It’s frustrating to have a decent-paying job, a bright earnings future, and acceptable credit and still not be able to buy a home because you lack the thousands of dollars in cash needed for a down payment and closing costs.
The dreaded down payment stops more potential homeowners cold than any other aspect of the loan process.
To read articles about down payment headaches, you’d think it’s only millennials who have trouble coming up with the funds.
In reality, most would-be first-time homebuyers in West Chester—regardless of age—find it difficult to save up 20% of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Who could blame them!
Sure, you may qualify for a loan with a lower down payment, but do you really want to add to your monthly house payment by purchasing the mandated private mortgage insurance policy? That’s what’s required if you don’t have 20 percent equity in a home you purchase.
Today, we’ll explore ways you can get help with the down payment on your new home in West Chester.
Crowdfund your down payment
Enter, HomeFundMe CMG Financial, which offers a brilliant way for you to come up with that down payment: Crowdfunding – with the approval of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Before the crowdfunding concept came into being, lenders stipulated that your down payment and closing cost funds must come from your savings (mutual funds, stocks, IRA and 401(K) included), proceeds from the sale of another property, assistance from government programs or non-profits, union, employers or gift money from an immediate relative.
HomeFundMe allows anyone to donate funds to help you buy a home and CMG Financial provides the online platform.
While many crowdfunding endeavors offer a return on investment, the HomeFundMe program returns nothing to those who give. Money given is considered a gift, although they can make the gift conditional on the money eventually going to fund a home purchase.
The program offers incentives to savers, however.
Attend credit counselling and education classes and you may receive a grant of up to $2,500. Then, the crowdfunding platform will match donations “$2 for every $1 raised, up to $2,500,” according to CNBC’s Diana Olick.
Get help from the government
The government—local to West Chester, up to Chester County, to PA state, and all the way to federal—offers programs to help Americans get into home ownership. Some of these programs are geared toward the low-income applicant while others are open to all.
Federal Home Loan Bank
The Federal Home Loan Bank offers three programs to help homebuyers with their down payments and closing costs:
- Home$tart® — Assistance up to $7,500 for borrowers who take the homebuyer education program and earn up to 80 percent of their area’s median income (find yours on HUD’s website). Unlike the aforementioned programs, these funds come in the form of a grant.
- Home$tart Plus — $15,000 to borrowers who are currently receiving public housing assistance. Borrowers must complete a financial literacy program and be income qualified.
- Native American Homeownership Initiative (NAHI) — $15,000 to eligible Native American households to help with a down payment and closing costs.
Good Neighbor Next Door
This program falls under the US Dept of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) and offers a discount (typically 50%) off the asking price of a home.
The program is open to applicants in the following professions:
- Pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade teachers
- Law enforcement officers
- Emergency medical technicians
Be aware that this program only covers homes in HUD’s revitalization areas that are listed for sale through this program.
Learn more about the program and how to apply on HUD’s website.
State and local programs
The Federal Housing Authority (FHA) offers state-wide down payment grants through a variety of programs. Search for them here (this website is not run by the FHA, but it helps you find info on FHA programs).
The National Association of Local Housing Finance Agencies (NALHFA) suggests using DownpaymentResource.com to find information on local assistance programs.
Finally, several labor unions, such as the Culinary Union, offer homebuying assistance programs for members.