First-Time Homebuyer Assistance Programs for 2024 in South Carolina

Last Updated on August 23, 2023 by Hannah Stevens

Mortgage Assistance for Homebuyers in South Carolina

SC Housing Homebuyer Program

South Carolina’s Homeownership Program provides a fixed-interest mortgage at a competitive rate to income-eligible homebuyers to make home ownership more affordable.

Available Assistance

The Homeownership Program offers low-interest loans and down payment assistance. This is subject to availability. DPA is available up to $6,000 and are for closing costs, down payment and/or prepaid items. This can be in the form of a second mortgage, with either a 10-year term or a 20-year term. However, the terms vary depending on your household income. Then, applicants below 80% AMI are eligible for the 10-year term and applicants above 80% will be eligible for the 20-year term. But the good thing is, this loan is zero-interest and there are no monthly payments. To receive full forgiveness of the loan, the borrower must live in the property for at least the term (10-20 years).

Eligibility Requirements

All applicants who are first-time homebuyers and have never owned a home before must meet the eligibility requirements for the Homeownership program. But the type of lender will have different requirements regarding credit scores and down payments.

  • FHA: 3.5% down, a minimum credit score of 620
  • USDA: 100% LTV USDA RHS loans available, a minimum credit score of 640.
  • VA: LTV VA loans available, a minimum credit score 640.

Property Guidelines

All property purchased using program funds must be the applicant’s primary residence. It must also be in South Carolina. There are only eligible property types such as: stick-built single-family dwellings, off-frame modular homes, patio/townhomes, and FHA-approved or conventional-approved condominiums.

Homebuyer Assistance Program

South Carolina’s Homebuyer Assistance Program assists potential homeowners in purchasing their first home. Then it provides up to $5,000 in down payments and/or closing costs assistance.

Available Assistance

The program provides up to $5,000 in closing costs assistance and down payment assistance for qualified first-time homebuyers with low and moderate incomes. However, the assistance will be given on a first-come basis and in the form of a deferred forgivable loan. But this loan requires prorated repayment if the applicant moves out of their primary residence within five year of grant award.

Eligibility Requirements

The qualifying home buyers must be employed and have income documentation. They must also participate in the Affordable Housing Counseling Program and the Education Program. They must be first-time homebuyers and have not owned a house for three years before applying.

Property Guidelines

Property purchased using program funds must be the applicant’s primary residence. It must also be within the County of Lexington (Batesburg-Leesville, Cayce, Chapin, Gaston, Gilbert, Irmo, Leesville, Oak Grove, Pelion, Pine Ridge, Red Bank, Seven Oaks, South Congaree, Springdale, Summit, Swansea). Then the sale price of an existing property cannot exceed $146,000 or $227,000 for a brand new one. It must also appraise at least for the purchase price. The purchased property must also meet the Section 8 Housing Quality Standards (HQS). To also ensure compliance with quality standards, the County of Lexington will have a professional inspector inspect all properties.

Income Limits

  • 1-person household: $38,600
  • 2-person household: $44,100
  • 3-person household: $49,600
  • 4-person household: $55,100
  • 5-person household: $59,550
  • 6-person household: $63,950
  • 7-person household: $68,350
  • 8-person household: $72,750

Homeownership Program

South Carolina State Housing Finance and Development Authority (SC Housing) recognizes that not everyone can afford large down payments and make homeownership dreams a reality. Therefore, SC Housing created the Homeownership Program. This program provides low-to-moderate income borrowers with both a fixed-rate mortgage at a competitive rate, and down payment assistance.

Borrowers may be eligible for the Homeownership Program to receive one of these down payment assistance options:

Repayable Down Payment Assistance

SC Housing provides eligible applicants with $6,000 in down payment assistance, in the form of a second mortgage, which is repayable. This alternative is available for borrowers earning more than 80% of the median income. It can be for financing a new home. This mortgage has a 10-year term with a fixed rate of interest at 2%. The loan’s repayment starts the same month that the first mortgage begins, and continues concurrently for 10 years. In addition to the SC Housing first mortgage requirements, all borrowers must comply with the Repayable DPA Sales Price and Income Limits.
This is similar to the Down Payment first-time homebuyer assistance programs in Rhode Island.

Forgivable Down Payment Assistance

This program provides assistance to borrowers whose income is below 80% of the median household income. SC Housing provides $6,000 assistance in the form of a 10-year, forgivable, second mortgage to qualified borrowers. It also does not have to be repaid; there is no interest and no monthly payment. Additionally, the assistance will be fully forgiven as long as the borrowers remain in the home for at least 10 years. All borrowers must also meet the SC Housing first mortgage requirements, and the Forgivable DPA Sales Price and Income Limits.

Richland County Home Ownership Assistance

Richland County Homeownership Assistance Program’s goal is to help with closing costs and down payments to make homeownership in unincorporated Richland County.

Available Assistance 

The Richland County Community Development, RCHAP program’s goal is to provide homeownership opportunities to households with low-to-moderate incomes. Then, assistance is given as forgivable loans, up to $10,000, which are available for down payment and/or closing costs to purchase a single-family home. This assistance is a deferred, forgivable, second mortgage. The loan will be forgiven if the approved applicants reside in the home for five (5) years after closing. However, if homes of the applicants do not serve as their primary residence for 5 years, the assistance must be repaid according to a prorated formula. The maximum loan amount is $10,000.

Eligibility Requirements 

  • applicant must be a resident of South Carolina;
  • after completing the program requirements, you cannot have a contract on a house;
  • applicant must be a qualified household with low to moderate income, the program uses the 80% limit (shown below);
  • it must be a single-family detached house in an unincorporated area within Richland County;
  • all properties selected must have been built after 1978;
  • every property must pass a rigorous inspection to ensure it is safe, livable, and not in need of immediate repairs;
  • maximum purchase price: current home price is $155,000, and new construction is $238,000

Income Limits 

  • 1-person household: $40,700 
  • 2-person household: $46,500 
  • 3-person household: $52,300 
  • 4-person household: $58,100 
  • 5-person household: $62,750 
  • 6-person household: $67,400 
  • 7-person household: $72,050 
  • 8-person household: $76,700 

Are you interested in the First-Time Homebuyer Assistance Programs in South Dakota?