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“Our mortgages are manually underwritten, so we look at the repayment performance history very carefully for all borrowers,” Ms. Widerman said.

SunTrust Bank offers a program similar to the CHIP loan that also is limited to loans up to $417,000.

“Borrowers can only use these loans on their primary residence and cannot own another property while buying a home with this loan,” Mr. Donnelly said. “These are portfolio loans, so we do manual underwriting, which allows us to make case-by-case decisions and to use compensating factors such as extra cash reserves that can overcome a lower credit score. We do expect good credit, generally at least above 620 or higher. … We are not flexible at all on the debt-to-income ratios because we want to make sure the mortgage is affordable to the borrowers.”

The SunTrust loan program has similar income restrictions to the CHIP loan and does not have any income limitations for properties located in low- to moderate-income census tracts. All borrowers must fully document their income and assets, and if the property is older than 15 years, a home inspection is required.

The Navy Federal HomeBuyers Choice program does not charge mortgage insurance but does require a funding fee of 1.75 percent of the loan amount. The funding fee cannot be financed into the mortgage. Borrowers also need cash for closing costs unless the seller has agreed to pay those costs.

“To qualify, borrowers need to have good credit, such as B-plus or A credit, generally from the low- to mid-700s and above,” Ms. Sheehan said. “They need stable employment of at least two years that can be documented, full documentation of income and a two-year credit history.”

Navy Federal also requires cash reserves to cover six months of principal, interest, taxes and insurance payments. Typically, the maximum debt-to-income ratio requirement is 41 percent, but sometimes borrowers with excellent credit can go up to 45 percent and still qualify.

“Generally speaking, if credit is not your issue, the HomeBuyers program will be a better loan because of the lack of mortgage insurance,” Ms. Sheehan said. “But if you have credit problems, you may need to go with an FHA loan.”

Mr. Benner said that because not every lender offers every program, borrowers who need down-payment assistance may need to talk with several lenders to learn about all their available options.

“There are state and county and city-specific programs in Maryland, Virginia and D.C. that can offer down-payment and closing-cost assistance, usually with some income restrictions,” Mr. Benner said.

“In many cases, the borrowers need to pay something out of pocket, such as 1.75 percent of the home price or at least $500. Buyers can search on the Internet for local housing programs to see if they qualify and consult three or more different lenders to compare their options.”