First time home buyers can save big in South Carolina

Are you looking to buy a home in South Carolina? There are multiple ways you can save money, get help with a downpayment, or obtain a favorable mortgage loan.

By Jon Buerkert

It’s exciting to shop for a house, but it may be exhausting as well, especially for first-time buyers who may be unfamiliar with all the research that goes into it. 

Finding the best lender and the lowest interest rate is a good start, but don’t stop there! SC State Housing Finance and Development Authority offers first-time buyers several exciting programs, let’s take a look at some of them:

  1. The Mortgage Credit Certificate provides savings of up to $2,000 each year of homeownership.
  2. The Homebuyer Program offers low down payments plus down payment assistance for those with at least a 620 credit score.
  3. The Palmetto Home Advantage Program is designed for people in specific professions, such as teachers and police officers. It helps with forgivable down payment assistance (you don’t have to pay it back if you follow the rules). If your income is $87,500 or less, you may want to consider this program; unfortunately, it ended in 2018, but it’s worth checking as it may return soon.
  4. The Hardest Hit Fund assists with a downpayment in parts of Richland, Lexington and Sumter counties, offering $15,000 in forgivable down payment.

Rules vary among these programs, and not everyone will qualify or meet the requirements based on their income, credit score or location. Charleston County, for example, with the state’s highest home prices, is one county where the home-price limits in programs mentioned above can be a challenge. The city of Charleston runs a Homeownership Initiative of its own, which is another way first-time buyers can potentially find a great deal.

If you are shopping for a home in SC, you should visit the and learn more about the above programs.

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