Federal and state grants for first time home buyers are readily available if you're willing to put the time and effort into looking for them. Obviously, there are demographic groups that are better served by housing grants than others. For minority women looking to purchase their first home, grant money seems readily available. If you live in major metropolitan areas such as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, or Philadelphia, the chances of finding grants for minority women first time home buyers is even greater.
The Truth About Federal Grants
Before you begin your search for first time home buyer grants, you need to understand the truth of how federal grants work. In most cases, federal grants are not paid directly to the recipient. Instead, they are paid in lump sums to the various states who then turn around and disperse those funds. That being said, grants for minority women may come from a federal agency, but they are accessed through state first time home buyer programs.
Since you will most likely apply to a state organization for a housing grant, your state housing authority is the best place to start in looking for information about grants available in your area, or you can read our housing information by state (link above) for a good introduction to programs available. If you're a minority woman, you may not find housing grants targeted specifically at your demographic, but you should find grants targeted for minorities in general. You can still access these grants by following the application instructions provided by the state housing authority.
Private and Non-Profit Grants
There are many advocacy groups for minority women which have established charitable funds to issue grants for first time home buying. These advocacy groups will have a limited amount of funds available and will have stringent application requirements. Also be aware that these funds will not be usable in conjunction with an FHA mortgage. A 2008 law eliminated the ability to use private or non-profit gifts and grants to make down payments or cover closing costs on an FHA mortgage.
Uses of Grant Money for First Time Home Buyers
The most common use for grant money given to first time home buyers is to pay closing costs or cover the down payment. Grants for minority women first time home buyers are no exception. These grants typically don't exceed $8,000 to $10,000, and probably will not cover a full 20% down payment. They're intended to be a supplement rather than a substitute.
In addition, there are some federal and state grants that can be used for rehab projects. This is especially important for minority women and others who are willing to buy a less expensive home in need of repair. The rehab money can be used for repairs and remodeling projects which will, in turn, increase the value of the property. After living in the home for a specified amount of time, the owner can sell it at a decent profit. Rehab grants are great idea for those willing to put the time and effort into fixing up a home.
Minority women interested in becoming first time home buyers have access to several federal, state, private, and non-profit grant programs. A quick Internet search will get you started on the road to finding a grant that suits your needs. You might want to check women's advocacy groups for further support in your home buying journey.