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Nevada First-Time Home Buyer | 2021 Programs and Grants

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What to know about buying a house in Nevada

Average home prices and home price inflation are a little higher than average in Nevada. That can feel like a challenge for new home buyers.

Fortunately, there’s plenty of support for first–time buyers in the Silver State.

Eligible borrowers can get free counseling and even cash assistance with their down payment and closing costs. Here’s what you should know.

Verify your home buying eligibility in Nevada. Start here (Dec 12th, 2021)


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Nevada home buyer overview

The median list price in Nevada in November 2021 was $470,000, according to Redfin. In September that year, the Silver State came fourth in a CoreLogic list of states with rapidly rising home prices; they were up by 23.3% year over year.

But don’t despair! Because there are tons of resources available for first–time home buyers in Nevada. We list a few below to get you started.

Nevada Home Buyer Overview
Average Home Sale Price in NV $470,000
Minimum Down Payment in NV (3%) $14,100
20% Down Payment in NV $94,000
Average Credit Score in NV1 695
Maximum State Home Buyer Down Payment Assistance NV2 Up to $25,000 as a forgivable loan available in designated rural areas statewide

Down payment amounts are based on the state’s most recently available average home sale price. “Minimum” down payment assumes 3% down on a conventional mortgage with a minimum credit score of 620.

If you’re eligible for a VA loan (backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs) or a USDA loan (backed by the US Department of Agriculture), you may not need any down payment at all.

Verify your home buying eligibility in Nevada. Start here (Dec 12th, 2021)

First–time home buyer loans in Nevada

If you’re a first–time home buyer in Nevada with a 20% down payment, you can get a conventional loan with a low interest rate. And you never have to pay for private mortgage insurance (PMI).

Of course, few first–time buyers have saved enough for 20 percent down. But the good news is, you don’t need that much. Not by a long shot.

Borrowers can often get into a new home with as little as 3% or even 0% down using one of these low–down–payment mortgage programs:

  • Conventional 97 – From Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae. 3% down payment and 620 minimum credit score. You can usually stop paying mortgage insurance after a few years
  • FHA loan – Backed by the Federal Housing Administration. 3.5% down and a 580 minimum credit score. But you’re typically on the hook for mortgage insurance until you refinance to a different type of mortgage, move, or pay off your loan
  • VA loan – Only for veterans, active military members, reservists, and National Guard. Zero down payment is required. Minimum credit score varies by lender but often 620. No ongoing mortgage insurance after closing. These are arguably the best mortgages available, so apply if you’re eligible
  • USDA loan – For those on low–to–moderate incomes buying in designated rural areas. Zero down payment required. Credit score requirements vary by lender but often 640. Low mortgage insurance rates

Note that most of these programs require you to buy a primary residence. That’s a home you’ll live in full–time, not a vacation home or investment property.

Depending on the mortgage loan you choose, you could potentially get into your new house with minimal cash out of pocket.

These programs even let you use gifted money or down payment assistance (DPA) to cover the down payment and closing costs.

If you’re not sure which program to choose for your first mortgage loan, your lender can help you find the right match based on your finances and home buying goals.

Find the best first-time home buyer loan for you (Dec 12th, 2021)

Nevada first–time home buyer programs

Most states have their own mortgage programs for first–time buyers. But the State of Nevada Housing Division (NHD) does not. So you’ll likely end up with one of the ‘standard’ mortgage programs listed above.

Naturally, you’ll have to meet credit score minimums and other lending criteria that lenders use when approving mortgage applications.

Not sure which type of mortgage is best for you? You can choose to use one of the NHD’s 80+ approved mortgage lenders within the state. If you ask for NHD’s “Home Is Possible” program, you should receive extra guidance throughout the process.

But Home Is Possible provides another very important benefit. Because, if you’re eligible, you can get some serious financial help toward your down payment and closing costs.

Nevada first–time home buyer grants

The Nevada Housing Division’s “Home Is Possible” website is cheerful and consumer–friendly with lots of graphics.

It explains: “If your family’s annual income is $105,000 or less, and the home you want to buy costs less than $, you’re in the ballpark for Home Is Possible bonus down payment money.” Household income limits can sometimes be up to $135,000 if there are two or more borrowers.

And the assistance offered can be between 2% and 5% of the value of your mortgage loan. So it’s well worth having.

That comes in the form of a forgivable loan. So the interest rate is 0% and you don’t have to make monthly payments. Better yet, providing you stick to the rules, your debt will be forgiven after three years.

You’ll need a minimum credit score of 640 or 660 depending on the program you choose. And you must complete a home buyer education course to qualify.

NHD also has special programs for veterans and active military personnel and K–12 teachers which can offer below–market interest rates to qualified borrowers.

The details of all the programs and their rules can be quite complicated. But, if you call one of NHD’s approved lenders, someone will walk you through the whole thing and tell you whether you’re eligible.

Nevada Rural Housing Authority

In addition to NHD’s programs, the Nevada Rural Housing Authority (NRHA) runs its Home At Last program. This provides up to $25,000 in assistance for eligible borrowers wanting to buy in officially designated rural parts of the state. Again, you’ll have to choose a participating lender.

This, too, can be a three–year forgivable loan with 0% interest and no monthly payments. And, as long as you don’t break the rules during those first three years, your loan will be completely forgiven.

But, whatever NHD and NRHA are actually offering, don’t automatically choose either of them. First, check out any down payment assistance programs that are offered by the city or county where you wish to buy. Then choose the one that suits you best.

Verify your home buying eligibility in Nevada. Start here (Dec 12th, 2021)

Buying a home in Nevada’s major cities

Home prices shot up in all three of Nevada’s largest cities during the 12 months ending in September 2021. But they exploded in Reno, where home price inflation was an eyewatering 64.6% during that period.

Las Vegas first–time home buyers

The median list price in Las Vegas was $379,900 in September 2021, according to Realtor.com. That was up 18.7% year over year.

At that median price, your down payment options might fall between:

  • $11,400 for 3% down payment
  • $75,980 for 20% down payment

The City of North Las Vegas offers up to $14,999 to eligible homebuyers in the form of a forgivable loan. So there is a 0% interest rate and no monthly payments. And, providing you don’t move out, sell the home, or refinance your mortgage during the first five years, the loan is forgiven.

You’ll need a low or moderate income to be eligible and you’ll have to meet the normal standards of creditworthiness that lenders require for the type of loan you want.

Henderson first–time home buyers

The median list price in Henderson was $450,000 in September 2021, according to Realtor.com. That was up 20% year over year.

At that median price, your down payment options might fall between:

  • $13,500 for 3% down payment
  • $90,000 for 20% down payment

According to its website, “The City of Henderson does not currently administer a First–Time Homebuyer Program or a Housing Rehabilitation Program.” So you may have to rely on statewide programs. But you can also try calling (702) 267–2021 to see if that policy’s changed since this was written.

Reno first–time home buyers

The median list price in Reno was $525,000 in September 2021, according to Realtor.com. That was up a staggering 64.6% year over year.

At that median price, your down payment options might fall between:

  • $15,750 for 3% down payment
  • $105,000 for 20% down payment

There are plenty of pages on the City of Reno’s website about down payment assistance (DPA), including the Washoe County HOME Consortium, which covered Reno, Sparks, and the rest of the county.

But all those seem to relate to historical programs. And, if there’s information about any live DPA programs in the city or county, it was too well hidden for us to find.

So, just like in Henderson, you may have to use statewide programs. But, by all means, call (775) 334–3853 to see if Reno has its own DPA.

Where to find home buying help in Nevada

All the organizations we’ve listed above should provide advice freely to any first–time home buyer in Nevada or their local area.

In addition to our selection, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides a few lists for statewide, regional, and local resources:

Statewide first-time home buyer resources in Nevada

You can find additional resources and assistance programs by city and county on HUD’s webpage for Nevada first–time home buyers.

What are today’s mortgage rates in Nevada?

You can see today’s live mortgage rates in Nevada here.

When you’re ready to start the home buying process, make sure you get personalized rate quotes from at least three mortgage lenders.

Don’t just look at advertised rates online; actually apply for preapproval and compare the interest rates and fees you’re offered. That’s the only way to know you’re getting the best deal possible on your new home loan.

Show me today’s rates (Dec 12th, 2021)

1 Source: Experian.com 2021 study of 2020 data

2Based on a review of the state’s available DPA grants at the time this was written

The information contained on The Mortgage Reports website is for informational purposes only and is not an advertisement for products offered by Full Beaker. The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not reflect the policy or position of Full Beaker, its officers, parent, or affiliates.



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