4 Best Home Buying Options for Single Moms

There’s no doubt that being a single mom is challenging. There’s also no doubt that qualifying for a mortgage can be difficult even under normal circumstances.

mother and child

So for many single moms, trying to qualify for a mortgage with only one income can feel next to impossible. But as a parent, it’s normal to want to provide a comfortable home for your children.

And thankfully, there are programs available that can help you do just that. Let’s look at some of the best mortgage programs available for single moms.

Challenges Single Moms Face in Buying a Home

One of the biggest challenges that many single moms face is a lack of income. They are responsible for providing for themselves and their children on one income, and they don’t always receive child support.

This is tough because mortgage companies want to see that you have a certain amount of disposable income before they’re willing to lend to you. You need to be able to prove that you have a low debt-to-income ratio, can make your monthly payments, and have the credit to back it up.

Plus, most lenders require a downpayment between 10% and 20%. Most people struggle to come up with this kind of cash, so it can be especially challenging for a single mom.

This is probably why the National Association of Realtors found that single female buyers account for 18% of all home purchases. This figure is down from 20% in 2010. And the median purchase price for single female buyers was $189,000, which is the lowest of all median home purchases.

What are the best mortgage programs for single moms?

If you’re a single mom looking to purchase a home, there are options available to you. Listed below are the four best mortgage programs out there for single moms.

Down Payment Assistance Programs

If you’re struggling to come up with a down payment, you might consider looking into a down payment assistance program. These programs are available across the U.S., depending on your economic situation and the state you live in.

For instance, the Baltimore City Special Program gives eligible homebuyers $7,500 to assist with their down payment and closing costs. This program is designed to make buying a home feasible for more working families.

And Maine’s First Home Loan Program allows borrowers to buy a home with little to no down payment, when combined with other federal loan programs. The state also offers its Advantage program, which provides $3,500 toward closing costs.

It’s likely that your state offers a similar program, and with a little digging, you could receive assistance on your down payment.

FHA Loans

FHA loans are a popular option for first-time homebuyers who are struggling to come up with a down payment. You’ll apply for this type of loan through a bank or online lender, and the FHA guarantees the loan.

For that reason, FHA loans are less risky for lenders and they are willing to lower their standard requirements. For one thing, FHA loans only require a 3.5% down payment, which makes it much easier to save up for.

The credit requirements are also less stringent on FHA loans. Lenders typically require a credit score of at least 580, but some lenders may be willing to go as low as 500.

And FHA loans are fairly easy to qualify for. They are popular among first-time homebuyers, but you can apply for one even if you’ve taken out a mortgage before.

USDA Loans

If you’re hoping to buy a home with no down payment, you might consider taking out a USDA loan. These loans are offered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and are designed to help buyers find affordable housing in rural areas.

Don’t let the term “rural” throw you off because the USDA will approve homes in certain suburban areas as well. You can check the USDA’s property eligibility requirements to find a suitable area in your state.

The USDA does have certain guidelines you’ll need to meet to qualify for a loan. First of all, you’ll have to meet the income limits. The income limits are determined by the size of your family and your location.

And there are certain requirements your prospective home will need to meet to qualify. For starters, the home must be your primary place of residence. You cannot take out a USDA loan on a rental property.

The home must have access to a street or road, and it must have adequate utilities. New construction homes, condos, and modular homes are all eligible for purchase.

VA Loans

If you’ve previously served in the military or you’re the widow of someone who served, you may be eligible for a VA loan. If you qualify, a VA loan is one of the most affordable ways to purchase a house.

These loans are available with no down payment and low interest rates, and the government backs 100% of the loan. Plus, you don’t have to pay for primary mortgage insurance (PMI) with a VA loan.

To qualify, you must meet the minimum service requirements. And your home needs to be inspected and appraised by a licensed home inspector.

Things to Consider First

If you’re just getting started on this process, then it can feel pretty overwhelming. Here are a few things to help you stay focused and on track:

  • Determine how much you can afford: It’s important to sit down and figure out what kind of mortgage you can realistically afford. Stretching yourself too thin financially will cause problems for our family down the road.
  • Look for low down payment loans: Once you know what you can realistically afford, spend some time looking for affordable, low down payment loans. Figure out which loan program will be the best fit for you, and what you’ll need to do to apply.
  • Set a realistic savings goal: It’s likely that you’ll end up having to pay at least a small down payment. Start setting aside some money in a high-interest savings account, so you’ll earn extra in interest.

Bottom Line

While none of the programs outlined in this article are specific to single moms, hopefully, by now you can see that it’s possible to find an affordable mortgage with a low down payment. Purchasing a home as a single mom can be challenging, but it’s also very doable. Make sure you compare your options and find the program that works best for your family.

Jamie Johnson
Meet the author

Jamie Johnson is a freelance writer who has been featured in publications like InvestorPlace and GOBankingRates. She writes about a variety of personal finance topics including student loans, credit cards, investing, building credit, and more.