How to Know if you Qualify for the Relaunched Down Payment Assistance Program

The "Opening Doors" program offers $6,000 in forgivable assistance for down payments and/or closing costs to low-income borrowers

NBC 5 News

A program aimed to assist low-income borrowers achieve homeownership has been relaunched by the Pritzker administration, with this iteration expected to assist over 1,600 homebuyers with $10 million in funding.

The "Opening Doors" program's initial launch was in Dec. 2020, when $35 million of funding went towards assisting more than 5,800 repeat and first-time home buyers with down payment and closing costs. The funding originates from the Rebuild Illinois capital funds.

The Pritzker administration said the program's relaunch will help address historic inequities in home ownership, with Illinois residents of color often facing steeper barriers to home ownership.

Census data shows that while 75 percent of white families in Illinois own their homes, the home ownership rate stands at 39 percent for Black families and 53 percent for Latinx families.

A 30-year 1st mortgage with a fixed interest rate and $6,000 in closing cost and/or down payment assistance is offered as part of the program. The down payment assistance is automatically forgiven after five years, with no monthly payments required from the borrower.

Borrowers must meet all eligibility requirements for the Illinois Housing Development Authority's down payment assistance program, with homebuyer education also required. Eligibility will range based on the borrower's credit profile, purchase price of the home and household income.

In order to qualify, borrowers must:

  • Be purchasing a primary residence, as vacation residences do not qualify
  • Have a credit score of 630 or higher
  • Be purchasing a home within the state of Illinois
  • Have an income and purchase price fall within established limits (determined by lender)
  • Contribute a minimum of 1 percent to the sale price, or $1,000 (whichever is greater)
  • Have a debt-to-income ratio of 45 percent or lower
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