Zero down mortgage loans make it possible to purchase a home with little resources or cash on hand. All you really need to achieve homeownership with a 0% down mortgage is the ability to meet the loan requirements for the program. There are several popular no money down mortgage options available today, and a few others that are almost nothing down.

0% Down Mortgage LoansNo down payment mortgage programs are insured by the government and sometimes come with small quirks or catches. For educated applicants these issues are usually minor if anything at all.  If any of these rules get in the way, additional low down payment loans and first time home buyer programs exist that can still be used to buy a home with 5% down, 3% down or even 1% down.  You can learn how to buy a house with no down payment through the mortgage programs below.

1. USDA Loans – Available across 97% of America.

USDA loans are provided by the United States Department of Agriculture to encourage homeownership in ‘rural’ areas of the U.S..  Therefore, this program is also known as the Rural Development Loan program, but don’t automatically believe it’s not an option if you live in a populated area. 97% of the United States is eligible for USDA loan financing, the Rural Housing Loan program isn’t just for homes out in the sticks. Of the available mortgages with no down payment, USDA loans have grown the most in popularity for good reasons. There are two types of USDA mortgage loans that can be used to buy single-family homes.

  • USDA “Guaranteed” Loans are the most popular.

Guaranteed USDA home loans are the most popular 0% down rural-development mortgage option because they make homeownership possible for countless first-time buyer applicants.  Single-family USDA rural development loans are available for families with income that’s less than 115 percent of the median income for the local area for the property. You don’t even have to be a 1st time home buyer to get a USDA loan, anyone is eligible who meets program guidelines.

  • USDA “Direct” Loans are for lower income borrowers.

Direct USDA home loans are offered for applicants with ‘low’ or ‘very low’ income to buy a modest property. Eligible homes must less than 1800 square feet and have a market value that’s below area limitations. The borrower’s household can’t exceed the official low-income limits for the area, which may vary by location and state.

Zero Down Mortgage - USDA Loans

USDA Loan Requirements

USDA loan qualifications are more relaxed than some other mortgage programs like conventional loans.  The defining characteristics are that there is no down payment and the property must be in an approved “rural” area, which includes 97% of land in the United States.

USDA Credit Requirements

USDA home loans require a minimum credit score of 640 to be approved through the automated system.  Applicants with lower credit scores (600-640) can still be approved through manual underwriting, but it will be more hassle and nothing is guarenteed.  See more usda loan credit guidelines.

USDA Income Requirements

Every USDA mortgage program has several income limitations that applicants must adhere to. First, there are the debt-to-income limits that almost every mortgage includes. For USDA loans, the maximum debt to income ratio limits are 29/41.  USDA loans also include maximum income limits that applicants may make each year.  See more USDA income limits here.

USDA Property Requirements

In order to buy a house with no down payment with a USDA home loan, it must be located in an approved “rural” area of the USA.  Luckily, 97% of the American land mass is eligible for financing through USDA loans.  You can check USDA eligibility for a property here.

2. VA Loans – For Military Veterans and their Spouses.

VA loans are mortgages with no down payment offered for military veterans and their qualified spouses. The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that 23 million people are eligible for VA home loans in the U.S., and many of those probably don’t even realize that they’re eligible. Typically, applicants are eligible for a VA loan if they have completed least two years of military experience. VA home loans give qualified veterans and spouses rewarding options for buying a home with no down payment.

VA No Money Down Mortgage

VA loans are the most affordable no-money down home loan when the upfront mortgage fees and ongoing costs over the loan duration are factored. VA mortgages are truly “Zero Down” because they allow the seller to pay all of the closing costs for the buyer, leaving nothing due at closing.

VA Loan Requirements

Generally speaking, VA loan requirements march to the beat of a different drum.  First off, there are the service requirements which are generally met if the veteran meets at least one of the following:

  • 90 consecutive days of active wartime service
  • 181 days of active peacetime service
  • 6 or more years in Reserves or National Guard
  • You’re the spouse of a service member who lost their life serving or from a related disability

If you’ve these initial service requirements, you’re likely eligible to obtain a VA Loan Certificate of Eligibility and can also take note of the additional mortgage-related guidelines.

VA Loan Credit Requirements

Although “official” credit score minimums don’t exist for VA loans, most VA home loan lenders require applicant credit scores to be at least 620. That’s very reasonable in the grand scheme of mortgage criteria.

VA Loan Income Requirements

VA loans don’t utilize the “top/bottom” debt-to-income analysis that most mortgage programs feature.  Instead, they use a combination of residual income and a “bottom ratio” of 41%.  “Residual Income” for the sake of VA mortgage eligibility is the income an applicant has left over once their mortgage payment (PITI), car payments, credit cards and any other revolving debt is paid.

VA Loan Property Requirements

The Department of Veterans Affairs has issued a set of Minimum Property Requirements, also known as ‘MPR’s’, which outline what home and appraisal guidelines must be meet for VA loan eligibility.  These MPR’s mostly address basic issues that could affect the safety, sanitation and structural integrity of the home, as well as its value.

3. Zero Down Mortgages Offered by Private Lenders

No Down Payment Mortgage Loans(Check back often for updates)

Beyond the rock-solid government insured mortgages with no down payment, private lenders are once again getting creative in the zero down mortgage game.  Here’s the latest scoop:

Fifth-Third 0% Down Mortgage

In 2016, Fifth-Third Mortgage announced their own 0% down payment mortgage for qualified buyers.  These home loans without down payment are made possible by coupling Freddie Mac’s “Home Possible Advantage” 3% down payment program with their own down payment assistance program to bridge the gap.

Quicken Loans 1% Down Mortgage

Quicken Loans also started offering the closest thing to mortgages with no down payment in 2016 in their new 1% down mortgage.  This program also utilized the conventional Freddie Mac 3% down mortgage program known as Home Possible.  From there, Quicken is able to achieve 1% down for the home applicant through a 2% grant.

Guaranteed Rate 1% Down Mortgage

Not to be outdone, Guaranteed Rate Mortgage also began offering 1% down home loans in July of 2016 named “Double Match”.  This program works in a similar fashion to Quicken’s 1% loan in that there is a 2% grant to the borrower which is completely forgiveable.  These 1% down payment loans are available for borrower with credit scores of 680 or above and can be used for amounts up to $424,100.

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