With mortgage rates hovering between 3 and 4% for a 30 year fixed rate mortgage, now is the time to invest in your first home if you have the credit to do so. If you have never purchased a home in the past, there are a number of programs that can help you secure your first mortgage. Whether you go through the Federal Housing Administration, the Veteran's Administration, or even the United States Department of Agriculture, there are programs available for individuals trying to buy their first home. If you meet the criteria of any of these agencies, part of your loan may be guaranteed by the government, allowing you to put down a smaller down payment to secure the property.

The Federal Housing Administration

One of the hurdles to buying your first home may be coming up with a down payment that is suitable to the mortgage lender. In many cases, if you can't come up with a 20% down payment, you will either have to find another loan or invest in personal mortgage insurance (PMI). This means that you would have to pay $40,000 down for a home that costs you $200,000, an amount that is often prohibitive for first time home buyers. The FHA program allows lower to middle income borrowers the ability to secure a home for around 3.5% as a down payment. You will have to qualify for this loan, and you will need to invest in PMI until such time that you can remortgage the home and show that you own at least 20% of the value in equity.

The Veteran Affairs Loan

One of the benefits of being a veteran of the United States military is the ability to secure a VA loan in order to buy a home. The downside of a VA loan is that it takes time to get approved, but you can seek approval even if you have a bankruptcy or a foreclosure on your record. The VA offers loans that require small down payments, and you may not have to purchase PMI when you secure the loan.

The US Department of Agriculture

One more unique source to obtain a mortgage is through the US Department of Agriculture. The USDA offers loans to qualified buyers who want to purchase properties in rural areas. These loans can include 100% of the purchase price, with no need for a down payment. Income guidelines vary by state, and you will need to be purchasing an approved property.

For more information, contact a company like Doolin Security Savings Bank.