With down payment assistance (DPA), becoming a homeowner just got a lot easier. Several things can stand in your way of owning a home. A low credit score is one of them, as is low income. What about down payments, though?
Since they require you to have a certain percentage of your home paid for upfront, down payments could be seen as the biggest obstacle around, especially if you live paycheck to paycheck. After all, how can you save for a home when almost all of your money is going towards your rent?
Luckily, down payment assistance makes this major roadblock disappear. And if you’re one of the many people that never knew such aid existed, now’s the time to see how it can work for you.
Different Types of Down Payment Assistance
As you begin your search for help with funding your home purchase, you’ll likely come across these four categories of down payment assistance:
- Grant – This gains the top spot on the list since it’s the most common form of DPA. More importantly, you could say it’s the best form since it acts as a gift, and you don’t have to pay it back.
- A loan that you must pay down alongside your primary mortgage.
- A loan with deferred payments that won’t have to be made until you want to move, refinance, or sell the home.
- A loan that is forgiven for a certain number of years (usually 5-20). You’ll only have to pay it if you decide to move, refinance, or sell the home.
It’s worth noting that numbers 2-4 in that list all act as second mortgages. As far as interest rates go, those DPA loans may have no interest at all, or have rates that are lower, equal, or higher than your primary mortgage.
What It Takes to Get Down Payment Assistance
Unfortunately, DPA isn’t just given out to anyone who applies. Regardless of the type of DPA you seek, there will be requirements that come with it.
If you’re a first-time homebuyer, you may have a higher chance of getting such assistance, since these programs were put into place with such applicants in mind. Even if you’ve bought a home before, you could still classify as a “first-time homebuyer” if you haven’t been a homeowner within the previous three years.
Although each DPA has its own requirements, here are some of the most common ones that you may run into while doing your search:
- You must use the home as your primary residence.
- You must have either low or moderate income.
- The home must sit in a targeted census tract or qualified area.
- An approved lender/loan program must be used.
Searching for Down Payment Assistance
Here are some entities which offer DPA:
- The federal government
How can you quickly pinpoint the funding you need? Your best bet is to do an online search for “down payment assistance grants” in your area.