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New Jersey First-Time Homebuyer Programs

Buying your first home can be an overwhelming experience. Between the house hunting, the paperwork and the challenge of coming up with a downpayment and other closing costs, the process is stressful for many people.

Thankfully, help is available for new homebuyers. If you live in New Jersey, you can turn to the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency, which offers a variety of services to assist you as you embark on the road to homeownership.

New Jersey first-time homebuyer programs

The New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA) operates the state’s First-Time Homebuyer Mortgage Program. The agency offers a variety of programs that can help first-time homebuyers, including down payment assistance, low-interest-rate loans and special offerings for police officers and firefighters. The agency also provides education and counseling services.

In January 2019, we researched the most current information on first-time homebuyer programs in New Jersey, which included reviewing guidelines from the NJHMFA. Here’s what first-time buyers in New Jersey need to know.

Eligibility for assistance varies by program and will be detailed below. You can check current mortgage rates for your area here.

New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency First-Time Homebuyer Mortgage Program

Features

  • Competitive, 30-year, fixed rates
  • Can be combined with the down payment and closing cost assistance program (see below)

Eligibility

  • Credit score of 620 or higher
  • Income limits not to exceed 140% of area median income unless the property is located in a target area that is eligible for higher income limits
  • Borrower qualifies as a first-time homebuyer if they have not owned a home within the previous three years
  • While you do not have to be a resident of the state, the property must be located in New Jersey and must serve as a principal residence

How it works

A potential homebuyer can apply directly with lenders (scroll down to find the “Contact a Participating Lender” button) that have been approved by the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency.

NJHMFA Down Payment Assistance Program

Features

  • Provides $10,000 to first-time homebuyers for down payment and closing costs
  • Offers an interest-free, five-year forgivable second loan that does not require the homeowner to make a monthly payment

Eligibility

  • Credit score of 620 or higher
  • First-time homebuyer is someone who has not owned a home within the previous three years
  • Home must be the primary residence
  • Must be paired with 30-year, fixed-rate, government-insured NJHMFA first mortgage loan
  • Limits on maximum household income and purchase price of home apply

How it works

A potential homebuyer can apply directly with lenders (scroll down to find the “Contact a Participating Lender” button) that have been approved by the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency.

Police and Firemen’s Retirement System Mortgage Program

Features

  • Fixed interest rate for 30-year loan
  • Applies to new homes or refinances
  • Lower interest rate based on the 10-year Treasury bill, plus 1%
  • Program allocates 25% of its funds for first-time homebuyers

Eligibility

  • Must be a current police officer or firefighter who is a member of the Police and Firemen’s Retirement System with at least one year creditable service
  • Allows for one- or two-family residences and condominium units in addition to vacant land that will be used to build an eligible one- or two-family dwelling
  • Home must be primary residence

How it works

A potential homebuyer can apply directly with lenders (scroll down to find the “Contact a Participating Lender” button) that have been approved by the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency.

National first-time homebuyer programs

There are many national programs available to help first-time homebuyers through FHA, USDA, VA, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or private lenders. Several of these can be combined with state programs. Here is a general guide to first-time homebuyer programs.

 

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