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10 Colorado Programs For "First Time Home Buyers"

If buying your first home isn't already intimidating enough, the housing market in Colorado is a fast-moving market that can really discourage many first time buyers.  The good news is there are a lot of programs and grants to assist you when the time comes to buy your first home.  The Colorado Housing and Finance Agency or CHFA classifies a "first time home buyer" as any person that has not owned or co-owned a home in the past three years.  So it doesn't have to be your first home, however, there are requirements that you have to meet if you are trying to get a loan or assistance from CHFA.  Here are 10 CHFA programs to help assist you in buying your first home.

1.) FirstStep Loan

This program is to help with a down payment and closing costs.  


  • First-time home buyer, qualified veteran, or purchase in a targeted area to be eligible
  • Minimum 620 credit score, borrowers who don’t yet have a credit score may still be eligible
  • Program borrowers must take a home buyer education class and contribute at least $1,000 of their own funds toward the purchase

2.) SmartStep Loan

This program helps with a down payment and may give you the lowest mortgage interest rate that CHFA offers, and helps you to receive tax credits.


  • A credit score of 620 or higher
  • Must complete a home buyer education course and contribute at least $1,000 toward the transaction to qualify

3.) Preferred Loan

This program is to help with a down payment and provides lower mortgage insurance prices.


  • 3% down payment
  • A 620 credit score or better

Also, there is an option to pay your entire mortgage insurance bill at closing for lower monthly payments.  Additionally, if you don’t have 3%, but have at least $1,000, you can use a CHFA down payment assistance program to make up the difference.

4.) Advantage Loan

This program helps with a lower down payment and tax credits.


  • A 680 credit score or higher
  • 3% down payment
  • Meet income limits
  • Complete homebuyer education course

Also, with a 3% down payment, the CHFA Advantage program provides a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage with no mortgage insurance required.  

5.) HomeOpener Loan

This program helps with down payment assistance and closing cost assistance.


  • If you have a credit score of 620 or higher but make too much money to qualify for other CHFA programs
  • Rewards strong credit with higher income and purchase price limits
  • Complete a homebuyer education course and put at least $1,000 down

A HomeOpener loan can be combined with CHFA down payment and closing cost assistance programs for added savings.

6.) HomeAccess Loan

This program helps people with disabilities and will give the buyer a lower down payment and down payment assistance.


  • You must be an adult with permanent disabilities or the parent of a child with permanent disabilities
  • A 620 credit score or higher
  • Complete a homebuyer education course
  • Contribute at least $750 toward the purchase

Signing up for automatic mortgage payments may lower the required contribution to $500.  Also, you may be eligible for up to $25,000 in down payment assistance through the CHFA HomeAccess Second Mortgage Loan program.

7.) SectionEight Homeownership Loan

This program helps low-income borrowers with down payment assistance.


  • A 620 credit score or higher
  • Have used Section 8 rental vouchers for at least one year
  • Meet minimum and maximum income requirements
  • Complete a home buyer education class

8.)  Down Payment Grant


With this program, you can get up to 4% of your CHFA mortgage amount for a down payment grant — repayment isn’t required.

9.) Second Mortgage Loan

This program provides up to 5% of your CHFA mortgage amount for a down payment. The second mortgage does need to be repaid, but not until you sell, refinance or completely pay off the first mortgage.

10.) Mortgage Credit Certificate

Certain CHFA loan programs can be combined with a mortgage credit certificate program, or CHFA MCC, to lower the ongoing costs of homeownership.

If you're a first-time home buyer or qualified veteran with a credit score of 620 or higher, the CHFA MCC may lower your federal tax bill by returning 20% of the mortgage interest you pay each year as a tax credit. 




 By Dillon Landfried - May 15, 2019

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