PARKER, Colo. -- Anyone looking to buy a home in Colorado knows there's a lot of challenges, add in high rent prices, and it can be difficult for many potential buyers to even save enough money for a down payment.
"Really with how expensive it’s been to live out here it’s just been I guess tough to really save much," said Will Foust, a first time home buyer.
That's where down payment assistance comes in. Colorado offers 89 different down payment assistance programs, according to Down Payment Resource.
When Foust and his wife Lindsay moved from California they were surprised to find the housing market was so expensive and competitive. They looked a year ago and gave up until recently.
The couple applied for a down payment assistance grant through the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority or CHFA. They were able to get funds to cover a four percent down payment, totaling about $9,000.
"You almost don’t believe it when you hear about something like that," said Foust. "I don’t think it would’ve been possible without that initial down payment assistance."
The CHFA grants typically cover three to four percent of the home's purchase price. The grant does not need to be repaid. It's not a traditional 20 percent down payment but it's enough to put buyers like the Fousts in the game.
Potential buyers looking to take advantage of down payment assistance will have to meet income requirements.
In Douglas Count, where the Fousts ended up looking, the income limit is $83,900 for a one to two person household. Income requirements vary by county and the size of your household.
Licensed realtor Randy Bell specializes in helping buyers take advantage of these grants; they're often able to get into a home with little to no money down.
"The monies are out there you just got to ask for it," said Bell with Colorado First Time Home Buyer.
Some of the assistance out there is available to first-time home buyers but the CHFA grants are available regardless if you've owned a home before. Borrowers also have to have a mid-credit score of 620 or higher, contribute $1,000 toward the transaction and complete a CHFA homebuyer education class.
"It just depends on what area of the state you’re purchasing and depends on the purchase price," said Bell.
Many individual cities and counties also have their own programs. For example, the Denver City Council recently extended a mortgage credit program allowing homeowners to receive a tax credit based on the interest they pay on their mortgage.
The credit can also be combined with Denver’s Metro Mortgage Assistance Plus Program, which is another version of down payment assistance. It provides a four percent down payment grant in exchange for a slightly higher mortgage interest rate.