First-Time Homebuyer Program
The program expects to serve about twenty 21 homebuyers with the funds authorized by City Council on August 3, 2017. So far, we have given $227,520 in financial assistance provided to 15 First Time Homebuyers! This is as of June 30, 2020.
The First-Time Homebuyer (FTHB) Program promotes home ownership for low and moderate income homebuyers. Financial assistance is provided in the form of closing cost assistance and a matching down payment to qualified first time homebuyers as defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Financial assistance is based on the buyer’s household income, assets and homeowner history, an approved first mortgage loan terms and interest rate, meeting all FTHB program criteria, and the purchase of an eligible property in the City of Trenton.
The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program funds provided under this program will be made available to eligible buyer(s) on a first come first serve basis. The CDBG program reserves the right to close the program to new applicants pon receiving the number of applications expected to deplete the budget in any program year. For more information, view the program information sheet (PDF).
Prospective homebuyers must meet the following requirements to be eligible to receive assistance:
- Purchase a home within the City of Trenton;
- Must be a First time homebuyer(s), have never owned a property OR have not owned a home in at least three years
- Must be able to obtain a home loan (mortgage);
- Be a qualified low-income or moderate income household;
- Occupy the property as their primary residence after the purchase;
- Attend certified housing counseling certificate courses; and
- Must be able to demonstrate sufficient income to afford the first mortgage based on a 35% income to PITI (Principal, Interest, Taxes and Insurance) ratio and an overall debt ratio of 45% (PITI and all other monthly obligations - credit cards, student or auto loans, etc.)
- Must be a United States Citizen.
Access the First-Time Homebuyer Program application (PDF).
All households applying to the program must be income certified by the City of Trenton. Income information must be provided for all members of the household and cannot exceed 80% of Area Median Income by household size. Income limits are revised by the US Department of Housing & Urban Development on an annual basis and currently set as follows:
Recipients of assistance are required to maintain the unit as their primary residence for the duration of the restriction period. Annual certification of the owner’s occupancy of the home is required during this period. The length of the term of the restriction period will be dependent on the total amount of assistance provided to the applicant:
- Less than $15,000 in total assistant: 5 year term
At the end of the restriction period, the FTHB loan will be forgiven.
Types of Assistance
The minimum level of assistance provided for the First Time Homebuyer Program is $1,000. The maximum level of assistance a homebuyer can receive towards a transaction is $15,000. The funds can be used for a combination of down payment and/or closing costs and/or principal write-down. The homebuyer will be encouraged to contribute some of their own funds toward the down payment.
All assistance provided by the City’s FTHB will be based on demonstrated need by the lender or closing agent not to exceed total funds of $15,000. Loans will be provided at 0 percent interest. Prepaid fees will not be reimbursed with closing cost assistance. Assistance received from this program cannot be combined or used in conjunction with assistance from any other federal sources.
Mortgage Lending Terms
The City of Trenton does not provide mortgages or home loans. However, in order to participate in the Program, loans secured by applicants to purchase must meet the following program requirements:
- All loans must have a fixed rate interest rate
- Lenders are encouraged to offer “below-market” interest rates
- Loans should be free of origination fees or points
- Loans may not exceed a term of more than thirty years
Also, lenders should make every effort to avoid providing a loan product that requires private mortgage insurance (PMI).
Program Funding Source
The program is funded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant and Home Investment Partnership programs to fund the First Time Homebuyer Program. View more information on the City’s use of these funding sources.
If you meet the income limits, download the First Time Homebuyer Program Application (PDF). Prior to be the start of the application and income verification process, the buyer(s) are required to schedule an appointment with CDBG program staff to present a complete program application with all documentation for review. Incomplete applications will not be considered for review.
The full application (and source documents) should be submitted after you have found a home and it is under contract. If you have any additional questions regarding the program, please call 609-989-3521 or email Housing Production.
Other Homebuying Resources
The State of New Jersey’s Housing Mortgage and Finance Agency has several loan products that may be useful to anyone that exceeds the income limits of Trenton’s First Time Homebuying Program. Please visit New Jersey’s Road Home website to learn more.