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I'm a first-time homebuyer, and I don't have a lot of cash to put down on a house. What type of mortgage would be best for me?

If you are a first-time homebuyer and don't have a lot of money for a down payment on a home, you may want to consider obtaining a mortgage through a government mortgage lending program such as those offered through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and the Department of Veterans Affairs, formerly known as the Veterans Administration (VA). Generally, these types of mortgage programs are an excellent choice for first-time homebuyers with moderate incomes, because the interest rates are set below current rates and little or no down payment is required. Consult your mortgage lender to see if you are eligible for either an FHA or VA mortgage.

In addition to government mortgage lending programs, many mortgage lenders offer special programs for first-time homebuyers that require little or no down payment. Shop around and compare the mortgage rates and terms that various lenders offer to find a mortgage that is geared toward first-time homebuyers.

Another option for individuals who have little or no down payment for a home is a rent with option to buy arrangement. A rent with option to buy arrangement allows you to rent a home for a certain period of time (usually three years) while you accumulate a down payment. At the end of the lease term, you have the option to purchase the home for a specified price. While you rent the home, part of each rent payment is credited toward the purchase price of the house, in effect creating a down payment.