The City of Cedar Rapids offers individuals down payment assistance in the form of the First Time Home Buyer Program. Funds are available on a first come, first served basis, and applications are reviewed in order. 

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Cedar Rapids First Time Home Buyer Program

Financial Assistance for Homebuyers in Iowa

The City of Cedar Rapids offers individuals down payment assistance in the form of the First Time Home Buyer Program. Funds are available on a first come, first served basis, and applications are reviewed in order. 

Available Assistance
The First Time Home Buyer (FTHB) Program provides eligible potential homebuyers with $1,000 to $5,000 to help cover the down payment and closing costs associated with the purchase of a home. This assistance comes in the form of a 5-year, forgivable loan.

Eligibility Requirements
  • Must be a first-time homebuyer. Any applicant who has owned a home in the previous three years is not eligible.
  • Must secure an acceptable mortgage. All applicants must secure “Qualified Mortgages” and meet additional requirements, including no non-occupying co-signers or co-borrowers, and ARM’s of at least 10 years.
  • Must meet income and asset requirements. Households must meet maximum housing and debt to income ratios of 31 percent and 43 percent respectively. An applicant’s assets (checking, savings, etc.) must not exceed $15,000 non-retirement funds. Based on those assets, applicants will be required to contribute between one and three percent of the sales price towards the down payment.
  • Must complete homebuyer education. It is mandatory that all applicants attend and complete an in-person or online, HUD-approved homebuyer education course prior to applying for down payment assistance. It must specifically state that both the course and agency are “HUD-approved” in order to meet the requirements of the First Time Home Buyer program.
Property Guidelines
Any home purchased must be within the City of Cedar Rapids limits, but those located in the 100-year floodplain are not eligible. Homes must be owner-occupied or vacant (not a current rental property with tenants). Single-family dwellings and condo units are eligible (mobile home purchases are not eligible). Homes will be inspected by the City staff and must comply with Housing Quality Standards (based on health and safety requirements). The purchase price of homes may not exceed $135,000 for a single-family dwelling.

Income Limits
1 person household: $44,750
2 person household: $51,150
3 person household: $57,550
4 person household: $63,900
5 person household: $69,050
6 person household: $74,150
7 person household: $79,250 

Note: these figures were accurate at the time of publication and may no longer be current - visit the program website for updated information.

Down Payment Grants in Iowa

The City of Cedar Rapids offers individuals down payment assistance in the form of the First Time Home Buyer Program. Funds are available on a first come, first served basis, and applications are reviewed in order. 

This program provides long-term, zero-interest loans of up to $5,000 to help cover down payment and closing costs associated with purchasing a new home. In the case of household income less than 30 percent of the area median income (AMI), individuals may also receive up to $25,000.

In an effort to assist individuals achieve their homeownership goals the Iowa Finance Authority offers the FirstHome Plus program, which provides down payment assistance to eligible first-time home buyers who are purchasing a primary residence in Iowa.

In an effort to help families achieve their homeownership dreams, the Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB) of Des Moines offers individuals the Home$tart and Home$tart Plus Programs, which assist by providing down payment and closing cost assistance.

The Waterloo Down Payment Assistance Program provides applicants with assistance funds via a forgivable, second mortgage. If an applicant chooses to sell the home in under five years, the loan amount is recaptured and used to replenish the loan fund.

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