South Carolina First-Time Homebuyer Programs

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SC Housing Homebuyer Program

The South Carolina Housing Administration created homebuyer programs that make the dream of buying a home a reality. Offering up to $8,000 in forgivable financial assistance that can be used towards the down payment and/or closing costs on a new home purchase. Read more


  • Up to $8,000 to be used towards the down payment
  • DPA with a 0% interest rate and no monthly payments
  • DPA in the form of a second lien with 10 or 20-year terms based on household income
  • Income at or below 80% Area Median Income (AMI), the term is 10 years
  • Income above 80% AMI, the term is 20 years. If the borrower(s) remain in the home for the full term, the lien is forgiven


  • Be a first-time homebuyer (not having owned a property within the last 3 years)
  • The maximum home price is $325,000
  • Minimum 620 credit score
  • Borrower must meet the qualifications for the first mortgage under SC Housing’s programs
  • Must complete a homebuyer course

Palmetto Home Advantage

Palmetto Home Advantage offers conventional, FHA, VA, and USDA loan options for first-time, move-up, and repeat buyers with no first-time homebuyer requirements for new and existing homes across all 46 counties in South Carolina. The program offers forgivable down payment assistance of 0%, 3%, or 4% of the loan amount with no monthly payment.

  • FHA loans are available on both single-family and two-unit owner-occupied properties
  • FHA loans up 96.5% Loan-to-Value (LTV) FHA 203k LIMITED Loan – up to $35,000 in non-structural repairs
  • VA and USDA loans with 100% financing

Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC)

The SC Mortgage Tax Credit is a Mortgage Credit Certificate (“MCC”) program administered by the South Carolina State Housing Finance and Development Authority (SC Housing) that provides a federal income tax credit to qualified homebuyers of up to $2,000 per calendar year. It allows the homebuyer to reduce the amount of federal income taxes owed by allowing a federal income tax credit for interest paid on the mortgage loan.

National First-Time Homebuyer Loan Programs

  • FHA LoansFHA home loans are very popular with first-time homebuyers cause they require a 580 credit score with just a 3.5% down payment. Debt-to-income ratios up to 50% are allowed making them perfect for low-income borrowers.
  • Conventional LoansConventional loans require a 620 credit score and a 5% to 20% down payment. If you put 20% or more down, mortgage insurance will not be required.
  • USDA LoansUSDA mortgage loans are for low-to-median income borrowers buying a home located in a USDA-eligible rural area. They provide 100% financing with a 620 or higher credit score. Mortgage insurance is required but the rate is the lowest of any type of mortgage program available.
  • VA Loans – Veterans of the U.S. military may be eligible for a VA home loan. No down payment or mortgage insurance is required and veterans with a 580 to 620 credit score are eligible.
  • HomeReady and Home Possible Loans – Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae created the HomeReady and Home Possible loan programs for low-income first-time homebuyers whose income does not exceed 100% of the area median income requiring just a 3% down payment and a 620 credit score.


Helpful Resources


Statewide and Regional Programs

Getting Started

Buying a Home

Owning and Maintaining Your Home

Other South Carolina Resources

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