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36 First-Time Home Buyer Grants in Texas

March 11, 2019
Finding the Right Mortgage, Mortgages
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Coming up with the money to make a down payment and cover the closing costs for a mortgage is one of the biggest hurdles of buying a first home. You may be able to get a boost through a first-time home buyer grant program. Dozens are offered across Texas.

What is a first-time home buyer grant?

Grants come in different forms — as outright gifts, zero-interest loans, forgivable loans or deferred payment loans. This assistance provides money to help with a down payment and closing costs. Forgivable loans typically don’t have to be repaid — as long as the borrower continues to own and live in the home for a certain period of time, such as five years. Deferred payment loans usually don’t have to be repaid until the borrower moves, sells the home, refinances or pays off the mortgage.

Each grant program has its own terms, conditions and eligibility requirements, but in general you must:

  • Be a first-time home buyer, as defined by the program.
  • Take a home buyer education course.
  • Satisfy income requirements.
  • Satisfy purchase price requirements. In many programs, the price must be less than 95% of an area’s median home purchase price.
  • Purchase in the approved location.

Besides browsing the grants we’ve listed below, you may want to check out the affordable home loan programs offered by the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, or TDHCA. In addition to low interest rates and tax credits, some of these loan programs also include a grant component.

» MORE: Learn about Texas first-time home buyer programs


First-time home buyer grants in West Texas

1. First Time Home Buyers Program (Abilene)

The city’s Office for Neighborhood Services program offers up to $5,000 for down payment and closing costs. The property must be within Abilene city limits, and only residents who have lived in Abilene for the past six months or worked in the city for two years are eligible. Applicants must complete 10 hours of community service along with a home buyer training course.

2. Homebuyer Assistance Program (Midland)

Offered through the Midland Community Development Office, the program provides up to $15,000 to help buy a home in Midland. Applicants must contribute at least $1,000 of their own money toward the purchase.

3. Homebuyer Program (Odessa)

The Odessa Community Development Department’s program offers up to $10,000 in down payment and closing cost assistance for existing homes and up to $24,000 for newly constructed homes. The assistance is offered as a zero-interest, deferred payment loan. The property must be in the city of Odessa, but applicants don’t have to be a current Odessa resident to apply. Applicants must contribute 1% of the sales price toward the purchase.

4. Homebuyer’s Assistance Program (San Angelo)

Up to $15,000 in down payment and closing cost assistance is available through the San Angelo Community & Housing Support Division. The amount can’t exceed 15% of the property’s value. Applicants must contribute at least $500 toward the purchase and occupy the home for at least five years to avoid repaying the loan. The property must be within the San Angelo city limits.


Grant programs in North Texas

5. Arlington Homebuyers’ Assistance Program (Arlington)

Offered through the city of Arlington, this program provides down payment and closing cost help of up to $20,000 for properties within the city. The loan has no interest; borrowers have to pay it back only if they sell, do a cash-out refinance or lease the home within five years of purchase. Applicants must contribute at least $1,000 toward the purchase to qualify.

6. Dallas Homebuyer Assistance Program (Dallas)

The city’s Housing and Neighborhood Revitalization Department offers assistance for down payment and closing costs. Up to $40,000 in assistance is available, but the amount awarded is based on need. Funds are provided in the form of a deferred loan that may have to be repaid if the borrower sells, leases or transfers the property within a certain time period. Other eligibility criteria may apply.

7. Homebuyers Assistance Program (Denton)

This program provides first-time home buyers with up to $14,900 for down payment and closing costs. Funds are provided as a zero-interest loan that is gradually forgiven over five years. No repayment is required unless a buyer moves, sells, transfers the title, gets a home equity loan or does a cash-out mortgage refinance during that period. Applicants must live or work in Denton to be eligible and contribute 1.75% of the sale price toward the purchase. The property must be within the city limits. Condos and townhomes are eligible. Homes built before 1970 are not eligible, unless they have undergone major renovation.

8. Homebuyer Assistance Program (Fort Worth)

The city’s program offers up to $14,999 as a deferred loan to help first-time home buyers purchase a home in Fort Worth. Up to $3,000 of that amount can be used for closing costs. The loan is forgiven after five years unless buyers sell, move out or lease the home, or refinance the mortgage without the lender’s consent. Applicants must contribute $1,000 or 2% of the purchase price, whichever is less.

9. Down Payment Assistance Program (Frisco)

This program helps low- and moderate-income employees of the city of Frisco and the Frisco Independent School District buy a first home. The program provides up to $10,000 in a forgivable loan for down payment and closing costs. In addition to other eligibility requirements, at least one adult in the family must work full-time for the city or school district for at least six months. The loan is forgiven in installments over a certain period, depending on the amount of assistance. The property must be within the Frisco city limits, and the buyer must contribute at least 1% of the purchase price.

10. City of McKinney Homebuyer Assistance Program (McKinney)

This program offers first-time home buyers up to $10,000 to help with a down payment and closing costs. The loan is 0% interest and forgivable after five years. Borrowers have to repay the loan only if they sell,  pay off or refinance the mortgage in that period. The property must be within the McKinney city limits.

11. Down Payment Assistance Program (Mesquite)

If a buyer contributes at least 1.75% of the sales price toward the purchase of a home, the city’s program will provide matching funds — up to $5,000 — for half of the down payment. The assistance is through a zero-interest, forgivable loan. If the program’s match is less than $5,000, then the additional funds can be used to help pay closing costs, depending on the buyer’s income. The property must be within the Mesquite city limits.

12. First-Time Homebuyers Assistance and Educational Program (Plano)

Administered through the city’s Community Services Division, the program offers a zero-interest, forgivable loan of up to $10,000 for a down payment and closing costs. Borrowers don’t have to repay the loan as long as they own and occupy the home for five years. Applicants must contribute at least $1,000 toward the down payment. Of that amount, up to $500 may be gifts from others, such as contributions from relatives. The property must be within the Plano city limits.

13. First-Time Homebuyers Program (Wichita Falls)

The city offers up to $7,500 for down payment and closing costs to buy a home in Wichita Falls. The property cannot be in the 100-year flood plain. The assistance is in the form of a zero-interest loan that’s forgiven after five years, as long as borrowers continue to own and occupy the home. Applicants must also have adequate cash reserves.

14. Homebuyers’ Assistance Program (Tarrant County)

The Development Corporation of Tarrant County offers a zero-interest loan of up to $10,000 for a down payment and closing costs that is forgiven after five years if borrowers continue to own and live in the home. Only properties from the agency’s inventory are eligible. Applicants must contribute at least $1,000 toward the home purchase and have adequate cash reserves.


Grant programs in Central Texas

15. Down Payment Assistance Program (Austin)

The Austin Neighborhood Housing and Community Development department offers up to $14,999 as a no-interest, forgivable loan to help make a down payment. The property must be within Austin city limits. The loan is forgiven as long as the buyer doesn’t sell, refinance, get a home equity loan, or lease the property in the five years after buying the house. Applicants must contribute $1,000 toward the purchase.

16. Down Payment Assistance Program (Bryan)

Available through the city’s Community Development Services Department, this program offers no-interest loans up to $7,500 for a down payment and closing costs. The home must be within the city limits and not built before 1978. The loan is forgiven after five years, as long as the borrower owns and lives in the home. Applicants must contribute at least $1,000 of their own money toward the purchase.

17. First-Time Homebuyer Assistance Program (Killeen)

Offered through the city, this program provides first-time home buyers with up to $7,500 for down payment and closing costs to buy a home in Killeen. Assistance is provided as a zero-interest, forgivable loan that doesn’t have to be repaid as long as borrowers own and occupy the home for five years. Applicants must contribute at least $500 toward the purchase.

18. First-Time Homebuyer Program (San Marcos)

This program offers up to $7,000 as a zero-interest, forgivable loan. The proceeds can fund up to half of the down payment; any remaining money can be used for closing costs. Borrowers must contribute at least $800 of their own money toward the purchase, and the property must be within the San Marcos city limits. The loan is gradually forgiven each year and does not have to be repaid after five years if the buyer continues to own and occupy the home.

19. Homebuyer Residence Incentive Program (San Marcos)

Sponsored by the city of San Marcos, this program offers $5,000 in down payment and closing cost assistance to city employees, San Marcos Consolidated Independent School District employees and Texas State University professors. The help is in the form of a zero-interest loan, which is forgiven after five years as long as the borrower continues to own and occupy the home. The property must be within the San Marcos city limits, but there are no income restrictions.

20. City Employee Loan Assistance (Waco)

The city’s program offers up to $25,000 as a no-interest, forgivable loan to help city employees buy a home in Waco. The loan is forgiven incrementally over 10 years, as long as the borrower continues to own the home and work for the city. Employees must have worked for the city of Waco for at least 12 months to be eligible.


Grant programs in East Texas

21. Down Payment Assistance Program (Beaumont)

Up to $14,999 is offered through the Beaumont Community Development Department to help first-time home buyers with a down payment and closing costs. Assistance comes in the form of a zero-interest, forgivable loan. Borrowers must repay a prorated portion of the loan if they sell, refinance or move within five years of buying the home. The property must be within Beaumont city limits, and applicants must contribute at least $2,000 toward the purchase.

22. Homebuyers Assistance Program (Texarkana)

Offered by the city, this program provides up to $10,000 toward down payment and closing costs as a forgivable loan. The property must be within Texarkana city limits.

23. Homebuyer Assistance Program (Tyler)

The city of Tyler offers help for down payment and closing costs in the form of a zero-interest, forgivable loan. Up to $7,500 is available to put toward an existing home, while those buying a newly constructed home can get up to $14,999. The loan is forgiven after five years as long as borrowers continue to own and occupy the home during that time. Up to $25,000 in assistance is available for HUD Initiative Homes. That loan is forgivable after 10 years. All properties must be within Tyler city limits.


Grant programs in the Upper Texas Gulf Coast

24. First-Time Homebuyers Assistance Program (Baytown)

The city of Baytown offers up to $4,500 as a forgivable loan for down payment and closing costs to purchase a home within the city limits. The loan is forgiven after five years. A prorated portion of the loan must be repaid if borrowers move, sell the property or transfer the title in the first five years after purchasing.

25. Homebuyer Assistance Program (Galveston)

Offered by the city, the program provides up to $14,500 as a no-interest, forgivable loan for a down payment and closing costs. The loan does not have to be repaid as long as borrowers keep the home as their primary residence for five years. The property must be within Galveston city limits.

26. Homebuyer Assistance Program (Houston)

The city’s program offers up to $30,000 for a down payment and closing costs as a deferred, forgivable loan. Borrowers don’t have to repay the loan if they own and occupy the property for five years. Applicants must contribute at least $350 toward the purchase, and the property must be within Houston city limits or be serviced by the city and subject to city property taxes.

27. First Time Homebuyer’s Program (Texas City)

This program helps eligible families buy a home by providing up to $7,500 for a down payment and closing costs. An applicant must be a resident of Texas City for the preceding 12 months to be eligible.

28. First-Time Homebuyer Program (Brazoria County)

The county’s Housing and Urban Development Department offers $1,000 to $5,000 in down payment and closing cost assistance to buyers in unincorporated Brazoria County and participating cities. The money is provided as a deferred payment loan that is forgiven after five years if borrowers continue to live in the home and don’t withdraw equity through a cash-out refinance.

29. Harris County Downpayment Assistance Program (Harris County)

This county program offers up to $23,800 toward a down payment on a home in unincorporated Harris County. Assistance amounts of up to $14,999 are forgiven after five years if the buyer continues to own and occupy the home; loans of $15,000 or more are forgiven after 10 years. The home must be built after 1978, and the buyer must contribute at least $350 or half of the down payment.


Grant programs in South Texas

30. Home Closing Cost Program (Corpus Christi)

This program offers up to $10,000 as a zero-interest deferred loan. Borrowers repay a prorated share of the loan if they sell the home in the first five years; otherwise the loan is completely forgiven.

31. Homebuyer Assistance Program (Corpus Christi)

Up to $10,000 in down payment assistance is offered as a deferred loan that is forgiven after five years, as long as borrowers don’t move or sell the home. The property must be within Corpus Christi city limits. Applicants can purchase only a newly constructed home from one of the city’s participating builders.

32. Down Payment Assistance Program (Laredo)

Offered through the city’s Community Development Department, this program provides up to $14,999 as a zero-interest loan. The loan is forgiven if borrowers own and occupy the home for at least five years. To be eligible, applicants must live in Laredo city for at least six months before applying.

33. Homeownership Incentive Program (San Antonio)

This program offers up to $12,000 as a zero-interest loan to help with a down payment and closing costs. Seventy-five percent of the loan is forgiven over a 10-year period if the borrower doesn’t sell the home or move out during that time. The remainder is due when the home is sold or the mortgage is refinanced. The entire loan amount is forgivable after 10 years for teachers, police officers, emergency medical technicians and firefighters. The property must be within San Antonio city limits, and applicants must contribute at least $500 toward the purchase.

34. Home Ownership Program for Employees (HOPE) (San Antonio)

This forgivable, zero-interest loan for full-time city of San Antonio employees offers up to $10,000 to help with a down payment and closing costs. The property must be in one of two areas targeted for revitalization or reinvestment. The buyer must contribute at least $500 toward the purchase. The loan is forgiven after five years, as long as the applicant remains employed by the city.

35. First Responders Homebuyer Assistance Program (San Antonio)

This program provides down payment and closing cost assistance of up to $15,000 to San Antonio police and fire employees buying a home in specific parts of the city. The buyer must contribute at least $500 toward the purchase. The loan is gradually forgiven over five years, as long as the borrower remains employed by the city during that time.

36. Mortgage Assistance Program (Victoria)

The city of Victoria offers grants of up to $2,500 to help with closing costs and up to 50% of the down payment to buy a home in the city. Only existing homes are eligible, and applicants must demonstrate that they can’t buy the home without the program’s assistance.

» MORE: Tips for first-time home buyers


Your next step

If you think you might qualify for one of the Texas first-time home buyer grants listed above, visit the website of the organization that administers the program. There you’ll find details about eligibility requirements, the program’s terms and conditions, as well as whom to contact for more information. Be sure to ask for a list of mortgage lenders that work with the grant program if you’d like to apply.

» MORE: See the best TDHCA mortgage lenders

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