Downpayment Assistance

A Winnebago Homebuyer Program family at their new Oshkosh home (2015)

The Winnebago Homebuyer Program provides financial assistance to make homeownership a possibility for low and moderate income families that qualify. Assistance is only available to households that complete homebuyer education requirements and meet minimum eligibility standards. Assistance is available to assist with closing costs and provide downpayment support. Downpayment assistance amount ranges between $8,000 and $14,500 depending upon home cost, home rehab needs, and homebuyer qualifications.

Funds through the Winnebago Homebuyer Program are provided as a 0% interest deferred loan, with no monthly payments. All funding support is repaid by the homebuyer when their home is sold, when posession is transferred, or when it is no longer utilized as the primary residence. The repaid amount is reinvested to support a new homebuyer with downpayment assistance.

Downpayment support may help the buyer eliminate PMI costs while helping to meet a lender's downpayment requirements. In addition, by borrowing less from a lender, the homebuyer will save thousands of dollars in interest costs.

Winnebago Homebuyer Program

How does the program assistance work?

In general, funds are provided as a 0% interest deferred loan limited to between $8,000 and $14,500. This assistance does not entail any fees, there is no interest charged, and there is no monthly payment requirement. All assistance funds are secured with a recorded mortgage and must be repaid by the borrower at such time as the buyer sells, transfers possession, or no longer utilizes the property as the primary residence. Repaid funds are used to assist new homebuyers.

The Winnebago Homebuyer Program investment helps to lower the amount that the buyer needs to borrow from a lender, which lowers overall purchase costs while also lowering the buyer's monthly mortgage payment.

Funds are often used for both downpayment support and for home rehab financing, helping to resolve any existing issues with the home.

What are the income limits to qualify for assistance?

Households must have income below 80% of county median income (CMI). See current income limits.

In calculating income, add the gross (pre-tax) income amounts from all sources for all household members, excluding wages earned by minors, from financial aid, and benefits received for medical and child care.

Income calculations entail a comprehensive review of all income sources, including verifications and underwriting. Additional excluded income sources may be applicable.

What are the financial qualifications?

The Winnebago Homebuyer Program will work with income-eligible households seeking homeownership, including providing homebuyer counseling, financial counseling, referrals, and downpayment assistance. Below is a listing of criteria required for receiving financial assistance. You do not need to meet these standards prior to applying.

-- You must develop a family budget accounting for all income and expenses
-- You must be current on all debt obligations (credit cards, loans, school aid, judgements, etc)
-- Your household debt amount must not exceed 12% of your gross monthly income (excluding housing costs)
-- You must have sufficient income to meet all of your current bills while saving a little money each month
-- You must have a savings balance sufficient to cover your portion of the downpayment and closing costs, a minimum of between $1,500 and $3,500
-- You must also have an additional savings balance or investment asset that is not spent equivalent to 1 month's household living expenses (typically between $1,200 and $3,000).
-- You must have a minimum credit score of 580, though your first mortgage lender may require a higher score (typically 630+).

What are the home qualifications?

The home purchase must conform to the following:

-- Single family homes and condominiums qualify -- The home must be located within Winnebago County, WI
-- The maximum value of the home must be below $133,500 (2017) using assessment or appraisal
-- The purchase price must be affordable, with your total mortgage, taxes, insurance, and $50 maintenance savings cost being less than 32% of your gross monthly income
-- The home must be inspected. View the YOUR HOME INSPECTION handout for more information
-- Your home must meet all health and safety standards as well as conform to program affordability criteria. Homes that do not meet this requirement would be required to be rehabbed either by the seller, or after closing through a partnership between the homebuyer and the Winnebago Homebuyer Program.
-- Homes without a permanent foundation (including trailer homes) do not qualify. In addition, unless to accommodate a mobility disability or as part of a designated housing development, homes without a basement do not qualify. -- Multi-unit homes such as duplexes do not qualify.

What are the homebuyer education requirements?

All adult household members must complete the homebuyer education process, which entails 3 steps:

-- Complete a 1 hour one-on-one session with the Winnebago Homebuyer Program discussing affordability and home purchase concepts
-- Complete the 6.5 hour homebuyer education program administered by FISC (or other qualified HUD homebuyer training)
-- Complete a 90 minute, one-on-one financial counseling and screening session with FISC

For more information on homebuyer education and preparedness, visit our online HOMEBUYER UNIVERSITY.

How can I apply?

Complete the Winnebago Homebuyer Program application by DOWNLOADING A COPY, filling it out and returning it to the office at 600 Merritt Avenue, Oshkosh, WI 54901.The application is valid for all Winnebago Homebuyer Program purchase assistance programs. Start getting prepared now with your paperwork requirements. View the HOMEBUYER DOCUMENTS.