3 First Time Homebuyer Programs In New York

First Time Homebuyer Programs

Starting the process to buy your first home is an exciting and nervous time.   Researching first time homebuyer programs is an important first step to get to know your options.  Programs to consider include those offered by banks as well as state sponsored programs.

Banks offer many first time homebuyer programs.  You can start by exploring what your local bank offers and expand your search if needed to consider regional or other banks that operate within your state.  Different banks offer programs with varying incentives that you can take advantage of, including no closing costs or other reduced pricing initiatives.

Although specific eligibility criteria may apply, getting familiar with government programs offered through the state of New York is also a wise move as you contemplate your first time home buy.  State programs might offer additional incentives that aren’t available through bank first time homebuyer programs.  New York state offers multiple programs to help homebuyers in their pursuit to purchase a home.

3 New York First Time Home Buyer Programs

 

1. SONYMA – Achieving The Dream & Low Interest Rate

This option gives two competitive mortgage programs for first time homebuyers through the State of New York Mortgage Agency (SONYMA). These programs provide qualified lower-income borrowers with a 30-year fixed rate mortgage with minimal down payment required. There are a few requirements in order to be eligible for this program.

SONYMA Achieving The Dream

This is the lowest interest rate program, designed to maximize the amount you can afford.  Details of the program follow to help you assess whether it might be an option that applies to your situation. With minimal down payment required, it can be a good option among first time homebuyer programs  for those who may have limited cash resources to bring to the table.

 

Features And Benefits

  • 30 year fixed rate mortgage
  • No points
  • Down payment requirement as low as 3% (and 3% down payment assistance available)
  • Minimum cash contribution of 1% (3% for co-ops)
  • Available for 1-4 family homes, cooperatives and condominiums
  • No prepayment penalties
  • 120-day interest rate locks for existing housing
  • 240-day interest rate locks for properties under construction or rehabilitation, cooperatives or distressed sales
  • Can be combined with other SONYMA special features
  • Other grants and subsidies can be included with no limit

 

Individual Requirements

  • Must be a first-time buyer
  • Must have good credit, stable employment, and the ability to make mortgage payments while meeting prior debt obligations.
  • Must occupy the property as your primary residence
  • Must have available either 1 or 3% of the purchase price (depending on property) in verifiable cash, savings, assets
  • Regional income limits apply and vary by county–

                           Essex, Franklin & Clinton Counties

                             INCOME LIMIT HOUSEHOLD SIZE

                               1-2 Person Non Target $79,600    1-2 Person Target $95,520

                               3+ Person Non Target $91,540     3+ Person Target $111,440

                            PURCHASE PRICE LIMITS

                              1 Family New & Existing – Non Target – $349,520   Target $427,190

                              2 Family New(Only Target Area) & Existing – Non Target – $447,540   Target $546,990

                              3 Family Existing – Non Target $540,930  Target $661,130

                              4 Family Existing –  Non Target $672,290  Target $821,680

 

Property Requirements

  • The property must be located in New York State
  • Sales price and appraised value cannot exceed SONYMA’s limits specific to this program
  • Agricultural use not permitted
  • Property must be one of the following property types:

               1. Existing or newly constructed single-family home (includes condos and co-ops)

               2. Two, three, or four family home that is at least five years old as of the SONYMA loan application date

  •  Has been used only as a residence during the past five years
  • A two-family home located in a Target Area (must be either newly constructed or constructed within five years prior to your loan application)
  • Property cannot exceed five acres and must have a minimum of 500 square feet of living space (exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis)
  • Purchasers of a condominium or co-op unit must satisfy certain special requirements.

Additional Considerations

  • Applicants must complete a homebuyer education course
  • All loans with less than a 20% down payment will require Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)
  • Borrowers may be subject to a reimbursable recapture tax
  • Funds are limited and available on a first-come, first served basis
  • Both units in a two-family home must be located in the same building
  • Properties with units in more than one building are not allowed
  • SONYMA mortgages are non- assumable and cannot be used to refinance an existing mortgage
  • All loans must be approved for pool insurance by SONYMA’s mortgage pool insurer

SONYMA Low Interest Rate Program

SONYMA’s low interest rate program offers lower down payment requirements and competitive interest rates to qualified buyers. This program allows for the purchase of 1-4 family homes, condominiums, cooperatives and manufactured homes. The features, requirements and considerations for this program are the same as the Achieving The Dream first time homebuyer programs.

Learn more  about the application process and what you can do to be prepared.


2. Graduate Homeownership Program

First time homebuyers who are new graduates with an associate, bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree earned within the past 48 months from an academic program recognized by the U.S Department OF Education, may be eligible for the Graduate To Homeownership Program. This program offers competitive 30-year fixed interest rates and may be combined with other SONYMA  grants and assistance programs like Down Payment Assistance Loans to help with your down payment or Remodel NY for funds to help with repairs and remodeling.

To be eligible:

  • Available for first-time homebuyers who have received an associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree within the past 48 months from an academic program recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
  • You must have good credit, stable employment and be able to make monthly mortgage payments
  • You must occupy the property as your primary residence
  • Regional income limits apply and vary by county

          Essex, Franklin & Clinton Counties –

INCOME LIMIT HOUSEHOLD SIZE

1-2 Person Non Target $99,500    1-2 Person Target $119,400

3+ Person Non Target $114,425     3+ Person Target $139,300

 

PURCHASE PRICE LIMITS

1 Family New & Existing – Non Target – $349,520   Target $427,190

2 Family New(Only Target Area) & Existing – Non Target – $447,540   Target $546,990

3 Family Existing – Non Target $540,930  Target $661,130

4 Family Existing –  Non Target $672,290  Target $821,680

Learn more about optional add-on features that may apply to the first time homebuyer programs described above.


3. NYSAR Housing Opportunities Foundation Grants

The New York State Association of Realtors Housing Opportunities Foundation, Inc. offers grants to first-time buyers in the state. Selected individuals who meet eligibility criteria through the application process may receive a grant of $2,000 to be applied towards the down payment and closing costs.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Applicants must be first-time homebuyers as defined by The State Of New York Mortgage Agency, SONYMA:  A person who has not had any ownership interest in his or her primary residence at any time during the three years prior to the date of making an application for a mortgage loan and at the time of making the loan application, does not own a vacation or investment home. This includes residences owned in the United States and abroad.
  • Applicant income must be no more than 110% of the SONYMA Low Interest Rate
  • Program’s TARGET income limit for the applicant’s county as posted on the SONYMA website on the day the application is received by the Foundation. Limits by county are located here.
  • Home prices must be no more than 110% of the SONYMA Low Interest Rate Program’s TARGET purchase price limit for the applicant’s county as posted on the SONYMA website on the day the application is received by the Foundation. Limits by country are location here.
  • Grants will be limited to purchase of an owner occupied residence only.
  • REALTOR representing themselves in their own home buying transaction are ineligible
  • Applicants must be using a REALTOR to be eligible for this grant.

 

Application Procedures

The application is online. Must set up your account to begin the application process.

In addition to the application form, the following information is required:

  • Letter from the lender referencing the candidate’s mortgage pre-qualification. Final loan commitment submission is required before funds can be dispersed
  • Copy of the candidate’s most recent W2, 1099 or K1
  • Copy of certificate of completion of a first time homeowner workshop, if available
  • Applications that are not complete will not be eligible for review
  • Any applicant may resubmit an application for the following month if the initial application is denied.
  • A copy of your completed application is emailed to you upon submission. You may copy/paste into a new application to resubmit

 

Selection Process

Selection for this grant is based on a lottery system. Winners are selected at random. All completed applications submitted during a calendar month will be entered into the same pool. All applications are given equal consideration unless otherwise noted

  • Applicants submitting a certification of completion for a first time homeowner workshop will receive TWO entries into the lottery pool for that month
  • Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis with decisions rendered in the month following the receipt of the application. For example, if you submit an application during the month of June you can expect to be notified by email sometime in early July. Please allow up to 30 days from the date application is received for notification.
  • Incomplete applications will not be entered into the lottery
  • The applicant will be notified either way by the Community Foundation by email

 

Fund Disbursement

  • A grant of $2,000 will be awarded to selected individuals for down payments and other reasonable closing costs normally associated with purchasing a home
  • If a closing occurs prior to the awarding of funds, the applicant will no longer be eligible to receive a grant
  • The grant funds will be available for 120 days following final approval by the Foundation. Funds will be released to a representative attending the closing other than the grant recipient.
  • If you are selected a representative from NYSAR will contact your REALTOR directly to arrange payment.

To apply and view more information on this opportunity, click here.

At Adirondack Premier Properties, our agents are familiar with first time homebuyer programs.  Contact us today to ask for help in finding your dream property and buying your first home.

Reset password

Enter your email address and we will send you a link to change your password.

Get started with your account

to save your favourite homes and more

Sign up with email

Get started with your account

to save your favourite homes and more

By clicking the «SIGN UP» button you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy