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 Your Expert Guide To 

Government Loan Programs

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What is a government loan program?

A government loan program, such as those offered by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), provides financial assistance to specific groups of borrowers to help them achieve homeownership.

FHA loans are designed to support lower- and moderate-income individuals by offering more lenient credit requirements and lower down payments, making homeownership more accessible.

VA loans, on the other hand, cater to eligible veterans, active-duty service members, and certain members of the National Guard and Reserves. These loans offer significant benefits, including no down payment, no private mortgage insurance (PMI), and competitive interest rates.

Both FHA and VA loan programs aim to make homeownership more attainable for those who might struggle to qualify for conventional mortgages, promoting housing stability and financial security for these groups.

What we talk about in this guide:

Government Programs

These government-insured programs typically have stricter guidelines but have looser requirements which makes them a great option for first-time home buyers and lower-income families. The Federal Housing Administration insures FHA loans and VA loans are backed by the U.S. Dept. of Veteran Affairs. Click on each loan program to view additional details, qualification requirements, and key benefits.

Government Loan Programs
Home Inspection
203h Disaster Victim


  • This program allows FHA to insure mortgages for disaster victims who lost their homes and are rebuilding or buying another home.


  • Helps victims in Presidentially-Declared Major Disaster Areas recover by facilitating easier access to mortgages.
  • Aims to assist disaster victims in becoming or re-establishing themselves as homeowners.

Type of Assistance:

  • Provides mortgage insurance to protect lenders against default risks on mortgages to disaster victims.
  • Eligible if homes are in a Presidentially-declared disaster area and were destroyed or severely damaged.
  • Insured mortgages can finance the purchase or reconstruction of a one-family home to be the principal residence.
  • Offers recovery-friendly features similar to Section 203(b) Mortgage Insurance for One to Four Family Homes.

Key Benefits:

  • No downpayment required; eligible for 100% financing.
  • Closing costs and prepaid expenses must be paid by the borrower in cash, premium pricing, or by the seller (with a 6% limitation on seller concessions).
  • Up-front insurance premium collected at purchase (may be financed) plus monthly premiums added to regular mortgage payment.


  • HUD sets limits on the amount that may be insured to serve low and moderate-income people.
  • FHA mortgage limits vary by time and location based on living costs and other factors.

Eligible Participants:

  • FHA approved lending institutions (banks, mortgage companies, savings and loan associations).

Eligible Customers:

  • Individuals whose homes were destroyed or severely damaged in a Presidentially-Declared Major Disaster Area.

Application Process:

  • Application for mortgage insurance must be submitted within one year of the disaster declaration.
  • Applications are processed through FHA approved lending institutions using "Direct Endorsement."
  • HUD's Homeownership Centers handle mortgage insurance processing and administration.
Home Inspection
203k - Rehabilitation Mortgage

Limited 203(k) Mortgage

  • Permits homebuyers and homeowners to finance up to $35,000 into their mortgage to repair, improve, or upgrade their home.
  • Homebuyers and homeowners can quickly and easily tap into cash to pay for property repairs or improvements, such as those identified by a home inspector or an FHA appraiser.
  • Homeowners can make minor remodeling and non-structural repairs, improvements, or prepare their home for sale. 
  • Homebuyers can make their new home move-in ready by remodeling the kitchen, painting the interior, or purchasing new carpet.

Standard 203(k) Mortgage

  • The Standard 203(k) program is for the major rehabilitation and repair of single-family properties.
  • The cost of the rehabilitation must be at least $5,000 but the total value of the property must still fall within the FHA mortgage limit for the area.
  • The Standard 203(k) program is an important tool for major renovations, structural additions, community, and neighborhood revitalization, as well as to expand homeownership opportunities.

This product is offered via a lender partner/broker channel. Subject to the terms and conditions of that lender, not Churchill Mortgage. Other restrictions or limitations may apply. Not all applicants will qualify. Not a commitment to lend. Terms and conditions can change without notice.

HUD Website | 203K Mortgage Programs

FHA Loan Programs
Home Inspection
FHA Good Neighbor Next Door


  • Aims to contribute to community revitalization by enabling law enforcement officers, teachers (pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade), firefighters, and emergency medical technicians to become homeowners.


  • Offers a 50% discount from the list price of the home.
  • Eligible buyers must commit to living in the property as their principal residence for 36 months.

Program Mechanics:

  • Eligible single-family homes in revitalization areas are listed exclusively for sale through this program.
  • Properties are available for purchase for seven days.

Participation Process:

  • Check listings for available homes in your state.
  • Submit your interest in purchasing a specific home as per instructions.
  • If multiple offers are received for a single home, selection is made by random lottery.
  • Participants must meet eligibility requirements for their profession and comply with HUD regulations.

Additional Requirements:

  • Sign a second mortgage and note for the discount amount, termed a "silent second."
  • No interest or payments are required on this silent second, provided the three-year occupancy requirement is fulfilled.


  • The number of available properties is limited.
  • The list of available properties changes weekly.
Home Inspection
FHA High Balance

These programs are to assist borrowers in high-income and high-cost areas to utilize FHA loan programs to purchase properties above the standard FHA loan limits.

These limits vary by state and county, and can change year-to-year as the FHFA updates them annually. 

If you're interested in a High-Balance FHA loan, talk with your loan officer to see if you fall within the local FHA loan limits.

FHA Mortgage Limits Lookup | HUD.gov

Home Inspection
FHA Manufactured Housing

This program insures mortgage loans made by private lending institutions to finance the purchase or refinancing of a new or used manufactured home. 

HUD has been providing loan insurance on manufactured homes under Title I since 1969. By protecting mortgage lenders against the risk of default, HUD's participation has encouraged them to finance manufactured homes, which had traditionally been financed as personal property through comparatively high-interest, short-term consumer installment loans. The program thereby increases the availability of affordable financing and mortgages for buyers of manufactured homes and allows buyers to finance their home purchase at a longer term and lower interest rate than with conventional loans.

Type of Assistance:
The program insures lenders against loss from default on loans. The buyer must agree to make the required downpayment and meet credit guidelines. The interest rate is negotiated between the borrower and the lender. The borrower pays an upfront insurance premium, along with an annual premium based on the declining balance of the loan. The maximum loan term is 20 years and 32 days for a single unit manufactured housing loan.

Eligible Grantees:
Private lending institutions are eligible for insurance on loans made under the program.

Eligible Customers:
All buyers who meet credit requirements and plan to use the manufactured home as their principal place of residence, are eligible for the program.

Buyers of manufactured homes may apply for a loan through a HUD-approved lender or through a lender's approved manufactured home dealer.

Funding Status:

Home Inspection
FHA Streamline


  • Streamline refinance refers to refinancing an existing FHA-insured mortgage with limited borrower credit documentation and underwriting.


  • Available in both credit qualifying and non-credit qualifying options.


  • "Streamline" refers to the reduced amount of documentation and underwriting, not the absence of transaction costs.

Basic Requirements:

  • The existing mortgage must be FHA insured.
  • The existing mortgage must be current (not delinquent).
  • The refinance must result in a net tangible benefit to the borrower, which varies based on the loan type and new loan terms.
  • Cash-out is limited to a maximum of $500.


  • Investment properties are only eligible if the borrower is a HUD-approved Nonprofit Borrower, a state and local government agency, or an Instrumentality of Government.

Lender Options:

  • Lenders may offer "no cost" refinances, where the borrower incurs no out-of-pocket expenses by accepting a higher interest rate. The higher rate covers the closing costs through the lender's premium.
Home Inspection
FHA Temporary Buydowns

Buydown programs are designed to reduce the borrowers monthly payment during the early years of the mortgage. Buydown programs can have 1-to-3 year terms, commonly listed as 1/0, 2/1, and 3/2/1 buydowns.

The seller, lender, borrower, or other interested party can fund the buydown, which temporarily lowers the rate for a set period, reducing the borrower's monthly mortgage payment. Each year, the rate increases until it matches the actual interest rate of the loan.

Churchill Mortgage calls this program Rate Relief, and you can explore the various buydown options. Try the calculator to view how much a buydown could reduce your monthly mortgage payments.

Temporary Buydowns are available for FHA loans, as long as they follow HUD guidelines.

Home Inspection
No Score - FHA, VA, and USDA

No credit score? No problem.

Getting a mortgage loan without a credit score can be downright tough – but our team is committed to making this process as easy as possible!

While most mortgage lenders don’t offer loans without a credit score, Churchill Mortgage accommodates this type of loan on a regular basis with expertise.

We work hard to make sure responsible people aren’t penalized for non-traditional credit. If you’re a Dave Ramsey listener you know that Dave hasn’t had a credit score for a long time, and is doing just fine. His plan of getting out of debt works.  At Churchill, we believe every customer deserves the real American dream of debt-free homeownership as well. Here’s a few of our most frequently asked questions about no score loans:

What do I need to get qualified if I have non-traditional credit or no credit score?

  • Typically, you must have four alternative credit tradelines with the most recent consecutive 12-month payment history from the creditor stating each were paid on time.
  • Alternative credit can be: cell phone bills, utility bills, insurance that’s paid monthly or quarterly (but not payroll deducted), school tuition, child care, or rent payments.
  • If you’re living rent-free, things get a little trickier. A conventional loan without a 12-month rental payment history will require 12 months of assets to cover your principal and interest (P&I), taxes, property, flood, and mortgage insurance premiums (also known as PITI).

How do I prepare for the underwriting process?

  • With no credit score available, an underwriter will go through all of your documentation to establish a history of payments for alternative credit.
  • Don’t look for quick answers during this process. It can take about three times longer than a normal borrower file and sometimes additional documentation will be requested.
  • Give your underwriter at least 60 days to look in to the loan risks before issuing approval. Your Home Loan Specialist is always available to give a more detailed timeline for the underwriting process and to assist writing a contract closing date.

What type of no score loan has the best chance of approval?

  • We’ve found that a 15-year fixed rate loan with a 20 percent down payment gives you the best chance for approval.
  • This type of loan eliminates the need for private mortgage insurance (PMI) and presents a lower risk to the loan servicer.

How do I protect myself during the home loan purchase while I’m waiting for a no score loan approval?

  • Don’t sign any sales contracts for a home purchase without protective contingencies to cover you in the contract.
  • Make the sale contingent upon being fully approved, otherwise all earnest money can be returned to the buyer.
  • Stay away from any 100 percent commitments until you know your loan has been “cleared to close” and there aren’t any other conditions needed.

Explore No Score Loan Programs

VA Loan Programs

The main purpose of the VA home loan program is to help veterans finance the purchase of
homes with favorable loan terms and at a rate of interest which is usually lower than the rate
charged on other types of mortgage loans. For VA housing loan purposes, the term "veteran"
includes certain members of the Selected Reserve, active duty service personnel and certain
categories of spouses. 

Home Inspection
VA 100% Financing

One of the primary benefits of VA loans is the ability to finance 100% of the purchase price. In other terms, no down payment is required, and there are limitations on closing costs, lowering the barriers and helping more people be able to purchase a home.

While the 100% financing option is available, you may want to discuss your options with a Churchill Home Loan Specialist to find the right plan that works for you - and your budget.

Home Inspection
VA High Balance

These programs assist borrowers in high-income and high-cost areas to utilize VA loan programs to purchase properties above the standard VA loan limits.

These limits vary by state and county, and can change year-to-year as the FHFA updates them annually. 

If you're interested in a High-Balance VA loan, talk with your loan officer.

Home Inspection
VA IRRRL (Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan)

Key Features:

  • Purpose: Reduces monthly mortgage payments or makes payments more stable.
  • Process: Replaces current VA-backed home loan with a new loan under different terms.
  • Advantages:
    • Lower monthly payments via reduced interest rate.
    • Stability through switching from an adjustable to a fixed interest rate.
  • Loan Limits:
    • No-down-payment loans up to Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac conforming loan limits.
    • Higher limits in some high-cost counties.
    • Option to borrow more with a down payment.
  • Consideration: Factor in closing costs, which can be substantial.


  • Must have an existing VA-backed home loan.
  • The IRRRL is used to refinance the current VA-backed loan.
  • Certification of current or prior occupancy of the home.
  • If there is a second mortgage, it must agree to remain subordinate to the new VA-backed loan.

VA.gov | IRRRL Program

VA.gov | VA Home Loan Limits

Home Inspection
VA Manufactured Housing

VA loans can be used to purchase elible manufactured and modular property types. The homes must meet HUD codes and be affixed to a permenant location.

The following property types are NOT  eligible for use with the VA loan program:

  • Singlewides
  • Condo
  • Leasehold
  • Properties located in a 100-year flood zone

To find out if your property is eligible, discuss your options with a Churchill Home Loan Specialist.

Pro's and Con's of Government Programs

 FHA Pros:  

  • Easier to qualify
  • Primary homes can be purchased with 3.5% down
  • Fixed rates are available
  • Down payment assistance programming is available
  • You also only need a small amount of cash to close on your home.

 FHA Cons:  

  • You will pay a Mortgage Insurance Premium (MIP) for a minimum of 11 years or it can be paid for the life of the loan, depending on your situation.

 VA Pros:  

  • This benefit never expires.
  • Financing is available up to 100% of a home’s value and there is no maximum loan amount.
  • There’s typically lower closing costs with this loan type due to the VA limiting fees and closing costs.
  • If you decide to pay off your mortgage early, you won’t have any extra fees associated with this.

 VA Cons:  

  • The VA loan program is a benefit that you must earn (i.e. eligible service members who have served in the U.S. military, and spouses of veterans who have died in the line of duty, etc.)
  • You have to buy a primary residence (not an investment property or a second home).
  • There is a funding fee that is required by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for most VA loans.

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

We were doubtful that we would be able to use our VA loan to relocate to another state. Churchill is knowledgeable about VA Loans and explained the conditions and helped us successfully work through the process.

Nora F
Englewood, FL
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

This is my second time working with Mason and the Churchill team. They closed a VA loan in 17 days! Absolutely amazing! I will always go to Mason and the team for my mortgage needs. Thank you for fantastic service and professionalism.

Christopher D
Granbury, TX


Frequently Asked Questions about Conventional Loan Programs

Navigating the world of mortgages and home loan programs can feel overwhelming, but understanding the basics can make the process much smoother. To help you on your journey to homeownership, we've compiled a list of frequently asked questions about mortgages and home loan programs.

Whether you're a first-time homebuyer or looking to refinance, these questions and answers are designed to provide you with the knowledge and confidence to make informed decisions about your home financing options.

What is an FHA home loan?

An FHA home loan is a mortgage insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), designed to help lower- and moderate-income borrowers qualify for homeownership. These loans typically have more lenient credit score requirements and lower down payment options compared to conventional loans, making them accessible to a broader range of buyers.

What are the benefits of an FHA loan compared to a conventional loan?

FHA loans offer several benefits, including lower down payment requirements (as low as 3.5%), more lenient credit score criteria, and the ability to include certain closing costs in the loan. Additionally, FHA loans are assumable, meaning they can be transferred to a new buyer if the home is sold, potentially offering a lower interest rate to the buyer.

What is a VA home loan?

A VA home loan is a mortgage loan guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and available to eligible veterans, active-duty service members, and certain members of the National Guard and Reserves. VA loans offer competitive interest rates, no down payment requirements, and no private mortgage insurance (PMI), making them an attractive option for those who qualify.

What are the eligibility requirements for a VA loan?

To be eligible for a VA loan, borrowers must meet specific service requirements, including a minimum period of active duty service or service in the National Guard or Reserves. Surviving spouses of veterans who died in service or from a service-connected disability may also be eligible. Borrowers need to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) from the VA to prove their eligibility.

What are the benefits of a VA loan compared to other types of mortgages?

VA loans offer several advantages, such as no down payment requirement, no private mortgage insurance (PMI), competitive interest rates, and more lenient credit standards. Additionally, VA loans often have lower closing costs, and the VA provides assistance to borrowers who may be struggling to make their mortgage payments. These benefits make VA loans an excellent option for eligible veterans and service members.

More Guides to Home Loan Programs

Explore more guides to other loan program types. If these programs don't fit your needs, look into our other guides to the other types of loan programs. To learn more about loan programs in general, you can view our Expert Guide to Home Loan Programs.                       


Other restrictions or limitations may apply. Not all applicants will qualify. Not a commitment to lend. Terms and conditions can change without notice.

We strive to provide comprehensive information about our home loan programs; however, it is important for users to understand that not all programs are available at all times or in all locations. Each loan program may have specific prerequisites or requirements that must be met in order to qualify or become eligible.

While we make every effort to ensure the accuracy and currency of the information on our website, we cannot guarantee that a particular loan program will be available when you apply. Additionally, meeting the listed criteria does not guarantee qualification for any program.

Please note that availability and eligibility for our home loan programs are subject to change without notice. We recommend contacting us directly to verify the current status and specific requirements of any program you are interested in before making any decisions based on the information provided on our website. Our team is here to help you navigate your options and find the best loan program to meet your needs.

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