If you are a single parent or single-income household that dreams of owning your own home, don't give up. Single-parent homebuying programs exist to assist you with everything from finding affordable housing to qualifying for a mortgage.
These assistance programs are offered by a variety of state and federal government departments, as well as some non-profit and community organizations. Many of them will provide both financial and educational assistance as you move through the homebuying process.
Learn more about homebuying programs available to help single parents.
Contact Your Local Housing Authority
Before you look for national homebuying programs, find out what specific homeownership programs may be available to you right in your state.
These programs can offer a variety of help, including:
- Loans that require a down payment of less than 10%
- Grants to cover closing costs or help with a down payment
- Tax credits based on your mortgage
Many of these programs are income-restricted or require you to use approved lenders, as well as being targeted toward single parents, so read the fine print to see if you can qualify. They may also require you to attend homeowner education classes in exchange for assistance.
To do this, visit the website of your state's local housing authority, which you can find through the Public Housing Authorities Director's Association.
Meet With a Housing Counselor Funded by HUD
HUD stands for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Your local HUD office has resources that can help you buy a home, including the opportunity to work with a professional counselor trained to help you find housing options in your area.
A HUD housing counselor can answer your questions about the home-buying process, obtaining a mortgage, and more. They may also be able to tell you about various homebuying programs in your area, including some lesser-known programs that you might not hear about otherwise.
Many of these programs provide both financial assistance and education as you begin the homebuying process.
Consider Buying a Home Through HUD
Another option is buying a home directly through HUD, which sells properties in every state in the U.S. You can learn more about HUD properties by visiting the HUD website and searching for homes available for sale in your state.
HUD properties may be offered in a variety of neighborhoods within a city or geographic area, and not all of these neighborhoods may be the right fit for you and your family. Do your homework and get to know the area before you invest.
Apply for a Habitat for Humanity House
Habitat for Humanity builds and repairs homes for families in need, and they're one of the best-known organizations offering practical and financial support to single parents. If you want to be added to its list as a potential homeowner, start by becoming familiar with the criteria the organization uses to select homeowners.
During the selection process, Habitat for Humanity considers:
- The need of the individual applying for the home
- The individual's willingness to partner with Habitat
- The individual's ability to repay the interest-free loan
Single parents who wish to participate should expect to be very involved in the home-building process. That means getting out your hammer and tool belt and getting down to business, but don't let that scare you: Habitat for Humanity also provides training. The opportunity to work on a home that is being built just for you will only make the investment more meaningful.
To apply for consideration, you can apply on the Habitat for Humanity website.
Buy a Home With an Individual Development Account (IDA)
An individual development account is a matched savings account, usually set up by a community organization. These are designed to help low-to-mid-income families save money toward the purchase of a home, education costs, or financing a small business.
In some cases, organizations that offer IDAs will match your savings, dollar for dollar. You can find out which organizations in your area offer IDAs through the Prosperity Now website.
Be sure to pay attention to the fine print, though, as there may be restrictions on how much you must save, where you purchase a home, or when.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can I use child support payments I receive to qualify for a mortgage?
Yes, your lender can use child support payments in the same way it would use wages to get you qualified for a mortgage.
Do you have to be a single parent to qualify for homebuying assistance?
While some homebuying programs, such as FHA, are great for single-parent families, people who are married or in partnerships can also qualify for some of these programs.
Are down payment assistance grants for single parents taxable?
In most cases, down payment grants are not taxed. Some other types of down payment assistance, such a funds from a seller, may need to be reported on your federal income tax. Though they won't be taxed as income, they may be used to reduce the cost basis of the home. A tax professional can offer further details.