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Do you qualify for down payment assistance?

Key insights:

  • Whether you’re a first-time buyer or a seasoned homeowner, you may be eligible for down payment assistance on your upcoming home purchase.
  • Both Minnesota and Wisconsin have down payment assistance programs designed to help homebuyers get the help they need.
  • Each program has different qualification guidelines, so it’s important to do your research before you apply for down payment assistance.

As the cost of rent continues to rise, many would-be buyers are stopped short by one variable in the buying process: the down payment.

But thanks to state-run programs in Minnesota and Wisconsin, homeownership may now be within reach for buyers who can afford a monthly mortgage payment but cannot save enough for a down payment.

Minnesota down payment assistance programs

The Minnesota Housing Finance Agency’s Start Up program offers first-time buyer loans for up to $15,000, which can be used for down payment or closing costs.

Borrowers in the Start Up program must:

  • Not have owned a house in the last three years.
  • Have a minimum credit score of 640 (dependent on product and loan-to-value ratio).
  • Meet the income limits.
  • Attend homebuyer education classes.

Buyers should also avoid searching for luxury homes, as there is a home cost limit for homebuyers who take advantage of the Start Up program:

  • 11-county metro area: Home cost limit is $328,200
  • Greater Minnesota: Home cost limit is $271,000
Read the full details of the Start Up program for first-time buyers in Minnesota.

Not a first-time buyer?

If you’ve owned a home in the last three years or currently own a home, you may still qualify for down payment assistance or closing cost assistance. Check out the Step Up program, which offers loans for repeat buyers or those seeking to refinance in Minnesota.

Wisconsin down payment assistance programs

In Wisconsin, both first-time buyers and repeat buyers can apply for an Easy Close Advantage loan from the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA). These loans offer funds that can be used for down payment assistance, closing costs and homebuyer education resources.

And for Wisconsin buyers who are looking at fixer-uppers, WHEDA’s new Homestyle Renovation Program offers an all-in-one loan that — for certain property types — can finance:

  • Down payment and closing costs
  • The purchase of the property
  • The money required to renovate the home

Homebuyers who receive down payment assistance or closing costs assistance from WHEDA must take out a WHEDA Advantage home loan for their mortgage, and meet income and credit standards. Learn more about WHEDA programs here.

Who should I talk to about down payment assistance?

In addition to the professionals at MHFA and WHEDA, your Edina Realty REALTOR® can put you in touch with lending specialists who will set you on a responsible path to homeownership. Reach out today to Edina Realty, or contact your own agent, to get the insights and resources you need.

Plus, look for more #BuyerInsights on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

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