Red Rock Canyon, Lake Tahoe and the Mojave Desert – welcome to Nevada. While the Silver State is known for Sin City and a booming tourism industry, it’s also a stunning state with endless sunshine, some of the lowest taxes in the country and plenty of housing options. Are you a first-time homebuyer ready to put down roots in Nevada?
We weren’t kidding about Nevada’s many perks: meteorologists estimate that the state is bathed in sunshine more than 300 days a year. Plus, there is no state income tax, and its ratio of population to size is pretty low, meaning there’s plenty of space to go around.
But acquiring a piece of the real estate pie takes some work for first-time homebuyers. You’ll need to navigate securing a home loan, saving up for a down payment and preparing for monthly mortgage payments.
If you’re a first-time homebuyer in Nevada, help is on the way! Statewide and local homeownership assistance programs are great resources to help you with all the major components of buying your first home, from setting you up with a low-interest, fixed-rate mortgage to even covering a portion of your down payment and closing costs.
Continue reading to learn more about these programs, their eligibility requirements and how to apply.
Who Qualifies as a First-Time Homebuyer in Nevada?
For a quick clarification, a first-time homebuyer in Nevada is defined as any family or individual who has never owned a home, or at least not in the past three years – depending on the region. Some local programs, for example, suggest residents are still eligible if they haven’t owned a home in the past three years or longer. It’s worth waiting it out if you’re nearing the three-year mark because these programs provide a significant financial incentive.
As always, when you’re doing your research, read the fine print and any limitations listed below.
And here’s some good news: all statewide programs described below aren’t restricted to first-time homebuyers! The emphasis is on helping low-income families, active duty military personnel and veterans, as well as teachers across Nevada with the biggest purchase of their lives.
Statewide Homeownership Assistance Programs
Every state has its official housing authority that offers a series of homebuyer programs to help residents purchase a home. In Nevada, it’s the Nevada Housing Division, and the organization calls its slate of assistance programs the “home of free money” to low- and middle-income Nevadans who need that financial boost.
The NHD’s programs are tailored to help first-time homebuyers, repeat homebuyers, military personnel and veterans and teachers across the state.
Along with the NHD is the Nevada Rural Housing Authority, which runs a slate of programs, including a Mortgage Credit Certificate. Since 2006, the NRHA has provided over $51 million in down payment assistance.
Here’s a closer look at each program’s details, how to apply as well as the fine print.
NHD Home Is Possible Program
Home Is Possible with the NHD’s flagship program, and it’s pretty generous. For starters, it provides 30-year fixed-rate mortgages set below market interest rates. Paired with your home loan, it is an option for you to receive up to five percent of your loan value in “bonus” money; this cash should be allocated for a down payment and closing costs.
There is no first-time homebuyer requirement so repeat homebuyers across the state are eligible, too.
To be eligible, you must not own property at the time of closing, and because the program is aimed at helping low- and middle-income households you must meet income limits set by your county. Your home’s purchase price must not exceed $548,250 regardless of where you’re buying in Nevada. Finally, it must be your primary residence.
Homebuyers must have a credit score of at least 640 and must meet standard underwriting requirements. You’ll also need to complete a homebuyers’ education course, which is a standard protocol for many of these state homeownership assistance programs. The NHD makes this an easy to follow step with free online courses that can be completed at your own pace. You can sign up for the online course here.
There is a one-time fee of $755 that’s paid at closing, but you’ll earn that expense back through your five percent down payment assistance.
NHD Home Is Possible For Heroes
Are you an active duty military service person or veteran? The Nevada Housing Division created a homebuyer program specifically for you.
In this case, homebuyers can receive a below-market fixed interest rate on a 30-year home loan. Overall, your monthly mortgage payments will be lower because of your lower interest rate.
This is a statewide program available to veterans who have been honorably discharged, military personnel in the National Guard, surviving spouses, and anyone on active military duty.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a first-time homebuyer or repeat homebuyer – both groups are welcome to apply. The only catch is you must not own any other property at the time of closing.
Homebuyers must have an income below $98,500 and your home purchase price must be below $548,250 regardless of where it is situated in Nevada. Finally, your home must be used as your primary residence.
Make sure your credit is in good shape, too – the NHD requires a minimum credit score of 640. You’ll also need to clear standard underwriting requirements.
This Home Is Possible offshoot still comes with a $755 fee and a requirement to complete a homebuyer’s education course. You can sign up for the online course here.
Check out the full details for the Home Is Possible for Heroes website.
Home Is Possible For Teachers
The Nevada Housing Division offers a program specifically designed to say thanks to the state’s teachers for their dedication in educating young minds.
Home Is Possible For Teachers is similar to the programs above, providing a below-market fixed-rate 30-year mortgage to help educators secure a great home loan.
Another perk is that it provides eligible teachers with $7,500 in bonus money to help with down payment and closing costs. The funding is provided in a loan that’s forgiven after five years.
There’s no first-time homebuyer requirement. Instead, you must be a licensed full-time K-12 public school classroom teacher in Nevada.
You must have a qualifying income below $98,500 and your home’s purchase price must be below $548,250. You must have a credit score of between 640 and 660 depending on the type of home loan you’re requesting.
Just like the programs above, teachers must pay a one-time fee of $755, meet underwriting requirements, and complete a homebuyers’ education course.
Read more about Home Is Possible For Teachers on its official program page.
NRHA Home At Last Homeownership Program
If you’re shopping for a home in rural Nevada, the Nevada Rural Housing Authority is a great resource. The Home At Last program provides “customized” assistance programs starting with a 30-year first mortgage with a fixed interest rate.
Your home loan is then paired with down payment assistance worth up to five percent of your home’s purchase price to a maximum of $25,000. The down payment assistance is provided in the form of a three-year second mortgage that’s completely forgiven as long as your home has been your primary residence for the first three years.
You can also check on whether your home falls into the rural category here. It’s definitely worth checking out; the NRHA notes that the program is available in every county in Nevada and that many people are surprised to learn their local area is eligible.
Sparks, Enterprise, Mountain Edge, Southern Highlands, Whitney, Winchester, and Summerlin South are all eligible, for example.
NRHA Mortgage Credit Certificate
Not all states’ housing authorities provide MCCs – luckily for homebuyers in Nevada – the NRHA does.
The MCC provides eligible homebuyers a non-refundable federal income tax credit used with your mortgage. In a nutshell, it reduces your federal income taxes, creating additional income for you to use towards your mortgage payments and other expenses.
Qualified homebuyers can credit up to 30 percent of their annual mortgage interest paid against their year-end tax liability. The tax credit is allowable every year for the life of your original mortgage (up to 30 years).
The MCC can only be issued by the NRHA through a participating lender before closing and they’re typically set aside for low- to moderate-income homebuyers. Household income limits, and purchase price limits still apply.
The housing authority encourages homebuyers to double- and even triple-dip where possible. If you can secure an initial Home At Last home loan, and Down Payment Assistance, you can see if you qualify for an MCC too. At the end of the day, this trio of incentives could lead to tens of thousands of dollars saved over the lifetime of your home loan.
Read more about the Mortgage Credit Certificate on the NRHA website.
NRHA Housing Choice Voucher Homeownership Program
In 2005, the NRHA launched the Housing Choice Voucher Homeownership Program, which is focused on helping families who are renting get onto the property ladder.
If families are receiving a rental subsidy, they can apply to transfer that funding towards a mortgage instead.
The voucher amount depends on how much you receive at present for your rental subsidy. Income limits apply, and eligible applicants must complete a homebuyer’s education course to prepare for the financial responsibilities heading their way as homeowners.
Read more about the Housing Choice Voucher Program here.
Rural Nevada Development Corporation Down Payment Assistance Program
The RVDA is the third organization providing homeownership assistance programs to Nevadans. Its Down Payment Assistance Program provides eligible homebuyers with up to $10,000 to help cover your down payment, closing costs, and other expenses like an appraisal, title search, escrow fees, document preparation and inspection costs.
The funding is provided in a deferred loan that’s interest-free. You have to repay the loan with you sell your home or finish paying off your first mortgage.
Homebuyer Programs by Location in Nevada
While the statewide programs listed above can give you a leg up on your journey to homeownership, there are local homebuyer assistance programs across Nevada worth doing your research on too.
Read more for our list of local programs.
If you’re thinking of setting roots in Gardnerville, the city runs a First-Time Homebuyer program, providing qualifying homebuyers with up to five percent of their home loan amount in free grant money. The cash is supposed to help you with your down payment and closing costs.
Your home must be under $400,000 and within Gardnerville city limits. You must also have a credit score of at least 640 and an annual income that’s below $95,500.
Read more about the program on the city of Gardnerville’s website.
Homebuyers with their sights set on Henderson should look into the city’s First-Time Homebuyer program. It provides an interest-free deferred loan worth up to six percent of your home’s purchase price or $10,000, whichever is less. The cash can be used for your down payment and closing costs.
The program will even loan you up to $35,000 for home repairs. It’s worth mentioning that these loans must be repaid when you sell your home or pay ff your mortgage.
To be eligible, you must have lived or worked in Henderson for at least one year before applying. You also must not have owned a home in the last 3 years.
As always, a homebuyers’ education course is required, and your income must be at or below 80 percentof your area’s annual median income.
Applicants must also make a minimum investment of $1,500 toward the purchase of their home.
Read more about Henderson’s First-Time Homebuyer program here.
Are you shopping for a home in Las Vegas? The Neighborhood Housing Services of South Nevada – initially called North Las Vegas Housing Services – has a Down Payment Assistance program available. It provides those who qualify with a percentage of the home’s purchase price in a second mortgage.
Eligible homebuyers must complete an eight-hour online homebuyers’ education course that will walk you through the basics of how to purchase a home.
The NHSSN also provides one-on-one counseling with homeownership consultants. You can take advantage of this if you need help with credit issues, mortgage options, and any other challenges you may encounter during your homebuying process.
Post-purchase counseling and foreclosure counseling are also available.
Check out the full slate of programs on the Neighborhood Housing Services’ official website.
Ready to Buy a Home in Nevada?
Whether you’re shopping for a home in Reno or you’re thinking of buying a home in Las Vegas, there is no shortage of housing options in the Silver State. The real estate market in Nevada is vast – you can zero in on homes tucked away in beautiful desert vistas, in the thick of busy tourist hubs, or cozy homes nestled in small towns.
And wherever you decide to hunker down, there are multiple programs to help you secure your home purchase.
The links on this site were researched by NewHomeSource. This is as cohesive a list as possible. Individual homebuyers should contact entities to fully understand requirements and processes.
Carmen Chai is an award-winning Canadian journalist who has lived and reported from major cities such as Vancouver, Toronto, London and Paris. For NewHomeSource, Carmen covers a variety of topics, including insurance, mortgages, and more.