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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