Kansas First-Time Home Buying Assistance Programs for 2023
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By Kim Franke-Folstad
(Last Updated – 08/2022)
Though their housing market is generally known for being more affordable than most, first-time homebuyers in Kansas are facing many of the same challenges as buyers across the country. Prices have been rising. Inventory is low. And the competition for available homes can be fierce.
According to Redfin, the median selling price of a home in Kansas rose to $318,000 in May 2022, a 14% increase in just 12 months. In that same time period, the number of homes for sale statewide fell 31%.
In some areas, the price increases were much larger. In Leavenworth, home prices were up 32% year-over-year in May. Shawnee saw a 17.3% increase.
Fortunately, buyers who are struggling with the costs of purchasing their first home in Kansas may be able to get financial help through programs offered by the state and some cities. There also are longstanding federal programs that may improve a buyer’s chances of success.
Who Is Considered a First-Time Homebuyer in Kansas?
The definition of first-time homebuyer is broader than many think.
For most programs offered in Kansas and elsewhere, applicants are considered first-time homebuyers if they haven’t owned a home for the past three years.
3 Kansas Programs for First-Time Homebuyers
There are three statewide programs for first-time homebuyers in Kansas who might need help with obtaining an affordable loan and/or coming up with a down payment.
The programs were established to assist low- to moderate-income buyers, which means participants must meet certain income limits as well as other financial requirements. There also may be purchase price limits.
1. Kansas Housing Resources Corporation First-Time Homebuyer Program
The Kansas Housing Resources Corporation First-Time Homebuyer Program offers income-eligible applicants a no-payment second mortgage to help cover their down payment and closing costs. The loan is completely forgiven after 10 years if the home remains the buyer’s primary residence.
It’s available in 18 Kansas counties (but not in Topeka, Lawrence, Wichita, Kansas City, and Johnson County).
Benefits and qualifications include:
• If borrowers remain in the home as their principal residence for 10 years, the loan is forgiven
• Assistance amount is income-based (20% of purchase price if household income is 50% or less of area median income; 15% of purchase price if household income is between 50% and 80% of area median income)
• Available to eligible first-time homebuyers, displaced homemakers, single parents who have full or joint custody, and some mobile home owners
• No minimum credit score, but must be approved for 30-year first mortgage (conventional, FHA, VA, or USDA)
• Buyers must contribute at least 2% (but no more than 10%) of home’s purchase price from their own funds
• Home cannot exceed purchase price limits ($124,000 in most counties)
The KansasDPA Program offers qualifying first-time and repeat homebuyers a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage paired with a grant for their down payment or closing costs. Borrowers can choose from several different first mortgage types, including conventional, FHA, VA, and USDA loans.
Benefits and qualifications include:
• 2% to 5% grant based on first mortgage type
• Most home types qualify, including single-family detached home, duplex (one unit must be owner-occupied), condominiums, townhomes, and manufactured homes
FHLBank Topeka runs the Homeownership Set-Aside Program to assist very low-, low-, and moderate-income first-time homebuyers with their down payment, closing costs, and repair costs. The assistance comes in the form of a five-year forgivable grant.
Buyers must repay the grant if they sell their home or refinance their first mortgage within five years.
Benefits and Qualifications Include:
• Grant of $2,500 to $7,500
• Available to FHLBank mortgage customers only
• Household income cannot exceed 80% of area median income
• Reservations accepted on a first-come, first-served basis; subject to FHLBank member limits through Nov. 30, 2022
If you’ve already decided which Kansas community you’d like to make your home, you also may want to research local first-time homebuyer assistance programs.
Even if you can’t find assistance in your chosen location, it may be helpful to check back occasionally for new offers. Some first-time homebuyer programs base their opportunities (and deadlines) on the funds they expect to become available. If their funding runs out, they may press pause.
Local programs include:
City of Leavenworth Home Ownership Program
Leavenworth’s Home Ownership Program provides up to $8,000 in grant funding for first-time buyers purchasing a home in the city. The program is funded through a Community Development Block Grant administered through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and is therefore subject to federal guidelines and rules. For information about the program, you can check out the web page and the program brochure .
City of Topeka Opportunity to Own (TOTO) Program
Topeka’s Department of Neighborhood Relations Housing Services Division administers the TOTO first-time homebuyer assistance program. The program, which was created to help low-income families purchase their first home in the city, provides homebuyer counseling and education as well as down payment assistance and money to help with home repairs.
For information on qualifications and benefits, check out the program’s website or the program brochure . Or contact Housing and Credit Counseling Inc. at 785-234-0217.
City of Wichita HOMEownership 80 Program
Wichita’s HOMEownership 80 Program provides assistance to qualified low- to moderate-income first-time buyers purchasing homes in targeted areas of the city. The program offers a 0% interest, deferred-payment second loan for a down payment and closing costs.
For more information on benefits and eligibility requirements, you can go to the program’s web page or the program brochure . Or you can contact the city’s Housing and Community Services Department at 316-462-3700..
How to Apply to Kansas Programs for First-Time Homebuyers
Follow the links under each program for participating lenders or other contacts.
Federal Programs for First-Time Homebuyers
Several federal government programs are designed for people who have low credit scores or limited cash for a down payment. Although most of these programs are available to repeat homeowners, like state programs, they can be especially helpful to people who are buying a first home or who haven’t owned a home in several years.
The mortgages are generally for single-family homes, two- to four-unit properties that will be owner occupied, approved condos, townhomes, planned unit developments, and some manufactured homes.
Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Loans
The FHA, which is part of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), insures mortgages for borrowers with lower credit scores. Homebuyers choose from a list of approved lenders that participate in the program. Loans have competitive interest rates and require a down payment of 3.5% of the purchase price for borrowers with FICO® credit scores of 580 or higher. Those with scores as low as 500 must put at least 10% down.
FHA loans always require mortgage insurance: a 1.75% upfront fee and annual premiums for the life of the loan, unless you make a down payment of at least 10%, which allows the removal of mortgage insurance after 11 years. You can learn more about FHA loans in general and FHA mortgage limits by area by area.
Freddie Mac Home Possible Mortgages
Very low- and low-income borrowers may make a 3% down payment on a Home Possible® mortgage. These loans allow various sources for down payments, including co-borrowers, family gifts, employer assistance, secondary financing, and sweat equity.
Fannie Mae HomeReady® Mortgages allow down payments as low as 3% for low-income borrowers. Applicants generally need a credit score of at least 620; pricing may be better for credit scores of 680 and above. Like the Freddie Mac program, HomeReady loans allow flexibility for down payment financing, such as gifts and grants.
For income limits, a comparison to an FHA loan, and other information, go to this Fannie Mae site .
Fannie Mae Standard 97 LTV Loan
The conventional 97 LTV loan is for first-time homebuyers of any income level who have a credit score of at least 620 and meet debt-to-income criteria. The 97% loan-to-value mortgage requires 3% down. Borrowers can get down payment and closing cost assistance from third-party sources.
Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Loans
Active-duty members of the military, veterans, and eligible family members may apply for loans backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs. VA loans , to buy, build, or improve homes, have lower interest rates than most other mortgages and don’t require a down payment. Most borrowers pay a one-time funding fee that can be rolled into the mortgage.
Native American Veteran Direct Loans (NADLs)
Eligible Native American veterans and their spouses may use these no-down-payment loans to buy, improve, or build a home on federal trust land. Unlike VA loans listed above, the Department of Veterans Affairs is the mortgage lender on NADLs. The VA requires no mortgage insurance, but it does charge a funding fee.
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Loans
No down payment is required on these loans to moderate-income borrowers that are guaranteed by the USDA in specified rural areas. Borrowers pay an upfront guarantee fee and an annual fee that serves as mortgage insurance.
The USDA also directly issues loans to low- and very low-income people. For loan basics and income and property eligibility, head to this USDA site .
HUD Good Neighbor Next Door Program
This program helps police officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, and teachers qualify for mortgages in the areas they serve. Borrowers can receive 50% off a home in what HUD calls a “revitalization area.” They must live in the home for at least three years.
First-Time Homebuyer Stats for 2022
Ever wonder where you fit amid the mix of buyers who are out there shopping for their first home or first in a while? Here are some stats from a recent National Association of Realtors® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers:
Percentage of buyers nationwide who are first-time buyers: 34%
Percentage of buyers in the NAR’s Midwest region who are first-time buyers: 38%
Median household income of first-time buyers nationwide: $86,500
Type of home purchased by first-time buyers nationwide:
• Detached single-family home: 80%
• Townhouse/rowhouse: 9%
• Condo/apartment (five or more units): 1%
• Duplex/condo/apartment (two to four units: 2%
• Other: 8%
Median home price for first-time buyers nationwide: $252,000
Median down payment for first-time buyers nationwide: 7%
Median age of first-time buyers nationwide: 33
Relationship status of first-time buyers nationwide:
• Married: 50%
• Single females: 20%
• Unmarried couples: 17%
• Single males: 11%
First-time buyers with kids nationwide:
• No children: 70%
• One child: 15%
• Two children: 11%
• Three or more children: 5%
Additional Financing Tips for First-Time Homebuyers
In addition to federal and state government-sponsored lending programs, there are other financial strategies that may help you become a homeowner. Some examples:
• Traditional IRA withdrawals. The IRS allows qualifying first-time homebuyers a one-time, penalty-free withdrawal of up to $10,000 from their IRA if the money is used to buy, build, or rebuild a home. The IRS considers anyone who has not owned a primary residence in the past three years a first-time homebuyer. You will still owe income tax on the IRA withdrawal. If you’re married and your spouse has an IRA, they may also make a penalty-free withdrawal of $10,000 to purchase a home. The downside, of course, is that large withdrawals may jeopardize your retirement savings.
• Roth IRA withdrawals. Because Roth IRA contributions are made with after-tax money, the IRS allows tax- and penalty-free withdrawals of contributions for any reason as long as you’ve held the account for five years. You may also withdraw up to $10,000 in earnings from your Roth IRA without paying taxes or penalties if you are a qualifying first-time homebuyer and you have had the account for five years. With accounts held for less than five years, homebuyers will pay income tax on earnings withdrawn.
• 401(k) loans. If your employer allows borrowing from the 401(k) plan that it sponsors, you may consider taking a loan against the 401(k) account to help finance your home purchase. With most plans, you can borrow up to 50% of your 401(k) balance, up to $50,000, without incurring taxes or penalties. You pay interest on the loan, which is paid into your 401(k) account. You usually have to pay back the loan within five years, but if you’re using the money to buy a house, you may have up to 15 years to repay.
• State and local down payment assistance programs. Usually offered at the regional or county level, these programs provide flexible second mortgages for first-time buyers looking into how to afford a down payment.
• The mortgage credit certificate program. First-time homeowners and those who buy in targeted areas can claim a portion of their mortgage interest as a tax credit, up to $2,000. Any additional interest paid can still be used as an itemized deduction. To qualify for the credit, you must be a first-time homebuyer, live in the home, and meet income and purchase price requirements, which vary by state. If you refinance, the credit disappears, and if you sell the house before nine years, you may have to pay some of the tax credit back. There are fees associated with applying for and receiving the mortgage credit certificate that vary by state. Often the savings from the lifetime of the credit can outweigh these fees.
• Your employer. Your employer may offer access to lower-cost lenders and real estate agents in your area, as well as home buying education courses.
• Your lender. Always ask your lender about any first-time homebuyer grant or down payment assistance programs available from government, nonprofit, and community organizations in your area.
Income-qualified first-time homebuyers in Kansas have a number of mortgage and down payment assistance options to aim for. Other first-time buyers in Kansas can shop for a fitting mortgage on their own.
Make your dream of being a homeowner come true with SoFi’s competitive mortgage rates and down payments as low as 3% for qualifying first-time homebuyers.
Yes! Good information is key to a successful home-buying experience for anyone, but especially for newcomers, who can easily be overwhelmed by the jargon, technicalities, and magnitude of applying for a mortgage and purchasing a home. First-time homebuyer classes can help. Indeed they are required for many government-sponsored loan programs.
Do first-time homebuyers with bad credit qualify for homeownership assistance?
Often they do. Many government and nonprofit homeowner assistance programs are available to people with low credit scores. And often, interest rates and other loan pricing are competitive with those of loans available to borrowers with higher credit scores. That said, almost any lending program has credit qualifications.
What credit score do I need for first-time homebuyer assistance in Kansas?
There is no minimum credit score requirement for the Kansas Housing Resources Corporation First-Time Homebuyer Program. The minimum score for the KansasDPA Program is 640.
Requirements may vary from one local program to the next, and some may use criteria other than credit scores to determine a borrower’s eligibility.
Is there a first-time homebuyer tax credit in Kansas?
No. The Kansas Housing Resources Corporation doesn’t offer a mortgage credit certificate program at this time.
Is there a first-time veteran homebuyer assistance program in Kansas?
The Kansas Housing Resources Corporation First-Time Homebuyer Program and Kansas DPA Program offer a VA loan to eligible borrowers.
What is the average age of first-time homebuyers?
The median age is 33, according to the National Association of Realtors.
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