5 Helpful First-time Homebuyer Programs

VA loans
VA loans allow veterans and service people to buy a house with no money down. LucieHolloway/iStock/Thinkstock

One perk of serving, or having served, the U.S. is that you may be eligible for a Veterans Affairs (VA) loan. Specifically, service members, veterans, National Guard and Reserve members and eligible surviving spouses may take advantage of this program, providing they meet certain service and income requirements. VA loans work much like FHA loans. You obtain them through a local lender, and a portion of the loan is backed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs should you default. This means the lender can give you good rates, and it's not as difficult to qualify for a loan [source: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs].

VA loans may be one of the best deals out there. Eligible borrowers sometimes don't have to put anything down on the house – an incredible perk, since traditional mortgages can require as much as 20 percent of the home's purchase price as a down payment. Additionally, since the Veterans Administration is backing part of your VA loan, lenders don't require you to purchase PMI insurance, which can save you hundreds of dollars each month [source: Military].