Connecticut First-Time Homebuyer Programs
Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.
The process of buying your first home is exciting, but it can also be stressful. There’s a lot to understand — and a lot of paperwork to go through — and managing the costs associated with purchasing your dream home may feel daunting.
Fortunately for new homebuyers in Connecticut, there are a variety of state assistance options available, including programs from the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority and the Housing Development Fund.
In this article, we will cover:
- Eligibility for Connecticut assistance
- CHFA Downpayment Assistance Program
- Housing Development Fund
- Capital for Change Mobile Home Purchase Mortgage
- Community-based first-time homebuyer assistance
- National first-time homebuyer programs
Connecticut first-time homebuyer programs
The largest of the first-time homebuyer assistance programs in Connecticut are managed by the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA), but there are plenty of others run by religious and charitable organizations.
- CHFA offers first-time homebuyers, as well as people who haven’t owned a home in the past three years, a discounted mortgage rate through approved mortgage lenders.
- The CHFA Resource Map can help you figure out if the home you want is within program eligibility limits.
CHFA also offers special programs with discounted rates – 0.125% off the already low rates – for first-time homebuyers who are:
- Veterans or active military: The program is also open to unmarried surviving spouses or civil-union partners of a veteran who died as a result of military service or from service-connected disabilities.
- Teachers: To qualify, teachers must work and purchase a home in a state-designated priority or transitional school district. They also can qualify by teaching a subject for which there is a shortage of teachers.
- State troopers or police officers: Municipal police officers qualify by buying a home in the city or town where they work. State police officers can buy in any participating town.
In January 2019, we researched the most current information on first-time homebuyer programs in Connecticut, which included reviewing program websites and guidelines from the CHFA. Here’s what first-time homebuyers in Connecticut need to know.
Eligibility for Connecticut assistance
- The sales price of the home must be below the sale price limit of the town in which you’d like to buy, and your gross income also has to be within the income limits of the area.
- The first step is to find a CHFA-approved lender. The lender you choose will pre-qualify you for the amount you can borrow before you start shopping.
- Even if you don’t meet all these criteria, you may still qualify for one of these loans if you choose a home in a targeted area. In all cases, your home must be your primary residence.
- The next eight steps in the homebuying process can be found in this guide.
CHFA Downpayment Assistance Program (DAP)
- If you have a big enough income to qualify for a mortgage, but you don’t have enough to cover the down payment, DAP offers a second mortgage — a loan, usually at the same rate as the first mortgage — so you can make the down payment.
- You will have to use any household savings above $10,000 toward your down payment — excluding your retirement account. CHFA will waive this requirement in loans for qualified police officers and teachers.
- You will also be required to prove you are able able to repay your CHFA first mortgage and the DAP loan. The lender will charge a $200 application fee.
- The DAP loan must be a minimum of $3,000 but no more than the minimum required for your home.
How it works
- To get started with the process, contact a CHFA-approved private lender, who will help you navigate the process.
Housing Development Fund
- Housing Development Fund (HDF) offers down payment assistance for first-time homebuyers all over Connecticut
- HDF provides up to 20% of the mortgage amount as a repayable loan, and buyers can secure the remaining 80% through an HDF lending partner
- Also offers homebuyer education and counseling classes
- You must not have owned a home in the past three years; no one involved in the transaction, including non-borrowing spouses, can have owned a home during that time
- No bankruptcies in the past four years
- No foreclosures in the past seven years
- No charge-offs or current past-due accounts on borrower(s) or spouse’s credit reports
- Borrowers must be prepared to purchase a home within 12 months
- Borrowers must have savings of at least 1% of the purchase price and funds to cover pre-closing costs and emergency reserves
- Steady history of work in the same industry for the past two years
- History of steady payment and debt management
- No collections/judgments greater than $5,000
- Income limits vary by county
How it works
To initiate the process of working with HDF, fill out this form. A housing specialist will contact you to help you get started.
Capital for Change Mobile Home Purchase Mortgage
- Offers first-time homebuyers loans to purchase a mobile home located in a state-licensed mobile home park within Connecticut
- No down payment assistance available
- Income limits are set by the CHFA and vary by location
- 30-year, fixed-rate financing requires a minimum down payment of 20%
- No application fee, no prepayment penalty, and closing costs are generally low
How it works
Start by filling out this application form. To do that, you’ll need this information:
- Federal tax returns for the past three years, including all W-2s and 1099s
- Proof of employment
- Proof of all fixed-income payments, including Social Security, pensions and court orders for alimony and child support
- Banking information for all checking, savings, investment and retirement accounts
- Explanation and proof of all other income
- Source of down payment
Community-based first-time homebuyer assistance
- Provides help in purchasing single-family, two-family or condominium units within Fairfield
- Provides 50% of the required down payment up to a maximum of $30,000 toward the purchase of a home using a no-interest loan, payable in full when the owner sells, refinances, transfers the property or dies
- Pays closing costs up to maximum of $2,500 in the form of a grant that does not need to be repaid
- Closing costs funds may be used toward attorney fees, appraisals, prepaid interest and other financing charges
- Buyers must meet income limits set by size of family
- A first-time homebuyer is defined as someone who has not owned a home in the past three years
- Applicants must complete a first-time homebuyer counseling program
How it works
Initiate the process by filling out this application.
- Down payment assistance grant of up to $5,000 in matching funds for first-time homebuyers
- Property purchased must be within the areas of Hamden specified by the program
- Buyers must meet income limits based on size of family
How it works
This program is offered by the Town of Hamden Office of Housing and Neighborhood Development. Buyers can initiate the application process by filling out this form.
- Help with down payment and closing costs available for first-time homebuyers
- City will provide up to 6% of the purchase price of a single-family (1-4) housing unit up to $10,000
- The money is in the form of a 0% interest loan that is forgiven at the rate of 20% per year over five years
- An additional $2,500 is available for city employees, teachers, police officers, firefighters or members of the military
- The balance of the loan must be repaid if the property is sold or transferred
- The buyer’s household income can’t be more than 80% of the median family income — adjusted for family size — in the New Haven/Meriden MSA.
- The buyer must be current on taxes and already have obtained a first mortgage financing commitment.
- The buyer must also contribute a minimum of 2% of the purchase price of the property from his own resources.
- The money can come from gifts, grants or loan programs.
How it works
You can apply using this form.
National first-time homebuyer programs
Besides these state and local-specific programs, there are a host of federal and nonprofit-sponsored programs that provide low-rate mortgages, assistance with purchasing and even opportunities for sweat equity in Connecticut. Habitat for Humanity is very active in the state, and the USDA offers lending assistance in many areas of rural Connecticut. Here are some other good places to start looking for opportunities through these programs.