Frequently asked questions
- Buying a Home with IHDA’s Help
- Buy a Home with IHDA's Help - for veterans and servicemembers
- Buying a Rehabilitated Foreclosed Home
- Home Repair Grants for Homeowners
- Foreclosure Prevention Help
SmartMove First-time Homebuyer Program
How can IHDA help me purchase a home?
IHDA can help make homeownership a reality through our SmartMove First-time Homebuyer Program. IHDA meets your needs with fixed-rate 30-year mortgage, including conventional loans and government mortgage products such as FHA, VA, or USDA-RD loans.
Do I have to be a first-time homebuyer to use your programs?
No, there are options available for people who have purchased homes in the past. While the SmartMove program is typically for individuals who have never owned a home, the program is also available to individuals who have not owned or had an ownership interest in their principal residence in the last three years, or who are buying in a targeted area. A targeted area is an economically distressed area designated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Most counties contain both targeted and non-targeted areas. For more information, see targeted areas.
In addition, qualified military veterans who have owned a home in the last three years may use the SmartMove program under an exception in the Internal Revenue Code.
If I want to apply for SmartMove loan, who do I contact?
One of our participating lenders will be able to guide you through the SmartMove homebuying process and answer any questions you may have regarding the program. If you experience problems with this, please feel free to call (877) 456-2656.
Is down payment assistance available?
IHDA offers down payment assistance to first-time homebuyers and those exempt. Income and purchase price limits apply. Borrowers can qualify for up to $6,000 in down payment and closing cost assistance.
Other down payment and closing cost assistance options are also available.
Do I need to obtain homebuyer counseling?
Yes. IHDA requires all SmartMove borrowers to go to a HUD-approved counseling agency. We also allow borrowers to complete homebuyer counseling online. For more details, ask one of our participating lenders.
What is the difference between "targeted" and "non-targeted" areas?
A targeted area is an economically distressed area designated by HUD. Most counties contain both targeted and non-targeted areas. For more information, see targeted areas.
What is my first step to getting a SmartMove Mortgage and Down Payment Assistance?
IHDA does not offer loans directly to homebuyers. Homebuyers must apply for, and receive mortgage loans, through our network of participating lenders. If you experience problems with locating one of our participating lenders, please call (877) 456-2656.
Buy a Home with IHDA's Help - for veterans and servicemembers
Welcome Home Heroes financing package
How can the Welcome Home Heroes financing package help me buy a home?
The Welcome Home Heroes program is a comprehensive homebuyer financing package that’s safe and affordable. Illinois veterans, active military personnel, reservists and Illinois National Guard members can receive:
• a $10,000 forgiveable loan over two years for down payment and closing cost assistance
• a 30-year fixed rate mortgage that has an affordable interest rate
• an optional mortgage credit certificate to reduce federal income tax liability.
Who qualifies for the Welcome Home Heroes financing package?
• Veterans (who need not be first-time homebuyers)
• Active military personnel, reservists and Illinois National Guard members (must be first-time homebuyers)
• Buyers must qualify based on income and purchase price limits. For example, income for a family of four in the Chicago area cannot exceed $104,720 for a home with a maximum purchase price of $373,670.
Do I, the homebuyer, have to contribute anything?
Yes, buyers must put down at least $1,000 of their own money or one percent of the purchase price, whichever is greater.
In addition, we require our buyers to complete homeownership counseling. Counseling ensures homebuyers fully understand their mortgage terms and loan obligations. Local lenders will be able to recommend several homeownership counseling options.
Can I get just the $10,000 down payment and closing cost assistance forgivable loan WITHOUT the 30-year Welcome Home Heroes loan?
No, the two components are linked. We want to ensure our Illinois military families are able to borrow affordably and securely. The only optional component is the mortgage credit certificate.
How do I apply for the Welcome Home Heroes financing package?
Buyers must apply for the loan through one of IHDA’s participating lenders. Call (877) 456-2656 if you experience problems with locating a participating lender near you.
How is the program funded?
The program is funded through $5 million in Illinois Jobs Now! capital program funds, and $5 million from the Illinois Affordable Housing Trust Fund, which is collected from 50 percent of the Illinois real estate transfer tax.
Can you guarantee that Welcome Home Heroes homebuyers won’t go into foreclosure down the road?
No one can foresee financial hardships that may emerge in one’s life. People find themselves facing foreclosure for any number of reasons including job loss, pay cut or unexpected health costs due to illness.
As a responsible lender, IHDA requires all homebuyers who use the Welcome Home Heroes package to complete homeownership counseling. Counseling ensures homebuyers fully understand their mortgage terms and loan obligations. Local lenders will be able to recommend several homeownership counseling options.
If you are struggling with your mortgage, see What to do When Facing Foreclosure.
Buying a Rehabilitated Foreclosed Home
Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP)
What is the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP)?
NSP is a federal program that provides funding to areas of greatest need to acquire, rehabilitate, and redevelop foreclosed properties that might otherwise become sources of abandonment and blight within their communities. Funds go to units of local government, non-profit and for-profit agencies to carry out such activities to benefit low-, moderate-, and middle-income persons whose income does not exceed 120 percent of the area median income.
I am interested in buying a rehabilitated foreclosed home. Where are they located?
Details regarding properties rehabilitated under NSP, including locations, are available through the entities that received NSP funding. Homebuyers should contact the NSP1 subgrantees directly.
Can NSP funds be used to provide down payment and closing cost assistance to homebuyers?
Yes, NSP funds can be used to provide down payment and closing cost assistance. Homebuyers should contact a NSP1 subgrantee for more information regarding availability.
Can NSP funds be used to refinance existing mortgages and prevent foreclosure?
No. NSP funds may not be used to refinance existing mortgages and prevent foreclosure. The purpose of NSP is to stabilize communities through acquisition and redevelopment of properties that have already been foreclosed or abandoned.
Can NSP help me with my foreclosed home I am currently living in?
No, NSP funds may not be used to prevent foreclosure of a home you are currently living in. The purpose of NSP is to stabilize communities through acquisition and redevelopment of properties that have already been foreclosed or abandoned.
However, if you are a homeowner faced with unemployment or underemployment and are looking for help with catching up on your mortgage payments, you may be eligible for other assistance. View the Illinois Hardest Hit program for details and to apply for free. See also foreclosure help questions below and What to Do When Facing Foreclosure.
Home Repair Grants for Homeowners
What home repair resources are available to me?• The Single-Family Owner-Occupied Rehabilitation (SFOOR) Program helps low-income homeowners pay for costly home repairs to keep them in their homes.
• The Home Modification Program provides assistance to income-eligible elderly persons and persons with disabilities to modify or repair their homes to improve mobility.
• The Energy Conservation and Home Repair Program offers repair and weatherization services to very low-income homeowners to conserve energy and lower utility bills.
• The Community Development Assistance Program (CDAP) allows low and very low income homeowners to bring their homes into compliance with local codes and housing standards.
• The Small Rental Properties Program (SRPP) provides owners of small, affordable rental properties with financial assistance to rehabilitate their properties or convert existing commercial property to affordable, rental apartments.
Grants for Homeowners has more information about all of the above programs and how to apply.
Foreclosure Prevention Help
Illinois Foreclosure Prevention Network (IFPN)
The Illinois Foreclosure Prevention Network brings together the services of state agencies and non-profit organizations to help connect struggling homeowners with information they need to keep their homes. Visit the website or call toll-free 1-855-KEEP-411 (1-855-533-7411).
What is foreclosure prevention counseling?
Foreclosure prevention counseling is a free service for Illinois homeowners who are having trouble with their home loans or might be in trouble in the future. Foreclosure counselors provide advice and services to help homeowners avoid foreclosure. Counselors review your mortgage and finances with you, discuss your options, and help you find a solution that is best for you.
Why should I call a counselor?
A free foreclosure prevention counseling session can be very helpful for anyone who is going through a foreclosure or who is worried they may fall behind on mortgage payments.
• Have a professional housing counselor assess your needs.
• Learn what options are available if you are in danger of losing your home.
• Find out what mortgage assistance programs are offered.
• Understand the foreclosure process and the terms associated with it.
• Learn how to prepare for an interaction with your mortgage lender.
• Have a professional counselor work directly with your lender.
• Get a personalized budget and action plan.
• Get local referrals and resources that may be beneficial to you.
It is very important to know that you do not have to be in foreclosure to get housing help. You can call a housing counselor for a foreclosure prevention counseling session as soon as you realize you may have trouble making your mortgage payments.
Who should I contact to receive this assistance?• Call 1-888-995-HOPE to connect with a HUD-approved housing counselor. Go to www.foreclosurehelpandhope.org for tips on what to do to prepare.
• Visit the NeighborWorks® America developed "Find a Foreclosure Counselor" website, designed to help homeowners in danger of losing their homes locate a nonprofit, HUD-approved counseling agency providing free and trusted help. Find a foreclosure counselor near you at www.findaforeclosurecounselor.com.
• Contact a NFMC sub-grantee [link to attached doc] funded by IHDA.
Will I work directly with IHDA?
No. Homeowners will work directly with the counseling agencies. While IHDA administers the program, we do not have the ability to provide foreclosure counseling services. Contact the counseling agency nearest you.
What documentation should I take to my first counseling session?
Have a list of the major bills you pay every month. Chief among these should be your mortgage payment statement complete with your mortgage loan number. If possible, organize your information before you attend to include:
• Pay stubs,
• Tax returns (past two years),
• Financial statements (bank statements) ,
• Copies of additional monthly payments such as car loans, credit cards, student loans, utility bills, etc., and
• Any additional information – such as proof of additional income –to help your counselor better evaluate your situation.
What can I expect from my first counseling session?
It can vary by agency. In general, someone at the counseling office will do an intake with you to document your information and distribute privacy policies and authorization forms. The counselor will then review your finances. When you talk with your counselor, you will need to discuss your situation with complete honesty. The more accurate a picture they have of your financial situation, the better equipped they are to help you handle it. Your counselor will then review your entire financial situation to help determine the steps you need to take in order to stabilize or resolve your situation. As part of the counseling process, the counselor will perform a detailed budget analysis, work with you to create a step-by-step plan of action, and refer you to additional nonprofit or governmental resources for further assistance. The counselor will also either help you connect with your lender or contact the lender on your behalf.
What is the National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling Program (NFMC)?
NFMC is a program with funds appropriated by Congress designed to increase the availability of foreclosure counseling services across the country. NFMC makes funds available to housing counseling agencies nationwide for foreclosure counseling and budgeting assistance to homeowners at risk of losing their homes. Since the program's inception in 2008, IHDA has acted as a state intermediary, administering funds to housing counseling agencies throughout Illinois. To date more than one million homeowners nationwide have been assisted with this program, nearly 17,000 of those by IHDA sub-grantees alone. Collectively, IHDA has a statewide network of 40 counseling agencies that will help homeowners with budgeting, money management tips, and avoiding foreclosure.
Does this program offer direct financial assistance?
No. This program is not an emergency assistance program. IHDA provides funds directly to housing counseling agencies who offer foreclosure intervention counseling to individuals. No funds will be given to individuals for this program.
Am I eligible to receive assistance from NFMC?
There are no income caps or guidelines, relative to the area median income, for households being served by NFMC counseling. Any income level is eligible. If you are living in a single family home (with 1-4 units) and are in danger of foreclosure you are eligible for NFMC counseling. However, if you are outside of these eligibility requirements and are in danger of foreclosure, please do not hesitate to contact a housing counselor in your area using www.findaforeclosurecounselor.com.
Are there fees associated with the NFMC program?
Homeowners should never pay to receive foreclosure prevention counseling services. According to the FHA official site, "Foreclosure prevention counseling services are provided free of charge by nonprofit housing counseling agencies working in partnership with the federal Government. These agencies are funded, in part, by HUD and NeighborWorks® America. There is no need to pay a private company for these services."
Whom do I contact if I have a mortgage-related complaint?
Visit the Illinois Attorney General's website or call the Attorney General's homeowner hotline at (866) 544-7151.