Saving up cash to buy a new home is a necessity. You may need cash to put earnest money down on a property, 3% -5% of the sales price depending on what kind of loan you get, and extra cash to pay for closing costs if the seller does not contribute. Nevertheless, you can enlist some support by many local, state, federal, and charitable organizations that offer down payment assistance to home buyers who meet specific criteria.
Some general tips for finding down payment assistance include:
• Give yourself adequate time to find the right home because many of these programs may take 45-60 days to provide funding on your home.
• Research the program that’s right for you. Some programs have restrictions and limitations on where you can live. Others have income requirements.
• Do not rely solely on the down payment assistance program to provide you with cash for your home purchase. Save up some of your own funds for additional fees.
• Determine whether the program is offering a grant that does not have to be repaid or down payment assistance that gets paid back over time.
• Weigh the incentives of the program compared the incentives you might get from a home seller or builder in new construction.
• Find out if you need to bring any portion of cash to closing and always have cash set aside just in case.
• Be prepared to attend home buyer workshops and sessions. Many of these programs require you attend workshops and work with counselors. Before you can secure any type of down payment assistance, you often must complete the program.
• Don’t forget about the Federal Tax Credit that has been extended for homes put under contract by April 30, 2010. Restrictions do apply, but generally $8,000 for qualified first time homebuyers. This isn’t down payment assistance, but the tax credit can be used toward costs associated with the purchase of the home.
Here’s a few down payment assistance programs in Georgia that can help buyers:
Atlanta Development Authority – Provides up to $15,000 in down payment assistance to qualified buyers. This does not have to be repaid as long as the buyer occupies the property for 5 years.
Georgia Dream – Provides $14,000 to eligible buyers of foreclosed properties in specific areas.
Dekalb County Down Payment Assistance – Up to $8,000 for qualified first time home buyers.
NACA – Helps you get into a home with no down payment, no closing costs, and a reduced interest rate through a major financial institution.