How To Get A First-Time Home-Buyer Grant

Learn more about what a home-buyer grant is, if you qualify and where to look for one.

First-time home buying can be a confusing process to navigate. You may have heard that grants can help you to cover some of the costs. Grants are one of the many benefits available to first-time homebuyers that make costs a little easier to manage. Still, many people are left wondering: Just how do I get a first-time home-buyer grant?

Here’s a simple guide to help you navigate the process with ease. Let’s start with the first-time home-buying basics.

First-Time Home Buying: The Basics

There are two major first-time home-buyer programs to help you with the home buying process: First-time home-buyer grants and first-time home-buyer loans. These tools are easy to mix up because their names are almost identical. However, it’s important to recognize that they are different, but can work hand-in-hand. 

Before we get into how to get a first-time home-buyer grant, let’s clear up the difference. 

First-Time Home-Buyer Loans

First-time home-buyer loans were created to assist new buyers in entering the exciting world of homeownership. There are a few different types of first-time home-buyer loans with benefits ranging from 100% financing for rural properties to assistance for buyers with less-than-ideal credit scores. First-time home-buyer loans exist to help you borrow money to purchase your home.

Many financial institutions offer government-subsidized loans like FHA, USDA, and VA Mortgage Loans. Government-subsidized loans offer flexible solutions like low (or no) down payments. This can decrease the pressure of coming up with a typical mortgage down payment. 

First-Time Home-Buyer Grants

A first-time home-buyer grant is awesome because - unlike a loan - you don’t have to pay it back. The funds are available through various programs and organizations. First-time home-buyer grants typically require that you submit an application and meet program-established prerequisites to receive assistance.

Many help cover your closing costs or can go toward a down payment. This is especially helpful because closing costs and down payments can be several thousand dollars, depending on the purchase price of your home. Below, you’ll learn more about how to find grant programs in your area and see if you qualify.

Both first-time homebuyer benefits exist to help you buy a home, but their functions are different. When used together, they can help make your dream of homeownership a reality! Check out your options and take advantage of the benefits that you can to get the most bang for your buck. 

Understanding First-Time Home-Buyer Grants 

As you learned above, first-time home buying programs come in all shapes and sizes. Now, let’s get into the specifics of how to get a first-time home-buyer grant.

Who Qualifies

Eligibility for grants is frequently income-based. Some programs offer cash in conjunction with a course that teaches you about smart home buying. Your job can also open you up to different available programs. For example, special programs are offered to teachers, public service workers, and members of the military.

Credit Requirements

Your credit score is used frequently in the home buying process. You can get ahead by getting your credit score into good shape. But, don’t count yourself out if your credit score isn’t fantastic. Many first-time home buying programs are designed to help those with lower credit scores get a home. Requirements vary by loan type and each specific grant program’s rules. 

Who To Ask

The availability of grants can vary by location. It’s a great idea to do some research to discern what options might be available to you. These resources are a great place to start your investigation:

  • The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development offers a Homeownership Assistance Search Tool to help you find local programs. Simply select your location and you’ll find information tailored to homebuyers in your area.
  • Ask your real estate agent and your local housing authority office. Sometimes, they are aware of programs that are more niche. 
  • Mortgage loan officers are familiar with programs in the states where they work. Reach out to your mortgage loan officer to help you navigate the process. Our local mortgage loan officers have experience with the home buying process in the communities that we serve. 

Getting Prepped

When you apply for a first-time home buying grant, you’ll normally need to share details like: 

  • Your credit history
  • How many people are in your household
  • Your income & work history
  • Where you plan to purchase a home

Getting your financial documents organized now enables you to compile the information that you will need later to complete applications. It can help you get your applications submitted in a timely, efficient manner and reduce any delays.

Ready To Get Started?

Many first-time homebuyers enter the process with equal parts of nervousness and excitement. Remember that your first-time home-buyer status can actually be a benefit instead of a disadvantage. This is the time to ask questions and do some research! It could potentially save you thousands of dollars in the long-run. 

Happy home buying!

Learn More

For a limited time, get no PMI* in addition to low rates and local service with as little as 3% down for your home loan. Learn more here.



default icon for Solution Finder Intro
What can we help you with?
default icon for Checking For Mature Members
What are you borrowing for?
default icon for Checking For Mature Members
Vehicle Options
default icon for Checking For Mature Members
Home Options
default icon for Carrolls
What are you saving for?
default icon for Carrolls
How old are your kids?
default icon for Cord
Which of these banking options are you interested in?
default icon for Cord
How old are you (or your child)?
default icon for Cord
How old are you?
default icon for Cord
What kind of account are you looking for?
search popup background

What are you looking for?

Common Links

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do I redeem my Merchandise Rewards?

    The easiest way to redeem your Merchandise Rewards is to log into Listerhill’s Online Banking and click the “Get Info” link to the right of your credit card information. This will take you to our credit card servicing site within the same window. Select “Rewards” on the upper right side within the screen (below FICO Score) and on the next screen, click on the CURewards logo. This will automatically sign you in to be able to redeem your Merchandise Rewards points!

  • What are the benefits of becoming a SEG partner organization?

    1. Completely free program and zero liability to your company.

    2. Easy to implement – requires no additional staffing or resource allocation.

    3. Builds employee loyalty and helps your organization stand out in a competitive employment market.

    4. Encourages financially stable employees through free on-site financial workshops.

    5. Initial on-site employee orientation; re-orientations and free financial seminars available. Once signed up, our SEG partner organizations are offered a free 30-40 minute on-site orientation to educate employees about the benefits of belonging to the Listerhill Credit Union financial cooperative. This informative and helpful session gives your employees a chance to ask questions and learn about the many benefits, products and services that membership provides them. Once on board, we also offer [INSERT PROGRAM NAME HERE] partner organizations free Lunch n’ Learn seminars for employees. Topics include creating a budget, paying for college, debt management and how to buy a home.

    6. Credit union support at benefit fairs and open enrollment.

    7. Same-day account opening – we can immediately assist your employees who would like to open an account during our visit.

    8. Free informational materials – We provide all materials at no charge, including brochures and financial wellness educational workbooks

    9. Free participation in employee benefits fairs, new employee orientation meetings and other organizational events.

    10. No hassle partnership – we do all the work!

  • How do your employees benefit from being a SEG?

    1. Lifetime credit union membership

    2. Competitive rates on a wide range of savings products like:

    • Share Savings
    • Money Market
    • Certificates
    • IRAs
    • My Goal Savings
    • Explorer Rewards

    3. A wide range of loan products like:

    • Auto loans
    • Personal loans
    • Recreational loans

    4. Competitive loan and savings rates.

    5. 24/7 account access with Smart ATMs, Online and Mobile Banking, or by telephone with Automated Access. The choice is yours.

    6. eStatements

    7. Overdraft protection

    8. Up to 3 overdraft refunds per year on us.

    9. First box of checks free when you open your new checking account.

    10. Free Visa debit card with rewards or a UNA Keystone Debit Card to show your #lionpride and give back to the University.

    11. Checking accounts with no minimum balance required.

    12. Interest-earning checking accounts

    13. Free Online Banking with features like:

    • Free Online Bill Pay
    • PopMoney
    • Notify Me Alerts
    • Personal Finance Manager

    14. 24/7 Access to Smart ATMS with features like:

    • Make a deposit
    • Get exact change
    • Make loan payments
    • Speak with a real, local representative

    15. Access to 5,000 CO-OP Shared Branches nationwide for easy access to your money wherever you go.

    16. Visa Platinum Cash Back card with 1% cash back on everything you buy.

    17. Visa Platinum Merchandise Rewards

    18. A full-service mortgage lending department and your mortgage stays with Listerhill for the life of the loan.

    19. A full-service financial planning department that gives you personalized, local service.

    20. Access to financial wellness education courses and information.

  • How does the Maintenance Fee contribute to Listerhill's sustainability?

    In the past, we charged a $10 Relationship Fee to help cover the cost of servicing members' accounts. We felt we could serve you better by removing this fee and establishing a lower fee based on your investment in the cooperative. Encouraging our members to save and borrow with us is key to Listerhill's sustainability, plus it creates value that it ultimately returned back to our member owners (like you!)

  • How can I avoid the new Maintenance Fee?

    You can avoid the new $5 Maintenance Fee entirely when you meet just one of the following requirements:

    • You or someone in your household has had a current loan or mortgage within the last 12 months.   

    • You or someone in your household has an open credit card    

    • You or someone in your household has an aggregate average daily balance of $1,000 in your accounts  

    • You or someone in your household has a relationship with our Listerhill Financial Services department   

    • You have paid at least $125 in NSF, Transfer, or Courtesy Pay fees for the month   

    • You are under the age of 25   

    • Your account is less than 90 days old   

    • You have paid a Return Mail Fee or an Inactive Account Fee for the month