Housing prices are starting to head upward in most areas of the country and it's becoming increasing difficult for a low-income person to raise the money they need for a down-payment on a new home. The days when a first-time homebuyer could buy a home without having a down payment ended with the mortgage crisis a few years ago. Now, lenders want you to have at least some money to put toward the down-payment on a home. Here are 2 ways you can use to help you get enough money to make a down-payment on a new home

First-Time Homebuyer Savings Account

You should take advantage of special savings accounts targeting first homebuyers. Many of these programs will match every dollar you save with some money of their own to be used to help pay for the down payment and closing costs on a new home. You will have to make minimum monthly payments for a year to a year and a half to qualify for the matching funds. So, if you save $108 a month on your own in a qualified savings account that will match $4.00 for every dollar you save, you could end up having $9,390 ( the $1,890 you personally saved plus the $7,500 match equals $9,390) toward your down-payment after a year and a half.

You can earn the maximum sooner if you can afford larger monthly deposits. The key thing to remember is that once you deposit the money, you're not allowed use it for anything else but the down-payment and closing costs of a new home, or you'll have to pay taxes and possible penalties on the amount your withdrew. 

You should open up a first-time homebuyers' savings account immediately after you make the commitment to buy a home someday in the future.

Local Grants

Many municipalities offer grant programs to help low-income first-time homebuyers meet their down-payment and closing costs requirements. You will normally have to have some money set aside for a home. In this case, the money you've saved in your first-time homebuyers' savings account can be used to meet this requirement. Some of these programs are designed to only help pay for closing costs (you'll still have to come up with the whole down-payment yourself), but some do let you use the money toward the down-payment. You should always check to see if there are programs like this in the municipality you plan on buying a home in.

The grant amount will usually have to be paid back if you physically move out of the home within a specified amount of time that will be listed in the grant conditions. This would include moving out of the house and then renting it to someone else. If you stay in the house for the specified amount of time, the grant is usually forgiven and you normally no longer have any more obligations to the municipality concerning the grant money.

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