Downsizing the down payment

REThink Real Estate

Q: I just learned that I qualify for my city’s first-time homebuyer’s program. I thought it was a grant, but it’s actually a second mortgage. Is this a good deal or not? Is there anything I need to watch out for?

A: Congratulations! The current market has presented the odd paradox for a buyer’s market of having lower prices, but increased down-payment requirements. Many first-time homebuyers who would never have been able to afford a home a couple of years ago have been frustrated in their efforts to take advantage of lower home prices because they do not have a large chunk of money for a down payment. One of the last remaining sources of down-payment assistance for hard-working homebuyers are city first-time homebuyer down-payment assistance programs (DAPs) — if you qualify for your city’s DAP, kudos!