I’ve owned a home before. Do I qualify as a first-time homebuyer?

It may seem obvious that if you’ve never owned a home, you are considered a “first-time” homebuyer. However, did you know that even if you’ve owned a home before, you might still qualify for first-time homebuyer (FTHB) programs? If you have questions about the “who, what and where” of FTHB, we have the answers!

Who qualifies as a first-time homebuyer more than once?

Even if you’ve previously owned a home, mortgage programs and down payment assistance programs may still consider you a “first-time” homebuyer if you fit one or more of these conditions.

  1. Previous homeownership

If you’re “an individual who has had no ownership in a principal residence during the 3-year period ending on the date of purchase of the property,” you’re a first-time homebuyer as defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. So it only makes sense that you should know what your credit score is before applying. To find your score, take advantage of the free report. Married couples may qualify even if only one meets this requirement.1

  1. Divorced parents

If you’re a divorced or separated parent, and the only primary residence you’ve ever owned was with your ex-spouse.2

  1. Mobile home and RV ownership

If you’ve owned a primary residence within three years, “but the primary residence you owned has not been permanently attached to something like a foundation (such as a mobile home or RV).”3

  1. Damaged property owners

If you’ve only owned property that has sustained damage as such “that was not in compliance with local building code ordinances and which cannot be improved to meet building code standards for less than the cost of constructing a new residence.”4

  1. Displaced homemakers

If you’re a “displaced homemaker whose only previous ownership was with a spouse.”5 The Department of Housing and Urban Development  defines a displaced homemaker as an adult who “has not worked full-time, full-year in the labor force for a number of years but has, during such years, worked primarily without remuneration to care for the home and family; and is unemployed or underemployed and is experiencing difficulty in obtaining or upgrading employment.”6


1HUD HOC Reference Guide First-Time Homebuyers – U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

2FHA First-Time Homebuyer Definition – SFGATE

3First Time Home Buyer FAQ – Redfin

4Are You A First-Time Home Buyer? Be Aware Of These Mortgage Programs – Forbes

5Are You A First-Time Home Buyer? Be Aware Of These Mortgage Programs – Forbes

6ELIGIBILITY UNDER FIRST-TIME HOMEBUYER PROGRAMS – The Department of Housing and Urban Development


The above information is for educational purposes only. All information, loan programs & interest rates are subject to change without notice. All loans subject to underwriter approval. Terms and conditions apply.