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Look into First-time Home Buyer Programs

A first-time home buyer program can get you lower interest rates on loans or help with down payments.

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Recently, there's been a lot of media attention around the tax credit that was offered to qualified first-time homebuyers [source: Internal Revenue Service]. Even if you're too late to get on the bandwagon for that incentive, being a first-time home buyer can have its perks. Some banks and governmental organizations offer first-time home buyers who meet certain criteria lower interest rate loans, low down payment options and even down payment assistance programs.

One particular program through the federal government that's popular with many first-time home buyers is the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan program, which usually offers smaller down payments and can be more accessible to those without perfect credit [source: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development].

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