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What are the first time home buyer incentives for Finger Lakes residents?

Government-sponsored first-time home buyer programs can help make buying a home in the Finger Lakes much more affordable. In the third quarter of 2020, the average Finger Lakes home price was $555,402. This means that a 20% down payment on the average Finger Lakes home would cost an astonishing $111,080. Not only that, the monthly mortgage payment on a 30-year mortgage could cost you over $3,000 a month. This large financial obligation would be a burden for anyone. That’s why there are many government agencies and first-time home buyers programs that work to help to easily get a mortgage.

Any property located around the Finger Lakes is located within New York state. Fortunately, this means if you have your eyes set on a Finger Lakes property, you can narrow your search to New York’s first-time home buyer programs. While you may think this limits your options, New York has some of the best first-time home buyer programs in the US. These programs are offered through the State of New York Mortgage Agency or SONYMA. From lower down payments to financial aid, you may be able to afford much more than you think.

First-Time Home Buyer Mortgage Programs

Generally, every state has a set of main first-time home buyer programs. These are complete mortgage programs that are available to many different home buyers. SONYMA’s most popular mortgage program is the Achieving the Dream program. With the Achieving the Dream program, low to moderate-income earners can get a mortgage with a 1-3% down payment on a variety of homes. To get any mortgage, there are some eligibility requirements, but when applying for a government-sponsored first-time home buyer program, you can’t surpass certain limits. This includes a regional income limit that varies by county among other factors. The Achieving the Dream program is a good general-purpose mortgage for most home buyers.

Another primary mortgage program that SONYMA offers is the low interest rate mortgage program. This is targeted towards home buyers whose incomes are slightly higher than the Achieving the Dream income limits. With the low interest rate program, the maximum income limit is between $17,020 and $20,430 higher. This provides you with another opportunity to take advantage of the benefits that SONYMA has available.

Add-On Program

SONYMA also offers additions to existing government programs. With the Conventional Plus program and the FHA Plus program, SONYMA adds a Down Payment Assistance Loan (DPAL) to a Fannie Mae HomeReady loan and an FHA loan respectively. Like SONYMA’s primary mortgage programs, there are several eligibility requirements that you must satisfy. Fortunately, you are automatically eligible for a SONYMA DPAL when you qualify for either of the two government mortgages.

Federal First-Time Home Buyer Programs

No matter what state your property is located in, you should consider national first-time home buyer programs. These are targeted mortgage programs offered by government-sponsored agencies with some of the best mortgage terms out there. The most well-known government mortgage programs are Fannie Mae’s HomeReady program and Freddie Mac’s HomePossible program. These programs are comparable to many state agencies’ primary mortgage programs. You can get a mortgage with a much lower minimum down payment, there are lower eligibility requirements, and you still get competitive mortgage rates. These act as your general purpose and low to moderate-income mortgages that you get through state agencies.

Three other major government-sponsored agencies offer specialized mortgages. Generally, these mortgages surpass the HomeReady program, the HomePossible program, and can even surpass state-level mortgage programs. This is because these mortgages are not for the general population, but rather, they target certain types of home buyers to make home purchases cheaper. The three agencies include the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

FHA loans are for low-income earners and have some of the lowest eligibility requirements on the market. USDA loans target certain locations and are much cheaper than other mortgage options. VA loans are by far the best available loans anywhere for veterans. State agencies like SONYMA even offer bundles with a VA loan like SONYMA’s Homes for Veterans programs. By partnering with the VA, SONYMA offers a VA loan with all its benefits and reduces the interest rate. You should always investigate Federal mortgage programs to make sure you get the best possible deal.

The Bottom Line

There are dozens of mortgage options available for home buyers. Each has different eligibility requirements and benefits, so you should spend a fair amount of time investigating each one. While we’ve given you a good starting point with where to look, there are great home buyer programs that aren’t even targeted towards first-time home buyers, but provide universal benefits. Make sure to consult a real estate professional for more information.

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