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Georgia First-Time Homebuyer Programs

Are you a Georgia resident on the hunt for your very first home? You may be feeling a bit overwhelmed as there is a lot you need to know and do and you are brand new to the world of homebuying. Buying a home can also be a very expensive undertaking.

You should be aware that your state has programs that could help you turn your dream of owning a home into a reality, while also making the process a bit less financially intimidating.

Here’s what you should know as a first-time homebuyer in the Peach State.

Georgia first-time homebuyer programs

As a Georgia resident, you can turn to the Georgia Department of Community Affairs for first-time homebuyer programs. The Georgia Dream Homeownership Program offers a number of affordable loan options designed especially with low- and moderate-income Georgians in mind.

In January 2019, we researched first-time homebuyer programs in Georgia, which included reviewing program websites and the Georgia Department of Community Affairs guidelines. Here’s what first-time homebuyers in Georgia need to know.

General eligibility and contact information

Features and eligibility requirements for each individual program are listed in detail below. If you think you might be eligible and wish to apply for any of the following programs, here’s the contact information you will need and the steps you should take to begin the process.

  • Step one: Find a list of Georgia Dream participating lenders by visiting GAdream.com. If preferred, you may call 800-359-HOME (4663) for more information or help locating a participating lender over the phone.
  • Step two: Find a list of available homebuyer education programs (through a HUD-approved housing counseling agency) and sign up. Your completion of an approved homebuyer education class is a condition you will need to meet to qualify for any of the Georgia Dream programs.

You can find a list of available classes through the Georgia Department of Community Affairs website or the HUD website. If you prefer, you may also complete the required class online through eHomeAmerica.org. You can check current mortgage rates for your area here.

The Georgia Dream Homeownership Program

Features

  • FHA, USDA Rural Development, VA and conventional loan options
  • Down payment assistance of $5,000 to $15,000 for qualified buyers
  • Affordable financing options
  • Application to closing generally takes around 60 days.

Eligibility

In order to qualify for assistance through the Georgia Dream Homeownership Program, you will need to meet the following general eligibility requirements:

  • You are a first-time homebuyer OR you haven’t owned a home in the past three years OR you plan to purchase a home in a targeted area (at least 70% of the families who reside there have a household annual income 80% or less of the statewide average).
  • Meet income and purchase price limits.
  • Have liquid assets of no more than $20,000, or 20% of the sales price of the home you intend to purchase (whichever is greater).
  • Credit able to satisfy a mortgage lender’s requirements (including a minimum middle credit score of 640).
  • Complete a homebuyer education class.

How it works

Ready to find out if you’re eligible to purchase a home with support from the Georgia Dream Homeownership Program? Scroll up to the General eligibility and contact information section and reach out to a participating lender using the contact information provided.

Georgia Dream Standard Down Payment Loan

Features

  • $5,000 for qualified buyers to cover a portion of down payment, closing costs and prepaid items
  • 0% interest loan
  • No monthly payment
  • Second mortgage lien placed on property
  • Repayment due when property is sold, refinanced or no longer occupied as your primary residence.

Eligibility

  • Borrowers must contribute a minimum of $1,000 to the purchase.
  • Borrowers must have a first mortgage through the Georgia Dream program.

How it works

To see if you are eligible for down payment assistance through Georgia Dream, scroll up to the General eligibility and contact information section and use the contact information provided.

Georgia Dream PEN Down Payment Loan

Features

  • $7,500 for qualified buyers to cover a portion of down payment, closing costs and prepaid items
  • 0% interest loan
  • No monthly payment
  • Second mortgage lien placed on property
  • Repayment due when property is sold, refinanced or no longer occupied as your primary residence.

Eligibility

  • Borrower must be a public protector, educator, health care provider or active duty military.
  • Borrower must have a first mortgage through the Georgia Dream program.
  • Borrower must contribute a minimum of $1,000 to the purchase.

How it works

If you’re ready to see if you are eligible for down payment assistance through Georgia Dream, scroll up to the General eligibility and contact information section and use the contact information provided.

Georgia Dream CHOICE Down Payment Loan

Features

  • $7,500 for qualified buyers to cover a portion of down payment, closing costs and prepaid items
  • 0% interest loan
  • No monthly payment
  • Second mortgage lien placed on property
  • Repayment due when property is sold, refinanced or no longer occupied as your primary residence.

Eligibility

  • A member of the borrower’s family must be living with a disability.
  • Borrower must have a first mortgage through the Georgia Dream program.
  • Borrowers must contribute a minimum of $1,000 to the purchase.

How it works

Starting your application is easy. Scroll up to to the General eligibility and contact information section and use the contact information provided.

Georgia Dream Hardest Hit Fund (HHF)

Features

  • $15,000 per household in down payment and closing cost assistance to eligible borrowers
  • Created to stabilize communities hit hardest by issues such as serious delinquency, negative equity and foreclosures
  • Not eligible for PEN or CHOICE upgrades
  • 0% interest loan
  • No monthly payment
  • Second mortgage lien placed on property
  • Lien forgiven and released five years after closing date.

Eligibility

  • Borrower must be purchasing a home in one of seven of Georgia’s hardest hit counties (Fulton, DeKalb, Clayton, Muscogee, Douglas, Chatham or Bibb).
  • Borrower must be purchasing an existing home. New-construction homes are not eligible.
  • Borrower must have a first mortgage through the Georgia Dream program.
  • Borrower cannot have been convicted of felony larceny, theft, fraud, forgery, money laundering or tax evasion within the past 10 years.

How it works

If you’re ready to apply, contact a Georgia Dream participating lender using the contact information in the General eligibility and contact information section.

National first-time homebuyer programs

Although the Georgia Department of Community Affairs does offer some great first-time homebuyer programs to consider, you don’t have to stop your search there. You may find help in the form of federal programs, too, including from the FHA, USDA and VA.

Here’s a useful guide to help you discover federal first-time homebuyer programs that might also be a good fit for you.

 

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