Homeownership can feel out of reach, especially if you’ve never purchased a home and aren’t sure whether you’ll qualify for a mortgage. National mortgage programs can also help you overcome obstacles to homeownership, especially if you have a low credit score or aren’t able to save a big down payment.

National Mortgage Programs

Program

Best For

Details

Conventional

  • Low Down Payment
  • Limited Mortgage Insurance
  • 3% down for first-time buyers or lower-income home buyers.
  • Conventional loans allow borrowers to eventually cancel their mortgage insurance or avoid mortgage insurance altogether if they put at least 20% down

FHA

  • Low Credit Score
  • Low Down Payment
  • As low as 3.5% down for those with credit scores of 580 or higher. The FHA will insure loans for borrowers with scores as low as 500 but requires a 10% down payment for a score that low.
  • Mortgage insurance is required for the life of an FHA loan and cannot be canceled.

VA

  • Military
  • Low Down Payment
  • No down payment
  • Although there is no official minimum credit score, most VA-approved lenders require scores of at least 640.

USDA Loans

  • Rural
  • Low Down Payment
  • No down payment
  • Issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture through the USDA Rural Development Guaranteed Housing Loan Program.
  • Income limitations vary by region.
  • Applicants with credit scores of 640 or higher receive streamlined processing. Those with scores below that must meet more stringent underwriting standards.