Have questions? You're not the only one.
We know this process can feel a little overwhelming. We're here to help. You can find answers to frequently asked questions about NeighborhoodLIFT® below.
It's a five-year, forgivable, interest-free down payment loan that doesn't require any payments if the home is your primary residence and you don't sell, refinance, or get foreclosed on, and the title isn't transferred within the loan period.1 It offers down payment assistance and educational resources for homebuyers. And you don't have to be a first-time homebuyer to qualify.
Here is a general example of the process. It may differ based on your individual circumstances, and your local representative will be able to provide more detailed steps when you connect.
Step 1: Take homebuyer education classes. Learn what you need to know about homeownership, from finding and financing a home to managing the financial responsibilities and more from a HUD-approved provider.
Step 2: Get a mortgage preapproval. Your NeighborhoodLIFT program-approved lender will help you get a better understanding of your budget and how much you can borrow for a monthly mortgage payment.
Step 3: Qualify for the program. Once funds are available in your area, you’re ready to see if you qualify for down payment assistance through the local nonprofit partner. Please note, funds are limited, and all requests may not be approved.
Step 4: Search for a home. Work with a real estate agent to find a home. Your preapproval will help your agent show you homes in your price range.
Step 5: Sign a purchase contract. Once you receive your down payment assistance reservation letter, it's time to find your home. You'll have 90 days to find a home, make an offer, and put it in writing.
Step 6: Move forward with home financing. Work with your lender through the mortgage approval process that takes you to closing.
Step 7: Close on your new home. It’s time to celebrate the final step, becoming a homeowner.
Right now, only people looking to buy in select areas can use the NeighborhoodLIFT program. Check the home page to see if your area is available.
You may qualify if:
- You've completed homebuyer education from a qualified provider
- You’re preapproved for a mortgage by a NeighborhoodLIFT program-approved lender
- You are under the income limits for your area2
- Down payment assistance is available in your area
The down payment assistance doesn't need to be repaid — meaning it is forgivable — as long as you live in the home for five years and the home isn’t sold, refinanced, or foreclosed and the title isn’t transferred during that time.1 And if you own a home, it must be sold before closing. Other conditions apply.
No. But if you currently own a home, it must be sold before closing.
Yes. You must be approved for a mortgage and purchase a home to receive the down payment assistance.
The down payment assistance is forgivable in equal parts, each year, for five years — and fully forgiven if you live in the home for five years. The prorated balance must be repaid if you do any of the following in the first five years:
- Sell, refinance, or foreclose on the property1
- Don't occupy the home as your primary residence
- Transfer the title
Eligible property types include:
- Single family (attached or detached)
- 2 to 4 units
- Planned unit developments
- Land trusts
- Manufactured home that meets first mortgage requirements
The following loan types are ineligible:
- Adjustable-rate mortgages
- Interest-only loans
- Loans with a balloon payment
- Negative amortization
- Terms exceeding 30 years (except USDA 502-direct)
Even if you don’t qualify for the down payment assistance, you can meet with a home mortgage consultant to see if you qualify for a mortgage.
No. However, you must be preapproved for a mortgage by a NeighborhoodLIFT program-approved lender and complete homebuyer education from an approved provider to qualify for NeighborhoodLIFT down payment assistance. Credit evaluation is a key part of the mortgage qualification process.
No, but you need to follow the mortgage guidelines and provide the information required for self-employed borrowers.
No. NeighborhoodLIFT down payment assistance is not applicable for refinancing. It's only available for home purchases.