When deciding whether to buy HUD housing or apply for aid through a government rental assistance program, it is important to review the program guidelines and processes.

There are many advantages to buying your own home, but the home buying process can be daunting and expensive, especially if you are a first-time buyer. While HUD housing assistance can be helpful when searching for loan opportunities and affordable homes for sale, you are still obligated to ensure you meet the financial obligations of owning your own home, first.

Looking for low income apartments for rent may be the best option for your family and you, if you are not ready to buy just yet. Learning more about the income eligibility guidelines, and the assistance available through government programs, is an important step in obtaining affordable housing.

To find out more about Section 8 rentals, and how to decide if you are ready to buy a home, review the following information provided below.

Getting on the Section 8 Housing List

You may want to take the steps necessary to get on the Section 8 housing list, if you do not feel you are ready to purchase a home. This may be the best decision for your family and you, if you:

  • Do not have money for a down payment.
  • Have a low credit score, and cannot obtain an affordable loan.
  • Cannot make a long-term financial obligation.

Before assuming you will obtain assistance as soon as you complete your Section 8 housing application, it is important to understand more about the process.

Reviewing the eligibility criteria and the rental process, including a realistic timeline for obtaining assistance, can help you to choose whether this rental assistance program is best for your situation.

Eligibility Criteria for Section 8 Rentals

To be eligible to obtain Section 8 housing for rent, you must meet the criteria set by your local public housing authority (PHA). These qualifications relate to the amount of income your household earns, and your family size.

When you complete an application, you must provide information on all household members and the income earned by each. If your income exceeds the income limits set for your family size, you may not be eligible for the Section 8 rental program, unless you qualify for an exception.

It is also important to note that there are specific Section 8 rentals from which you must choose, if you are eligible for the rental assistance program. The rental home you choose must meet certain criteria set by the PHA, including its size and the basic amenities it offers.

Your household members and you must also meet the qualifications set by your potential landlord to rent the home. For example, a landlord may offer Section 8 housing for rent, but only if no one in your household has been convicted of a violent crime in the past three years.

Completing a Section 8 Housing Application

Before you can look for low income apartments for rent through the Section 8 program, you must complete an application with your local PHA. During the application process, you will be required to provide information on all household members, including their:

  • Names.
  • Dates of birth.
  • Social Security Numbers (SSNs).
  • Citizenship statuses.

The number of household members helps the PHA to determine the income limits your household must meet, in order to be eligible for assistance.

If you are eligible, the number of family members living in your household also allows the PHA to calculate the size of the rental home you will need, and the vouchers provided.

You may be placed on a Section 8 housing list if you are eligible for assistance. In many areas, there are more eligible candidates for Section 8 rentals than there are funds available, so a waiting list is formed.

The length of time you wait to obtain assistance may vary, depending on the demand in your area, and whether you qualify for local preferences.

Buying HUD Housing

If you are interested in purchasing a home on a low income, HUD housing assistance may help you to afford a property suitable for you. The HUD has a listing of homes for sale that are offered below market value, due to homeowners defaulting on their FHA loans.

Since the HUD wants to sell these homes quickly, they are listed at more affordable prices for low-income families. While these homes are sold as-is, with no repairs made, you may be able to find a larger home with more features that is still within your budget.

Similar to homes listed by the HUD, there are also VA homes for sale that were acquired by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) after foreclosure proceedings were completed. These homes are also sold without repairs, at affordable listing prices.

If you are still deciding whether to purchase HUD housing or rent a home, financing can be what determines your eligibility. The FHA and VA have financing options available for potential low-income homebuyers to ensure they can obtain loans with affordable terms.

HUD Housing Assistance Eligibility Criteria

While HUD homes may be listed below market value, you are still required to meet specific eligibility criteria to purchase them. You must prove you can purchase an HUD home with cash, or that you have already secured a loan for the purchase price of the home.

If you are a veteran, you may be able to apply for a VA loan, which may offer acceptable loan conditions, such as a low interest rate or reduced down payment.

If you decide to be taken off the Section 8 housing list to purchase a home, you may also decide to apply for an FHA loan. As a low-income household, this type of loan may appeal to you because it often requires a smaller down payment and offers less strict credit score guidelines.

The HUD Home Buying Process

You can browse through available HUD housing online, in order to find a property that meets your needs and budget.

Once you have found a home and secured financing, you must enlist the assistance of a real estate professional who is licensed to do business with the HUD. The professional will make an offer on the HUD home, on your behalf.

While HUD housing assistance does not include financing, you can review your financing options with a loan provider, in order to ensure you can afford the home. If your offer is accepted, you are responsible for providing the down payment and the monthly mortgage payment.

Your mortgage payments are sent directly to the financial institution that provided the loan, and must be made for the length of the loan term.