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Buying a home as a single parent

If a recent divorce has made you a single parent, then you may be tempted to give up your dream of home ownership. You’re living on one income instead of two, making it difficult if not impossible to make a significant down payment.

Don’t give up just yet! There are several local and national home buying programs that can help you source an affordable home and qualify for a mortgage. The tips below can point you in the right direction.

Research state programs

Most, if not all, states have their own home ownership programs. You can learn more about them by contacting the local housing authority for your state. For example, the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development website has a section for homeowners and homebuyers that include links to resources for down payment assistance and mortgage servicing.

Several cities throughout New York have their own local homeowner support programs. For example, Troy offers $15,000 to $20,000 in down payment assistance based on income while the Suffolk County HOME Consortium offers up to $14,000 down payment assistance to first-time homebuyers.

Look into buying a home through HUD

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development sells homes in every state. You can go on its website and search for available properties in your area. Be sure to do your homework before considering a purchase, as some properties listed through HUD may be in comparatively undesirable neighborhoods.

Learn about FHA Loans

The Federal Housing Authority (FHA) offers home loans to individuals with moderate or low incomes. If your credit score is 580 or higher, then you only need to to come up with a 3.5% down payment. Scores in the 500-579 range require a 10% down payment.

Apply for a home through Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity is well-known for supporting single parents who want to own a home. During the application process, they consider the need of the applicant, their ability to repay an interest-free loan, and their willingness to help with the homebuilding process. Successful applicants are expected to be actively involved in the construction of their new home, so if you’re a hands-on person, this program could be a meaningful path to home ownership.

Apply for an Individual Development Account (IDA)

IDAs help single parents with limited incomes to save for a down payment on a home by matching their savings. You can begin with as little as $25 and have the IDA match it with a ratio as high as 8 to 1. Applicants for this program must have a household income no greater than 200% of the Federal Poverty Income level.

Single home buyers have certain challenges, but there are many resources available to make the purchasing program more affordable. When you find the home of your dreams, you’ll be happy you did some financing homework first.

Jayson Lutzky is a Bronx divorce and family court attorney. Mr. Lutzky offers free in-person initial consultations and can be reached at 718-329-9500. He has over 35 years of legal experience and has helped thousands of highly satisfied clients over the years as evidenced by numerous referrals.

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