Could I Qualify as a First Time Home Buyer After My Divorce?

by Renee Senes, CDFA

Could I Qualify as a First Time Home Buyer After My Divorce?

Recently I had a wonderful opportunity to attend an informative meeting with Angelo S. Nuby, Business Development Officer for the Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency. I learned so much and the piece that I want to pass along to you in this blog post is –
You CAN be a first time home buyer even if you have already owned a house!

This is wonderful news for people going through a divorce because financing for 1st time home buyers could mean the difference between you being able to purchase a new home or renting for the foreseeable future.

Let’s take this piece by piece and see how you might be able to use this:

Who is a 1st time home buyer?
A 1st time home buyer, contrary to what you may think, is not simply someone who has never owned a home. Rather, it is someone who has had no interest in real estate in the past 3 years. Therefore, if in your divorce, you have sold your house, or you deeded your house to your ex spouse as part of the settlement, you may be able to start the clock ticking on that 3 year period.

Why is it preferable to be a 1st time home buyer?
Unlike a conventional mortgage, which may require a 20% down payment, a loan through MassHousing only requires a 3% down payment. On a home selling for $350,000 that’s the difference between coming up with $70,000 vs. $10,500.

Are there eligibility requirements?
• You meet the definition, above, of a 1st time home buyer – the 3 year rule
• You may be eligible if your gross income is under $126,900
• There is no asset test
• You are able to qualify for a conventional mortgage (FYI – your mom can’t co-sign for you)

What should I do next?
MassHousing requires that all participants in their program complete a 1st time homebuyers class

For more information please go to

Renee is also a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA), a financial neutral and a trained mediator.

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