Buying a home can seem overwhelming because it feels like you have to save up so much money to do it. Will you ever save up the money for closing costs and a down payment, much less have money left over in the bank to deal with new homeowner emergencies?
The good news is that there are local down payment assistance programs to help you get in a home of your own. These programs can help you buy a home a lot sooner than you might be able to otherwise by giving you money, lending you money, or some combination of the two. Ready to hear how they can help you become a homeowner?
Oregon State Bond Program
The Oregon State Bond Program is funded with tax-exempt mortgage bonds. Bonds are only issued occasionally. This means that the fund isn’t as consistently available as some other down payment assistance programs are, but it’s a good option when funding is there.
This program offers below-market interest rates to borrowers so they can put more money toward their homes. There are both monetary gift and reduced interest rate options for borrowers.
The bond program is available to those in Oregon who meet the income qualifications, among other criteria. Depending on the area, you may qualify even if you’re not a first-time homebuyer. Most home types qualify for the program as long as it will be the borrower’s primary residence.
You may have to pay a recapture fee if you sell in the first nine years of home ownership.
Cash Advantage Program
The Cash Advantage loan program contributes cash toward closing—up to 3% of the loan’s total amount. This money is a gift to the borrower.
Rate Advantage Program
If you can come up with at least 3% down on your own, this loan program gives you a better interest rate than that Cash Advantage program above.
Portland Housing Bureau
Down Payment Assistance Loan Program
The Portland Housing Bureau offers a down payment assistance loan program called DPAL to help first-time buyers purchase a home in Portland Interstate Corridor and Lents Town Center Urban Renewal areas.
This loan is a second mortgage that is taken out in conjunction with the first mortgage. Borrowers put down at least $500 (money can be gifted), and then loan amounts are anywhere from $48,000 to $61,000, with additional money for home improvements available. This money is a 30-year fixed loan with 0% interest, due in full when the buyer sells, refinances, or leaves the home.
This program is for single-family homes and existing townhouses and condos (it can’t be used for new construction homes). Borrowers must not have owned a home in the past three years, and the new home must be their primary residence. Income can’t be above 80% of the median income for the area (see a helpful calculator here).
Borrowers must complete a homebuyer education class to qualify for this program.
To get the process of qualifying for one of these loans started, contact one of the Portland Housing Bureau’s four partner agencies.
Home Purchase Assistance Program
This program offers first-time and repeat homebuyers cash (up to 7% of the loan amount) toward down payment and closing costs. Depending on your income level, there may even be additional monetary assistance available to you.
This money is forgiven monthly over a 10-year period. If you stay the home for 10 years, you won’t have anything to repay when you leave the home.
Single-family homes, condos, townhomes, and ADUs within Portland city limits apply as long as it is the borrower’s primary home.
Your income must be below $123,060 to qualify, and the maximum amount for the first loan is $453,100.
To get started, just call a loan officer on this list of approved lenders.
Portland Housing Center
The Portland Housing Center offers many different forms of down payment and homeownership assistance. I suggest contacting them for more information about how they can best help you—in addition to monetary assistance, they offer classes, homeownership plans, and counseling. This is full-service help!
One of their most popular down payment assistance plans is a matched savings grant program. You open a special savings account, keep it for at least six months, and have your money matched 3:1. Most people save $2,000 over a two-year period and then get a $6,000 match. That’s pretty generous!
The Portland Housing Center also has an assistance program that allows you to get 100% financing on your new home.
National Homebuyers Fund
This isn’t a local option, but the National Homebuyers Fund offers up to $10,000 (or 5% of the purchase price) to put toward down payment and closing costs. It doesn’t have to be paid back.
This is for FHA, VA, and USDA loans that are for the borrower’s primary home. It’s not limited to first-time buyers, but you do have to meet income requirements.
If you’re interested in learning more about this loan program, talk to your lender!
Are You Thinking of Buying?
Are you thinking of buying a home? It might be closer within your grasp than you think. If you have any questions about the process, please get in touch with me at any time. I’m happy to help make homeownership a reality for you.
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