Info Center: Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions


- Buying a Home with IHDA’s Help
- Buying a Rehabilitated Foreclosed Home
- Home Repair Grants for Homeowners
- Foreclosure Prevention Help

Buying a Home with IHDA’s Help


@HomeIllinois Mortgage Program

How do I apply for @HomeIllinois?

Contact any lender from the Find a Lender page and ask them to qualify you for the @HomeIllinois mortgage product, brought to you by the Illinois Housing Development Authority. The process is quick and easy.

Do I need to have 20 percent down payment saved before I buy a home?

No, with @HomeIllinois, the buyer contribution is $1,000 or 1 percent of the purchase price, whichever is greater.  So for as little as $1,000 out of pocket, you can get into your first home. 

Is the $5,000 in down payment assistance a gift or will I have to pay it back?

You will have to pay the $5,000 back. The payment terms are 0 percent interest and 10 years. So, each month for ten years, you will make a payment of $41.67, bringing the balance to $0.

Are there any other fees or expenses I may have to pay for?

You may need funds for closing costs. Closing costs are charges for services related to the closing of your real estate transaction. They include, but are not limited to: title company closing fee; attorney fees; and title and insurance policy. Your lender will be able to give you an accurate estimate of these costs.

I have heard so much about predatory lending.  How can I be sure that @HomeIllinois is a safe product? 

The @HomeIllinois mortgage is safe because it is a 30-year, fixed rate mortgage.  That means your interest rate will never adjust or change.  Your monthly principal and interest payment will remain the same over the 30 years. 

In addition, @HomeIllinois is brought to you by the Illinois Housing Development Authority, the state’s housing finance agency.  We have been lending for 30+ years and we have never offered an exotic or predatory loan.  It is our mission to provide sustainable home ownership opportunities.  

I understand that my income must be below a maximum amount. If I intend to buy the house myself, but another working adult will live with me, will their income be counted as well? 

Yes.  The income calculation includes all income generated by persons 18 years of age or older who will live in the household, regardless of who is actually on title. The Income and Purchase Price limits can be found here.

I understand that credit requirements apply.  What does my credit score have to be to be eligible?

Your credit score must be 640 or above to qualify for an IHDA loan. 

How do I know which loan type I should choose? 

There are four loan types available:  FHA, VA (for Veterans), USDA (rural locations) and Conventional.  The first three loan types are insured by the federal government.  Your lender will walk through the options and help you choose the one that is right for you.

What if my credit score isn’t good enough to qualify?

Contact a HUD approved housing counselor in your area.  These organizations offer home loan counseling to prospective homebuyers. They will cover cleaning up credit reports, creating a savings plan for a down payment, home selection, real estate agent services and other important pieces of information.  To find a list of HUD approved housing counselors in Illinois, please click here

I am a first time home buyer.  Please explain the significant tax savings available to me?

The tax savings available to you comes in the form of a Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC).  An MCC is a certificate authorized by the Federal Government and issued by the Illinois Housing Development Authority.  It allows you to take 20 percent of your annual mortgage interest paid, as a dollar-for dollar reduction to your annual federal income tax liability. 

The MCC is a tax credit for the life of the loan and it is available to first-time homebuyers or Veterans only.

How does an MCC work?

Here is an example to show the MCC benefit:

Basic Assumptions:

Adjusted Gross Income


Loan Amount


Interest Rate


Interest Paid First Year


Calculation of Benefit:

Without MCC

With MCC




Mortgage Interest Deduction




Taxable Income



Taxes paid at 15% tax bracket



MCC Tax Credit




Income taxes due



Annual Tax savings due to MCC



Is the MCC free?

No.  You will pay a fee of $350 - $500.  However, as you can see in the example above, you make up for the cost very quickly.  If your information mirrored the example above, you would cover the cost in the first year of owning your home. 

Who is the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) and what is their relationship to @HomeIllinois?

@HomeIllinois is brought to you by the Illinois Housing Development Authority, the state’s housing finance agency.  IHDA is a bank with a public mission.  We have been lending for 30+ years.  It is our mission to provide sustainable home ownership opportunities.   We offer our mortgages through a network of approved lenders.  Find a lender here.

In addition to providing mortgage financing, we also finance the creation and preservation of affordable rental apartments.  In total, we have financed approximately 245,000 affordable units across the state with $ 14.6 billion in resources.   


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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.

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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.


Grants for Homeowners has more information about all of the above programs and how to apply.

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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 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

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

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.

Where can I find more information about the Making Home Affordable program? has more details about the federal Making Home Affordable program.

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