Kick-start your homeownership ambitions

At Certainty Home Lending, we believe that everyone should have the opportunity to experience the American Dream of having a place of their own. There are so many benefits to homeownership — too many to list here — but chief among them is the chance to start building equity, which itself creates a solid foundation for generations.

We know that the housing landscape out there can be inhospitable, especially to those who have never navigated the buying process before, as well as those who live in particularly difficult mortgage markets. Never ones to just talk about an issue without taking action, we have two new programs to help potential homebuyers. With that in mind, let’s discuss some of the new ways you can kick-start your dreams of homeownership.

How it works

This program eliminates some loan terms and upfront fees for households that are at or below 100% Area Media Income (AMI) in many areas of the United States, and up to 120% AMI in high-cost areas. For instance, the AMI for the Chicago area is $105,700. So, a household could make up to $126,840 (120% of AMI) and still qualify for this program.   

That means some first-time homebuyers could qualify for premium pricing as much as 2% lower with this program than they would otherwise, depending on their qualifications.*

AMI is a measure of the average household income in a given area. It’s one way the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) can determine if a borrower can apply to some federal housing programs. Historically, the upfront fees were applied if a household made upwards of 80% AMI, but now the upfront fees are no longer a factor up to 100%, and 120% in some areas, to further open the door for homebuyers.

Make sure to ask a loan officer if you qualify for this loan program. Sometimes, if only one borrower is a first-time homebuyer, you can still qualify. 

Bottom line

Our hope is that those potential homebuyers who saw these upfront fees as an obstacle to pursuing their dreams of homeownership can breathe a sigh of relief now that they are no longer in place. This is our way of leveling the playing field for first-time homebuyers and those from mid-to-low-income communities.

If you’ve started looking for a home, one of the biggest concerns is having enough for a down payment.

No doubt you’ve also heard stories of how expensive closing costs for a home loan can be. Often, those costs eat into a perspective buyer’s available down payment budget, which can lead to increased monthly mortgage payments. Our HomeReady Special Purpose Credit Program (SPCP)** aims to take those worries off the table for borrowers.

How it works

The program provides up to $8,000 in closing cost and down payment assistance to qualifying buyers. Also, the buyer can combo this with a temporary buydown option to give them an even greater “foot in the door” on their path to homeownership.  

Eligible urban areas

Currently, this program is not available in all areas, though that could change in the future. Right now, there are eligible census tracts in the following cities:

  • Atlanta
  • Baltimore
  • Brownsville-Harlingen
  • Chicago
  • Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington
  • Detroit
  • Houston-Pasadena-The Woodlands
  • McAllen-Edinburg-Mission
  • Memphis
  • Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach
  • New York-Newark-Jersey City
  • Oklahoma City
  • Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford
  • Philadelphia
  • Phoenix-Mesa-Chandler
  • Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario
  • San Antonio-New Braunfels
  • St. Louis
  • Tampa-St. Petersburg, Clearwater
  • Washington-Arlington-Alexandria

Ask a loan officer if you live in one of these census tracts and can qualify for this loan program. You don’t need to purchase in one of the tracts, either. You can buy anywhere.

HomeReady SPCP addresses two of the biggest hurdles in getting a home: down payment and closing costs. For those borrowers living in one of the eligible census tracts in the cities listed above, this is a golden opportunity to make your dreams of homeownership a reality. Certainty Home Lending is one of the few mortgage lenders to offer this program. Like we said, we are committed to making housing accessible.

Certainty Home Lending understands quite well that a house isn’t just a collection of lumber, nails and rooms  — it’s a place to put down roots, a place to raise a family and make memories that will last a lifetime. The ability to achieve homeownership may not always feel attainable, however. Programs like the two we’ve discussed here are the ways in which we try to balance the scales for those who might otherwise think that homeownership is just out of reach.

In short, we believe everyone deserves a fair chance to share in the American Dream; everyone deserves the chance to make a house a home — and these two programs can help you get there.  


*At least one borrower must be a first-time homebuyer with total qualifying income 100% or less of the MSA where the property is located and 120% or less if the property is located in a high balance county. Must be <100% of the AMI for non-high-cost areas and <120% of the AMI for high-cost areas (defined as areas where loan limits exceed standard conforming loan limits). Must meet income threshold based on the Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). Talk to your loan officer to find out if you qualify for the rate reduction.

**At least one borrower must be a first-time homebuyer, live in an eligible Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) and meet product eligibility requirements to qualify. Talk to a loan officer to find out if you qualify for this program.

Applicant subject to credit and underwriting approval. Not all applicants will be approved for financing. Receipt of application does not represent an approval for financing or interest rate guarantee. Restrictions may apply, contact Certainty Home Lending for current rates and for more information. All information provided in this publication is for informational and educational purposes only, and in no way is any of the content contained herein to be construed as financial, investment, or legal advice or instruction. Certainty Home Lending, Inc. does not guarantee the quality, accuracy, completeness or timelines of the information in this publication. While efforts are made to verify the information provided, the information should not be assumed to be error free. Some information in the publication may have been provided by third parties and has not necessarily been verified by Guaranteed Rate, Inc. DBA Certainty Home Lending. Guaranteed Rate, Inc. DBA Certainty Home Lending. its affiliates and subsidiaries do not assume any liability for the information contained herein, be it direct, indirect, consequential, special, or exemplary, or other damages whatsoever and howsoever caused, arising out of or in connection with the use of this publication or in reliance on the information, including any personal or pecuniary loss, whether the action is in contract, tort (including negligence) or other tortious action. Certainty Home Lending does not provide tax advice. Please contact your tax adviser for any tax related questions.

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