Buyer Assistance

Buying a home for the first time can be intimidating. If you already own, there are also programs available.
Fortunately, there are many grants and programs that can help first-time homebuyers. The list below is just a start.

What you can do NOW:

Read the information below about the types of loans lenders can offer.
Access the Real Estate Dictionary to learn real estate “terms” you should know.
Access the Buyer’s Assistance link for grants and assistance offered by the City of Chicago.
Select from over 20 Service Categories for support and assistance ranging from Real Estate Agents to snow removal.

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For more customized assistance, contact us.

FHA loan:

With this option, the Federal Housing Administration insures the mortgage.

The FHA is an agency that operates within the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Since the FHA insures the loan, lenders receive a layer of protection and won’t experience a loss if you default on the mortgage.

FHA loans typically come with competitive interest rates, smaller down payment requirements and lower closing costs than conventional loans.

If you have a credit score of 580 or higher, you could be eligible for a mortgage with a down payment as low as 3.5 percent of the purchase price.

USDA loan

While not very well known, the homebuyer assistance program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture focuses on residences in certain rural areas.

And, no, you don’t need to purchase or run a farm to be eligible.

Through this setup, the USDA guarantees the loan. There may be no down payment required, and the loan payments are fixed.

Applicants with a credit score of 620 or higher typically receive streamlined processing. But there are income limitations, which can fluctuate based on region.

VA loan

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs helps service members, veterans and surviving spouses purchase homes. The VA guarantees part of the loan, which makes it possible for lenders to offer some special features.

VA loans offer competitive interest rates and require no down payment. You may not be required to pay for private mortgage insurance, and there isn’t a minimum credit score needed to be eligible.

If it becomes difficult at some point to make payments on the mortgage, the VA can negotiate with the lender on your behalf.

Good Neighbor Next Door

The Good Neighbor Next Door program is sponsored by HUD and focuses on providing housing aid for law enforcement officers, firefighters and emergency medical technicians and pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade teachers.

Through this program, you could receive a discount of 50 percent off a home’s listed price in specific regions known as “revitalization areas.”

In fact, you need not be a first-time buyer to reel in the benefits. But when you submit an offer to buy a home through the Good Neighbor Next Door program, you may not own any other residential real estate or have owned for one year prior.

Using the HUD Homes website (, you can search for properties that are available in your state. As part of the program, you’ll need to commit to living in the home for 36 months.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are government-sponsored entities. They work with local lenders to offer mortgage options that benefit low- and moderate-income families.

With the backing of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, lenders can offer competitive interest rates and down payment amounts as low as 3 percent of the purchase price.

First-time homebuyers could also be eligible for home financing education programs with the HomePath Ready Buyer program through Fannie Mae.

Energy Efficient Mortgage

This type of loan’s purpose is to help you add improvements to your home that will make it more environmentally friendly. The federal government supports Energy Efficient Mortgage loans by insuring them through FHA or VA programs.

The key advantage to this grant is that it allows you to create an energy-efficient home without the need to make a larger down payment. The amount is rolled into your primary loan.

Some improvements you can make include installing double-paned windows, new insulation and a modern heating and cooling system.

Federal Housing Administration 203(k)

If you want to purchase a fixer-upper, the 203(k) rehabilitation program may be a solid fit.

This type of loan, backed by the FHA, takes into consideration the value of the residence after improvements have been made. It lets you borrow the funds you’ll need to carry out the project and includes them in your main mortgage.

Native American Direct Loan

Since 1992, the Native American Veteran Direct Loan program has helped Native American veterans and their spouses purchase homes on federal trust lands. The VA serves as the lender.

If you’re eligible, you won’t be required to make a down payment or pay for private mortgage insurance.

This first-time homebuyer grant also offers low closing costs and a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage.

Again, this is partial list, other programs and grants exist to you in your quest to own. There are also grant opportunities throughout the year for existing homeowners. Register with us to receive these opportunities. Don’t delay, these opportunities expire or fill up fast.