First-time homebuyer programs in Georgia
The Georgia Dream program offers a number of mortgage down payment assistance options for low- to moderate-income residents.
The program is available to first-time homebuyers, individuals who haven’t owned a home in the last three years and residents buying a home in certain areas of Georgia. (If you’re not sure whether the region you live in qualifies for assistance, ask a participating lender.)
There are also certain limits on income and purchase price, which vary depending on the area you want to live in.
For households of one to two individuals, your income will have to fall below either $72,000 or $84,000, depending on the county. For households of three or more, it’s either $83,000 or $96,000.
The purchase price will either top out at $200,000 or $250,000.
DCA also requires you to take some type of homeownership class or counseling to qualify for assistance. You must either:
- Attend and complete a homebuyer education workshop;
- Take individual counseling sessions; or
- Complete an online homebuyer education course through E-Home America.
You can find a list of approved housing counseling agencies on the Georgia Dream website.
Finally, you’ll have to meet certain credit requirements and have liquid assets of no more than $20,000 or 20% of the sales price (whichever is greater).
Georgia Dream loans are 30-year mortgages with a fixed interest rate set by the DCA.
Participating mortgage lenders will give credit approval for FHA, USDA, VA or conventional loans. Once the lender has received your application and thinks your credit looks good, the information is forwarded to DCA for review and funding approval.
The Georgia Dream program also offers 0% interest loans you can use for your down payment and closing costs. The loans have to be paid back when the home is sold, refinanced or is no longer your primary residence, but if you want to pay it back early, there’s no penalty.
The three different assistance options are designed to meet the unique needs of various Georgia residents:
- Georgia STANDARD is available to all eligible prospective homebuyers. You can apply for a maximum of $5,000.
- Georgia Protectors, Educators and Nurses (PEN) grants military personnel, police, fire, EMS, teachers and nurses loans of up to $7,500.
- Georgia CHOICE allows households with a member who is living with a disability to apply for up to $7,500 in assistance.