Do I need to have 20 percent down payment saved before I buy a home?
No, with 1stHomeIllinois or @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 down payment assistance available with IHDA products a gift or will I have to pay it back?
It depends. The $7,500 available with 1stHomeIllinois does not need to be paid back, as long as you live in the home for five years. If you sell the home within the first five years, a portion of the down payment will need to be paid back to IHDA.
With @HomeIllinois, 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 IHDA products are safe?
1stHomeIllinois and@HomeIllinois mortgages are safe because each 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, these products are being 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 660 or above to qualify for an IHDA loan. In some cases, your score can be 640 and you will still qualify. Your lender will address this with you.
What if my credit score isn’t good enough to qualify?
A housing counselor is a great resource to help you improve your credit score and prepare you for homeownership.
I am a first-time homebuyer. 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.
Here is an example to show the MCC benefit:
|Adjusted Gross Income||$55,000|
|Interest Paid First Year||5.349%|
|Calculation of Benefit|
|Without MCC||With MCC|
|Mortgage Interest Deduction||($5,349)||($4,280) (80%)|
|Taxes paid at 15% tax bracket||$7,448||$7,608|
|MCC Tax Credit||N/A||$1,070 (20%)|
|Income taxes due||$7,448||$6,532|
|Annual Tax savings due to MCC||N/A||$916|
Is the MCC free?
No. You will pay a fee of $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.
Where is the best place to start looking for an affordable apartment?
If you’re looking for an affordable place to rent, ILHousingSearch.org is a fast, easy-to-use search tool that lets you look for rental housing using a wide variety of criteria and special mapping features. You’ll find color photos and detailed information about each unit. The service also provides links to housing resources and helpful tools such as an affordability calculator, rental checklist, and additional information about renter rights and responsibilities.
How do I get a housing choice voucher? How do I find available apartments that will accept the voucher I already have?
Contacting your local housing authority is an option available to find rental properties or to enroll in the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program (formerly known as Section 8). Participants with an HCV are free to choose any housing where the owner agrees to rent under the program and that meets the requirements of the program, including single-family homes, townhouses and apartments. Please note that IHDA does not participate or issue Housing Choice Vouchers.
How do I find an apartment with affordable rent so that I can afford to live closer to where I work?
ILHousingSearch.org is a fast, easy-to-use search tool that lets you look for rental housing using a wide variety of criteria and special mapping features. You’ll find color photos and detailed information about each unit.
I have a family member who has been living in a nursing home because she has some physical and mental disabilities. Can IHDA help me find a place for her to live independently in our community?
At IHDA, we believe every person, regardless of illness or limitation, should have the freedom to choose to live as independently as possible in settings appropriate to their own personal needs and preferences. The best way to access housing is to work through your family member’s service provider. The service provider can access accessible housing via the Statewide Referral Network
My home needs significant repairs but I cannot afford the work. Can IHDA help me?
IHDA may be able to help you. Through a network of participating agencies, IHDA provides up to $40,000 in assistance to repair your home. You must meet the income and property value limits and continue to live in the home as your primary residence after repairs are complete. Reach out to a participating agency to see if you qualify and to guide you through the quick and easy process.
What can I do if I am having difficulty keeping up with my mortgage payments but don’t want to lose my home?
The first step you should take is to call your lender or servicer directly and explain your situation. If you are unable to find a solution, you may be eligible for one of many several available programs. Understanding these programs can be confusing so if you need assistance, please reach out to a housing counselor to help you understand what options are available to you. But whatever you do, don’t do nothing. There is help available. All services are free.
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. Find a counselor near you today and begin to get the help you need.
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.
I am refinancing my mortgage and would like to have my Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC) reissued.
Thank you for interest in reissuing your Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC). As a note, a MCC can be reissued as many times within a 30-year period as long as the property remains the borrower’s primary residence and there is a $150 cost (per reissue) to the Borrower to reissue a MCC.
To accommodate your request, we ask that you send in the below listed items:
- The Signed HUD-1 (Settlement Statement) / Closing Disclosure (CD) from the refinance
- A copy of the existing, and any reissued, MCC
- A statement from the borrower that they reside in the property as primary residence. This should include an email address and/or phone number for contact purposes
- A check for $150 made payable to the Illinois Housing Development Authority
- You will need to mail the check to the address below
Items can be emailed to AtHomeIllinois@ihda.org with the Subject line MCC Reissue or mailed in to the below listed address:
Illinois Housing Development Authority
Attention: Homeownership Department
111 E. Wacker Dr., Ste. 1000
Chicago, Illinois 60601
Once all the items are received, IHDA will review and complete the reissue and send a copy of the certificate either via mail or email back to you (the Borrower).