The one of the biggest obstacles buyers face in purchasing a home is having enough money saved for both a down payment and closing costs. A minimum of 3.5% of the purchase price is required for an FHA loan, and typically, at least 5%-10% is a common requirement for a Conventional loan.
Here is what it might normally cost to buy (but read on- good news to follow!)
For a home priced at $200,000, with FHA financing, a buyer would need at least $7,000 to meet their minimum down payment requirement. For a conventional loan, the down payment would be at least $10,000 (5% down). In addition, buyers will need to have funds for closing costs. Typical closing costs might include loan origination fees, amounts to be escrowed for taxes and hazard & mortgage insurance, and various lender fees and recording fees. These closing costs can range between 2-5% of the purchase price (up to $10,000 for a $200,000 home). In addition, if the seller does not pay the buyer’s broker’s success fee, the buyer may be on the hook to pay that too (the broker’s fee is negotiable, but a common buyer’s broker’s fee in Colorado might be around 3% of the purchase price- about $6,000 on a $200,000 home). The buyer may also need to pay upfront any third-party fees for services like, loan application, credit report, inspections, surveys, appraisals, etc (which may run more than $1,000 total).
The total for all of those fees, costs and down payment could potentially cost the buyer over $24,000 for a buyer using an FHA loan to buy a $200,000 home. Needless to say, most buyers do not have that kind of cash available- especially not first-time homebuyers (who are not rolling over proceeds from the sale of their former home).
Now- here is the good news!
Luckily, for most buyers, the out-of-pocket costs to get into a home can be greatly reduced. For example, in Colorado, the buyer’s broker is usually paid from the seller’s proceeds. Also, some closing costs can be rolled into the buyer’s loan- so less needs to be paid upfront. The purchase contract may be negotiated to have the seller pay some or all of the buyer’s closing costs. Some third-party services, like inspections and surveys are optional- though I highly recommend having them done (it is always good to know what you are buying before parting with your money). Down payment assistance programs are also a big source of relief to buyers that need a bit of help with the financial side of buying a home. With all of these resources and strategies employed, it is possible to purchase a home with as little as $1000-$1500 out of the buyer’s pocket (even in today’s tougher lending environment).
For those buyers that desire as little as possible coming out of their pockets at closing, I am providing some information on down payment assistance programs available in Colorado. Below is a list of the most commonly used assistance programs. Some require that the buyer be a first-time homebuyer (or hasn’t owned a home in the past three years). Some of these programs do not require being a first-timer. In some of the programs, the assistance amount must be paid back or is gradually forgiven over time. In other programs, the assistance is a grant, which does not need to be repaid. Some are also location specific. Finding the right mix of loan type and assistance program to fix a buyer’s needs can be complex- so more than likely, a buyer will need the help of a good lender to help them sift through the programs they are eligible for, as well as an experienced real estate broker (like myself) to help them find a house that will meet the requirements of both their loan type and any assistance program they may be using.
One of the lenders I have worked with is the Wynn Team at Citimortgage. Their team of loan officers, works with pretty much all of the assistance programs I am familiar with. They have provided this short summary (in italics) of several of the homebuyer assistance programs available to buyers in Colorado. Here is the list of some of the top financial resources available to buyers purchasing a home:
1. Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHFA)
CHFA is probably the most well-known option to assist potential home buyers with down payment assistance or unique financing options not available through typical lending channels. CHFA is available throughout the state of Colorado. Here is what CHFA has to offer to home buyers looking to purchase a primary residence:
- CHFA SmartStep Plus: FHA (3.5% down payment) or VA (0% down payment) mortgage loan with down payment or closing cost assistance (3% of your first mortgage amount) in the form of a second mortgage payable over a term of 30 years. Income and purchase price limits apply.
- CHFA HomeOpener Plus: Same exact program as the CHFA SmartStep Plus but with higher income limits and no purchase price limits.
- CHFA Advantage: Conventional mortgage loan with a 3% down payment requirement instead of the normal 5%. In addition to the lower down payment requirement this loan has no up-front or monthly mortgage insurance. Income and purchase price limits apply..
- CHFA Preferred: Conventional mortgage loan similar to CHFA Advantage with the same 3% minimum down payment requirement. The Preferred, unlike the Advantage product, does have Mortgage Insurance but provides an optional second mortgage (3% of your first mortgage amount) for down payment assistance. Income and purchase price limits apply.
2. National Homebuyers Fund (NHF) Platinum
NHF Platinum is a new program available throughout the state of Colorado! Just like CHFA the NHF program is available statewide. Here is how NHF works:
- Down payment assistance in the form of a grant (does not require repayment) in the amount of either 3% or 5% of your first mortgage loan amount.
- Available on 30 year fixed FHA, VA or USDA mortgage loans.
- Income limits do apply.
- Loan limit is $417,000 or loan limits set by FHA, VA, or USDA, whichever is less.
3. Metro Mortgage Assistance Plus (MMA)
The MMA program is very similar to the NHF Platinum program with a few small differences. The major difference is the geographical restrictions of the MMA program. MMA is available in the cities of Arvada, Aurora, Boulder, Brighton, Broomfield, Centennial, Dacono, Edgewater, Englewood, Golden, Lakewood, Littleton, Parker, Sheridan, Thornton, Westminster, Wheat Ridge and unincorporated Boulder and Jefferson counties. Here is how the MMA program works:
- Down payment assistance in the form of a grant (does not require repayment) in the amount of 4% of your first mortgage loan amount.
- Available on 30 year fixed FHA or VA mortgage loans.
- Income limits do apply: $91,100 for households of 1-2 people and $103,000 for a household of 3+.
4. City & County Programs
In addition to these larger down payment assistance programs offered throughout the state or in multiple areas there are some additional programs available in certain cities or counties. Most, if not all, of these programs require you to be a first time home buyer to qualify (to qualify as a first time home buyer you have not been on title to property within the past three years). Here are a few that are most popular in the Denver metro area:
- Adams County
- Arapahoe County
- Aurora HOAP
- CHAC (City/County of Denver and Statewide program)
- Douglas County
- Jefferson County
- City of Thornton
Each city or county has different rules and requirements for gaining access to their programs. Other city and county programs are offered but I merely listed the most popular.
5. Mortgage Credit Certificates (MCC)
Although the MCC program is not a down payment assistance program it is well worth mentioning since it is closely related to this topic. An MCC lets home buyers claim 20-30% of their mortgage interest as a tax credit on their annual federal IRS tax returns. The remaining interest paid is still eligible for the home mortgage interest deduction. There are currently two MCC programs available in Colorado:
CHFA MCC: The CHFA MCC is available statewide and does not require you to obtain a CHFA first mortgage to participate. CHFA offers a 20% MCC credit with their program. Additional restrictions including income, purchase price, loan amount, credit, etc. do apply to this program. You must be a first time home buyer to qualify (some exceptions to the first time home buyer requirement exist).
Denver MCC: The Denver MCC is available within the city and county of Denver only. Denver offers a 30% MCC credit with a $2,000 annual maximum. Just like CHFA, Denver has some additional restrictions to be aware of including being a first time home buyer.
Be aware- Not all lenders work with these programs! There is usually an “approved lender” list for each program. If you would like to contact a lender about one of these programs, or to be pre-qualified for a home loan, please fill out the form below. I would be happy to give you the contact information for the Wynn Team and/or other qualified lenders participating in these programs. Although some of this information may be a bit overwhelming at first, the right professionals on your side can make the most of the resources available to you! I would love to work with you in helping you through the purchasing process and buying your next home! Please let me know how I can help!