Home in 5 Program
Update: January 2016 – The Home In 5 Program has been expanded! Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton unveiled a program today offering mortgage down payment help to local school teachers, paramedics, firefighters and police officers.
This announcement is an expansion of the Home in Five Advantage that has been in place since 2012. More on this announcement below.
The Home In 5 Advantage program is one of those great things that if you can take advantage of it – do! Right here in Maricopa County, there is free money available to help you buy a home. But the money won’t last forever – when the program launched, there was about 32 million available – and as of April, 2013 there is now about 2.5 million left. It is possible that another allocation of money will happen – but don’t count on it!
How the Home in 5 Program Works
Five percent of the loan amount is given to a borrower to cover their down payment and a portion of their closing costs. Veterans receive 6 percent and, since they are already eligible for 100 percent financing, the 6 percent covers all of their closing costs and essentially they get into the home for nothing. There is a minimum credit score requirement of 640, and your household income cannot be higher than $88,000. The maximum sales price of the home in Maricopa County of $300,000. NOTE: The Home in 5 program also is now open in Yavapai and Coconino Counties – and if it goes like it has in Maricopa County, expect there to be a mad rush to get approved for the program. You do not have to pay the money back – it is considered a grant and not a loan.
Home in 5 Program Highlights
Here are just some of the highlights:
- 5% down payment assistance. Assistance is calculated as 5% of the initial principal balance of mortgage loan.
- 30 year Fixed Rate Home Loan with Competitive Interest Rate (set by IDA). **The interest rate may change periodically to stay competitive with the market**
- This is a grant, so no repayment is required.
- Eligible loan types: FHA, VA, or USDA-Rural
- Minimum 640 credit score
- Maximum of 45% debt to income ratio
- There is no First Time Homebuyer Requirement
- Maximum qualifying income of $88,000
- Important for Military (Qualified Veterans, Active Duty Military, Active Reservists, Active National Guard)
- Down Payment Assistance is increased to 6%
What The Media Is Saying
You would think that this program is all over the media, right? Maybe not as much as it could be. One recent article in The Phoenix Business Journal points out that the program isn’t really as marketed as well as it could be. From the article (by Kristena Hansen)
… The program — dubbed the Home in Five Advantage — launched last fall, but has apparently been keeping a low profile. I discovered it only recently due to my own personal quest to buy my first home. After some poking around, I learned it has been gradually stirring excitement among local home buyers and subsequently driving up business for participating mortgage bankers.
… That’s right, qualified home buyers can get the Industrial Development Authorities, or IDAs, of the City of Phoenix and all of Maricopa County to pay 5 percent of your original loan amount to cover your down payment and closings costs.
For a home priced at $300,000, that’s $15,000 in down payment and closing cost assistance that you would not be required to pay back. Yes, you read that right. It does not have to be paid back, ever.
The Home in Five Advantage launched last fall, but has been keeping a low profile. I imagine it’s because home buyers are skeptical and think it’s just a sales pitch of sorts but it is not.
And finally – according to the official MCIDA website – even though the program may have not been heard of by everyone, it has helped thousands of families so far:
The Maricopa IDA is proud to announce that through its valued Participating Lenders, the Home in Five Advantage Mortgage Origination Program has now originated over $839 million of mortgage loans to residents of Maricopa County.
That’s right – over a half billion dollars in loans to our residents. We have helped over 5,125 families fulfill their dream of owning their own home.
October 28, 2015 Announcement in Phoenix Biz Journal:
Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton unveiled a program yesterday offering mortgage down payment help to local school teachers, paramedics, firefighters and police officers.
The program is an expansion of the Home in Five Advantage program created in 2012 by the Phoenix and Maricopa County industrial development authorities to help low- and middle-income buyers purchase homes.
The program offers down payment and closing-cost assistance to borrowers, military personnel and now teachers and a host of first responders. To qualify, borrowers’ incomes must be below $88,000 per year and homes priced lower than $300,000. The program applies to homes bought in Maricopa County. “We want to go the extra mile for our first responders and our teachers,” Stanton said. The programs offers a home price grant of 4 percent to qualifying mortgage borrowers and adds an additional 1 percent grant for military personnel, teachers and public safety workers. “That’s enough to give people extra boost, to be able to build the American dream, to build home ownership,” Stanton said. Phoenix City Council members Daniel Valenzuela and Laura Pastor and Maricopa County Supervisor Clint Hickman also were at the Tuesday announcement for the Home in Five expansion.
Whether you have heard of the program before and are just here looking for more information or this is the first time that you have heard of the program and are just learning about it – one thing is certain: help isn’t very far away. There are many different lenders participating in the program and getting matched up with a lender who is knowledgeable about it and who can help you understand whether or not you qualify for the program (or any other down payment assistance programs for that matter) is easy and only takes a few minutes.
How To Qualify
Not all mortgage lenders are participating in the program – so the first step is to find a lender who can help you get qualified and is participating in the program. There are plenty of great lenders who are participating in the program, we can easily help you find one. Getting matched up with a lender is free, easy and only takes a few minutes.
Getting The Best Deal
When it comes to shopping for a mortgage – whether you qualify for the Home in 5 program or not – one of the best things you can do to make sure you are getting the right information and getting the best deal is to shop multiple lenders. Lenders will issue a quote in writing and once you have a quote in writing, you can compare quotes and come to your own conclusion as to what the right lender is for you. Getting quotes in writing is free, doesn’t take very much time and you might be surprised at the differences in lenders who you speak with. It is likely that each lender will have their own set of fees and rates – as well as differing knowledge levels about the Home in 5 Program and any other down payment assistance programs that may be available to you. Getting started with a free quote only takes minutes and is absolutely free.