Though it is the seventh-largest state by landmass, only approximately 3.19 million people call The Silver State home. That means you could find some wide-open spaces depending on which city or town you choose to live in, from nationally renowned Las Vegas to the state capital Carson City, and a diverse array of industries, from aerospace and mining to gaming and tourism.

You could also find some first-time homebuyer loans and programs in Nevada to make getting into a house a little easier. The Nevada Housing Division can be an important resource. The agency was created by the state in 1975 to help low- and moderate-income families and individuals secure affordable housing.

Nevada first-time homebuyer programs

NHD Home Is Possible for First-Time Home Buyers

The Nevada Housing Division’s (NHD) “Home Is Possible” (HIP) programs help homebuyers with obtaining a mortgage and down payment and closing cost assistance. Among the Home Is Possible programs is a mortgage specifically for first-time homebuyers, which comes with down payment assistance of up to 4 percent of the total loan amount as a second mortgage. A first-time buyer under this program is someone who has not owned a home in the past three years.

You can work with one of more than 80 approved mortgage lenders throughout the state to determine your eligibility for the program, which comes with either an FHA, VA or USDA loan (no conventional loans).

Borrower requirements:

  • 640 minimum credit score
  • Maximum 50 percent debt-to-income (DTI) ratio
  • Must complete a free online homebuyer education course
  • Must meet NHD income limits, which depend on the county

The lowest income limit is $88,100 for two or fewer people in Churchill, Esmeralda, Lincoln, Lyon, Mineral, Nye, Pershing and White Pine counties. And the highest limit is $131,860 for three or more people in Storey and Washoe counties.

Property requirements:

  • Must be in Nevada
  • Must be a primary residence
  • Must meet NHD purchase price limits, which vary by county and range from $481,176 to $670,545

The Nevada Housing Division website offers a way to find a HIP lender to get started.

NHD Home Is Possible for Teachers

Available through June 30, 2024, this additional Home Is Possible program for educators gives kindergarten through 12th-grade teachers in Nevada $7,500 for the down payment or closing costs for a home, as well as a below-market rate on a mortgage. There is no first-time homebuyer requirement for this program, but you must not own property at the time of closing and you must live in the home as your primary residence. The loan is forgivable after five years if you stay in the home.

Other requirements include:

  • Income below $140,000 as a single borrower
  • 660 minimum credit score for an FHA loan
  • 640 minimum credit score for a VA or USDA loan
  • 680 minimum credit score for a manufactured home
  • Maximum 50 percent debt-to-income (DTI) ratio
  • One-time fee of $755 on the first mortgage
  • Take a homebuyer education course
  • Maximum purchase price is $766,550

Nevada down payment assistance

NHD Home First

The NHD Home First program offers up to $15,000 in down payment support, though the funds can’t be used for closing costs. The loan is forgivable after three years if you stay in the home and is available to borrowers meeting the following requirements:

  • Must be a first-time homebuyer (can’t have owned a home in the last three years)
  • Nevada resident for at least six months
  •  640 minimum credit score
  • Must complete an online homebuyer education course
  • Income must fall within the lender’s household income limits

Home At Last Down Payment Assistance

The “Home At Last” down payment assistance program from the Nevada Rural Housing Authority offers down payment assistance in the form of a three-year, interest-free, no-payment second mortgage that is forgivable after three years of living in the home as a primary residence. Income limits and credit score requirements are based on the loan product chosen — either a 30-year, fixed-rate conventional, FHA, VA or USDA loan.

There are no purchase price limits for this program, though the mortgage lender can set its own limit. You also don’t need to be a first-time homebuyer to be eligible, but you must complete a free online education course and work with a participating lender to qualify.

Workforce Initiative Subsidy for Homeownership (WISH) Grants

Greater Nevada Mortgage, a private lender operating in Nevada and California, has partnered with the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco to offer a one-time 4:1 match of the borrower’s contribution toward down payment and closing costs, up to $29,172. To qualify, you must be a first-time homebuyer who meets income requirements for the program and membership criteria for the Greater Nevada Credit Union. You’ll also need to complete a homebuyer counseling program.

Visit the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco’s website to learn more, and find a participating lender to get started.

Middle-Income Down Payment Assistance (MDPA) Grants

Greater Nevada Mortgage also offers qualifying first-time homebuyers access to a one-time 5:1 match of the borrower’s contribution to use for downpayment and closing costs up to $50,000.

To be eligible, the borrower must complete a homebuyer counseling program, qualify for membership with Greater Nevada Credit Union, and fulfill income eligibility requirements (household earnings must be between 80.01 percent and 140 percent of the area median income limits). The borrower must also make a minimum contribution of $10,000, which can come from savings or a gift.

Home Means Nevada Rural Down Payment Assistance

On August 1, 2023, this limited-time program began offering eligible homebuyers $25,000 in forgivable down payment assistance (no closing costs). The program is available to first-time homebuyers purchasing a primary residence anywhere in rural Nevada (any community with a population under 150,000). The assistance is secured by a second loan with no payments and no interest and is forgiven in three years or on December 31, 2026, whichever comes first  The program expires on December 31, 2024, or when the program runs out of funds, whichever occurs first.

Visit the Nevada Rural Housing website to learn more about the program, and contact a program lender to get started.

Other Nevada first-time homebuyer loans

Several nationwide programs may also be helpful for homebuyers in Nevada.

FHA loans: FHA loans have low minimum credit score and down payment requirements, which can be especially helpful to first-time homebuyers. FHA loans are available with credit scores as low as 580 with a 3.5 percent down payment or as low as 500 with 10 percent down.

VA loans: Active-duty military members and veterans may qualify for a VA loan with a lower interest rate than conventional mortgages offer. These loans don’t require a down payment, and borrowers can have credit scores as low as 580, though minimum scores vary by lender.

USDA loans: Another option is a USDA loan, part of a national program designed to help first-time homebuyers and those who don’t meet conventional mortgage requirements obtain a mortgage. These no-down payment mortgages are for low- and moderate-income borrowers in rural areas, and some borrowers qualify for a low, fixed interest rate. In Nevada, the USDA also offers its Section 502 Direct Loan Program; funded by the agency, it helps low- and very-low-income homebuyers obtain safe housing in eligible rural areas through payment assistance that increases the borrower’s repayment ability.

Get started

If you’re interested in buying a house in Nevada—whether you’re looking at the Las Vegas housing market or somewhere off the beaten track—be sure to visit the NHD and Nevada Rural Housing websites to learn more about available homebuyer programs. And keep in mind that several national first-time homebuyer loans and programs can help you get into a home more affordably.

Now that you’re in the know on the first-time homebuyer options available in Nevada, you’re ready to get started with your home purchase. While the Nevada Housing Division doesn’t make loans or financing decisions, the agency does provide a list of preferred mortgage lenders who can help you determine what you qualify for. Regardless of which program you choose, be sure to shop for the best loan for your unique situation, and compare multiple offers to make sure you’re getting the best deal.