General Mortgage Loan Info
South Carolina includes many popular cities, such as Charleston, Myrtle Beach, and Columbia. The state also offers first-time homebuyer assistance programs, both in terms of down payment assistance and tax credits. The availability and qualifications can vary, so check with your lender to determine your eligibility.
SC Housing (South Carolina State Housing Finance and Development Authority) is a state agency working to finance or support affordable housing options throughout the state. This includes down payment assistance to help individuals and families become homeowners. They also help to manage federally funded housing programs within the state, geared to assisting homebuyers.
VA Loans in South Carolina
A VA loan is made by private lenders, but guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs, so your lender needs to be licensed in South Carolina. The VA loan program also offers a $0 money-down benefit, which can help veterans who might not have the ability to bring a large down payment to the closing table. As of January 1, 2020, VA borrowers with their full VA loan entitlement are not restricted by VA loan limits. Thus, you can borrow as much as the lender is willing to lend you without having a down payment. If you do not have your full VA loan entitlement, then you will be bound by South Carolina’s VA loan limits, which can vary by county. Some VA buyers in South Carolina may also be eligible for a property tax exemption if you meet one of the following conditions:
- If you are 100% disabled veteran, then you could qualify for a full property tax exemption.
- A property tax deferral exists for eligible veterans 65 and over or those that are totally and permanently disabled.
These loans have no mortgage insurance premiums, low closing costs, no prepayment penalty, and lower average interest rates. You can also reuse the program for veterans with entitlement remaining. The credit score requirement will vary by lender because the VA does not set a minimum credit score requirement.
FHA Loans in South Carolina
South Carolina FHA loans are available for those with less than perfect credit and a lower down payment. The FHA loans are insured through the federal government, which lowers the risk for lenders and allows homebuyers to take advantage of low interest rates. Loan limits will vary by county. The minimum loan amount is $5,000.
With the lower down payment, however, you will have to pay MIP (mortgage insurance premiums) as part of your monthly mortgage payment. Your closing costs will also include an upfront premium (UFMIP), which can be paid at closing or rolled into the life of your loan. These loans cannot be used to purchase commercial real estate or for home flips.
USDA Loans in South Carolina
The USDA offers a program that allows you to purchase a home without any down payment. You can also finance your closing costs. The mortgage insurance, referred to as the “guarantee fee,” is typically lower than MIP insurance through the FHA. All USDA loans come with a fixed interest rate that will not adjust or fluctuate throughout the life of your loan. Another benefit is that you do not have to be a first-time home buyer. USDA home loans in South Carolina also can provide 100% financing without collateral or a down payment.
However, to qualify, you must meet the income limits and the property must be in a rural area. You also have to use the property as your primary residence. There are no exact loan limits through the USDA program, since the amount you can borrow will be based primarily on your debt-to-income ratio.