THDA offering $15,000 down payment grants for first time home buyers

Nashville 2019

Money for $15,000 down payment assistance grants from the Tennessee Housing Development Agency is running out. 

This is money for first-time homebuyers purchasing a home in one of a participating ZIP Codes. 

Coming up with the money to put down on a home can be the toughest part of for a lot of people, and the Great Choice Home Loan helps with that. 

“Rent kept going up in the townhome where I was living in west Nashville and in my mind, I was like well if I’m going to pay this much in rent, I might as well throw this money at a mortgage. I’m a single mom so single income, stumbled upon the THDA website in the course of the Google search, looked into it, and it was like all this down payment assistance, and I’m like okay, this has to be a little bit too good to be true,’ said Elaine Eisinger, who took advantage of the Great Choice Home Loan. 

But Eisinger quickly found out, it’s not. 

“I don’t think most people, especially first-time home buyers, you don’t realize how many tiny expenses pop up here and there. You have the inspection, you have all these different fees that are wrapped up in getting approved for a mortgage so that just really provided a cushion to where I was able to do all that without breaking the bank and still having savings in place for myself and my daughter,” Eisinger said. 

There are some rules. You must find a home within a particular zip code, and if you move, you’ll have to pay that money back to the state. 

“It’s forgivable over 10 years but the forgiveness starts in year six. So in other words, starting in the sixth year, 20 percent is forgiven each year for the next five. If you’re in that home for 10 years and the mortgage for 10 years, you’ll never repay a nickel of it. The reason it’s structured like that is these are federal funds with the intention of helping neighborhoods that have been a little slower recovering than others.” 

“You’ll also need to complete a THDA-approved Homebuyer Education course,” said THDA Executive Director Ralph Perrey. 

Eisinger said, “It was really beneficial in learning okay here’s how you budget, here’s how you figure out what type of mortgage you can afford, and it was literally a step by step process. So that in and of itself was hugely beneficial.” 

To see if you’re eligible, go to GreatChoiceTN.com, and click “first-time homebuyer.” 

“It’ll tell you what you need to qualify for the mortgage, tell you about the down payment, give you a list of the lenders who we work with, and a list of the counseling agencies to get you started. THDA eligible borrowers in and around Nashville, that can be a three-person household, making about $90,000. We want to see a credit score of at least 640, we want to see a debt to income ration that’s no higher than 45 percent,” Perrey told News 2. 

THDA reps say they’ve awarded more than 2,512 $15,000 down payment assistance loans, which means they’re almost two-thirds of the way through available funds for the program. They believe the funds will be depleted this fall, so now is the tie to take advantage of that money. 

You can read more about THDA’s Great Choice program here

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