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Buy a Home in 2024

By: Real Estate Hotline
Winter 2024 (Vol. 41, No. 4)

Q: My rent has finally stabilized and now my landlord is selling our home. I can’t afford to keep moving, but I don’t have great credit or a big down payment. Is there any hope I can ever finance a home?

A: For many low and moderate income people, the most significant barrier to homeownership is the down payment and closing costs associated with getting a mortgage loan. Even if you have poor credit, the key to owning your own home is to find your state’s Housing Finance Agency (HFA) and then work with a qualified lender and realtor that can help you reach that goal.

First Step: Get acquainted with what programs your state offers. Go to to search for programs offered by state. Keep in mind, this list of programs can change according to funds available to your state’s HFA. Some other helpful sites to search include:,,, and

A few states offer stand-alone down payment and closing cost assistance that borrowers can combine with any non- HFA eligible mortgage product. Some programs are targeted toward specific populartions, such as first-time homebuyers, active military personnel and veterans, or teachers. Others offer assistance for any homebuyer who meets the income and purchase price limitations of their programs. These programs are structured in a variety of ways including forgivable grants; zero interest, deferred payment second mortgages; and full interest, fully amortizing second loans. Depending on your circumstances you may also consider contacting these organizations:

  • NACA offers affordable mortgages and down payment assistance without considering credit score.

  • Habitat for Humanity - home construction using sweat equity and assisted financing.

  • HUD’s Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) recipients may offer homebuyer assistance in your area.

  • HUD’s HOME Investment Partnership Program provides funding to local agencies to help you purchase or repair your home.

  • State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP) Program

  • USDA Rural Housing Service - direct loans and grants for building, purchasing or repairing.

Second: Identifying the right team to help you find a home and navigate the loan requirements is invaluable. Look for a mortgage broker and realtor who are familiar with your state’s programs and who can help you navigate the down payment assistance process.

Finally: don’t get discouraged. The road may be bumpier and it may take a little longer, but if you stick with it, you will get there.

Q: Are there Real estate and federal lands for sale by the government direct to the consumer?

A: Yes, government agencies sell real estate and federal lands either by auction or they may be offered for sale through their websites on the multiple listing. Federal agencies acquire these properties through foreclosure, forfeiture, or failed banks.

Fannie Mae’s HomePath ( lists many single-family homes for sale across the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Real Estate and Property Marketplace ( sells real estate from failed banks.

U.S. Department of Agriculture ( gov/resales/public/home) sells homes, farms, and ranches, by auction or offer.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s ( lists homes for auction throughout the U.S.

The auctions below sell real estate, federal lands, and other types of government-owned surplus or seized property: GSA Auctions and Sales ( real estate, land, and lighthouses along with other government-owned excess property.

U.S. Treasury auctions ( upcoming/) for homes, land, commercial property, and other items forfeited by owners for violations of Treasury law.

U.S. Marshals Service auctions ( do/asset-forfeiture) auctions seized homes, condominiums, commercial real estate, and land in the U.S. and Caribbean, plus other items.

Q: I represent a non-profit organization and we are looking for property to build a community center. Are there any government agencies that assist with that?

A: The General Services Association (GSA) is responsible for promoting effective use of federal real property assets, as well as the disposal of real property that is no longer useful for government purposes. This could include any real estate from vacant land to office buildings, military holdings or even single family residences. The GSA works with your state or community or direct with non-profits to repurpose these properties to provide benefits to the community. – GSA’s Real Property auction website allows the public to bid on property 24 hours a day/365 days a year. State agencies and public organizations looking for real property should check Citizens looking for real property can go to - Bureau of Land Management. This department sells public lands, which are undeveloped land tracts with no improvements.