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First-time home buyers currently make up a little over one-third (35 percent) of the total home buyer market in the United States.

Are you an Ohio first-time home buyer? Did you know there are resources out there designed to make it easier for you to get into a home?

If you’ve never heard of any of these programs, keep on.

Explained below are some awesome programs designed with the Ohio first-time home buyer in mind.

Grants for Grads

Created by the Ohio Housing Finance Agency (also known as the OHFA), Grants for Grads is a program meant for those who have received a degree (be it an associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate) from an accredited university within the last four years.

Grants for Grads offers recent graduates discounted mortgage interest rates and downpayment assistance. By utilizing this program, you could qualify to have between 2.5 and five percent of your downpayment covered. 

This program also forgives its assistance (meaning you don’t have to repay the amount that was covered). The only caveat is that you have to remain living in Ohio for five years or more after purchasing your home.


The RenovateOhio program, also known as an FHA 203(k) loan, allows home buyers to combine the cost of their mortgage and the renovations to their new home.

These expenses are bundled into one long-term, fixed-rate mortgage. This makes it easier for buyers to purchase and renovate their home. 

In order to qualify for the RenovateOhio program, you must have a credit score of 640 or higher. You must also meet specific income and debt-to-income ratio requirements. 

The property you’re purchasing must also be a one- to four-family home that was built at least one year ago.

Target Area Loan

With the intent of revitalizing economically downtrodden neighborhoods, the OHFA offers competitive mortgage interest rates to individuals looking to buy a home in a specific area. 

Most of the counties in the state of Ohio contain at least one target area. Target areas are selected by the federal government based on factors like average household income.

In order to qualify for a target area loan, you will need to have a minimum 640 credit score.

You’ll need to meet certain income and debt-to-income ratio requirements, too, and you’ll be required to complete a homebuyer education class.

Ohio Heroes

Ohio Heroes is a program designed to show gratitude to those who work in the Ohio public sector.

It provides discounted mortgage interest rates to some of the state’s first-time home buyers. You can combine a loan from the Ohio Heroes program with other forms of financial assistance. 

You do not need to repay the funds allotted to you by this program as long as you continue living in your home for at least seven years and do not refinance it during this period.

Your Choice! Down Payment Assistance

This program makes it easier for buyers to cover the cost of their down payment, closing costs, and pre-closing expenses.

When you apply for this program, you can choose an amount that is between 2.5 and five percent of the home’s purchase price. The higher the amount you apply for, the higher your interest rate will likely be.

This program forgives your assistance as long as you stay in the home for a seven-year period and do not try to refinance it.

OHFA Advantage

This program is designed with low-income individuals in mind.

If your income falls within 80 percent of the median income in the county in which you’re looking to buy a house, the OHFA Advantage loan will offer you $1,500 to put toward the costs of buying a home.

If your income falls within 50 percent of the median income, you’ll receive $2,500. 

You can combine this program with other programs, such as the Your Choice! Down Payment Assistance program. Keep in mind, though, that you may pay a higher interest rate if you accept other types of financial assistance alongside this program.

Mortgage Tax Credit

As a homebuyer, you can also save money by taking advantage of the Mortgage Tax Credit (or MTC).

If you’re a first-time home buyer utilizing an OHFA loan, this credit is worth up to 40 percent of your annual mortgage interest. Even if you don’t have an OHFA loan, you can still qualify for this credit, but it will be worth less money — 20-35 percent of your mortgage interest.

Tips for the Ohio First-Time Home Buyer

As you can see, there are a lot of different programs out there that can help you get into your first home.

You definitely ought to consider taking advantage of one or more of these programs, especially if you’re feeling unsure of your ability to cover the costs of buying a home.

There are some other things you should keep in mind as a first-time home buyer, including the following:

  • There are lots of federal loans you can also apply for to help you save money, including FHA loans and VA loans
  • You’ll need to pay a 1-3 percent deposit when you make an offer — this is known as earnest money
  • You’ll need to cover the cost of an inspection, as well as other closing fees related to attorney costs, taxes, and title insurance
  • It’s best to get pre-approved for a loan — that way, you’ll know what you can afford before you start shopping

Keep these tips and guidelines in mind and you’ll have a much easier time navigating the process of buying your first home.

Next Steps for Home Buyers

Are you going to take advantage of one of these programs? If you’re an Ohio first-time home buyer, these programs are a great option to help you get into the home of your dreams.

What happens after you find your dream home, though? Remember that before you decide to try to purchase a home, you’ll need to have it inspected.

Contact us at Class Home Inspections as soon as you’re ready to schedule an inspection.

We make it easy for you to do this online, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible to confirm the date and time.