TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND COMMUNITY AFFAIRS

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2 In this packet... Introduction... 2 TDHCA s Homebuyer Assistance Options... 2 My First Texas Home (MFTH)... 2 Texas Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC)... 2 Features of TDHCA s Homebuyer Assistance Programs... 4 Eligible Homebuyers... 4 Veteran s Exemption... 4 Eligible Properties... 4 Home Purchase Price Limit... 4 Underwriting/Credit Requirements... 5 Occupancy Requirement... 5 Homebuyer Education Requirement... 5 Targeted Areas... 5 Fees... 5 How to Apply... 5 Participating Lenders... 6 Steps to Buying a Home... 6 Step 1: Determine if you are an eligible homebuyer... 6 Step 2: Determine how much home you can afford and pre-qualify for a mortgage loan... 6 Step 3: Find your home... 6 Step 4: Apply for your MFTH loan and Texas MCC, as desired... 7 Home Buying and Your Credit Rating... 7 Your Credit Report... 8 Mortgage Terminology... 9 The My First Texas Home and Texas Mortgage Credit Certificate programs are brought to you by the State of Texas and the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs. TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND COMMUNITY AFFAIRS 221 East 11th Street, Austin, TX PO Box 13941, Austin, TX Phone: Toll Free: Web: TDHCA will provide reasonable accommodations and language assistance, as required by law. 1

3 Introduction You ve taken the first step toward the purchase of your first home, and the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) would like to assist you in this effort. TDHCA has a long track record as a safe, trustworthy source of homebuyer assistance with over 30 years experience and expertise in working with low- to moderate-income first time homebuyers. This packet includes helpful information about TDHCA s first time homebuyer programs: My First Texas Home (MFTH) and Texas Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC). The information provided in this packet should answer many of the questions you have about qualifying for these programs, and may assist you with the home buying process. TDHCA s Homebuyer Assistance Options My First Texas Home (MFTH) and the Texas Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC) programs both offer options that may put affordable homeownership within your reach. My First Texas Home (MFTH) My First Texas Home (MFTH) is the most secure state resource for eligible Texans who want to buy their first home. My First Texas Home offers low- to moderate-income first time homebuyers an opportunity to qualify for mortgage loans with monthly payments that might otherwise be beyond their reach. MFTH offers 30-year fixed annual percentage rate mortgage loans with 5% of the loan amount for down payment and closing cost assistance. Down Payment and Closing Cost Assistance The down payment and closing cost assistance is available in the form of a 30- year, 0% annual interest rate, non-amortizing, repayable second lien. No monthly payments are required on the second lien; however it must be repaid upon sale of the property, refinance, or payoff of the first lien mortgage loan. Everything you need to know about the MFTH program is provided in the Features of TDHCA s Homebuyer Assistance Programs section below. Texas Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC) The Texas Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC) allows first time homebuyers to claim a federal income tax credit equal to a percentage of the interest paid on their mortgage each year. It is a dollar for dollar reduction against the borrower s federal income tax liability, which can help the homebuyer qualify for a mortgage loan and meet mortgage payment requirements. MY FIRST TEXAS HOME 30-Year fixed annual percentage rate loans 5% Down payment and closing cost assistance TEXAS MORTGAGE CREDIT CERTIFICATE Reduces homebuyer s income tax obligation by up to $2,000 per year Credit may be applied every year for the term of the loan For more information about any TDHCA homebuyer assistance program, contact a participating lender. 2

4 Maximum Tax Credit Amount Each year, the mortgage tax credit is calculated on the basis of the percentage of the total interest paid on the mortgage loan that year. The available tax credit percentage may vary until it is locked in at the time of the mortgage closing, and will remain at the locked in percentage for the term of the loan. No matter what the tax credit percentage is, the maximum amount of the total tax credit shall not exceed $2, per year. The credit cannot be larger than the annual federal income tax liability, after all other credits and deductions have been taken into account. Texas MCC credits in excess of the current year tax liability may, however, be carried forward for use in the subsequent three years. The Texas MCC is a non-refundable tax credit, therefore, the homebuyer MUST have tax liability in order to take advantage of the tax credit. Homebuyers interested in a Texas MCC are encouraged to consult a qualified tax adviser regarding the way that tax credits may impact your specific situation. How Texas MCCs Work For illustrative purposes, the example below assumes a Texas MCC tax credit percentage rate of 40% on a $135, mortgage at a 30-year fixed 4% annual percentage rate, with equal monthly installments of principal and interest. Mortgage Amount $135, Annual percentage Rate (4%) x.04 Total Interest Paid First year $ 5, Mortgage Credit Certificate Rate (35%) x.40 Tax Credit Amount $2, For maximum benefit, combine your My First Texas Home loan with a Texas Mortgage Credit Certificate! In the above example, although the calculation shows a tax credit amount of $2,160.00, the applicant may only apply the maximum annual tax credit amount of $2, to their federal income tax return using IRS Form The remaining $3, ($5, total mortgage interest less the $2, tax credit) of the mortgage interest paid in the first year qualifies as an itemized tax deduction on the Texas MCC holder s federal income tax return. Tax Credit Versus Tax Deduction A mortgage interest deduction differs from a mortgage tax credit in a number of ways. For example, all homebuyers, regardless of income, may take a mortgage interest deduction, whereas mortgage tax credits are available only to holders of Texas MCCs. A Texas MCC allows the mortgage interest tax credit to be subtracted from the total federal income tax bill whereas a mortgage interest tax deduction is subtracted from adjusted gross income before federal income taxes are calculated. Length of Benefit The Texas MCC will be in effect for the term of the mortgage loan, so long as the home remains the principal residence of the homebuyer. The Texas MCC may be reissued as a new mortgage credit for the refinancing of the same home originally purchased with a Texas MCC. The Texas MCC may not be assigned or transferred to a new buyer or another home. For more information about any TDHCA homebuyer assistance program, contact a participating lender. 3

5 Recapture Tax Homebuyers that receive a loan under the Texas MCC program may be subject to a federal Recapture Tax. If you: 1. Sell your home within nine years; and 2. Earn significantly more income than when you bought the home; and 3. Gain or profit from the sale of the home, you may be subject to the recapture tax. All three of these criteria must be met. In reality, most borrowers will not have to pay any recapture tax. For others, the amount, which is determined by a formula, will be minimal. Features of the Texas MCC are provided in the Features of TDHCA s Homebuyer Assistance Programs section below. Features of TDHCA s Homebuyer Assistance Programs The features of the My First Texas Home (MFTH) and Texas Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC) programs are outlined below. Note that both programs may be combined for maximum benefit. Eligible Homebuyers TDHCA s first time homebuyer programs are offered to qualified homebuyers who: Have not owned a home within the past three years (This requirements is waived for veterans or for qualifying homes in targeted areas); Meet income and purchase price requirements; Meet the underwriting requirements of the mortgage loan; Use the home as a principal/primary residence; and Complete an approved pre-purchase homebuyer education course prior to loan closing. Our programs waive the first time homebuyer requirement for qualified veterans! Veteran s Exemption The first time homebuyer requirement is waived for those who: Served in active duty; Were honorably discharged as evidenced by Form DD-214, and Have not previously had a mortgage financed through a mortgage revenue bond program. Eligible Properties Eligible properties include new or existing: Single family homes; Condominiums; Duplexes; and Manufactured homes. All properties must be located in Texas, and certain restrictions and quality standards may apply while home income and home purchase price limits always apply. Check with your participating lender for details. Home Purchase Price Limit Income and home purchase price limits vary by county, and may be adjusted by household size. For more information about any TDHCA homebuyer assistance program, contact a participating lender. 4

6 Underwriting/Credit Requirements Homebuyers must meet standard mortgage underwriting requirements as determined by the participating lender. Loan types include Federal Housing Administration (FHA), US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), US Department of Agriculture Rural Housing Services (USDA/RHS), or Conventional (not allowed for the MFTH program). A minimum credit score of 640 is required for MFTH buyers. Texas MCC may not be used in conjunction with the refinancing of an existing loan. Occupancy Requirement The homebuyer must occupy the property as their principal/primary residence; homebuyers may not rent out a home obtained under either of these programs. Homebuyer Education Requirement The homebuyer must complete a pre-purchase homebuyer education course prior to loan closing. Online homebuyer education is acceptable, and a Certificate of Completion is required. Use the Texas Statewide Homebuyer Education Providers List to locate homebuyer education providers in your area. The list includes address and contact information. Targeted Areas A Targeted Area is a census tract in which 70% or more of the families have incomes that are 80% or less of the statewide median income or an area of chronic economic distress. Homebuyers purchasing properties located in Targeted Areas do not have to be a first time homebuyer, and purchase price and income limits are generally higher in these areas. Funds may be set aside for targeted area loans. Check with your participating lender for details. Fees As with most mortgage loans, there are fees (closing costs) associated with these programs. However, TDHCA limits the fees participating lenders may charge to help minimize your costs of closing the loan. Program specific fees may apply. Check with your participating lender for details. How to Apply Contact a participating lender to apply for homebuyer assistance through any TDHCA homebuyer assistance program. Your participating lender will: Our homebuyer Review your: assistance programs - Employment and income information; are only available through - Total monthly debt obligations; participating lenders. - Past experience with credit; and - Information about the value of the property you want to buy. Determine which program is best for you based on your financial situation; Pre-qualify you so you will know the approximate price range of homes to shop for; Complete all necessary paperwork for loan approval; and Assist in the coordination of loan closing with your real estate professional and closing agent. If you do not qualify for a loan due to credit problems, contact a certified credit counseling provider in your area. For credit counselors in Texas, call or visit TDHCA s Help for Texans page, or visit the National Foundation for Credit Counseling at For more information about any TDHCA homebuyer assistance program, contact a participating lender. 5

7 Participating Lenders TDHCA s homebuyer assistance programs are available only through TDHCA s participating lenders. Homebuyers interested in applying for TDHCA s homebuyer assistance must contact a participating lender. TDHCA does not endorse any one lender. We encourage you to select a lender that is most suitable for your individual needs. If you experience difficulty with any participating lender, please let us know by contacting us at (800) Steps to Buying a Home Step 1: Determine if you are an eligible homebuyer You may be eligible to participate in TDHCA s first time homebuyer assistance program(s) if you: Meet income and purchase price requirements; Have not owned a home within the past three years (This requirement is waived for veterans or for qualifying homes in targeted areas); Meet the underwriting requirements of the mortgage loan; Use the home as principal/primary residence; and Complete an approved pre-purchase homebuyer education course prior to loan closing. Step 2: Determine how much home you can afford and pre-qualify for a mortgage loan Before you begin shopping for a home, contact a participating lender to determine how much home you can afford and pre-qualify you for a mortgage loan, and mortgage credit certificate, if desired. A participating lender can determine how much you can afford by reviewing your credit report and employment information. This is called loan prequalification. Once you know how much you can afford to pay monthly for a home, your lender will determine the price range of homes you can afford. TDHCA s Mortgage Qualifier tool does not qualify you for the program but will give you a good idea if you are eligible. In addition, the Department s Mortgage Calculator allows you to perform standard mortgage calculations. Buy your first home in 4 steps! 1. Determine if you are an eligible homebuyer; 2. Determine how much home you can afford and pre-qualify for a mortgage loan; 3. Find your home; and 4. Apply for your My First Texas Home loan and Texas Mortgage Credit Certificate! Step 3: Find your home Now that you are pre-qualified to buy a home, and you know how much home you can afford, your next step is to contact a real estate professional to help you find your first home. See the list of real estate professionals who have earned the Certified Texas Affordable Housing Specialist designation. As you shop, keep in mind that you may choose any eligible type of new or existing home in the State of Texas that does not exceed the maximum purchase price limits of TDHCA s first time homebuyer assistance program(s). Once you find a home that meets your needs, your real estate professional will work with you to make an offer, negotiate a price and execute a contract. When you sign this preliminary agreement to purchase a home you will be asked to pay a deposit. This deposit is called the earnest money. For more information about any TDHCA homebuyer assistance program, contact a participating lender. 6

8 Step 4: Apply for your MFTH loan and Texas MCC, as desired Once you have found your home, it s time to meet with your participating lender who will help you apply for your first time homebuyer assistance. Take your personal financial information to your lender to apply for your MFTH loan and/or Texas MCC. Keep in mind that both programs may be combined for maximum benefit. Documents to take with you to this loan application meeting include: 1. Recent bank statements for all of your accounts; 2. Pay stubs for the past 3 months; 3. Tax returns for the past 3 years; 4. W-2 forms for the past 2 years; 5. Information about your long-term debts, including the names of the creditors, account numbers, payment amounts, etc; 6. Proof of any other current income; and 7. The executed sales contract also referred to as an Earnest Money contract. During this visit with your lender, be sure to learn about all of the rates, fees and requirements associated with your MFTH mortgage or Texas MCC before you apply for homebuyer assistance. What to bring to your loan application meeting Bank statements Pay stubs Tax returns W-2 forms Debt information Proof of current income Earnest Money contract Mortgage process In general, the mortgage process takes between 45 to 60 days from the time of application to closing. This timeframe is dependent upon a number of factors, including the individual lender s processes for: Collecting and analyzing your personal financial information and the proposed property information; and Identifying and resolving any potential qualifying issues. Mortgage payment The monthly mortgage payment will include: Payment to the principal balance of your loan; Interest payment; and Escrow payment (monthly payments collected to pay your hazard insurance, mortgage insurance, flood insurance, if applicable, and property taxes.) This is commonly referred to as P.I.T.I. (principal, interest, taxes and insurance.) Home Buying and Your Credit Rating Now that you are interested in purchasing a home of your own, it is also a good time to review your credit report, checking closely for correctness. If you are married, you and your spouse will have separate credit files that contain much of the same information. You need to have a good credit rating to buy a home, but it does not have to be perfect! Your credit rating is the history of money you have borrowed and repaid. It is important to have a good credit rating because your home mortgage lender will decide whether or not to approve your loan application primarily based on your credit rating. If you have not borrowed and repaid money, you will not have a credit history rating. You may be able to show your ability to make timely payments using nontraditional credit references like rent, utilities, childcare, child support and other large recurring payments to show the lender that you make your payments on time. For more information about any TDHCA homebuyer assistance program, contact a participating lender. 7

9 Your Credit Report A credit report is a current and historical record of your credit activities and employment. It also shows action taken against you because of unpaid accounts, bankruptcy, judgments, liens filed against you plus former addresses and employers. Here are the three major credit reporting agencies that lenders pay to obtain your credit information. You too can obtain a copy of your credit report. Equifax Trans Union Corporation Experian Why get a copy of your credit report Avoid surprises! Errors on credit reports are not uncommon and they can be corrected by contacting the creditor. You can save time by reviewing your report for accuracy before you apply for a home loan. What to do if you have a poor credit history If you have a poor credit history, no one can unconditionally guarantee to clean up your credit and that you will qualify for a loan. Credit repair fraud is a problem for consumers. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, credit repair companies cannot do anything that you cannot do for yourself at little or no cost. Although errors on your credit report can be corrected, a poor credit history cannot be erased. Your credit report can be improved over time by doing the following: Consistently pay your bills on time. Keep your overall debt at a reasonable level, relative to your income. Actively and responsibly, use credit cards. Helpful tips for working through credit problems include developing a budget, tracking your expenses, defining your financial goals, and identifying ways to cut costs and increase savings. If you need assistance, contact a local certified consumer credit counseling provider. For credit counselors in Texas, call or visit TDHCA s Help for Texans page, or visit the National Foundation for Credit Counseling at For more information about any TDHCA homebuyer assistance program, contact a participating lender. 8

10 Mortgage Terminology Amortization In the early years of an amortized loan, almost all of the payment is applied toward interest, while in the last years of the loan, almost all of the payment is applied to reduce the principal. Closing Costs and Prepaids Costs paid in addition to the down payment on closing day. These items can include attorney fees, loan origination fee, loan discount point, application fee, appraisal fee, credit report, document preparation, escrow fee, survey and recording fees, tax escrow, hazard insurance, flood zone certification, two months of private mortgage insurance (if down payment is less than 20%) and sometimes the entire first year s private mortgage insurance premium. Typically, the appraisal and credit report fees are paid at application. Down Payment The difference between the mortgage and the lower of the purchase price or appraisal. The minimum down payment is 3.5% on most loans. Private mortgage insurance is required for a down payment less than 20%. Earnest Money Deposit money given to the seller by the potential buyer to show that he is serious about buying the house. If the deal goes through, the earnest money is applied to the down payment. If the deal does not go through, it may be forfeited. Equity The difference between a home s fair market value and the loan amount, and/or encumbrances (such as liens or claims) against it. Good Faith Estimate An estimate of all closing costs including pre-paid and escrow items as well as lender charges; must be given to the borrower within three business days after the loan application submission date. Loan Closing The meeting of the buyer, seller, and lender, at which the property and funds legally change hands. This transaction typically takes place at a title company. Market Rate An estimate of the average interest rate being charged by lenders for conventional Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae), or Federal Housing Administration (FHA)/US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) loans. Origination Fee The origination fee is what the lender charges for establishing the loan. It is included in the closing costs and may be financed. Points or Discount Points A point or discount point is 1% of the loan amount and is charged by the lender to issue a loan at below market rates. Qualifying A buyer usually must qualify for a loan. Usually, the monthly payment cannot be more than 25% to 28% of the buyer s gross monthly income and all the buyer s monthly debt cannot total more than 33% to 36% of his/her monthly income. Some leeway may be granted based upon prior credit history, down payment, job history, etc. Title An instrument that shows the buyer has a clear ownership of the property. A loan does not usually close until the title company has assured the lender that there are no hidden problems with a title to a piece of property. Title Insurance A policy required by the lender and paid for by the borrower that insures the lender clear title against future claims. Borrowers may also purchase title insurance to protect their equity. For more information about any TDHCA homebuyer assistance program, contact a participating lender. 9

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