North Dakota First-Time Homebuyer Programs

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Updated on Tuesday, February 19, 2019

If you’re a first-time homebuyer, you’re probably wondering what your financing options are. As with many states, North Dakota has a variety of programs meant to support first-time homebuyers as they embark on their new investment. Depending on where in the state you’re buying and your income level, there are a variety of financial assistance programs you may be eligible to apply for.

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Here are the ones specific to first-time buyers and everything you’ll need to know about qualifying.

North Dakota first-time homebuyer programs

The North Dakota Housing Finance Agency (NDHFA) is the governing body that oversees most housing-related financing within the state. With the goal of creating affordable housing for all North Dakota residents, the NDHFA offers financing solutions for families with low to moderate income and also helps modest-income groups find affordable rental solutions.

Eligibility for North Dakota assistance

For the majority of programs available to first-time homebuyers in North Dakota (with the exception of the Start and DCA programs), the eligibility requirements are as follows:

  • The buyer must be a resident of North Dakota
  • They must intend to use the property as a primary residence
  • They must meet “normal” credit-underwriting standards
  • They are required to make a minimum $500 upfront cash investment

Keep reading for specific program requirements and to learn more about your eligibility for various financing solutions in North Dakota.

FirstHome Program

The NDHFA’s FirstHome program offers affordable mortgage rates for low- to moderate-income first-time homebuyers and households that have not owned a home, including a manufactured home on a permanent foundation, in the past three years.

What is it?

The FirstHome program offers

Requirements

In order to participate in the program, you must

  • Be a first-time North Dakotan homebuyer or a household that has not owned a home in the past three years.
  • Intend to use the property as your primary residence.
  • Meet certain income limits, which vary based on your county and the size of your family.
  • Purchase a property at a price that falls within program limits.
  • Be able to make a minimum upfront cash payment of $500.

How to apply

Homebuyers interested in purchasing a home with the FirstHome program should apply with one of the NDHFA’s participating lenders or contact the North Dakota Homeownership Division at (701) 328-8080 or (800) 292-8621.

HomeAccess program

The NDHFA’s HomeAccess program offers affordable mortgages to low- and moderate-income households with disabled or elderly members, veterans or single parents. While applicable for first-time buyers, this program can also be used by buyers who have previously owned a home.

What is it?

The HomeAccess program offers

  • Minimal down payments
  • Low mortgage rates

Requirements

In order to be considered eligible for the program, one of the following must fit:

  • You must be a single parent with a dependent child who lives in the home a minimum of 50% of the time; or a veteran (or spouse of a veteran) who has served in active military service and was discharged on favorable terms; or permanently disabled or aged 65 and older, or the spouse or dependent of this person.

The applicant must also meet the following criteria to be eligible:

  • You must intend to use the property as your primary residence.
  • You must meet certain income limits that vary based on your county and the size of your family.
  • The purchase price must fall within program limits.
  • You must be able to make a minimum upfront cash payment of $500.

How to apply

Homebuyers interested in purchasing a home with the HomeAccess program should apply with one of the NDHFA’s participating lenders or contact the North Dakota Homeownership Division at (701) 328-8080 or (800) 292-8621.

North Dakota Roots

Through its North Dakota Roots program, the NDHFA offers affordable mortgage loans to moderate-income buyers — whether they be first-timers or previous homeowners.

What is it?

The North Dakota Roots program offers

  • Minimal down payments
  • Low mortgage rates

Requirements

In order to qualify for the program, you must

  • Meet certain income limits, which vary by county.
  • Purchase a property at a price that complies with current Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac conforming loan amounts (or the limits of the applicable loan insurer).
  • Intend to use the property as your primary residence.
  • Be able to make a minimum upfront cash payment of $500.

How to apply

Homebuyers interested in purchasing a home with the North Dakota Roots program should apply with one of the NDHFA’s participating lenders or contact the North Dakota Homeownership Division at (701) 328-8080 or (800) 292-8621.

Major Home Improvement Program

The NDHFA’s Major Home Improvement Program offers affordable mortgages to low- and moderate-income households looking to buy a single-family home in need of major renovations. The program may also be used by current homeowners in need of funds to rehabilitate their current home.

What is it?

The Major Home Improvement Program offers

  • Affordable mortgage packages
  • Down payment assistance

Requirements

In order to participate in the program, you must

  • Be the first resident of the home immediately following qualifying renovations.
  • Intend to use the property as your primary residence.
  • Be able to make a minimum upfront cash payment of $500.
  • Meet certain income limits that vary based on your county and the size of your family.
  • Purchase a property at a price that falls within program limits.

How to apply

If you’re interested in purchasing a home through the Major Home Improvement Program, you should apply with one of the NDHFA’s participating lenders or contact the North Dakota Homeownership Division at (701) 328-8080 or (800) 292-8621.

Targeted Area Loan program

Because the NDHFA issues tax-exempt mortgage revenue bonds, it’s required by the federal tax code to set aside some of these proceeds every year to fund a Targeted Area Loan program. As the name suggests, the program primarily offers reduced interest rate mortgage loans to buyers in targeted areas of North Dakota.

What is it?

The Targeted Area Loan program offers

  • Reduced interest rate mortgage loans
  • Minimal down payments

Requirements

In order to qualify for the loan, you must

  • Purchase a home in one of the state’s targeted areas.
  • Purchase a property at a price that falls within program limits.
  • Meet certain income limits that vary based on your county and the size of your family.
  • Be able to make an upfront cash payment of $500 minimum.

How to apply

If you’d like to learn more about purchasing a home through the Targeted Area Loan program, you should first verify that the property you’re considering buying is within one of the state’s targeted areas. This can be done by searching the property address, finding its corresponding Census tract and ensuring that it matches one of the following:

CountyCensus Tract
Benson
Census Tract 9401
McKenzie
Census Tract 9401
Rolette
Census Tract 9418
Sioux
Census Tract 9409
*Table provided by ndhfa.org

After confirming your property’s eligibility, you can apply with one of the NDHFA’s participating lenders. You can also contact the North Dakota Homeownership Division directly at (701) 328-8080 or (800) 292-8621.

Start Program

The NDHFA’s Start Program provides down payment and closing cost assistance for low- to moderate-income first-time mortgage borrowers receiving their first mortgage specifically from NDHFA.

What is it?

The Start Program offers

  • Down payment assistance
  • Closing cost assistance
  • Low mortgage rates

Requirements

In order to be considered eligible for the program, you must

  • Obtain either a FirstHome, HomeAccess, North Dakota Roots, Major Home Improvement or Targeted Area loan from the NDHFA.
  • Use the program exclusively — not in combination with any other down payment assistance programs.
  • Be applying for a mortgage on a one- or two-unit property — one of which will be occupied by the borrower.

How to apply

If you’d like to learn more about purchasing a home through the Start Program, you can apply with one of the NDHFA’s participating lenders or contact the Homeownership Division directly at (701) 328-8080 or (800) 292-8621.

DCA Program

Much like the Start Program, the DCA program provides down payment and closing cost assistance to low-income first-time borrowers when they receive a mortgage with the NDHFA.

What is it?

The program offers

  • Down payment assistance
  • Closing cost assistance
  • Low mortgage rates

Requirements

In order to be considered eligible for the program, you must

  • Obtain either a FirstHome, HomeAccess, North Dakota Roots, Major Home Improvement or Targeted Area loan from the NDHFA.
  • Meet certain qualifying income limits, which can vary based on your county and family size.
  • Use the program exclusively — not in combination with any other down payment assistance programs.
  • Apply for a mortgage on a one- or two-unit property, one of which will be occupied by the borrower.
  • Be purchasing a property that isn’t located within a 100-year flood plain.
  • Complete a homebuyer education course and receive a certificate of completion dated before the loan close date.

How to apply

To learn more about purchasing a home through the Start Program, you can apply with one of the NDHFA’s participating lenders or contact the Homeownership Division directly at (701) 328-8080 or (800) 292-8621.

National first-time homebuyer programs

In addition to the programs offered by the NDHFA, the North Dakota branch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development (USDA-RD) offers several programs, known as Section 502 Direct Loans, to low- and very low–income households struggling to find safe and sanitary housing.

Beyond these statewide programs, there are a variety of financing assistance programs available on a nationwide basis. You can learn more about national financing options as a first-time homebuyer with LendingTree’s comprehensive guide. LendingTree owns MagnifyMoney.

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