4 Great NIFA HomeBuyer Programs

Nebraska offers a number of programs designed to help homebuyers. 


This post outlines the benefits of NIFA programs. It explains how you can qualify, and guides you on which product will benefit you the most. 

NIFA Loan Programs for Homebuyers

NIFA has four primary loan programs to help homebuyers.


I've gone through a detailed the differences in each. Some help minimize cash out of pocket needed, while others minimize the interest rate as much as possible. 

NIFA Homebuyer Assistance Program

The Homebuyer Assistance Program is designed to help first time homebuyers with minimal savings.


Typically, to purchase a home you need to have enough cash to provide a downpayment and complete your portion of closing costs. 


This program creates an additional loan that finances these expenses.


This second loan carries an amazing low interest rate of 1%, and a standard term of 10 years. The maximum amount this loan can be is 5% of the final purchase price. 


The downside of this program is a higher interest rate on your primary loan. 

Benefits of Homebuyer Assistance Program 

The biggest benefit of the Homebuyer Assistance Program is making home ownership possible for those who otherwise couldn't afford downpayment and closing costs.  

  • Closing Cost Assistance: One significant mistake buyers make is underestimating closing costs. 
  • Downpayment Assistance: It can be difficult to save the necessary downpayment. This program allows you to finance it at an incredibly low cost.
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    No Loan Fees: No origination, discount, or early pay-back fees.
  • Potentially Lower Interest Rate: Although this program carries the highest interest rates that NIFA offers, it can still represent an improvement if you have a credit score below 700. 

Example of Interest Rates for Homebuyer Assistance Program

Below are the current interest rates offered for the Homebuyer Assistance Program. This page was updated on September 21, 2018. To see the latest interest rates, please visit this page. 


Government Loans

Conventional Loans

1st Loan

4.75%

5.00%

2nd Loan

1.00%

1.00%

Free Buyer Resource: Get a weekly summary of the Omaha market, including recently discounted houses and newly available properties. Sign-up here.

First Home Plus Program

The First Home Plus program is designed for first time home buyers who do not need additional funds to help with down payment and closing costs.

Unlike the Homebuyer Assistance Program, this is a single loan. The loan can be either a government or conventional loan.  

Benefits of First Home Plus Program

The biggest benefit of the First Home Plus loan is a fantastic low interest rate.

As of September 13th, the Freddie Mac average interest rate was 4.6%. According to Bankrate, the average interest rate is actually higher in Nebreaska, at 4.8%.

Unfortunately, many do not qualify for “the average”, and banks charge a higher fee.

The First Home Plus loan gives access to a standard, low 4.5% interest rate to everyone who qualifies.

Another benefit of the program is lower mortgage insurance premium. 

  • Reduced Mortgage Premium Insurance: If you are unable to place more than a 20% downpayment, you will be forced to pay for mortgage insurance, however this will be reduced through NIFA. 
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    No Loan Fees: No origination, discount, or early pay-back fees.
  • Potentially Lower Interest Rate: First Home Plus offers incredibly low interest rates (as low as 4.0%). 

Example Interest Rates for First Home Plus Program


Government Loans

Conventional Loans

1st Loan

4.25%

4.5%

First Home Focused Program

The First Home Focused program is designed to incentivize investment in targeted areas throughout Douglas County. 


Structurally, it is the exact same as the First Home Plus program, with added requirements and better interest rate. 


To qualify, the property must be located inside a "target area". You can see a list of current target areas here.

Example Interest Rates for First Home Focused Program


Government Loans

Conventional Loans

1st Loan

4.0%

4.25%

Military Home Buyer Program

The Military Home Buyer Program designed to help active military and qualified veterans purchase a home. 


This program is straight-forward, offering great low interest rate through government loans. 

Example Interest Rates for ​Military Home Buyer Program


Government Loans

Conventional Loans

1st Loan

4.0%

N/A

NIFA Loan Eligibility

Unfortunately, not every buyer is eligible for NIFA programs.


Below is a summary of the various NIFA eligibility requirements. If you need further assistance, feel free to reach out ([email protected]). 

NIFA First Time Homebuyer Definition

Many people assume that they don't qualify for first time homebuyer programs because they've previously owned a house. 


With NIFA, that's not necessarily the case. 


To qualify for first time homebuyer programs, you cannot have owned and lived in a home as your primary residence within the past three years. 


This means that if you previously owned a home, but it was more than three years ago, you can still qualify as a first-time home buyer.

Exceptions to the Three Year Rule

NIFA carries a few exceptions to this general rule to accommodate certain buyers.


They are all straight-forward. If you fall under one of these categories, together with your lender I can make sure that proper documentation is gathered. 

  • Home Loss Through Divorce: If you lost your home due to divorce and did not receive any proceeds from the sale, you still qualify. 
  • Home Loss Through Natural Disaster: Losing your home through a natural disaster allows you to qualify for first time homebuyer programs.
  • Forced Job Relocation: Lastly, if you were forced to lose your home because of a job relocation, you still qualify for NIFA assistance. 

Free Buyer Resource: Get a weekly summary of the Omaha market, including recently discounted houses and newly available properties. Sign-up here.

NIFA Loan Income Limits

All programs carry an income requirement. Income requirements fall in two tiers: families with under two members and families with more than two members.

In Douglass county, the income limit for two member families is $81,600. If you're family has more members, you can earn up to $93,840 and still qualify for NIFA programs. 

How NIFA Calculates Income

NIFA calculates your income in two parts.


First, they look at all gross income made before taxes for everyone over 18 who will live in the house as a primary resident. 


This includes tips, commissions, bonuses, and social benefits such as social security.

NIFA will look at what you make in the current month, and extrapolate that over a 12 month period to determine your eligibility.

NIFA Maximum Purchase Limits

Additionally, the home that you buy must fall under certain price restrictions.


Like interest rate benefits, NIFA distinguishes between target and non-target areas. Home buyers who are purchasing a home within a target area are allowed to increase the purchase price of their home and still qualify. 


Non-Target Area

Target Area

1 Unit

$250,000

$300,000

2 Units

$320,000

$345,000

3 Units

$390,000

$475,000

4 Unites

$480,000

$590,000

NIFA Credit Check Requirements

Because NIFA works with banks, they carry similar credit checks on all borrowers. 

The final requirements depend on your current credit score. Ultimately, a better credit score will allow you to borrow more relative to your income. 

Homebuyers must carry a minimum credit score of 640, and a final debt to income ratio no more than 45% to qualify for all programs. 

If you're credit score is 660 or above, your debt to income ratio may be up at to 50%. 

​Next steps...

I would love to help you secure financing for your next home. I've developed a number of great relationships with local mortgage professionals. Shoot me an email at [email protected] or a text at 402.312.9447 and we'll set something up!

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