What are homeownership programs?
Homeownership programs help Worcester-area homebuyers buy, keep, and repair single and multi-family homes. Homeownership programs include:
Am I eligible?
Many homeownership programs are for first-time homebuyers of low or moderate income. A first-time homebuyer is a person who has not owned a home in the previous three years. If you owned a home with a former spouse, if you are a single parent, or if you owned a home without a foundation, you still qualify as a first-time homebuyer.
Families must usually meet income requirements, buy a house within certain price limits, plan to live in the house they buy, and be able to afford their monthly housing and other expenses. Some programs require applicants to complete a homebuyer education course to be eligible. Noncitizens are eligible for many homeownership programs.
For more information about program eligibility, call the Worcester NeighborWorks Homeownership Center at 508-791-2170.
Worcester-Area Homeownership Programs
There are many programs in the Worcester area for families who need help buying, keeping, or repairing a home. You can get information about all of these homeownership programs by calling the NeighborWorks HomeOwnership Center of Worcester at 508-791-2170.
Buy Worcester Now
Buy Worcester Now is a public/private partnership that offers incentives to encourage people to buy homes in Worcester. Potential homebuyers must get a mortgage from a participating lender to qualify for the program. You do not have to be a first-time homebuyer. Benefits include: below market rates with no or low down payments; lower or no mortgage insurance payments; employer mortgage assistance; closing costs assistance; reduced attorney, appraisal, and other homebuyer fees; homebuyer counseling; and post-purchase rewards from area retailers and local attractions.
For more information, visit the Buy Worcester Now web site. For a list of homes for sale, see Property Listings. You may also call Buy Worcester Now at 508-799-1902.
Soft Second Loan Program
The Soft Second Loan Program helps families qualify for mortgage loans by splitting the loan amount into two parts: a regular first mortgage at market interest rates, and a second subsidized mortgage that is interest-only for the first ten years. A 3% down payment is required. The homebuyer does not have to pay points or buy mortgage insurance.
See Soft Second Loan Program on MassResources.org for income limits, participating lenders, and other details.
MassHousing Mortgage Loans
MassHousing Mortgage Loans are affordable mortgage loans with low down payment requirements, low closing costs, and special mortgage insurance with payment protection if the borrower becomes unemployed. MassHousing mortgages are offered by MassHousing, a state agency that works to increase affordable housing in Massachusetts.
For income limits, lenders, and other information, see MassHousing Mortgage Loans on MassResources.org.
Homebuyer education classes
Homebuyer education classes are required by many homeownership assistance programs. Homebuyer classes give future homebuyers the information they need to find, purchase, and maintain a home. The classes are sometimes free, or may charge a modest fee. For a schedule of classes in Worcester, call the NeighborWorks HomeOwnership Center at 508-791-2170 or visit their web site at NeighborWorks.
For more information, see Homebuyer Education on MassResources.org.
Down payment and closing costs assistance
Cities and towns throughout Massachusetts provide down payment and closing costs assistance to first-time homebuyers in their regions. The City of Worcester gives down payment and closing costs grants to help families buy their first home. The program is for homebuyers with limited income who can afford monthly mortgage payments but cannot save enough to pay the initial home purchase costs. Priority is given to families who buy multi-family homes in areas in need of revitalization.
To apply, contact the City of Worcester Division of Housing Development at 508-799-1400. See Down Payment/Closing Cost Assistance Program Details for eligibility requirements. For more information, see Down Payment Assistance on MassResources.org.
Lead paint removal programs
Homeowners can get grants, loans, and tax credits for removing lead paint hazards from their property.
Lead Paint Abatement Grants can be used to pay for inspection, lead paint removal or covering, temporary relocation of tenants, and other related costs. This money does not have to be repaid. These grants are for low-income owner-occupants, and for property owners who rent to low-income tenants. Priority is usually given to families with young children. To apply, contact the City of Worcester Division of Housing Development at 508-799-1400. For eligibility requirements, see City of Worcester Lead Paint Abatement.
Get the Lead Out gives low-cost loans to homeowners to help pay the costs of deleading their property. These loans are for low and moderate-income owners of single and multi-family homes. Income limits, maximum loan amounts, and interest rates depend on your situation. Call Neighborworks at 508-791-2170 or visit their web site at Lead Paint Abatement for more information.
The Lead Paint Removal Tax Credit is a state income tax credit for Massachusetts residential property owners who delead their property. For eligibility, benefits, and other information, see Lead Paint Removal Credit on MassResources.org.
You can find income limits, benefit details, and other information at Lead Paint Removal Assistance on MassResources.org.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are government approved loan companies that offer affordable mortgages to low and moderate-income households. These loans are available through area banks and mortgage companies.
For income limits and other eligibility rules, loan details, and how to apply, see Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on MassResources.org.
Government insured mortgages
Government insured mortgages are mortgage loans that the government agrees to pay if the homebuyer stops making payments. The government insurance protects the lender from loss.
The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) offers mortgage insurance to help homebuyers who cannot get home loans because they do not qualify for private mortgage insurance. For more information, call the HUD Counseling and Referral Line at 1-800-217-6970.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) gives home loan guarantees to homebuyers who are eligible veterans. Eligibility is based on days of active duty and other service requirements. For questions about VA guaranteed loans, call the VA Loan Eligibility Center at 1-888-244-6711.
Rural Housing Service (RHS) loan guarantees are for low and moderate-income families who want to buy modest single-family homes in rural areas. For more information, call the Holden Service Center at 508-829-4477.
For more information, see Government Insured Mortgages on MassResources.org.
Section 8 Homeownership Voucher Program
The Homeownership Voucher Program allows families with Section 8 vouchers to use their vouchers to help pay the mortgage on a home they buy. To be eligible, families must be first-time homebuyers who have a Section 8 voucher, meet income and work requirements, and plan to buy a house that meets Section 8 standards.
To apply, contact the Worcester Housing Authority (WHA) at 508-635-3000. For more information, see Section 8 Homeownership Voucher Program on MassResources.org.
Habitat for Humanity
Greater Worcester Habitat for Humanity (GWHFH) builds simple affordable houses for families in need of shelter, then sells these homes to families on a no profit basis, with a no interest mortgage. GWHFH selects families based on need, ability to pay, and willingness to partner.
To apply, call the GWHFH at 508-799-9259 or visit their web site at Homeownership. For more information, see Habitat for Humanity on MassResources.org.
Foreclosure prevention programs are counseling, loan modification, and refinancing programs that help you if you are in trouble with your home loan, or think you will be in trouble in the future. The programs sometimes make it possible for you to keep your home. Most foreclosure prevention services are free.
For more information, see Foreclosure Prevention Programs on MassResources.org.
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