurance. Plus, closing costs are kept to a minimum. There are no loan limits if you can afford the property.

The VA guarantees part of the loan and works with private lenders to offer affordable interest rates. The loan is available in every state and tribal lands via the Native American Direct Loan (NADL).

7. USDA Single Family Housing Direct Home Loans

The U.S. Department of Agriculture helps rural borrowers refinance their mortgages. This offer, in response to borrowers who did not have to pay a monthly mortgage because of COVID-19, helps keep payments affordable once they resume. 

These direct home loans are available for very low- to low-income borrowers who were approved for a mortgage payment stoppage due to COVID-19. You must meet or fall below the income limits for your area to be eligible. Your credit score is not a factor unless you have substantial federal debt.

8. USDA Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program

The USDA Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program offers a year-round application process. If you live in a rural area, this loan provides a way to purchase or build a home with no money down for qualifying applicants. The program offers 100% financing from approved lenders because it guarantees 90% of the loan.

To be eligible, you cannot exceed 115% of the area median income (AMI). You can use this USDA tool to check eligibility for properties and income. There is no set credit score, but you must show a history of making an effort to repay any debts you have.

9. Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity fixes up and builds affordable homes. The nonprofit serves 50 states and about 70 countries. If you are willing to take home ownership classes, volunteer at a Habitat ReStore, or help build your own home (or someone else’s), you could be one of the next Habitat homeowners.

To be eligible, you must demonstrate a need to secure safe housing and be able to make affordable monthly payments.

Discover first-time home buyer grants for single mothers

Are there any home buying programs for single moms?

In addition to low-income mortgage loans, there are also home buyer programs for single moms, which can help to find affordable properties and programs that offer mortgage assistance.

Some of these federal, state, and nonprofit home-buying programs also educate you on the home-buying process from beginning to end. 

Check out the following resources for single moms:

Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD)

You buy a home directly through HUD. These properties are lower priced because they are foreclosures or defaulted properties. View the current HUD inventory.

Interested? HUD housing counselors can walk you through each stage of buying a home. Check your state for the nearest HUD counseling agency.

Individual Development Account (IDA)

You may be eligible to set up an IDA to save money to purchase a home if you are working and receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). Learn more about opening an IDA

Public housing authority

Your state housing authority may have leads on local homeownership programs. Some may be designed especially for single parents. 

Find and contact your local housing authority.

The Chenoa Fund

The Chenoa Fund is a government-chartered organization that provides up to 3.5% down payment assistance for those with a FICO Score of 620 or higher. If your income is less than 115% of your area’s median income and you make your mortgage payment on time for 36 months, the mortgage is forgiven. If you make more than 115% of your area’s median income, the downpayment assistance must be repaid.

Community Seconds

Community Seconds is a Fannie Mae-approved second mortgage that allows you to use the funds available from state and local governments as well as housing nonprofits to put together a down payment, get help with closing costs and even complete minor renovations.

Single mom home loans FAQs

Does my state have a homeownership assistance program?

Every state has some type of program to help homeowners — from government programs to private and nonprofit options. To find local help, start with a Google search on “homeowner assistance programs near me” or “first-time home buyer help in (your state).” 

Find state-based programs offering assistance with down payments, closing costs, and special financing options. 

How can a single mom build a house?

Check with organizations like Habitat for Humanity. They build houses with affordable mortgage terms. You can apply and have a chance to help build your own home. The FHA and USDA also provide home loans you can use for new construction.

How can a single mom get home loans with bad credit?

If your credit score is low, you’ll want a home loan that does not require a credit score or has options for low credit scores (less than 600). For example, VA loans don’t require a minimum credit score or down payment, and FHA loans have options for single moms with a score of at least 500. Home Possible® home loans from Freddie Mac also don’t require a credit score to apply.

Can I get help with my mortgage if I am a single parent?

Home loans will help you to fund the purchase of your home, but you may be wondering how you can afford a mortgage payment, and if help is available. 

Fortunately, there are mortgage assistance programs for single mothers.

Bottom line: Home loans for single mothers are available, along with assistance

There are home loans available for single moms. While loan amounts, interest rates, and fees vary, there is likely an option that will work for your financial situation. Plus, you can get assistance to pay your mortgage through grants, tax credits, and government programs. 

Research all options to find mortgage assistance programs that best suit your needs. You can also talk to an HUD housing counselor or enroll in a first-time home buyer class to get more information on assistance programs so you know what to expect as you start the process.

If you are struggling with money and need financial or other assistance, check out this list of resources:

Free laptops$500 monthly single mom grant
Free clothesScholarships for single moms
Free carFree Christmas gifts
Free smartphoneGovernment assistance for single moms
Free wifiFree and low-cost prescriptions
Free formulaFree diapers
Free gasFree toys
Free daycareAffordable dentures
Free prescription glassesFree money
10+ charities that help single mothersTutoring and homework help
Free or low-cost after school programsHealth insurance
Cash for junk carsFree food
Dumpster divingFree school supplies
Home buyer grantsFree housing
Free gift cardsFree Christmas money
Cheap eats near meFree money for bills
How hard is it to buy a house as a single mom?

No matter your income, there are many programs to help single moms achieve homeownership. It can be an uphill battle to ensure you are financially capable of owning a home and making regular payments, but there are many programs available to help you buy a house as a single mom.

Does my state have a homeownership assistance program?

Every state has some type of program to help homeowners — from government programs to private and nonprofit options. To find local help, start with a Google search on “homeowner assistance programs near me” or “first-time home buyer help in (your state).”

How can a single mom build a house?

Check with organizations like Habitat for Humanity. They build houses with affordable mortgage terms. You can apply and have a chance to help build your own home. The FHA and USDA also provide home loans you can use for new construction.

How can a single mom get home loans with bad credit?

If your credit score is low, you’ll want a home loan that does not require a credit score or has options for low credit scores (less than 600). For example, VA loans don’t require a minimum credit score or down payment, and FHA loans have options for single moms with a score of at least 500. Home Possible® home loans from Freddie Mac also don’t require a credit score to apply.

Robyn Evans is an award-winning writer, inspirational author, and occasional songstress (especially in the shower). Born and raised in Baltimore, she focused on helping women make healthy choices for body, mind and soul. She’s a grateful bonus mom to a photographer son and activist daughter and works with young writers through a nonprofit called the Youth Writers Challenge. Robyn writes for corporate clients, is a former feature writer for The Carroll County Times, has written for The Baltimore Sun and is the author of three books.
Robyn's website | Robyn's LinkedIn profile

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