If you’re looking for your first home in Nebraska, the Nebraska Investment Finance Authority, the state’s housing finance agency, can help you obtain an affordable mortgage and down payment assistance. The organization’s programs are typically reserved for first-time homebuyers, and include homebuyer education to help guide you as you embark on your purchase.

If you’re interested in lowering the barrier to homeownership in Nebraska, read on to find out what might be available to you.

Nebraska first-time homebuyer loan programs

NIFA Homebuyer Assistance Program (HBA)

The Nebraska Investment Finance Authority’s (NIFA) Homebuyer Assistance Program (HBA) offers both a low-interest mortgage and down payment assistance. The program is available to first-time homebuyers (defined as those who haven’t owned a home in the past three years), qualifying veterans or buyers purchasing in a target area. Through HBA, you can get a 30-year conventional, FHA, VA or USDA loan.

As long as you have at least $1,000 to contribute to the purchase, you could qualify, although that can depend on the type of loan you’re getting and what your closing costs are. Other eligibility requirements include:

  • 640 minimum credit score with a 45 percent debt-to-income (DTI) ratio, or 660 minimum credit score with a 50 percent DTI ratio
  • Must complete homebuyer education course
  • Must meet NIFA income limit of $145,000
  • Must meet NIFA purchase price limits of $427,000
  • Occupy the property within 60 days of closing

NIFA First Home Program

First-time homebuyers who don’t need down payment assistance could qualify for NIFA’s First Home Program, which applies to a conventional, FHA or USDA loan. The rates through this program tend to be lower than the rates of an HBA loan, but the eligibility requirements are the same.

If you’re not a first-time buyer but purchasing a home in a target area, you can take advantage of the First Home Targeted program, which is similar to the First Home loan but has more flexible income and purchase price limits.

NIFA Military Home Program

Active-duty military and qualified veterans — first-time homebuyers or not — can also take advantage of a low-rate mortgage through NIFA’s Military Home Program, with low or no down payment. The program applies to VA loans, but can also work in conjunction with an FHA or USDA loan if you’re not eligible for a VA mortgage.

Nebraska down payment assistance

NIFA First Home Grant Program

If you qualify for an HBA first mortgage through NIFA, you’ll also be eligible for down payment assistance, which comes in the form of a grant of up to $5,000. The grant doesn’t need to be paid back, and can be applied to your down payment or closing costs.

Other first-time homebuyer loan programs

Along with Nebraska state first-time homebuyer programs, there are other programs available on a national level that could help you get into your first home sooner. These include Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac 3-percent conventional loans, and FHA, VA and USDA loans. Each have differing requirements, but some are less strict than others. For example, homebuyers with a low credit score or limited down payment savings might still qualify for an FHA loan. To learn what you might be eligible for, visit Bankrate’s guide to first-time homebuyer loans and programs.

Get started

Before contacting mortgage lenders, consider starting with the Nebraska Investment Finance Authority (NIFA) to learn what programs might be a fit for your situation. You can connect with a NIFA-approved lender to determine what you need to apply for a home loan. Whichever mortgage you ultimately choose, it’s smart to compare mortgage rates and loan offers to ensure you’re getting the lowest rate and best terms possible.