There are obstacles to homeownership that range from mental blocks to very real barriers. Many people simply do not believe they can own a home. We get inquires every day from individuals that want to know where to begin the homeownership process as well as what their chances are of getting a home loan. It’s important to understand that homeownership doesn’t happen overnight. First, you need to mentally prepare yourself for a somewhat extensive process accompanied by examinations that may try your patience. Next, you need to make sure that you’re in the best financial shape that you can possibly be in. However, even if you’re not in great financial shape right now, it doesn’t mean that you cannot become a homeowner. You may have more financial conditioning to do but if you are willing to be disciplined with your finances and stay dedicated to the dream of homeownership, you will become a part of the approximately 64% of Americans that own their very own home.
Down payment assistance. This is one of the most underutilized sources for down payment and closing costs funds. Most people either don’t know it exists or believe it’s only for low-income buyers. Not true!
There are many state, county, or city government agencies or charitable organizations offering down payment assistance to people in a variety of income levels.
There are conditions to almost every type of down payment assistance. Most are very reasonable and well worth it. Below you will find a list of some of the requirements and/or conditions. Required courses usually only entail one or a few days of your time to complete the certification classes.
- Pre-purchase homebuyer’s education programs (online or in person)
- Classroom-style courses in financial management/budgeting, fair housing, predatory lending, etc.
- Classroom-style non-delinquency and mortgage delinquency prevention post purchase workshops
- Residency requirements
- Income and limited assets requirements
- Occupancy requirements
- First-time homebuyer (includes those who have not owned a home in more than 3 years and displaced homemakers)
- Home must be in targeted areas
- Purchase price limits
- Minimum credit score
As mentioned, this list is not all inclusive of the requirements and/or conditions associated with down payment assistance. Additionally, don’t browse through this list and automatically exclude yourself. You may think you don’t qualify but you’d be surprised at how many people actually do qualify! It never hurts to ask your lender if down payment assistance is an option for you. Lenders are often a wealth of information about down payment assistance programs in your area.
So where can you begin your search for down payment assistance in your area? HUD’s website is a great resource for down payment assistance programs through city and county municipalities, various grants, housing initiatives, as well as 100% financing programs.
- ALABAMA – https://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/states/alabama/homeownership/buyingprgms
- GEORGIA – https://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/states/georgia/homeownership/buyingprgms
- FLORIDA – https://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/states/florida/homeownership/buyingprgms