Home Loans for Nurses: 2024 Mortgage Programs and Grants

By: Peter Warden Updated By: Ryan Tronier Reviewed By: Paul Centopani
February 15, 2024 - 14 min read

What are the best mortgages for nurses?

Home loans for nurses come in various forms, specifically designed to cater to the unique needs of healthcare workers.

Beyond these specialized mortgage options, numerous local and national assistance programs can also offer financial help — like with down payments and closing costs.

Find the best home loan program for you. Start here

However, just because you’re a nurse doesn’t mean a specialized “nurse home loan” is best. You might find you can buy a home more easily with a standard mortgage program. So do your research and choose carefully.

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What are home loans for nurses?

Yes, there are special home loans for nurses that are designed to meet their unique financial and professional circumstances. These specialized mortgage options often come with benefits like lower interest rates, reduced down payments, and more flexible qualification criteria.

Additionally, there are grants for nurses buying a home and various local and national assistance programs that provide financial aid. These can be particularly helpful in covering down payments and closing costs, making the home-buying process more accessible, especially for nurses who are first-time homebuyers.

How do home loans for nurses work?

Nurse home loans work by offering tailored financing options that cater specifically to the needs of nurses. Unlike standard home loans, nurse mortgage programs recognize their unique employment instability and potential for long-term income growth. These programs may partner with hospitals and healthcare organizations to verify employment and offer special loan terms, such as reduced documentation requirements.

Home loans for nurses often offer unique benefits, such as flexible credit score requirements, lower interest rates, and lower down payment requirements. Additionally, some nurse mortgage programs provide down payment assistance or grants exclusively for nurses. This results in a more streamlined and supportive lending experience, tailored to help nurses overcome the typical barriers to homeownership.

6 best home loans for nurses

When looking for the best home loan programs for nurses, it’s worth considering a mix of both specialized and standard loan options.

We recommend six mortgage programs in total—two are specialized home loans for nurses, while the other four are standard loan programs open to almost anyone. Surprisingly, you may find that a mainstream mortgage program, rather than a nurse-specific one, ends up being your best fit.

Find the best home loan program for you. Start here

To give a quick overview, the six best home loans for nurses are:

  1. Nurse Next Door program
  2. Homes for Heroes
  3. Conventional mortgages
  4. FHA mortgages
  5. VA mortgages
  6. USDA mortgages

Let’s dig into each home buying program in a little more detail.

1. Nurse Next Door program

The Nurse Next Door1 program is not a “true” mortgage loan program. It does not lend money or underwrite loans. Rather, it’s a home buyer assistance program that will help match you with the right property, mortgage, and aid program for your needs (if required).

Nurse Next Door provides grants for nurses of up to $8,000 (where available) and down payment assistance of up to $10,681. You may also reduce closing costs by eliminating a home appraisal and other fees.

Keep in mind that grants are generally only awarded to nurses and medical professionals who are first-time buyers purchasing a primary residence. This means that you must refrain from using the funds for an investment property or vacation home.

Before you use this nurse home buying program, check that you can’t get more generous grants or loans from your state or local down payment assistance program.

2. Homes for Heroes: Healthcare professionals

Homes for Heroes2 is another nationwide homeowner assistance program that aims to make buying a new home more affordable for firefighters, law enforcement, teachers, military, and medical professionals.

The website says, “Most heroes save at least $3,000 when they buy or sell a home with us. When you add up savings from real estate agents, loan officers, title companies, home inspectors, and other everyday deals, the savings are way beyond what you’ll get from other national programs.”

Note that you must use real estate professionals recommended by Homes for Heroes to benefit. Again, check other local programs to ensure this is your best option before buying.

3. Conventional loans for nurses

Conventional mortgages are the most popular type of home loan available today. These loans are not backed by the government, like others on this list, but most conform to the rules laid down by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which are two government-sponsored enterprises. This is why they’re also referred to as “conforming loans.”

Conventional loans require a credit score of 620 or better. But they offer a low down payment option of only 3% of the purchase price to qualify. Although, if your down payment is less than 20%, you’ll need to pay for private mortgage insurance (PMI), which means higher monthly payments.

Conventional loans offer two primary types of interest rates: fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgages.

  • Fixed-rate mortgages (FRM) keep the same interest rate throughout the duration of the loan, offering stability and predictability in monthly payments.
  • Adjustable-rate mortgages (ARM) start with a lower interest rate that may change periodically based on market trends. This can initially lead to lower monthly payments, but it also carries the risk of increasing rates and payments over time.

Despite the specialized benefits of nurse home loans, conventional loans can often present the most advantageous home purchase solution for healthcare professionals.

4. FHA loans for nurses

Nurses and medical professionals with a credit score between 580 and 620 could opt for a mortgage backed by the Federal Housing Administration, an FHA loan. This type of loan is popular with first-time home buyers because of its flexible approval guidelines.

FHA loans also have a low down payment option of 3.5%. But you will have to pay mortgage insurance premiums (MIP) for the life of the loan. Note that MIP is different from private mortgage insurance on a conventional loan. Still, many FHA buyers simply refinance out of mortgage insurance down the road when their credit scores improve.

Verify your FHA loan eligibility. Start here

5. VA loans for nurses

Backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs, a VA loan is an option for nurses who have served or are still serving in the military. If you’re eligible, this will likely be your best bet.

Lenders set their own credit score thresholds, usually between 580 and 660. But you need no down payment. And you’ll be in line for a below-market interest rate, no private mortgage insurance, and low closing costs.

VA buyers must pay a one-time VA funding fee that is typically between 2.3% and 3.6% of the loan amount. However, many borrowers roll this fee into their loan balance, so they don’t have to pay it upfront.

Verify your VA loan eligibility. Start here

6. USDA loans for nurses

The US Department of Agriculture backs USDA mortgages. These, too, require no down payment. But you’ll likely need a score of 640 or better. Similar to the VA loan, a USDA mortgage frequently has lower interest rates than the “going” rate.

You must also meet household income limits and buy a home in a designated rural area. Some suburbs are included. Use the USDA’s maps to find out whether the place where you want to buy is eligible.

Find out if you qualify for a USDA loan. Start here

Grants for nurses buying a home

Most of the home loans for nurses we highlighted above can be used with down payment assistance (DPA) programs, which could help cover your down payment and closing costs.

Check your home buying options. Start here

All states and many cities and counties offer grants and DPA programs for first-time buyers. There are thousands of these across the country. In some places, you can get home buying assistance running into the tens of thousands of dollars.

Some of these down payment assistance programs offer special privileges to nurses and other essential workers. To find one that covers the area where you want to buy, read this article or check out your state’s page on the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) website.

Note that each DPA sets its own eligibility requirements and caps the amount of money it will grant or lend you. So you’ll have to do a bit of research to find out what you could be in line for and whether you qualify.

Nurse home loans from private lenders

Some private mortgage lenders offer reduced closing costs or other perks for nurses. For example, Homes for Champions (RealFi Home Funding Corp.) says that its offering for nurses and doctors can save you “up to 2.00% to 3.00%" by eliminating many fees normally due on closing.

But this company is a licensed direct lender in only 13 states, plus Washington DC: CT, DE, FL, GA, MD, NC, NJ, NY, PA, SC, TX, and VA.

Find the best home loan program for you. Start here

Other companies or organizations also offer help to homebuyers who are nurses.

Everyday Hero Housing Housing Assistance Fund

One such program is the Everyday Hero Housing Housing Assistance Fund. This nurse home buying program seems to refund seller concessions negotiated by specialist real estate agents. You wouldn’t be alone in assuming that’s a scam. Although it has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. So it may be worth checking out. Remember that seller concessions are hard to obtain in sellers’ markets, which most are at the time of this writing.

Nurse Home Loan Programs

Meanwhile, Nurse Home Loan Programs says its goal is “to educate and connect our Nurses with the best home loan solutions for them all over the country.”

It might be worth talking to one of the company’s specialists if your applications are getting rejected. Because that does sometimes happen with lenders that don’t understand nurses’ special working conditions, such as overtime and differential income, or that struggle to grasp the challenges of high student debt and travel nurses’ seemingly chaotic employment records. (More on those and similar challenges below.)

How to overcome home buying challenges as a nurse

Qualifying for a mortgage as a nurse often comes with its own set of hurdles. Lenders are generally focused on income verification, but they may lack a comprehensive understanding of how the nursing profession is structured.

As a result, you might find yourself in the position of having to explain why nurses should be considered a special case in the mortgage application process.

Check your home buying eligibility. Start here

Here are some tips to help you qualify for a nurse home loan.

Save employment documentation

Keep all your pay stubs from every job, either in digital format or as physical copies. Nurses, in particular, might need to present up to two years’ worth of pay stubs to verify income such as bonuses, overtime, and other non-regular earnings.

While not necessary for pre-qualification, these documents are crucial for lenders. They need concrete evidence of your overtime and additional income, which your pay stubs and spreadsheet records can effectively demonstrate.

Nursing income for mortgages

Of course, your basic pay should count toward your qualifying income when applying for a mortgage. But it can become more complicated when it comes to overtime, shift differentials, and “extra” pay.

With those, lenders are likely to look back over the last couple of years to see your average gross pay. If you recently had a schedule change or took on more hours, that might not count toward your income right away.

For example, if you’ve only just started earning the higher hourly rate for night shifts, lenders are unlikely to consider that when deciding how much you can borrow. It might help to get your employer to write to the lender, verifying that this will be a long-term arrangement.

You can also write an explanatory letter with your application, telling the lender why you think it should take more of your income into account. Sometimes, this strategy works. But not always.

Travel nurses

Travel nurses sometimes have to seek out lenders that understand their work.

You know that you can hop from contract to contract and agency to agency and never skip a beat, except when you choose to take a vacation. But to a lender, your employment record looks patchy and might suggest you can’t hold down a job.

Again, you can explain to lenders how your employment works. If one won’t listen, move on to those who will.

Student debt

As higher nursing qualifications become more valuable, many nurses take on high levels of student debt. That can affect your home-buying budget because of your debt-to-income ratio (DTI).

Lenders worry that borrowers cannot comfortably afford their mortgage payments and other homeownership costs if they have too many other debts. Unfortunately, student loans can compound that debt burden.

There are ways to drive down your DTI, including paying off big monthly debts with small balances. For example, if your auto loan payments are high but you’ve nearly paid them off, get rid of them before applying for your mortgage.

Nurse.org has an excellent article that goes into more detail about applying for a mortgage as a nurse. And it covers most of what we’ve said and more. You can learn more here.

Listen to The Ask Nurse Alice Podcast!

How to choose the right home loan for nurses

Finding the ideal mortgage is an important step in the home-buying process, and for nurses, this choice may be affected by a number of factors.

While there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, the best home loan for nurse practitioners will depend on individual circumstances such as credit score, down payment, and even military service.

Check your home buying eligibility. Start here

Example 1: When should nurses consider a VA loan?

If you have served or are currently serving in the military, either as a nurse or in another capacity, a VA loan is likely your best option.

VA loans come with several benefits, including no down payment and no private mortgage insurance (PMI), making them an attractive choice for those who qualify.

Example 2: When should a nurse choose a conventional loan?

For nurses who have never served in the military but have a good credit score and a decent down payment, a conventional loan is often the next best option.

These loans typically offer competitive interest rates and may require a lower down payment compared to other loan types.

Example 3: When should nurses use an FHA loan?

If your credit score falls within the 580–619 range, an FHA loan might be your best bet. The Federal Housing Administration is backing these loans, which are more forgiving of lower credit scores.

However, they do require an upfront mortgage insurance premium and ongoing monthly premiums.

Example 4: When should a nurse choose a USDA loan?

Lastly, for nurses and eligible healthcare workers with limited savings who are looking to buy in a rural area, a USDA loan could be the perfect fit, provided your household income meets the eligibility criteria.

These loans offer 100% financing, meaning no down payment is required, and they also have lower mortgage insurance costs.

FAQ: Home loans for nurses

Compare nurse home loans from multiple lenders. Start here

Do nurses get discounts on mortgages?

Yes, there are special home loans for nurses that offer discounts on mortgages. These programs are designed to assist healthcare professionals like registered nurses, nurse practitioners, and even travel nurses in buying a home. The discounts may vary by state and lender, so it’s a good idea to shop around and inquire about home loan assistance for nurses.

Is it easier for nurses to get a mortgage?

While nurses may have stable incomes, the mortgage application process can be complex due to the unique structure of nursing pay, which often includes overtime and shift differentials. Travel nurses may face additional hurdles as their employment can appear inconsistent to lenders. However, there are home loans for nurses that offer relaxed qualification criteria, making the mortgage application process more straightforward.

Do nurses get better interest rates?

While various factors, such as credit score and debt-to-income ratio, affect interest rates, nurses may be able to obtain better interest rates through specialized home loan programs. These nurse mortgage programs may offer competitive rates as part of the package. It’s advisable to consult with different lenders to find the best loan options in terms of interest rates.

Can I get a mortgage as a new nurse?

Absolutely, you can get a mortgage as a new nurse. Many lenders offer home loans for nurses that don’t require a long employment history in the field. However, you may need to provide proof of employment and your nursing license. If you’re a first-time home buyer, there are also specific loans tailored to your needs, like first-time home buyer loans for nurses.

Are there home loans for nurses?

Yes, there are home loans for nurses with bad credit. While having a lower credit score can be a hurdle in the mortgage application process, certain programs are designed to help nurses overcome this challenge. FHA loans, for example, are more forgiving of lower credit scores and may be a suitable option if your credit falls within the 580–619 range. Additionally, some specialized nurse home loan programs offer more flexible qualification criteria, which can be beneficial for those with less-than-perfect credit. It’s always a good idea to consult with a mortgage advisor to explore all your options.

What are today’s mortgage rates?

Nurses can often find excellent deals when they take advantage of healthcare-oriented mortgage and assistance programs. These specialized home loans for nurses and grants for nurses buying a home are tailored to meet the unique needs of healthcare professionals.

But don’t stop at finding the right loan program. You should also shop around for the best mortgage lender. Each lender you apply to will probably present you with a different set of mortgage rates and closing costs. So get quotes from several and pick the one with the best deal for you.

You’ll not only benefit from the specialized offerings of nurse mortgage programs but also from the competitive landscape of conventional lending.

Time to make a move? Let us find the right mortgage for you


1Nurse Next Door program

2Homes for Heroes program

Peter Warden
Authored By: Peter Warden
The Mortgage Reports Editor
Peter Warden has been writing for a decade about mortgages, personal finance, credit cards, and insurance. His work has appeared across a wide range of media. He lives in a small town with his partner of 25 years.
Ryan Tronier
Updated By: Ryan Tronier
The Mortgage Reports Editor
Ryan Tronier is a personal finance writer and editor. His work has been published on NBC, ABC, USATODAY, Yahoo Finance, MSN Money, and more. Ryan is the former managing editor of the finance website Sapling, as well as the former personal finance editor at Slickdeals.
Paul Centopani
Reviewed By: Paul Centopani
The Mortgage Reports Editor
Paul Centopani is a writer and editor who started covering the lending and housing markets in 2018. Previous to joining The Mortgage Reports, he was a reporter for National Mortgage News. Paul grew up in Connecticut, graduated from Binghamton University and now lives in Chicago after a decade in New York and the D.C. area.