First Front Door – Opening Doors for First-Time Homebuyers
FHLBank Pittsburgh (Bank) is pleased to announce the re-launch of its First Front Door (FFD) down payment and closing cost assistance program for qualified first-time homebuyers.
Through First Front Door, Bank members*, housing counseling agencies, community-based organizations and others with a stake in homeownership can open the door for first-time homebuyers. This critical grant helps strong, worthy homebuyers achieve an American dream they may have never before thought possible.
How much may a homebuyer receive?
The Bank will match the qualified homebuyer’s contribution 3-to-1. For every $1 of contribution the homebuyer makes, the Bank will provide $3 in grant assistance, up to a maximum of $5,000.
Who qualifies for First Front Door funding?
Qualified first-time homebuyers can use First Front Door grants toward down payment and closing costs on owner-occupied homes, including single-family houses, townhomes, condominiums, modular units and manufactured homes. Each prospective homebuyer must:
- Be a first-time homebuyer (a first-time homebuyer is an individual who has not owned a home within the past three years or owned a home only while married but not as a single person within the past three years – this includes a married couple if either has not owned a home within the past three years)
- Contribute personal funds as part of the down payment and closing costs
- Have household income at or below 80 percent of the area median income at the time of First Front Door registration
- Complete at least four hours of homeownership counseling, including the topic of predatory lending, prior to the purchase of the home
- Pay at least 15 percent of his/her monthly household income for PITI (principal, interest, taxes and insurance) - homebuyers paying less than 15 percent for PITI may still qualify, but a more thorough assessment of need is required
- Retain the home for five years to avoid having to repay any portion of the grant – an FFD mortgage and note are required as part of the original mortgage documentation
Please note that the following individuals are not eligible for FFD grants:
- Those with assets with a market value greater than $50,000 (excluding IRAs, 401(k)s, 529 education accounts and other similar retirement accounts)
- Those who are students with no income or only part-time income
How does a prospective homebuyer apply for funds?
To participate, a qualified homebuyer must secure mortgage financing and request an FFD grant from approved members of the Bank who have enrolled in the FFD program. The member will complete the homebuyer registration form, collect participant income documentation and send the information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Approvals of completed registrations will be made within 10 business days. An approved homebuyer has six months to complete homeownership counseling and purchase the home, with the member providing the first mortgage and advancing the eligible grant amount. The member must provide additional documentation to the Bank prior to receiving the FFD grant disbursement.
How does First Front Door benefit Bank members?
First Front Door can:
- Help place existing customers into new homes, helping these families and individuals create important wealth-building equity
- Add new customers, who may make additional investments (savings accounts, money markets, CDs) or who may, in the future, require other loans for college educations, cars or home improvements
- Positively influence the member’s CRA rating
- Stabilize the member’s local community by boosting homeownership rates and adding dollars to the tax base
How does First Front Door benefit housing counseling agencies?
First Front Door can:
- Help housing counseling agencies place strong candidates into homes by securing additional funds for down payment and closing costs
- Assist in building stronger relationships between housing counseling agencies and the financial community
- Provide even more incentive for first-time homebuyers to engage housing counseling agencies since homeownership counseling is required to receive FFD funds
How does First Front Door benefit other groups and organizations?
First Front Door can:
- Help other housing-focused organizations and industries fulfill their mission by providing needed resources to assist worthy, qualified homebuyers
- Offer an opportunity for fellow housing providers to build meaningful and lasting partnerships with the financial and housing counseling communities
- Enable housing advocates from all disciplines to provide essential services that, in turn, provide meaningful change in our communities
Please check back regularly for more information about the First Front Door Program. If you have any questions, please call 1-800-288-3400 option 4, or 412-288-2862.
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Income Limits: www.huduser.org/portal/datasets/il/il14/index_il2014.html
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Approved Housing Counseling Agencies: www.hud.gov/offices/hsg/sfh/hcc/hcs.cfm
National Industry Standards for Homeownership Education and Counseling Approved Agencies: www.homeownershipstandards.org/Home/Consumers.aspx
eHome America Homebuyer Education and Certification, Online Housing Counseling: ehomeamerica.org/eha
* Members: FHLBank Pittsburgh members include thrift institutions, commercial banks, credit unions, insurance companies and other financial institutions that maintain a principal place of business in Delaware, Pennsylvania or West Virginia and meet the requirements of Bank membership. A list of current Bank members can be found here.
Real Life Stories
In 2013, Johanna Gonzalez of Philadelphia, Pa., decided to buy her first home. She needed a space large enough to accommodate her two young sons and her mother, with a convenient location and affordable price.