New Jersey First-Time Homebuyer Programs

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Updated on Wednesday, February 20, 2019

The Garden State has some of the highest home prices in the country, which can make it tough for people who want to buy their first home.

But there is help. New Jersey has programs to help ease the financial burden of buying a home for qualified buyers. In addition, national programs can provide assistance.

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Read on to get the details on what these programs provide and what it takes to be eligible.

New Jersey state homebuyer programs

The New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA), a state organization that aims to increase the availability of safe, decent and affordable housing, administers state first-time homebuyer programs.
The NJHMFA oversees three programs: help low- to middle-income homebuyers get their first mortgage, help with down payment and closing costs and help police and firefighters.

First-Time Homebuyer Mortgage Program

The First-Time Homebuyer Mortgage Program features a competitive 30-year, fixed-rate, government-insured loan originated through an NJHMFA participating lender.

Features

The First-Time Homebuyer Mortgage Program offers:

  • Low mortgage insurance
  • Low interest rates
  • May be combined with the Down Payment Assistance Program (see below).

Eligibility

To participate in the program, you must:

    • Be a first-time homebuyer or not have owned a home within the previous three years
    • Have a credit score of at least 620
    • Be buying a home in New Jersey that you intend to use as your primary residence
    • Meet income requirements. Income limits are determined by purchase area and family size and must not exceed 140% of area median income.

Properties located in an Urban Target Area are eligible for greater income limits; see the agency’s Site Evaluator to determine if your property qualifies.

How it works

Homebuyers who wish to apply for the First-Time Homebuyer Mortgage must contact an NJHMFA participating lender to start the process. Your lender will determine your eligibility for this or another program by using your income information as well as other financial details.

Down Payment Assistance Program

The Down Payment Assistance Program provides first-time New Jersey homebuyers with $10,000 to use for a down payment or closing costs. This interest-free, five-year, forgivable second loan requires no monthly payment and must be paired with a Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency first mortgage loan.

Features

The Down Payment Assistance Program offers:

  • $10,000 to use for a down payment or closing costs
  • Interest-free, five-year forgivable loan with no monthly payments

Eligibility

To participate in the program, you must:

  • Be a first-time homebuyer or not have owned a home within the past three years
  • Have a credit score of 620 or greater
  • Purchase a home in any New Jersey county
  • Pair this assistance with an NJHMFA first mortgage loan

How it works

The first step is to contact an NJHMFA participating lender. Your selected lender will then evaluate your financial criteria, including your household income and debt-to-income ratio, to determine whether you are eligible for this or another program.

Police and Firemen’s Retirement System Mortgage Program

The Police and Firemen’s Retirement System Mortgage Program is available to active members of the New Jersey Police and Firefighter Retirement System with a year or more of creditable service. It offers an opportunity for a first-time home purchase, a trade-up purchase, or a refinance of an existing home with a maximum mortgage amount of $484,350.

Features

The Police and Firemen’s Retirement System Mortgage Program offers:

  • Thirty-year fixed-rate mortgage of up to $484,350
  • Low interest rates. Rates are based on the 10-year Treasury bill rate plus 1%.
  • Low mortgage insurance

To participate in the program, you must:

  • Be a member of the New Jersey Police and Firefighter Retirement System with a year or more of creditable service
  • Plan a first-time home purchase, a trade-up purchase or the refinance of an existing home
  • Pay $750 to apply, plus up to $1,075 in fees at closing.

How it works

The first step is contacting an NJHMFA participating lender. From there, you will work with your selected lender to evaluate your credit profile, including debt-to-income ratio, household income and other earnings. They will determine your eligibility for this or another program.

National first-time homebuyer programs

Besides statewide programs to help first-time homebuyers, there are national programs you should look at, too. They also are intended to help you buy your first property. To learn more, visit a LendingTree’s guide to first-time homebuyer programs.