Frequently Asked Questions

  • 1
    How do I apply for @HomeIllinois?
    • Contact any lender from the Find a Lender page of this website and ask them to qualify you for the @HomeIllinois mortgage product, brought to you by the Illinois Housing Development Authority.  The process is quick and easy.

  • 2
    Do I need to have 20 percent down payment saved before I buy a home?
    • No, with @HomeIllinois, the buyer contribution is $1,000 or 1 percent of the purchase price, whichever is greater. So for as little as $1,000 out of pocket, you can get into your first home.

  • 3
    Is the $5,000 in down payment assistance a gift or will I have to pay it back?
    • You will have to pay the $5,000 back. The payment terms are 0 percent interest and 10 years. So, each month for ten years, you will make a payment of $41.67, bringing the balance to $0.

  • 4
    Are there any other fees or expenses I may have to pay for?
    • You may need funds for closing costs. Closing costs are charges for services related to the closing of your real estate transaction. They include, but are not limited to: title company closing fee; attorney fees; and title and insurance policy. Your lender will be able to give you an accurate estimate of these costs.

  • 5
    I have heard so much about predatory lending. How can I be sure that @HomeIllinois is a safe product?
    • The @HomeIllinois mortgage is safe because it is a 30-year, fixed rate mortgage. That means your interest rate will never adjust or change. Your monthly principal and interest payment will remain the same over the 30 years.

      In addition, @HomeIllinois is brought to you by the Illinois Housing Development Authority, the state’s housing finance agency. We have been lending for 30+ years and we have never offered an exotic or predatory loan. It is our mission to provide sustainable home ownership opportunities.

  • 6
    I understand that my income must be below a maximum amount. If I intend to buy the house myself, but another working adult will live with me, will their income be counted as well?
    • Yes. The income calculation includes all income generated by persons 18 years of age or older who will live in the household, regardless of who is actually on title. The Income and Purchase Price limits can be found on The Program page.

  • 7
    I understand that credit requirements apply. What does my credit score have to be to be eligible?
    • Your credit score must be 640 or above to qualify for @HomeIllinois.

  • 8
    How do I know which loan type I should choose?
    • There are four loan types available: FHA, VA (for Veterans), USDA (rural locations) and Conventional. The first three loan types are insured by the federal government. Your lender will walk through the options and help you choose the one that is right for you.

  • 9
    What if my credit score isn’t good enough to qualify?
    • Contact a HUD approved housing counselor in your area. These organizations offer home loan counseling to prospective homebuyers. They will cover cleaning up credit reports, creating a savings plan for a down payment, home selection, real estate agent services and other important pieces of information. To find a list of HUD approved housing counselors in Illinois, please click here.

  • 10
    I am a first-time home buyer. Please explain the significant tax savings available to me.
    • The tax savings available to you comes in the form of a Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC). An MCC is a certificate authorized by the Federal Government and issued by the Illinois Housing Development Authority. It allows you to take 20 percent of your annual mortgage interest paid, as a dollar-for-dollar reduction to your annual federal income tax liability.

  • 11
    How does an MCC work?
    • Here is an example to show the MCC benefit:

      Basic Assumptions:
      Adjusted Gross Income $55,000
      Loan Amount $135,000
      Interest Rate 4.00%
      Interest Paid First Year $5,349
      Calculation of Benefit:
      Without MCC   With MCC  
      Income $55,000 $55,000
      Mortgage Interest Deduction ($5,349) ($4,280) (80%)
      Taxable Income $49,651 $50,720
      Taxes paid at 15% tax bracket $7,448 $7,608
      MCC Tax Credit N/A $1,070 (20%)
      Income taxes due $7,448 $6,532
      Annual Tax savings due to MCC                                            N/A                                $916  
  • 12
    Is the MCC free?
    • No. You will pay a fee of $500. However, as you can see in the example above, you make up for the cost very quickly. If your information mirrored the example above, you would cover the cost in the first year of owning your home.

  • 13
    Who is the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) and what is their relationship to @HomeIllinois?
    • @HomeIllinois is brought to you by the Illinois Housing Development Authority, the state’s housing finance agency. IHDA is a bank with a public mission. We have been lending for 30+ years. It is our mission to provide sustainable home ownership opportunities. We offer our mortgages through a network of approved lenders. Find a lender here.

      In addition to providing mortgage financing, we also finance the creation and preservation of affordable rental apartments. In total, we have financed approximately 245,000 affordable units across the state with $ 14.6 billion in resources.