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Eight Ways to Buy a Home with Little or No Money Down

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Marlene Sheard

Buying a home is considered the American Dream. As you chase this dream, we encourage you to learn about down payment assistance options that may be right for you. Whether you are a first-time buyer or moving up to your next home, there are grants, programs and assistance available for qualified buyers. Get started by learning more about your options:


The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development department offers 100% financing for homes located in rural areas. This loan requires a one-time guarantee fee that can be rolled into the loan amount and an annual fee that is added to the monthly payment. There are restrictions based on income and location. To see if you may be eligible for a USDA loan or to see USDA eligible locations click here.


The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers a 100% financing loan for military service members. Eligible members include veterans, reservists, active duty personnel, and select family members. This loan features flexible credit requirements, no down payment requirement and no mortgage insurance requirement. It also allows down payment assistance and closing costs funds to come from a gift or grant. For more details click here.


Ameris Bank offers the Ameris Dream loan which provides up to 100% financing for first-time homebuyers with no mortgage insurance requirement. This loan allows gift funds to assist with down payment and closing costs, but the borrower must contribute at least $500. Income and location restrictions apply. Contact an Ameris Bank mortgage banker for details.


Ameris Bank offers the Ameris Medical Professional loan which provides up to 100% financing with no private mortgage insurance for residents, fellows, medical doctors, osteopaths, dentists, pharmacists, veterinarians, physician assistants, chiropractors, podiatrists, maxillofacial surgeons, ophthalmologists and optometrists.


Ameris Bank is proud to partner with many state and county government agencies that provide down payment assistance in the form of forgivable or repayable grants or forgivable or repayable second mortgages. A forgivable grant or second mortgage means that the down payment assistance funds are forgiven over a predetermined length of time that you own the home. Repayable grants or second mortgages offer the buyer a chance to borrow the down payment and pay it back over time at an affordable interest rate. The funds can range from a few thousand dollars to several thousand dollars towards down payment and closing cost assistance. The assistance can be used to subsidize the down payment needed for a 97% conventional or FHA loan. Many of these programs have income restrictions so check with your local Ameris Bank mortgage banker or your local state and county government agencies for eligibility requirements.


FHA loans are one of the most flexible loan programs available because there are no income restrictions, only require 3.5% down which can be gifted and allow a co-applicant on the loan to help you qualify for the home even though they may not live in the home with you. It also offers reduced rates on the private mortgage insurance required. Unlike FHA loans, private mortgage insurance for conventional loans can be cancelled after the loan balance drops below 80% of the homes appraised value which can save you money over the length of the loan. For income qualifications and more details visit HomeReady™  by Fannie Mae or HomePossible™  by FreddieMac.


FHA loans are one of the most flexible loan programs available because there are no income restrictions, only requires 3.5% down which can be gifted, and allows a co-applicant on the loan to help you qualify for the home even though they may not live in the home with you. This loan charges an upfront fee which can be rolled into the loan amount and requires mortgage insurance. As stated above, mortgage insurance on an FHA loan cannot be removed and stays on the loan for the life of the loan. For more information click here.


The Ameris Edge was specifically designed to offer those needing big loans a small down payment option. At just 5% down, jumbo buyers can finance up to $975,000. For those buyers with even bigger homeownership dreams, the Ameris Edge can finance up to $3 million with just 30% down. This product is available for primary as well as second homes. Mortgage insurance is required for all LTVs over 80%.

Do you have questions about qualifications or wish to learn more about these programs? Contact one of our experienced loan officers today. Remember, the right home starts with the right mortgage loan. Our team of experts is honored to guide you through this exciting process.

Reviewed: August 1, 2022

By: Marlene Sheard

Marlene is a mortgage marketing representative for Ameris Bank and previous sales and marketing president for her local Home Builders Association. She enjoys sharing her experiences for the buying, selling, and financing of homes.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

All loans subject to credit approval.