Buying a home can be a daunting task. Never mind finding just the right home that fits your budget.
But on top of that you have a down payment and closing costs to worry about. Buying a house may be a top priority for you and a goal you are determined to accomplish. Exploring your down payment assistance and grant options may help make buying your first home a reality.
Now you can stop paying your landlords mortgage and pay your own!!
By tapping into the available grants and programs to help fund a down payment, you can get much needed assistance with the upfront costs of buying a home. In some cases, I have seen buyers walk away with less than a $1000 out of pocket.
Do you have the income to support a mortgage, but not the funds for a down payment and closing costs? Consider any number of first-time homebuyer grants or down payment assistance programs.
What Is A Down Payment Assistance Program?
Most states and some towns or regions offer down payment assistance programs. The purpose of the programs is to allow low to moderate income home buyers the ability to buy a home.
The assistance is usually in the form of home buying grants provided by the federal government to states and municipalities.
Often, eligibility for assistance in a first-time home buyer program is based on the percentage of household income compared to the median income of a particular region.
The home buying grants by way of down payment or closing cost assistance comes in many forms.
What Does Down Payment Assistance Look Like?
Most likely, your down payment assistance will come in the form of a soft second mortgage. It will be subordinate to the first mortgage on your home.
The sale or refinance of your home will trigger the repayment of the mortgage. And, the forgiveness of the loan is possible if the loan has been held for a certain period of time.
How Do I Find First-time Home Buyer Programs Offering Down Payment Assistance?
Finding the right home buying assistance will take a bit of research. Most states have a non-profit housing program that offers specialized mortgages for first-time home buyers, home buying classes and seminars, access to down payment assistance and generally promote homeownership amongst the low to moderate income community.
To start, Google search terms like:
[Your State] first-time home buyer programs
[Your State] down payment assistance
[Your State] down payment assistance programs
[Your State] home buyer grants
In my state where I do real estate, Massachusetts, you would run across MassHousing a non-profit agency that works with low to moderate income families to be able to purchase a home.
Look into programs provided by your state. They will have first-time home buying grants available or at least guide you to where you many be able to find down payment assistance programs.
Down Payment Assistance On The Municipal Level
Also, Google down payment assistance for [your city]. Many cities may provide home buying grants for their community. It may be for the entire city or specific areas of the city.
Often the lower income communities will offer first time home buyer grants. But, it is still worth checking with any city, even higher income communities to see if any programs exist for first time home buyers.
It is possible to combine two programs and get enough money to cover down payment and closing costs. Some great low money down programs to consider are an FHA mortgage, MassHousing mortgage, a Home Possible mortgage or Home Ready mortgage.
While there is no guarantee you can combine programs, it is worth trying. Not only will you have essentially a no-money down mortgage, you may be able to get all or some of your closing cost covered.
Your Mortgage Officer And Home Buying Grants
Most mortgage officers have some knowledge of some down payment assistance or first time home buyer grants that may be accessible to you. But, there are always a handful of mortgage originators that specialize in home buyer down payment programs and grants.
If you can find out who those people are. They have a vast knowledge of available programs and how to work them and get them to close on time.
Eligibility into state and city programs offering down payment assistance can vary. But, you will often find some commonalities.
Eligibility requirements that are commonly seen.
- Participants must be first time home buyers. A first time home buyer is defined as a person who has not owned a home in the past 3 years.
- Income requirements are based upon your income compared to the area’s median income. A common percentage will be 80%. Determination of your income eligibility can be complex and will be determined by your loan officer.
- First time home buyer class required before closing.
- Home must be owner occupied.
- The 2nd mortgage is due upon sale, refinance or the home it becomes no longer an owner’s primary residence.
- Asset limits. Usually, a borrower can have no more than $50,000 to $75,000 in non-retirement assets.
Massachusetts Down Payment Assistance and First-Time Home Buyer Grants
First, let’s take a look at two popular statewide programs. The purchase of a home anywhere in the state is possible with either program.
Federal Home Loan Bank Equity Builder
The FHL Bank Boston Equity Builder program is available to anyone in Massachusetts that meets the eligibility requirements. Community banks across the state offer the EBL program.
It provides up to $15,000 in down payment assistance. By remaining in your home for 5 years the grant may be forgiven.
Selling or refinancing your home before the 5 years is up will require the loan to be repaid.
The EBL funds can be used with loan programs from MassHousing, as well as the Home Ready and Home Possible loan programs from Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. Funds are limited and on a first-come first-serve basis.
MassHousing Down Payment Assistance
MassHousing is a semi-public agency created to provide affordable housing mortgage products to low to moderate income borrowers. The sale of bonds funds the MassHousing programs.
Since 1966 MassHousing has provided more than 27 billion dollars to provide affordable housing.
MassHousing is one of the first agencies a lender will turn to in Massachusetts to help fund a loan for lower income borrowers. Their loan products start with a low down payment for a little as 3%.
Besides offering mortgage products perfect for lower income borrowers, MassHousing also offers a very strong down payment assistance program.
The agency will provide up to $15,000 or 5% of a purchase for down payment or closing costs. If you are purchasing in a gateway city in Massachusetts, the number jumps to $25,000.
What Is A Gateway City?
A gateway city is one that is a small to mid-sized community that is an economic anchor for the region. Often the gateway cities have passed their economic peak due to social and economic change.
Once the hub of manufacturing and regional economics, the gateway cities have fallen on harder times as manufacturing shifted out of the communities.
The gateway cities of Massachusetts offer untapped potential moving forward and can provide growth moving forward.
The gateway cities in Massachusetts include Attleboro, Barnstable, Brockton, Chelsea, Chicopee, Everett, Fall River, Fitchburg, Haverhill, Holyoke, Lawrence, Leominster, Lowell, Lynn, Malden, Methuen, New Bedford, Peabody, Pittsfield, Quincy, Revere, Salem, Springfield, Taunton, Westfield, and Worcester.
First-Time Home Buyer Grants and Down Payment Programs by Massachusetts Towns and Cities
Many of the gateway cities offer down payment assistance as well. And, it is certainly worth a quick check to see what type of financial assistance is available to make a first time home buyer purchase.
To touch on a few:
- Lowell– There are several programs available by different agencies in Lowell of up to $12,000 in down payment and closing cost assistance.
- Haverhill– Financial assistance of up to $7500 may be available if you purchase in different areas of Haverhill.
- Salem– The city will match your down payment of up to $7500. Assistance for down payments are not just limited to gateway cities.
Down payment help is not available through the gateway cities alone. Other communities offer down payment assistance as well.
- North Andover- The town of North Andover will provide up to $10,000 dollars in assistance to eligible purchasers.
- Medford- Up to $8500 dollars may be provided in assistance to go towards down payment or closing costs.
- Newburyport- The city offer 10% or up to $15,000 dollars in funds for low income borrowers to purchase a deed restricted unit.
Financial assistance for first-time homebuyers is not limited to just these towns and cities. But, they do provide you with the idea that there are plenty of funds to tap into to help you with the upfront costs of buying a home.
Other Financial Assistance For First Time Home Buyers
I have touched upon some major resources for financial assistance for first-time home buyers to tap into money for down payments and closing costs.
But, assistance is not limited to these choices. There may be other federal or state grants available.
Also, community banks may have specialized community lending programs. While they may not provide down payment funds, they could provide some great terms and interest rates on a mortgage product.
You may find you have the capacity to make monthly mortgage payments. But, find you are a little light on down payment or closing costs.
Explore the many options for down payment assistance or grants for first time home buyers.
There is more assistance out there than you think. And, instead of waiting years to fund your first home purchase, you can get in now.
If you would like to explore down payment assistance, call me and I will set you up with one of my preferred lender that specializes in loan programs and grants that allow you to take advantage of these programs.
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Great tips for those needing some financial help for a home purchase.