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Government Grants

If you are a first time homebuyer, there is good news for you. There are down payment assistance programs out there that are allocated to each of the states to help people purchase their first homes.

One such program put out by HUD is the Home Program. This program has been in existence for quite some time and has helped many people across the United States. The Home Program was originally put into law in 1990. It was created to increase the supply of affordable housing for low income families through grants distributed by state and local governments.

What is considered low income? The Home Program is different for each state and then for each county within the state. It is based on the median income for the particular county that you are purchasing a home in. Don't be fooled by the words low income. The income limit can be quite high depending upon the location and how many people are in the household. In addition, the Home Program can also be used when purchasing a new construction home.

There is definitely some extra work involved with getting a Home Program grant. First of all, it is mandatory that all recipients are required to take part in a home counseling course. At the time of applying for a mortgage, you may be required to furnish additional documents which sometimes include copies of income tax returns. For most Home Programs, anyone who has not owned a home for the past three years and qualifies under the income criteria is eligible. But be aware that all household income is counted even though it may not be used to obtain the mortgage. In other words, if you have a parent living with you who is collecting social security, that income will be counted for the Home Program grant only. It does not have to be counted for the mortgage.

Many times, as in the case of a natural disaster such as tornadoes and hurricanes, affected areas are designated as Go Zones. The 3 year eligibility criteria is waived and anyone who meets the other qualifications is entitled. Many people used the Home Program after the hurricanes to relocate even though they owned a home.

It is recommended that you ask your realtor and/or lender about the Home Program as soon as you are thinking about purchasing a home. Often these funds can run out and your closing would have to be delayed until new funds have been allocated by HUD. It is best to contact your local Community Development Program who has current and up to date information about available down payment assistance programs for your particular area.

If you have any questions or comments, please stop by the Home Ownership forum and let us know.

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