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Fulton County, GA - First Time Home Buyer

Learn How to Get a Mortgage to Buy Your First Home in Fulton County, GA
Mortgage Program Options - Down Payment Assistance - Frequently Asked Questions

Fulton County, GA – First Time Home Buyer Programs

Are you looking to purchase your first home? Our Georgia first time home buyer programs might be the perfect solution to help you obtain the financing you need to purchase the home you desire. We provide excellent home financing options, and encourage you to compare our offered loan terms to other mortgage lenders.

Fulton County, GA – First Time Home Buyer Loans

There are 5 types of first time home buyer loans.  You may select different loan terms, such as a fixed rate or adjustable rate mortgage, and the number of years to repay the loan (such as a 30 year fixed rate mortgage).

Types of Mortgages:

  • Conventional Loans – Conventional loans offer the best loan terms to borrowers with good or excellent credit, as well as those who can afford to place a larger down payment.  If you are able to put 20% or more down, you will be able to avoid paying private mortgage insurance (PMI).  However, conventional loans also offer low down payment options, such as programs that only require 3% down.
  • FHA Loans – FHA loans are a good option for borrowers who may not be able to qualify for a conventional loan.  The qualification requirements for FHA loans are much more lenient than conventional loans.  This includes options for home buyers with credit scores as low as 500 (in order to qualify for a 3.5% down payment, you must have a credit score of at least 580).
  • USDA Loans – USDA loans provide home buyers the opportunity to purchase a home without any down payment.  These loans are intended for borrowers with low-to-moderate income.  In addition to not requiring any money down, you can also finance the closing costs into the loan.  This means you can essentially buy a home with no money out of pocket!
  • VA Loans – Active duty military members and veterans can apply for a VA loan which allows you to buy your first home without any down payment.  These loans are not available to the general public, but exclusively to military/veterans.
  • Jumbo Loans – Any loan that does not meet the conforming or FHA loan limits is a jumbo loan.  The 2019 FHA loan limits for Fulton County are as follows:  Single unit: $379,500.  Two units: $485,800.  Three units: $587,250.  Four units: $729,800.  For conforming loans, which are used for conventional and VA loans, the maximum loan limits are:  Single unit: $484,350.  Two units: $620,620.  Three units: $749,650.  Four units: $931,600.  If you want to buy a more expensive home, and have the income to qualify, we provide what are known as jumbo loans up to $2,000,000.

The above 5 types of loans are the main first time home buyer options that exist.  We can help you determine which loan is the right fit for you based on your particular needs and eligibility.

Fulton County, GA – Down Payment Assistance Programs 

First time home buyers in Fulton County may be eligible to receive down payment assistance.  This includes statewide programs, as well as a program offered exclusively in Fulton County.

Fulton County – Homestretch Down Payment Assistance Program

Fulton County offers up to $7,500 in down payment assistance.  The funds are received as a 5 year deferred payment loan with 0% interest, and no monthly payments are required.  After 5 years, the loan will be forgiven (which means that it does not need to be paid back).


  • You must be a first time home buyer.
  • You must have a credit score of at least 640 to qualify.
  • The maximum DTI ratio allowed is 43%.
  • The maximum purchase price allowed is $225,625.
  • The property must past home inspection requirements.
  • The home must be located within Fulton County (outside of the city limits of Atlanta, Sandy Springs, and Johns Creek).

Income Limits

  • 1 person: $40,150
  • 2 people: $45,900
  • 3 people: $51,600
  • 4 people: $57,350
  • 5 people: $61,950
  • 6 people: $66,500
  • 7 people: $71,100
  • 8 people: $75,700

You can learn more about this program by viewing this brochure on the Fulton County website.

Georgia Dream Homeownership Program 

The Georgia Dream Homeownership Program offers down payment assistance to first time home buyers throughout the entire state of Georgia.  There are 3 different program options.

Georgia Dream Standard Program

The standard option for the Georgia Dream Program offers $5,000 in down payment assistance.  In order to qualify, you must meet the following requirements.


  • You must be a first time home buyer (unless buying a home in specific targeted areas).
  • It is required that you complete a homebuyer education course.
  • You can not have more than $20,000 in liquid assets.
  • The maximum purchase price may not exceed $250,000.
  • You must contribute $1,000 of your own money towards your down payment or closing costs.
  • If you have 1-2 persons in your household, you must not make more than $74,000 in annual income.  For 3 or more persons, you may not make more than $84,500.

Please note that the income and purchase price limits are lower in some counties.  You may view these limits on this brochure.

Georgia Dream PEN Program 

As part of the Georgia Dream Homeownership Program (featured above), some participants are eligible to receive up to $7,500 in assistance (instead of $5,000).  This is for public protectors, educators, health care providers, and active military.  All of the program requirements are the same, but the above professionals are entitled to more money in down payment assistance.

Georgia Dream CHOICE Program 

The CHOICE DPA program has the exact same terms as the PEN program, but is for families with a disabled member who will be living in the home.  The $7,500 available in assistance does not require any payments to be made, and no interest is charged.

You can also learn even more about all 3 options for the Georgia Dream Program on the Georgia Department of Community Affairs website.

Frequently Asked Questions About Buying Your First Home

How much do I need for a down payment?
It depends on the type of loan you want.  USDA and VA loans often will not require any down payment.  FHA loans require a 3.5% down payment.  Conventional loans typically require either 3% or 5%.  If you receive down payment assistance, you may not need any money for your down payment.

What is the maximum loan amount that I can qualify for?
The amount that you will be allowed to borrow will depend mostly on your income, as well as the particular type of loan you are interested in. There are maximum loan limits for each type of mortgage program which are set at the county level. Conforming loan limits are the maximum loan amounts allowed for conventional mortgages.  FHA loans have their own loan limits.  This is not necessarily how much you can borrow though, but the maximum amount allowed in your location.  The amount that you can personal qualify for will be based upon your income, and how much debt you have.  For most loans, your monthly mortgage payment, along with your monthly debts may not exceed 43% of your income.

Can I buy a home without a real estate agent?
It depends on your state and the type of loan program.  For some states, you must use an agent.  In other states, you are not required to use a real estate agent for many loan program, such as conventional mortgages.  However, some loan types require that you use a real estate agent regardless of your location, such as USDA loans.

Do you have first time home buyer loans for bad credit?
Yes, we offer mortgage options for borrowers with bad credit. This includes FHA loans for bad credit, which you can possibly be approved with a credit score as low as 500. However, a 580 credit score is required for the 3.5% down payment. If your credit score is between 500-579, then you will need to put 10% down.

Can I buy a home if I owe tax debt?
For government-backed loans, such as FHA, VA, and USDA loans, you can buy a home with tax debt as long as you have made a payment plan with the IRS, and are not behind on the payments. Any federal debt must be in good standing in order to get a government-based mortgage. If your tax debts have moved into the status of a tax lien, this will prevent you from getting a home loan until it is resolved.

Can I buy a home if I have student loans?
As long as you are not delinquent on the student loan payments, and the monthly payments do not cause excessive debt-to-income ratios, you can still get a mortgage.

Can I buy a home without my spouse?
A common question is if you can buy a house without your wife or husband.  The short answer is yes. There are numerous reasons someone may want to exclude their spouse from a mortgage application, such as lower credit, lack of job history or income, or one spouse having excessive debt that could prevent an approval. You may be able to qualify and get a home loan without your spouse.

How do I know if I am ready and prepared to own a home?
It is critical to consider the often unexpected expenses of buying a home. This includes repairs, maintenance, and of course furnishing the home, monthly utilities, and all other expenses that are associated with homeownership. A common mistake is to just look at the difference in rent to your total mortgage payment. Almost every year, you can expect to have to pay for various upkeep to keep the property functional. This can include anything from repairing a hot water heater that broke, to landscaping, and various maintenance.

Something else financial consultants advise is that you have at least 3 months of reserves. This means that you could afford to make your new mortgage payment for at least 3 months in the event that you lose a job or have some other unforeseen circumstance that the savings would be needed for. This is not a requirement for most home loans, but it is good advice to consider.

Have more questions about buying your first home?  Give us a call at 1-800-731-3560.

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