First Time Homebuyer Information & Education

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Down Payment Assistance Programs

Down Payment Assistance Programs - Down Payment Assistance Programs (DAPs) have become common and necessary for individuals who want to obtain an FHA mortgage without any down payment. In a common practice when purchasing a home, the seller of a home would contribute up to 3% to a charitable organization. A buyer of the home would then receive a 3% grant from the same charitable organization minus a fee (typically $350). The IRS has recently ruled that companies who do these types of transactions can no longer be considered a non-profit organization. FHA required that DAPs may only be acceptable from non-profit organizations, family members, employers, or close friends.

This practice accounts for nearly one-third of all FHA loans. Therefore this ruling will greatly limit the effectiveness of FHA.

To see the IRS rulings and see a list of companies who are no longer eligible, visit

Some of the most popular include Ameridream, Nehemiah, and Home Down Payment Assistance. As many as 185 non-profits could lose their non-profit status because of this practice.

Down payment assistance - There are down payment assistance programs available for those who want to own a home but cannot afford the down payment or closing costs. Most down payment assistance programs are used in conjunction with FHA loans.

When using a grant for down payment assistance, check to see if you are required to live in the property for a specific amount of time. If you are then selling early could result in you having to pay the grant money back.

In addition to government programs, there are many lenders who will allow a gift to be used as all or part of the down payment. The gift must be from a relative and it must be a gift, not a loan. The person providing the gift will be required to sign a letter indicating the funds are a gift and no repayment is expected. Consult with your mortgage professional to determine how much gift money you can use.

A first time home buyer is defined as an individual, who has not had an ownership interest in a home within the last three years. If you fit this definition, you might be eligible for a home buyer grant, that can be used toward the partial or full down payment.

How the down payment assistance programs generally work is that the program operators provide the down payment for the qualified home buyer and then the seller reimburses the program for the amount of the down payment that was provided. In essence, the seller gave a 3 per cent (in the case of an FHA loan) discount off the purchase price but the selling price was listed as the full price and the discount was used for down payment assistance.

Each State also has its own Government run programs available on the county and city level that can help home buyers get into a home with grants and down payment assistance.

In some of the local or state government down payment assistance programs there involves what is known as an equity share or "silent second mortgage" on the title. In this arrangement the purchaser agrees to share the future equity from market appreciation with the government entity. Such "silent seconds" can often cause roadblocks when the property owners go to refinance their first mortgages.


Information listed above is to be used for educational purposes only and is not guaranteed

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