If you are a education professional or public employee there are some fantastic first time home buyer and down payment assistance available. Many of the cities and counties are getting their funding for first time home buyer programs. Take a look at this site to see if there is anything available in your area. The federal first time home buyer tax credit is available to you if you purchase before December 1, 2009. The state of California has a tax credit available if you purchase before March 1, 2010.
Many of the best FTHB programs are administered by cities, counties and towns. So the best one often depends on where you are going to live. According to a web search Yuba City had one in 2008. I do not know if they have a program funded for 2009 yet. There are also a host of narrowly focused programs aimed for particular neighborhoods, foreclosures owned by certain lenders, new homes built by certain lenders.
If you have a low or moderate income, you might look into Habitat for Humanity (website referenced below) houses and Acorn houses.
Many Realtors work with first time homebuyers as part of their job, and have knowledge about their own towns. Someone in your local area posting here later will likely demonstrate their knowledge to you. That person will be a good choice to contact.
The programs change often due to government funding and marketing consdierations. Sometimes there are limited slots for qualified applicants due to limited funds.
Are you speaking of tax credit buyers ? Lending changes all the time.
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I am pretty sure all of the "First Time Home Buyer Programs" have been exhausted. They noramlly come through a particular county or city and are called "Mercy Housing Programs". The programs are terrific, but have stict guidelines as to who can qualify and the condition of the home to be purchased. There is a limited amount of money available and must be paid back when you sell the home.
Luckily enough, there is the tax credit afforded to first time home owners that offer UP TO $8000, and you don't have to pay it back. Of course, income requirements and price of home are just 2 of the conditions for the credit.
FHA allows ANY buyer to put only a 3 1/2% initial investment, or down payment, on a home when they purchase it. This, coupled with asking the seller to pay 3-4% of your closing costs, lets you get into a home very reasonably, especially with the super low interest rates!
VA loans require NO MONEY down and any costs associated with buying the home can normally be credited to you by the seller, if asked for.
I hope this helps.
Thank for asking!