What Happens When You Pay Off Your Mortgage?

What Happens When You Pay Off Your Mortgage? All You Need to Know

When you pay off your mortgage, you may have some paperwork and account switching (such as property taxes) to take care of. And you may look forward to greater cash flow.

But is paying off a mortgage always the right move? In some cases, a person who is about to pay off a mortgage may want to consider a couple of options that could make more sense for their particular financial situation.

Learn more about the payoff path and alternatives here.

Pros and Cons of Paying Off Your Mortgage

Paying off your mortgage is a fantastic milestone to reach, but it’s not without trade-offs. Here are a few considerations to help you make the best decision for your situation.

Pros of Paying Off a Mortgage

Cons of Paying Off a Mortgage

No monthly payment May lose tax deduction
No more interest paid to the lender Your cash is all tied up in your home’s equity
More cash in your pocket each month If you pay extra to pay off your home, you may miss out on investment strategies
You’ll need less income in retirement Lost opportunity costs for other uses for your money
Greatly reduced risk of foreclosure No tax deduction for mortgage interest, if you’re among the few who still take the deduction



💡 Quick Tip: Thinking of using a mortgage broker? That person will try to help you save money by finding the best loan offers you are eligible for. But if you deal directly with an online mortgage lender, you won’t have to pay a mortgage broker’s commission, which is usually based on the mortgage amount.

First-time homebuyers can
prequalify for a SoFi mortgage loan,
with as little as 3% down.


What Happens When You Pay Off Your Mortgage?

Here’s how mortgage payoff works:

•   To get the amount you need to pay off your mortgage, the first thing you need to do is request a mortgage payoff letter. If you pay the amount on your last statement, you won’t have the right amount. A mortgage payoff letter will include the appropriate fees and the amount of interest through the day you’re planning to pay the loan off.

•   Know that the payoff letter is only good for a set amount of time, and make sure to get your payment in on time.

•   Follow the instructions you’re given about where and how to submit the payment.

•   Once you’ve sent the payoff amount, your mortgage lender is responsible for sending you and the county recorder documentation to release the mortgage and lien on your home.

•   You should be sent any funds remaining in escrow.

•   You will want to contact your insurance company about this change if your insurance was paid along with your mortgage payment and have the bills switched over to you directly.

•   If your property taxes were paid as part of your mortgage, you will want to contact your local tax collector about shifting those bills to you as well.

What Documents Do You Get After Paying Off a Mortgage?

After paying off your mortgage, you should receive (or have access to) documents proving you paid off the mortgage and no longer have a lien attached to your home. These include:

•   Satisfaction or release of mortgage. This document will be filed with the county recorder (or other applicable recording agency). It states that the mortgage has been satisfied and the lien released.

•   A canceled promissory note. When you closed on your home, one of the documents you signed was called a promissory note. Now that the mortgage has been satisfied, you may receive this document back with a “canceled” or “paid in full,” though it’s also possible you may have to call and request the document.

•   A statement on the paid-off loan balance. Your lender should send you a statement showing that your loan has been paid in full.

What Should You Do After Paying Off Your Mortgage?

After you pay off your mortgage, you’ll need to take care of a few housekeeping items (a couple are mentioned above).

•   Close your escrow account. Since you’re no longer sending a mortgage payment to a mortgage servicer, you’ll need to take care of the items in your escrow account, primarily your taxes and homeowners insurance.

•   Contact your county recorder’s office to double-check that the mortgage satisfaction paperwork has been filed. Once that has been filed, you will have a clear title on the property.

•   Make plans for the extra money. Whether you want to make a bigger push in your retirement account, enlarge your emergency fund, or pay off other debts, you now likely have more cash to do it with. If you don’t make plans for the extra money, it might just evaporate.

Recommended: 2024 Home Loan Help Center

Is Prepaying a Good Idea?

Generally, paying off your mortgage early is a great idea. It reduces the principal, which in turn reduces the amount you’ll pay in interest over the life of your loan. Still, there are reasons that some homeowners consider not paying their mortgage off early.

Most lenders do not charge a prepayment penalty, but home loans signed before January 10, 2014, may include one. Nonconforming mortgage loans signed after that date may have a prepayment penalty that applies within the first three years of repayment. (The different types of mortgage loans include conforming and nonconforming conventional mortgages.)

The best way to find out if prepayment is subject to a penalty is to call your mortgage servicer. The terms of your mortgage paperwork should also outline whether or not you have a prepayment penalty.

Should You Refinance Instead?

Another option you may consider is refinancing your mortgage. There are several reasons you may want to refinance instead of paying off your mortgage.

Lower monthly payment. Getting a lower rate or different loan term may lower your monthly payment. Be sure to check out current rates, and use a calculator for mortgages to find out what a possible new payment would be.

Shorter mortgage term. Refinancing a 30-year mortgage to, say, a 15-year mortgage can keep you close to paying off your mortgage while also providing financial flexibility.

Spare cash. Whatever your need is — home renovations, college funding, paying off higher-interest debt — a cash-out refinance might be an option.



💡 Quick Tip: Compared to credit cards and other unsecured loans, you can usually get a lower interest rate with a cash-out refinance loan.

The Takeaway

What happens when you pay off your mortgage? After doing a jig in the living room, you’ll need to take care of a few housekeeping tasks and make plans for the extra money.

An option to consider: Would a refinance to a shorter term make more sense, or pulling cash out with a cash-out refi? It can be wise to review all your options as you move toward taking this major financial step.

Looking for an affordable option for a home mortgage loan? SoFi can help: We offer low down payments (as little as 3% - 5%*) with our competitive and flexible home mortgage loans. Plus, applying is extra convenient: It's online, with access to one-on-one help.


SoFi Mortgages: simple, smart, and so affordable.

FAQ

Is paying off your mortgage a good idea?

The answer depends on an individual’s situation. If you have the money and you’d love to shed that monthly obligation for good, paying off a mortgage is a good idea. But if you’re worried about funding your retirement or losing opportunities to invest, paying off your mortgage may not be a good idea for you.

What do you do after you pay off your mortgage?

Ensure that you have received your canceled promissory note, and update your property tax and insurance billers on where to bill you. Since you no longer will have a mortgage servicing company, you must pay your insurance and property taxes yourself.

Is it better to pay off a mortgage before you retire?

Paying off a mortgage could give you more money to work with in retirement. But if your retirement accounts need a boost, most financial experts contend that allocating money there is a better idea than paying off your mortgage. Paying off a mortgage when you have low cash reserves can also put you at risk.

Does paying off your mortgage early affect your credit score?

Surprisingly, paying off your mortgage early won’t affect your credit score much. Your credit score has already taken into account the years of full, on-time payments you made each month.


Photo credit: iStock/katleho Seisa

*SoFi requires Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) for conforming home loans with a loan-to-value (LTV) ratio greater than 80%. As little as 3% down payments are for qualifying first-time homebuyers only. 5% minimum applies to other borrowers. Other loan types may require different fees or insurance (e.g., VA funding fee, FHA Mortgage Insurance Premiums, etc.). Loan requirements may vary depending on your down payment amount, and minimum down payment varies by loan type.

SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.


SoFi Mortgages
Terms, conditions, and state restrictions apply. Not all products are available in all states. See SoFi.com/eligibility for more information.


Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Tax Information: This article provides general background information only and is not intended to serve as legal or tax advice or as a substitute for legal counsel. You should consult your own attorney and/or tax advisor if you have a question requiring legal or tax advice.

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What Is a Mortgage Payoff Statement or Letter?

What Is a Mortgage Payoff Statement or Letter? All You Need to Know

If you’re thinking about refinancing your home loan or paying off your mortgage early, you might request a mortgage payoff statement. The amount due on this document is likely to be different from your current balance because it includes interest owed until the payoff date and any fees due.

Read on to learn more about what a mortgage payoff statement or letter is and when you might need one.

Key Points

•   A mortgage payoff statement details the total amount needed to fully pay off a loan as of a specific date.

•   This statement includes the principal balance, accrued interest, and any applicable fees.

•   Homeowners often request this document when considering refinancing or paying off their mortgage early.

•   The statement is provided by the mortgage servicer and can be requested at any time.

•   Accurate payoff information is crucial for managing financial decisions related to property ownership.

What Is a Mortgage Payoff Statement?

Starting with mortgage basics, a mortgage is a loan used to purchase different types of real estate, including a primary home. A bank or other lender agrees to lend money, which the borrower commits to pay back monthly for a set period of time and with interest.

The different types of mortgage loans include conventional and government-insured mortgages and reverse mortgages.

There are jumbo loans, which exceed the dollar limits set by the Federal Housing Finance Agency, and home equity loans.

Say you have a mortgage and want to know exactly how much you’d need to pay to satisfy the loan. A mortgage payoff letter will tell you that magic number. Unlike your current balance, the payoff amount includes interest owed up to the day you intend to pay off the loan. It may also include fees that you’re on the hook for and haven’t paid yet.

Your monthly mortgage statement, on the other hand, only shows your loan balance and the amount due for your next monthly payment.


💡 Quick Tip: You’ve found an award-winning home. Enjoy an award-winning mortgage experience, too. SoFi has knowledgeable Mortgage Loan Officers to guide you through the process.

First-time homebuyers can
prequalify for a SoFi mortgage loan,
with as little as 3% down.


How Does a Mortgage Payoff Statement Work?

You can request a payoff statement from your loan servicer at any time. Note: Your mortgage servicer may be different from your lender. The company that manages your loan handles billing, accepts loan payments, keeps track of your principal and interest, and fields questions from borrowers.

You may request a payoff statement for any type of loan, including mortgages, student loans, personal loans, and auto loans. However, if you need your mortgage payoff statement, go to your mortgage servicer directly. The name and contact information of your mortgage servicer is included in your monthly statements.

When you make the request from the company that handles your mortgage servicing, you’ll need to provide the following details:

•   Your name

•   Address

•   Phone number

•   Your loan number

•   The date you want your payoff to be effective if you’re seeking to pay off your mortgage early.

Asking for a payoff statement does not necessarily mean that you intend to pay off your loan immediately. You may simply be determining whether or not paying off your mortgage early is feasible, for example. The request itself does not initiate the prepayment process.

Traditional lenders, such as brick-and-mortar banks, may mail you a paper mortgage payoff statement. Online lenders may send a payoff statement online.

Recommended: 5 Tips for Finding a Mortgage Lender

What Information Do Mortgage Payoff Letters Contain?

All mortgage payoff letters tend to contain similar information, including:

•   Payoff amount: The amount of money that would satisfy the loan.

•   Expiration date: The date through which the payoff amount is valid. The letter may also include an adjusted amount should you pay before or after the expiration date.

•   Payment information: The letter will also usually tell you who to make the final check out to and where to mail it.

•   Additional charges: You will be alerted to any additional fees and charges that you’ll need to include.



💡 Quick Tip: Your parents or grandparents probably got mortgages for 30 years. But these days, you can get them for 20, 15, or 10 years — and pay less interest over the life of the loan.

Do You Need a Mortgage Payoff Statement?

There are a few common situations in which you might need a payoff statement.

•   Refinancing a mortgage: When you refinance your mortgage, your chosen lender pays off your old home loan with a new one, preferably with a lower interest rate and possibly a new term. When you seek to refinance, your new lender may ask you to provide a payoff statement on your current loan.

•   Prepaying a mortgage: It’s possible to pay off a mortgage early. A payoff statement will show you exactly how much you’d need to pay to do so. Most prepayment penalties for residential home loans that originated after January 10, 2014, are prohibited. Still, check before you decide to prepay.

•   Working with a debt relief company: If you’re having trouble managing your debts, you’ve fallen behind on payments, or you otherwise need mortgage relief, you may choose to work with a debt relief company that can help negotiate with your lenders. The company will need to see payoff statements to get an idea of the scope of your debt.

“No matter what method works best for you, it’s important to cut spending as much as you can while you’re tackling your debts,” said Kendall Meade, a Certified Financial Planner at SoFi.

•   Collections and liens: A lender might send you a payoff statement if you’ve fallen behind on your payments and they are sending your debt to a collection agency. In this case, the payoff statement may tell you how much you need to pay to stop the collection action.

   If your lender decides to seize your home to recoup unpaid mortgage payments, they may place a lien on the property. They may send a payoff statement that alerts you that your property will be seized if the specified amount isn’t paid in full.

There are other ways to figure out how much you owe on your mortgage loan. You can talk to your lender and ask for a verbal payoff quote. This will provide an estimate, but understand that it is not a legal agreement and isn’t binding.

The Takeaway

If you have a home loan, you may want to request a mortgage payoff statement, especially if you’re thinking about refinancing or paying off your mortgage early. Requesting the mortgage payoff letter does not initiate any formal processes, so it’s fine to think of it as an information-gathering exercise.

Looking for an affordable option for a home mortgage loan? SoFi can help: We offer low down payments (as little as 3% - 5%*) with our competitive and flexible home mortgage loans. Plus, applying is extra convenient: It's online, with access to one-on-one help.


SoFi Mortgages: simple, smart, and so affordable.

FAQ

How do I get my mortgage payoff statement?

Contact your loan servicer to request your mortgage payoff statement.

When should I get my mortgage payoff statement?

Request your mortgage payoff statement when planning to prepay your mortgage, refinance, or consolidate debt.

How long does it take to get a mortgage payoff statement?

Generally speaking, you should receive your mortgage payoff statement within seven business days of your request.


Photo credit: iStock/Vadym Pastukh

*SoFi requires Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) for conforming home loans with a loan-to-value (LTV) ratio greater than 80%. As little as 3% down payments are for qualifying first-time homebuyers only. 5% minimum applies to other borrowers. Other loan types may require different fees or insurance (e.g., VA funding fee, FHA Mortgage Insurance Premiums, etc.). Loan requirements may vary depending on your down payment amount, and minimum down payment varies by loan type.

SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.


SoFi Mortgages
Terms, conditions, and state restrictions apply. Not all products are available in all states. See SoFi.com/eligibility for more information.


Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Tax Information: This article provides general background information only and is not intended to serve as legal or tax advice or as a substitute for legal counsel. You should consult your own attorney and/or tax advisor if you have a question requiring legal or tax advice.

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Using a Co-Borrower on a Joint Personal Loan

If your credit is not quite up to a lender’s preferred level to get favorable interest rates and terms on your own, you may be considering a joint personal loan. Using a co-borrower may be one option to help you qualify for a personal loan.

A co-borrower is an additional borrower on a loan who is obligated to repay the loan alongside the primary borrower and shares the responsibility of paying it back. And a co-borrower — if they have great credit and income, among other factors — may have the added benefit of helping to make the original borrower seem less of a risk to a lender.

Here are key things to know about using a co-borrower on a personal loan.

What Are Joint Personal Loans?

Joint personal loans are loans that take into account multiple borrowers’ creditworthiness in the approval process. There are typically two borrowers on this type of loan — a primary and a secondary borrower — to establish joint personal loan eligibility.

Being a co-borrower on a loan comes with different rights and responsibilities than being a cosigner on a loan.

•   Co-borrowers, along with the primary borrower, have equal ownership of loan funds or what is purchased with the loan funds and are equally responsible for repayment of the loan over the life of the loan.

•   Cosigners have no ownership of the loan funds or what they’re used to purchase, and they are responsible for repayment only if the primary borrower fails to make payments.



💡 Quick Tip: Before choosing a personal loan, ask about the lender’s fees: origination, prepayment, late fees, etc. SoFi personal loans come with no-fee options, and no surprises.

How To Use Joint Personal Loans

If you don’t feel confident about qualifying for a loan, or have concerns about a potentially higher interest rate due to your overall creditworthiness or other reasons, finding a reliable co-borrower might help improve your chances of approval, along with the interest rate and terms you’re offered.

Couples can use a joint personal loan for a wide variety of purposes, including consolidating high-interest debts, paying for a large expense or event (like a wedding), or funding a remodeling project.

Why Do People Use Joint Personal Loans?

One common reason why someone might consider a joint personal loan is that they cannot qualify for a loan on their own, or they would like to qualify for a lower interest rate or more favorable loan terms than they could on their own.

Some reasons people may seek a co-borrower are:

•   They don’t have a long credit history.

•   They’ve just entered the workforce.

•   They’re in the process of rebuilding their credit.

•   They would like to qualify for a larger loan than they could on their own.

How Much Can You Save With Joint Personal Loans?

Having two borrowers on one personal loan may help you to qualify for a more favorable interest rate than if just one person’s income and credit are considered. Different lenders will have different qualification requirements, though, so it’s a good idea to compare lenders.

Using a joint personal loan for debt consolidation can be one way to lower the amount of interest paid on outstanding debt. Again, how much savings is accomplished depends on multiple factors, such as the borrower’s creditworthiness, how long it takes to pay down the debt, and others.

What Credit Score Is Required for a Joint Personal Loan?

There is no definite answer to this question, but, in general, applicants with higher credit scores qualify for loans with lower average personal loan interest rates. And, vice versa, applicants with lower credit scores generally qualify for loans with higher interest rates.

Lenders tend to be risk averse and prefer to lend money to people who they believe will repay it in full and on time. An applicant’s credit report — a summary of how responsible they are with credit that has been extended to them in the past — and credit score are tools lenders use to assess risk.

Before applying for a joint personal loan, it’s a good idea to review your credit report. If there are errors or discrepancies, you can file a dispute with the credit reporting agency. If you have poor credit or a limited credit history, you might consider taking some time to improve your credit profile before applying for a loan. Lenders will look at both applicants’ credit reports during the joint personal loan approval process, so it’s worth it for your credit to be in good shape.

Recommended: What Credit Score Do You Need for a Personal Loan?

Individual vs Joint Loan Applications

The basic process of applying for a loan is the same no matter the number of applicants. Lenders will typically request the same information on either an individual or a joint loan application: proof of identity and address and verification of employment and income, in addition to any lender-specific information. For an individual loan application, there is just one person’s information to verify. Joint loan applications require information for each applicant.

Individual

Joint

Only one applicant’s creditworthiness is considered in the approval process. Creditworthiness of both applicants is considered in the approval process.
One income is considered in the approval process. Combined incomes of all applicants are considered in the approval process.
Only one applicant signs the loan application. The loan application is specifically for more than one applicant, and both must sign it.
One borrower is responsible for repaying the loan. All borrowers are responsible for repaying the loan.

Cosigned Loan vs Joint Personal Loan: The Differences

Both cosigned and joint loans include an additional borrower. However, a co-borrower taking out a joint loan has different rights and responsibilities than a cosigner.

The Disadvantages of Choosing a Cosigned Loan

The disadvantages of a cosigned loan lie mostly with the cosigner, not the primary borrower. The cosigner does not have any ownership rights to the loan funds or anything purchased with the loan funds. They are, however, responsible for repayment of the loan if the primary borrower fails to make payments.

The cosigner’s credit can be negatively affected if the primary borrower defaults on the loan, and their future borrowing power could be affected if a lender decides extending more credit would be too risky.

The Disadvantages of Choosing a Joint Personal Loan

Since joint personal loans take into account both applicants’ credit, and ownership and repayment responsibility is equal for both borrowers, the disadvantages of this type of arrangement are less lopsided than for a cosigned loan. People who already share financial responsibilities — married couples or parents and children, for example — may consider joint personal loans, so there is typically some familiarity present.

Even so, it’s important to have confidence in a co-borrower’s ability to repay the loan because each borrower is equally responsible for repayment over the entire life of the loan. Co-borrowers also have equal ownership rights to the loan funds or what the loan funds purchased, so trust is a big factor in choosing a co-borrower.

Recommended: How Much of a Personal Loan Can I Get?

Cosigned Loan vs Joint Personal Loan: The Advantages

Arguably, the primary borrower on either a cosigned loan or a joint personal loan has a bigger advantage than the cosigner or co-borrower. Depending on one’s perspective, however, all parties involved can reap benefits from these partnerships.

The Advantages of Choosing a Cosigned Loan

The advantage lies almost exclusively with the primary borrower on a cosigned loan. If they default, the cosigner is responsible for repaying the loan, although the primary borrower’s credit will likely be negatively affected. Ownership of the loan funds or what they purchased is solely the primary borrower’s.

A personal loan cosigner’s main advantage may be in the form of a benevolent feeling. This is not to discount a cosigner’s contribution, since compassion is important to humanity.

The Advantages of Choosing a Joint Personal Loan

The main advantage of a joint loan is that there is equal ownership of the loan funds or the property purchased with those funds. Choosing a joint loan means you are able to present a higher total income than you could alone, signaling to lenders that it’s more likely someone will be able to make the monthly loan payments.

Because joint loans give both co-borrowers equal rights, they are well-suited for people who already have joint finances or own assets together.


💡 Quick Tip: Generally, the larger the personal loan, the bigger the risk for the lender — and the higher the interest rate. So one way to lower your interest rate is to try downsizing your loan amount.

What’s the Better Loan Option?

If you’re seeking a loan with a spouse or relative, and one of you has the strong credit history needed to get a low interest rate and terms you’d prefer, then a joint loan as co-borrowers may be right for you.

However, if you’d rather have a loan in your name with a little added security, then having a cosigner may make more sense.

No matter which situation you find yourself in, it’s important to weigh all of the options and do the necessary research that will allow you to arrive at the best joint personal loan option for you. After all, taking out a loan and repaying it responsibly has the power to put someone on a path to a more secure financial future, but it can also come with risks if each party hasn’t thoroughly vetted the other.

Recommended: Exploring the Pros & Cons of Personal Loans

Where Do You Find a Joint Personal Loan?

It’s not uncommon for lenders to offer joint personal loans, but some research is necessary to find a lender who will work with your unique financial situation.

Looking at lenders of joint personal loans online is a good first step. Prequalifying to check joint personal loan eligibility is a fairly quick and easy process.

If you’re already an established customer at a local bank or credit union, you may also want to look at loan options there.

The Takeaway

Though co-borrowers may bring with them peace of mind, they also require a great deal of forethought — especially regarding who to ask. And regardless of whether or not someone opts for a co-borrower, it’s still important for the primary borrower to get their own credit in the best shape possible.

Think twice before turning to high-interest credit cards. Consider a SoFi personal loan instead. SoFi offers competitive fixed rates and same-day funding. Checking your rate takes just a minute.


SoFi’s Personal Loan was named NerdWallet’s 2024 winner for Best Personal Loan overall.

FAQ

Can you apply for joint personal loans?

As long as the lender allows co-borrowers, you can apply for a joint personal loan.

What is the maximum amount of people for a joint personal loan?

Typically, a joint personal loan has two co-borrowers, but the maximum number of co-borrowers is up to the individual lender.

Do joint personal loans get approved faster?

It’s likely to take more time for a joint personal loan to be approved than an individual loan because the lender will check the credit of each applicant.


SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.


Non affiliation: SoFi isn’t affiliated with any of the companies highlighted in this article.

Checking Your Rates: To check the rates and terms you may qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and may affect your credit.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

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First Time Homebuyer Guides - Northeast

First-Time Homebuyer Assistance Programs & Grants in the Northeast for 2024

Buying a home can be exciting, exhausting and, no matter how smoothly the process may go, one of the most stressful things you can do in life. Not having enough money to adequately finance a purchase makes it all the more daunting. Fortunately, there are first-time homebuyer programs available in every state, making it easier for many people to access the resources they need to buy their new home, and to feel more secure through the whole process.

Keep in mind that first-time homebuyers don’t actually have to be buying their first home. A first-time homebuyer is defined as anyone who hasn’t had an ownership interest in a primary home in the past three years.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) also includes in its list of qualified homebuyers:

•   A single parent who has only owned a home with a partner while married

•   A displaced homemaker who has only owned a home with a spouse

•   Someone who has owned a principal residence not permanently affixed to a permanent foundation

•   Someone who has only owned a property that wasn’t in compliance with state, local, or model building codes

Here are the homebuyer programs that qualified first-time buyers have available to them in the Northeast:

Maine

Thinking of buying a home in the land of lobster and lighthouses? You’ll want to learn about the market and assess your financial situation before you start searching for a home mortgage loan. (A guide to the different types of mortgage loans can help.)

The scoop on the Main market: Prices in the Pine Tree State were up 5.7% in February 2024 when compared to the prior year, with homes selling for a median of $360,200, according to Redfin. The three most competitive cities for homebuyers were Standish, South Berwich, and Gray.

💡 Learn about Maine first-time homebuyer programs

New Hampshire

The housing market in the Granite State is hot. From February 2023 to February 2024, home prices rose 12.5% to an average sale price of $447,400, according to Redfin. And 41.8% of the homes sold above their list price. Still, there are good opportunities for the first-time buyer in the state, and there are first-time homebuyer assistance programs to help you reach your homeowning goal.

💡 Learn about New Hampshire first-time homebuyer programs

Vermont

The Green Mountain State is paradise for outdoorsy types with forests, lakes, and mountains. No wonder then that the housing market has heated up: The number of homes sold increased 14.2% between February 2023 and 2024. Prices were up 6.5% as well, according to Redfin.

Homebuyers may need help to afford a home with the median price here hitting $361,300. Fortunately, the state has several programs to offer.

💡 Learn about Vermont first-time homebuyer programs

Massachusetts

Glorious New England scenery, a rich history, and diverse cultural and educational opportunities are just some of the things Massachusetts has to offer residents. It’s no wonder that home prices here outpace the national average, or that they are rising. Prices in Massachusetts were up 9.9% in the year ending February 2024, Redfin reports. The median sale price in the state is now $576,900.

At the same time, the median number of days a home stays on the market has dropped by 5 year-over-year, an indicator that the market is warming. Still, there are plenty of opportunities for the first-time homebuyer in Massachusetts.

💡 Learn about Massachusetts first-time homebuyer programs

Rhode Island

This small state is big on charm: Rhode Island’s miles of coastline offer beautiful beaches and picturesque inlets, and you’ll also find dynamic cities and rural small towns here. There’s a lot for the first-time homebuyer in Rhode Island to get excited about. But prices here are well above the national average of $342,941. The average property value is $438,711, up 8.3% year over year, according to Zillow. Wondering what a down payment would look like on a given property price? Use a mortgage down payment calculator to do the math.

💡 Learn about Rhode Island first-time homebuyer programs

Connecticut

You’re looking at a competitive market in the Constitution State: In February 2024, home prices in Connecticut were up 13.2% year-over-year. The median price of a Nutmeg State home is $375,300, according to Redfin, and the number of days a property stays on the market is declining. Fortunately you can still find affordable homes in Torrington and New Britain, among other affordable places in Connecticut.

💡 Learn about Connecticut first-time homebuyer programs

New York

The housing market in New York state can be challenging, especially for first-time buyers. Home prices in the Empire State in January 2024 were up 6.3% over the prior year, with a median sale price of $518,800. The number of days on the market dropped as well. A stunning 37% of homes sold above their listing price.

💡 Learn about New York first-time homebuyer programs

New Jersey

The Garden State saw record real estate sales in some areas in recent years as city dwellers fled to the suburbs. In the year ending February 2024, home prices in New Jersey were up 14.5% over the prior year, and the median sales price was $479,100. The median days on the market dropped 15 year-over-year to 46. Buyers in New Jersey need to prepare themselves to compete in this market.

💡 Learn about New Jersey first-time homebuyer programs

Pennsylvania

Thinking of buying a home in Pennsylvania? Prices rose 6.6% from January 2023 to January 2024, to a median of $264,700, Redfin reported. It’s a seller’s market here, so you may have to compete to get the home you want, especially in cities like New Castle (home prices were up more than 31% in a year) and Mechanicsburg (up 55.5%). Harrisburg and Lancaster ranked as some of the best affordable places to live in Pennsylvania.

💡 Learn about Pennsylvania first-time homebuyer programs

The Takeaway

Qualifying first-time homebuyers have many options available to them in the Northeast, including down payment assistance. If you’re looking to buy your first home and aren’t sure how to get started, researching homebuyer programs is a great place to start. Once you know what kind of assistance you may qualify for, it’s a good idea to estimate just how much house you can really afford using a home affordability calculator.

Looking for an affordable option for a home mortgage loan? SoFi can help: We offer low down payments (as little as 3% - 5%*) with our competitive and flexible home mortgage loans. Plus, applying is extra convenient: It's online, with access to one-on-one help.

SoFi Mortgages: simple, smart, and so affordable.


*SoFi requires Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) for conforming home loans with a loan-to-value (LTV) ratio greater than 80%. As little as 3% down payments are for qualifying first-time homebuyers only. 5% minimum applies to other borrowers. Other loan types may require different fees or insurance (e.g., VA funding fee, FHA Mortgage Insurance Premiums, etc.). Loan requirements may vary depending on your down payment amount, and minimum down payment varies by loan type.

SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.


SoFi Mortgages
Terms, conditions, and state restrictions apply. Not all products are available in all states. See SoFi.com/eligibility for more information.


Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third-party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.

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First Time Homebuyer Guides - MidWest

First-Time Homebuyer Assistance Programs & Grants in the Midwest for 2024

If you’re a first-time homebuyer, you may qualify for special mortgage rates and incentives not available to other homebuyers. For Midwestern buyers, we’ve rounded up all of the information you need to understand which programs you may qualify for in your region.

Recommended: What is the Average Down Payment on a House?

Popular Midwest First Time Home Buyer Programs

Ohio

The real estate market has been buzzing in the Buckeye State over the last year, with the number of homes sold up 5% as of February 2024. Home prices in Ohio were up 9% compared to last year, hitting a $227,800 median price, according to Redfin. Sales prices had the most substantial jump in Maple Heights, Kettering, and Springfield, where increases all topped 30%.

Things can look a bit intimidating for first-time homebuyers seeking a home mortgage loan in Ohio in 2024. Don’t fret, though, as qualifying for a mortgage and affording a home may be more within your means than you think.

The Ohio Housing Finance Agency (OHFA) offers a variety of programs for low- and moderate-income first-time and repeat homebuyers meant to help them achieve homeownership.

💡 Learn about Ohio first-time homebuyer programs

Michigan

With Detroit’s revitalization, the popularity of resort towns on the shores of the Great Lakes, and the proximity to wilderness in the Upper Peninsula, Michigan real estate is bustling. The good news for first-time homebuyers: The Wolverine State is still relatively affordable.

Sales in Michigan are up about 1% year over year as of January 2024 and home prices are up 9.2% this past year. But despite that last stat, there’s good news for first-time homebuyers: The median sales price is $228,000, according to Redfin, which is far below the national median existing-home sales price of $379,100.

First-time homebuyers looking to settle in Michigan may find help through the Michigan State Housing Development Authority .

💡 Learn about Michigan first-time homebuyer programs

Indiana

At $228,552, Indiana’s average home value in early 2024 is up 4.6% year over year, according to Zillow. Even with that increase, typical costs here are lower than the numbers for America as a whole. That doesn’t mean buying a home for the first time is easy, but it certainly places home ownership within reach for more people, especially when state programs offer a helping hand in terms of their down payment, mortgage, and closing costs.

There’s lots of helpful information on the home-buying process available to Hoosier house-hunters, and there are a number of programs that can defray the costs of buying a home. First-time buyers, especially, might want to have a look.

💡 Learn about Indiana first-time homebuyer programs

Wisconsin

Home prices increased 5.5% annually here as of January 2024. And the number of homes sold rose 6.5% as the market began to warm up. The median sale price of a house in the state is $274,400, reports Redfin.

Recommended: Guide to Choosing a Mortgage Term

While the uptick in cost may cause concern for those saving to purchase a property, there are many opportunities to be had for the qualified first-time homebuyer in Wisconsin.

💡 Learn about Wisconsin first-time homebuyer programs

Illinois

High prices, low inventory, and an influx of outside investors and cash buyers make diving into the market as a first-time buyer in Illinois feel daunting.

According to Redfin, the median sale price in Illinois hit $265,900 in January 2024 — an 11.2% year-over-year increase. But in some communities, the numbers have been much higher. In Winnetka, where home prices were up 40.2%, the median purchase price was $1.373 million. Marion saw an 82.3% jump. Fortunately homes there are still relatively affordable, at a median price of $174,250.

Another bit of good news: The state and some counties offer financial assistance. There also are longstanding federal programs that could improve a buyer’s chances of success.

💡 Learn about Illinois first-time homebuyer programs

Minnesota

The Land of 10,000 Lakes has seen a relatively modest 2% year-over-year increase in home values during 2023. Currently, the average Minnesota home value is $316,980, according to Zillow, which is slightly below the national average.

There are several opportunities for the first-time homebuyer in Minnesota through state programs that give assistance with mortgage rates and down payment and closing costs to those who qualify.

💡 Learn about Minnesota first-time homebuyer programs

First-time homebuyers can
prequalify for a SoFi mortgage loan,
with as little as 3% down.


Iowa

Homes in the heartland of Iowa remain relatively affordable, with an average value of $205,988 vs. the national figure of $342,941, according to Zillow. A number of homebuyer assistance programs also exist that can make the home-buying journey more affordable for Hawkeye State shoppers.

Most of these programs are available through the Iowa Finance Authority (IFA) and can especially be of help to first-time buyers.

💡 Learn about Iowa first-time homebuyer programs

Missouri

The real estate market in Missouri has remained fairly calm, with the state’s average home value of $234,949 nicely below national averages.

The good thing about being a first-time homebuyer with a low to moderate income is that state and local programs offer mortgages and down payment assistance to those who qualify. Even better: You qualify as a first-timer if you have not owned a home in three years.

💡 Learn about Missouri first-time homebuyer programs

North Dakota

Thinking about moving to North Dakota? The state has a lot going for it. In addition to tons of open space, gorgeous landscapes, and a relaxed way of life, the cost of living is lower than the U.S. average and home prices in the state dropped a tiny bit in the year ending February 2024. The average home value in North Dakota is now $248,022, according to Zillow. That means there are plenty of opportunities to find your affordable dream home in North Dakota.

There are several state programs that provide financial assistance and low-interest mortgage loans to the first-time homebuyer in North Dakota. Many of these programs are designed to help low- to moderate-income buyers, and they may have income and purchase price limits, a required credit score, or other criteria you’ll need to meet.

💡 Learn about North Dakota first-time homebuyer programs

South Dakota

The Mount Rushmore State saw a 6.8% increase in home prices from February 2023 to February 2024, however the cost of living remains relatively low here compared to other parts of the country. The median home price in South Dakota is now $311,500, according to Redfin.

If you lack the money for a down payment or aren’t sure how you will afford a mortgage, programs in the state may be able to provide assistance.

💡 Learn about South Dakota first-time homebuyer programs

Nebraska

Considering buying a home in Nebraska? Now is a good time to do so. The median price of a home there is $274,600. That’s up 5.4% year-over-year as of February 2024 but still below the national average.

The first-time homebuyer in Nebraska can also get financial assistance through state programs. Here’s what you need to know as you start your home shopping.

💡 Learn about Nebraska first-time homebuyer programs

Kansas

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.

The median price of a home in Kansas was $290,300 in January 2024, a 2.6% increase in 12 months. In some areas, such as Leavenworth, Shawnee, and Leawood, the price increases were greater than 20%.

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.

💡 Learn about Kansas first-time homebuyer programs

The Takeaway

Qualifying first-time home buyers have many options available to them in the Midwest, including down payment assistance. If you’re looking to buy your first home and aren’t sure how to get started, looking at a list of homebuyer programs in your state is a great place to start. Once you know what kind of assistance you may qualify for, it’s a good idea to estimate just how much house you can really afford using a home affordability calculator.

Looking for an affordable option for a home mortgage loan? SoFi can help: We offer low down payments (as little as 3% - 5%*) with our competitive and flexible home mortgage loans. Plus, applying is extra convenient: It's online, with access to one-on-one help.

SoFi Mortgages: simple, smart, and so affordable.


Photo credit: iStock/Nicholas Smith

*SoFi requires Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) for conforming home loans with a loan-to-value (LTV) ratio greater than 80%. As little as 3% down payments are for qualifying first-time homebuyers only. 5% minimum applies to other borrowers. Other loan types may require different fees or insurance (e.g., VA funding fee, FHA Mortgage Insurance Premiums, etc.). Loan requirements may vary depending on your down payment amount, and minimum down payment varies by loan type.

SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.


SoFi Mortgages
Terms, conditions, and state restrictions apply. Not all products are available in all states. See SoFi.com/eligibility for more information.


Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third-party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.

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