First-of-its kind program opens door to homeownership

by Kim Burgess03 Apr 2018

In a real estate market that is contending with declining inventory and rising interest rates, many aspiring homeowners are struggling to afford their dream properties. Last month, announced a new down payment assistance program to help people across the country achieve that goal.

The Advantage Program is open to a variety of groups: first-time homebuyers, military personnel, educators, first responders, medical personnel, civil servants and residents of low- to moderate-income communities. It provides grants of up to 2% of purchase price and incentives of up to 6% of closing costs, with no resale or borrower repayment restrictions. 

“We are very excited,” said Laura Brandao, AFR’s chief operations officer. “We are watching it really grow, and we’re helping people be able to get into homes they wouldn’t have normally been able to purchase. It has really taken off.”

Offered by a governmental agency, the program is available for Standard Agency, FHA and VA home lending products. AFR Advantage has one set of guidelines, nationwide, and may be used with the FHA 203(b) program.

Brandao said independent brokers can particularly benefit from AFR Advantage because the program helps them compete with bigger companies.

“A lot of correspondents have access to grant money that maybe the small broker doesn’t have the availability to get,” she said. “With this program, they are at the same level. It has been wonderful for the brokers.”

Currently, AFR offers the Advantage Program in every state expect Washington and Hawaii. AFR qualifies borrowers during underwriting, so no separate application is needed.

The program is open to borrowers who fit in at least one of the following categories:

  • Total income is equal to or less than 140% of median area income
  • First-time home buyers
  • Current, retired, volunteer or non-paid:
    • first responder (police officer, firefighter, public safety officer, paramedic, emergency medical technician, including volunteers or similar)
    • educator
    • medical personnel (nurse, doctor, phlebotomists, health ambassador, or hospital, American Red Cross worker, or similar)
    • civil servant in a federal, state or local municipality
    • military personnel


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