How to Buy a House with the National Homebuyers Fund

(Last Updated On: January 1, 2019)

Wondering how to buy a house with help from the National Homebuyers Fund? It’s easier than you think! From down payment assistance to mortgage credit certificates, the National Homebuyers Fund has made it easy to buy a house with low income! To make things even easier, we’ve assembled all the information you need into one helpful guide!

Looking for other low income home buyer options? Click here!

What is the National Homebuyer’s Fund?

The National Homebuyers Fund (NHF) is a non-profit corporation that helps make homeownership more accessible across the United States. They’ve helped more than 35,000 Americans purchase their first home by providing more than $300 million in down payment assistance and $6 billion in loan financing since 2002!

How does the NHF help low income home buyers?

The National Homebuyers Fund offers several different programs to assist home buyers. These include two down payment assistance programs, a mortgage credit certificate program and energy efficiency financing. Obviously, some of these are more applicable to low income buyers than others.

How can I get help with my down payment from NHF? 

The National Homebuyers Fund divides their down payment assistance programs into two separate programs, called NHF Sapphire and GSFA Platinum.

NHF Sapphire is a grant for up to 5% of the mortgage loan amount. The funds can be used to help with your down payment or closing costs. Since it’s a grant, it does not have to be repaid!

This program is available in multiple states and can be applied to FHA, VA and USDA loans. You must be a low or moderate income earner in order to qualify for this grant. There are generous credit score and debt-to-income ratio requirements for this program but I was not able to find specifics on those. However, the maximum income limits can be found on the NHF website. 

Unfortunately, the website also indicates that this program is not available in multiple but not all states. I have reached out to National Homebuyers Fund to confirm which states are eligible to participate in this program.

GSFA Platinum is a California-specific grant program that provides up to 5% of the mortgage loan amount. Just like NHF Sapphire, this program can be used toward your down payment or closing costs.

However, there are some big differences between this program and the more-accessible Sapphire program. For example, GSFA Platinum can be applied to conventional loans and refinances! However, it’s only available in the state of California. You are required to have a 640 credit score and a maximum 45% debt-to-income ratio to qualify.

What else does the National Homebuyers Fund do?

The rest of the NHF’s programs are restricted to California residents. If you live in California, NHF can also assist you with a mortgage credit certificate and energy efficiency financing.

GSFA Mortgage Credit Certificates entitle the recipient to a tax credit rate that may help the home-buyer qualify for the initial loan.

The tax credit continues every year as long as you reside in the home and continue to pay interest on the original mortgage. If you refinance, you will need to apply for a re-issuance of the MCC or the benefits will end. According to the NHF website, “an MCC is an IRS tax credit that reduces the federal tax liability of a qualified borrower, thus having the effect of subsidizing the monthly mortgage payment.”

Because the credit basically reduces your tax burden and increases your net earnings, it can help you qualify for a loan in the first place. Thus, this program is usually for first time home buyers.

The MCC program is available in 44 California counties. It can be applied to multiple loan types and can be combined with down payment assistance programs.

GSFA Residential Energy Retrofit provides low-interest financing for residential properties in 44 California counties. The maximum loan amount is $50,000 and all funds must be used for energy efficiency upgrades. Depending on what work is completed, you may also be eligible for up to $6,500 in rebates from your utility provider!

There is a 6.5% fixed interest rate for this program and the loan must be repaid within 15 years. There are no equity, income or appraisal requirements.

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