Buying a Boston downtown real estate for sale can seem like an impossible goal, especially if you’re a first-time home Boston condo buyer, with a moderate income or have struggled to save for a down payment.

The good news is there are several mortgage programs, local and national, designed to help first-time home buyers and others achieve their homeownership goals in the Bay State.

The MCC Tax Credit

About the program

  • It’s a dollar-for-dollar tax credit that will reduce annual federal income taxes owed for Boston condo owners with a mortgage.
  • Credit is given for up to 20% of the mortgage interest paid in that year. 
  • Only available to first-time home buyers 
  • The MCC also boosts home buyers’ purchasing power by reducing their debt-to-income ratio (something that lenders like to see as low as possible).

How it works

  • Obtain a loan through an MCC Approved Loan Officer
  • Take the tax credit every year that you keep the home loan, as long as the home remains your primary residence.

Guild Mortgage 3-2-1 Home Loan Program

About the program

  • Offered through Guild Mortgage, a private lender. 
  • Only available for first-time home buyers who meet income eligibility requirements, but there are no location restrictions.
  • As of this writing, Guild advertises that home buyers can qualify with a credit score of 620 or more.
  • The 3-2-1 program offers a mortgage at an un-advertised rate (meaning home buyers must inquire with a loan officer to find out the current rate) with a 3% down payment.
  • Other incentives include a $1,500 grant toward closing and a $2,000 Home Depot gift card.

How it works

  • Home buyers must take out a loan with Guild Mortgage. 
  • PMI may be required.
  • Because interest rates could be at market rate or higher, low-income home buyers may be better off obtaining financing through an FHA loan.
  • Paying less up front may mean paying more in the long run.
  • Read more at TheTruthAboutMortgage .

Unison HomeBuyer

About the program

  • It’s a “co-investment” with a San Francisco startup called Unison, so there are no eligibility requirements or location restrictions.
  • Unison will partner with home buyers to contribute up to half the downpayment on the Boston condo for sale
  • Warning – home buyers pay Unison back when they sell the home, plus something around 40% of the home value gained since the time of purchase (some scenarios may entail a much higher or lower percentage).
  • Home buyers also pay Unison a 2.5% origination fee, along with normal closing costs associated with buying the home.
  • Buyers can avoid paying PMI, and because partnering with Unison is not considered debt, buyers can also improve their debt-to-income ratio.

How it works

  • Home buyers must take out a mortgage through one of Unison’s partner lenders.
  • If the home gains significantly in value, the amount owed to Unison could be much greater than the amount saved by not paying PMI.
  • Since Boston downtown real estate values are going up, not down, over time (long-term trend), investing with Unison might not be the best option for home buyers in this area.

Affordable Boston condos for sale

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Author Profile

John Ford
John Ford

Over the course of 20 years in the Boston downtown real estate market, John represented and sold numerous, condominiums, investment and development properties in Greater Boston and in the surrounding suburbs

In addition to representing Boston condo buyers and sellers, John is currently one of the most recognized Boston condo blog writers regarding Boston condominiums and residential real estate markets. John's insights and observations about the Boston condo market have been seen in a wide variety of the most established local & national media outlets including; Banker and Tradesman, Boston Magazine The Boston Globe, The Boston Herald and NewsWeek and Fortune magazine, among others.


For over 24 years, John Ford, of Ford Realty Inc., has been actively involved in the real estate industry. He started his career in commercial real estate with a national firm Spaulding & Slye and quickly realized that he had a passion for residential properties. In 1999, John entered the residential real estate market, and in 2000 John Started his own firm Ford Realty Inc. As a broker, his clients have come to love his fun, vivacious, and friendly attitude. He prides himself on bringing honesty and integrity to the entire home buying and selling process. In addition to helping buyers and sellers, he also works with rental clients. Whether you’re looking to purchase a new Boston condo or rent an apartment, you’ll quickly learn why John has a 97% closing rate.


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John Ford and his staff can be reached at 617-595-3712 or 617-720-5454. Please feel free to stop by John's Boston Beacon Hill office located at 137 Charles Street.

John Ford
Ford Realty Inc
137 Charles Street
Boston, Ma 02114



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