First-time homebuyers, especially those who have the flexibility to relocate, get excited! There are numerous financial opportunities that may help make your homeownership dreams a reality much sooner than you think if you are willing to pick up and move to a new area. Here’s what you should know if you are willing to consider this possibility.
Get Paid to Move
Throughout the country, there are communities both large and small, and even entire states, that offer serious financial incentives to attract people with the necessary skills to strengthen and diversify the local economy. Rural regions, along with many urban areas, have experienced decades-long population declines. To combat this, they have created programs worth exploring.
For instance, Harmony, Minnesota, a small community in southeastern Minnesota farm country, offers cash rebates of $5,000 to $12,000 on new home construction. While it may seem remote, it boasts a diverse economy and is only 50 minutes from the Mayo Clinic and rather large employers like IBM and McNeilus. In addition, there are numerous recreational opportunities, including boating, fishing, camping, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, hiking, biking, and much more. Harmony is also among the municipalities that have no residency requirement.
City and State Incentives
Marne, Iowa: Within commuting distance of both Omaha and Des Moines, is looking to bulk up by offering a free lot in exchange for building a new home on the site.
Illinois: The Illinois Housing Development Agency offers up to $7,500 cash assistance and closing costs for first-time homebuyers in the state if buying in select counties.
Alaska: Because of its size and remote location, Alaska often has not only housing incentives but job incentives as well. There are a vast number of home-purchase programs available, which cover a range of circumstances, from homes for caretakers and professional health care workers to those for first-time homebuyers.
Colorado: A beautiful state, ideal for people who enjoy the outdoors, has programs to help homeowners, as well as a down payment assistance program (up to 4% of the purchase price) that doesn’t require repayment.
While these types of incentive programs sound very appealing, finding them requires a little online research and some introspection regarding lifestyle choices.
Help for Those with Student Loan Debt
A recent survey found 71 percent of student loan borrowers, who aren’t homeowners, believe their student loans keep them from purchasing a home. With this in mind, other programs are cropping up to help these prospective buyers afford homes.
Kansas, for example, now offers student loan repayment assistance totaling up to $15,000 for degree-holding individuals who purchase homes in one of the state’s 77 Rural Opportunity Zones. Other municipalities, including many in California, have programs offering forgiveness for specific job skills, including many in health care. The city of Memphis has a Student Loan Reduction Program, which provides an additional $50 per month toward paying off the student loan debt of full-time city employees.
Answering the Call
The variety and number of relocation programs can take you places you might never have thought to go. Looking at them through the window of potential homeownership can greatly improve your view toward its affordability. The next move is up to you!