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12 months ago

First-Time Home Buyer Programs Help Make Dreams Come True!

There are many first-time homebuyer loans and programs designed to help Nevadans purchase homes of their own.


The entrance of companies like Tesla and Switch into Nevada means great things for the local economy. What they also mean are raising housing prices, as more and more people move into the Silver State, creating a housing shortage. This is good news for existing homeowners, but concerning for first-time homebuyers.


According to the Reno Gazette-Journal, “In January 2012, the median price for a home in northern Nevada was around $135,000. More than two and a half years later, home values have jumped by about 85 percent.”


What does this mean to the first-time homebuyer? It’s time to buy, while interest rates are still low and before prices go up any higher. But you’re also probably going to need some help.


Nevada is full of first-time homebuyer programs, all designed to educate homebuyers on their responsibilities, and then to help them into homes they can afford.


The U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) lists several options on its website, These include first-time homebuyer programs and loans with little to no down payment requirements, programs specific to veterans and programs that give homeowners money back every year in the form of tax credits.


•    Habitat for Humanity was founded by former President Jimmy Carter and has a mission to provide homes for low-income families. Applicants must meet specific income requirements and be willing to complete 500 hours of “sweat” equity toward building their home or another home in the program. In exchange, the first-time homebuyer can purchase a home with no down payment and a monthly mortgage that is typically about half of normal rents for the area. 

•    The USDA Rural Housing program provides low interest mortgages, typically with little or no down payment requirements, in rural areas of the state. In Nevada, this is defined as any city with fewer than 30,000 residents.

•    The Nevada Rural Housing Authority (NRHA) has two programs that can help homebuyers in rural Nevada (every city except for Reno and Las Vegas). Their Home At Last TM down payment assistance program (which is not limited to first-time homebuyers) includes both government (FHA, VA and USDA Rural Development) and conventional (HFA Preferred) loan alternatives, coupled with granted down payment assistance of up to 5 percent, depending on the loan type. NRHA also offers the Mortgage Tax Credit (MTC) program that gives the first-time homebuyer a federal tax credit equal to 40 percent of the interest paid on the mortgage loan – this could equal up to $2,000 a year in free money!

•    The Nevada Housing Division offers programs similar to the NRHA programs that help first-time homebuyers living in urban areas of Nevada.


Many of these first-time homebuyer programs can be used in conjunction with one other. The first step in buying a home is to visit with a qualified home lender - one who understands and is certified to work with these programs. They will look at your financial situation (including any credit issues) and help you come up with the best financing plan to get your family into a home of your own.

12 months ago

USDA Home Loans Help Rural Nevadans Find Their Way Home

Housing prices are rising throughout Nevada, which means rental prices are going up as well. As the housing supply continues to try to catch up with demand, this upward trend promises to continue.


If you’re planning to stay in one location for even a few years, it could be time to take the leap to become a first-time homebuyer. We know that sounds scary, but if you consider that your monthly rent might be comparable to a mortgage payment, it makes a lot of sense (and dollars). Owning a home also offers you the opportunity to build equity, while also deducting the mortgage interest from your tax obligations. For many people, this is a huge deduction, making your tax payment much more palatable. Property tax is also deductible, offering even more savings.


The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Program is designed to help “low and very-low-income families obtain decent, safe and sanitary housing” in eligible rural areas of Nevada (cities with populations fewer than 30,000), through mortgage payment assistance.


According to the USDA’s website, these are the factors taken into consideration when determining eligibility for USDA home financing: At a minimum, applicants interested in obtaining a USDA guaranteed loan must have an adjusted income that is at or below the applicable low-income limit for the area where they wish to buy a house and they must demonstrate a willingness and ability to repay debt.


While the USDA home financing program makes the mortgage payment more manageable, what stops many people from buying is coming up with the down payment. However, the USDA loan program does not require a down payment; instead the homeowner pays a .40 percent annual fee.


Another way to address the down payment is to combine the USDA home loan with the Home At Last™ program offered by the Nevada Rural Housing Authority (NRHA), which includes both government (FHA, VA and USDA Rural Development) and conventional (HFA Preferred) loan alternatives, coupled with granted down payment assistance of up to 5 percent, depending on the loan type.


When NRHA's Home at Last™ Mortgage Tax Credit program is combined with a USDA RD guaranteed loan, new homeowners could enjoy many advantages that will increase their purchasing power: $0 down payment; $0 PMI; and a federal income tax credit equal to 40 percent of the interest paid on the mortgage loan (maximum $2,000 tax credit per year). There is no fee for qualifying veterans to obtain the Mortgage Tax Credit.


For more information on the USDA RD guaranteed loan options, visit


If you’re interested in buying a home, you’ll want to meet with a qualified lender (one who is authorized to implement these loan programs) to find out what you can afford, and what programs you’re eligible for. They’ll work with you to put together a plan that’s best for your family!

1 year ago

What to consider when looking for a house to rent in Carson City, Minden or Dayton

Here are just a few items to consider in your search for a house to rent.

Can you afford it? Renting a house comes with more expenses than renting an apartment. Things like water, garbage disposal and lawn maintenance might not be covered in your rental agreement. When you’re putting your budget together for your new house rental, be sure to factor in everything.


Find out how rent increases work. Are they built in automatically or subject to negotiation? As housing prices increase in Carson City, Minden and Dayton, there’s a good chance rents will go up as well. Can you lock in a lower rate by committing to stay longer?


What’s the out clause? Say you commit to a year, but then decide you need to leave after six months. What will that change in circumstances cost you? How much notice are you (and the landlord) required to give?


Location, location, location. How close is the rental house to your children’s school? Is it in a safe neighborhood? Is it near a loud business? Be sure to consider all the factors that are important to you before you commit.


Does the home for rent allow pets? Make sure your new landlord is okay with Fido before you sign the lease and find out he can’t come with you.  And don’t try to sneak in your pet. This is one of the fastest ways to breach an agreement and lose your security deposit.


Laundry, dishes, cooking and whatnot. Check out the appliances. Are they in good working order? Are they clean? What’s the policy if something breaks?


Budget for renter’s insurance. The homeowner’s insurance policy will not cover the loss of your personal items. While you might not think you have many things of value, consider your electronics. Or your clothes. How much would it cost to replace them in the case of a fire or a flood? A renter’s insurance policy typically costs less than $30 a month – a bargain in the event of a disaster. 


Get everything in writing. Things change and memories fail. Make sure both parties are on the same page and then write it down so you can avoid disagreements down the road.


Do you need help paying rent? There are a number of programs designed to help low-income families, the elderly, disabled and veterans in Nevada. The Housing Choice Voucher program (also known as Section 8) offers monthly Rental Assistance, for those who qualify to live in privately owned rentals. The Nevada Rural Housing Authority can also help you find many reasonably priced Homes For Rent in Carson City, Minden, Dayton, Elko and throughout rural Nevada.


Your home is your castle. Choose wisely and you can live there happily with your family for years to come.


1 year ago

Nevada Rural Housing Authority Helps Nevadans Buy Homes of Their Own

Buying a home has long been the American dream, but it’s not always easy. While many can afford the monthly mortgage -which oftentimes is less than rent - coming up with the down payment can be daunting.

That’s where the Nevada Rural Housing Authority (NRHA) comes in. Founded in 1973, NRHA has a mission to put rural Nevadans into homes they can afford, which is the cornerstone for building healthy communities.


Based on that philosophy, NRHA created the Home At Last™ (HAL) Home Buyer program in 2006, providing qualifiedrural Nevada families with the help they need to purchase a home.


The Home At Last™ homebuyer program has two components:Home At Last™ Access provides a grant ranging from two to five percent of the loan amount that may be used for down payment and/or closing costs. You heard correctly – it’s a grant. That means it NEVER has to be repaid. You do not need to be a first-time homebuyer to get this grant. And, there are no loan origination fees. There are income limitations but they’re set for hard-working Nevada families, so the maximum qualifying household income is $95,500 annually. The home purchase must fall below a maximum purchase price of $400,000, which would putfamilies into very nice homes throughout most of rural Nevada.

NRHA recently started offering the HFA Preferred program, which allows a loan-to-value ratio of up to 97 percent for single-family homes. This means that the potential homebuyer only has to come up with a three percent down payment, so the Home At Last™ Access grant could cover both the down payment and some of the closing costs!


To complement  Home at Last™ Access (or to stand alone), is the Home at Last™ Mortgage Tax Credit program (MTC), which offers qualified first-time buyers a federal income tax credit equal to either 20 or 40 percent of the interest paid on their mortgage loan. For most families, this will average around $2,000 a year, every year for the life of the loan. This money can be used for making an extra mortgage payment, home improvement, landscaping, furniture, or college tuition – really anything the family chooses. The first-time homebuyer qualification is waived for qualified military veterans.


“We compare the Home at Last™ Access grants to having a rich uncle,” explained NRHA Northern Nevada Mortgage Specialist Laura Lau. “It’s money you can use to buy a home and you never have to pay it back.”


Buyers interested in learning more should visit the NRHA website at to find a qualified lender. They’ll meet with the lender to find out more about these and other programs that might be available. The lender will also analyze income, credit scores and other factors and then give the homebuyer a very accurate idea of how much house they can qualify for. Most homebuyers are surprised to discover just how high that number can be. And then they get the fun part – finding a REALTOR® and shopping for a new house!