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Chicago First-Time Homebuyer Grants

Written by: Jody Adams
Last updated: January 31, 2024

One-bedroom apartments in Chicago are rented for around $2,206 a month, a huge increase from the previous year. It's hard to save up for a down payment when you pay a hefty rent every month, but you don't have to wait until next year to become a homeowner. Owning a house can be a dream come true with our help. The median home price in Chicago was $310,000 in 2022.

The first-time home buyer grant may give you the boost you need to pay for the down payment and closing costs. Financial assistance is available to home buyers across Illinois through agencies and local governments. Grants help pay for the down payment and loan closing costs needed for a mortgage. 

More people become homeowners due to financial assistance provided by first-time homebuyer grants. Read on to learn more about the first-time home buyer grants in Chicago that can assist you in your quest to purchase your first home.

Check out our blog post on finding emergency housing for disabled people if you are disabled and without a place to live. 

Homebuyer Assistance Program

Chicago First-Time Homebuyer Assistance

To help working families buy their first homes, the Home Buyer Assistance Program provides down payment and closing cost assistance. Anyone looking to buy a home or refinance an existing mortgage can participate in the Home Buyer Assistance Program. 

A single-family home, townhome, or condominium can be purchased with the program. Program participants must complete a homebuyer education course. 

Grants of up to 7 percent can be provided to qualified buyers based on their income. Families of all income levels are eligible for the program, including those with middle and low incomes. 

The Chicago Infrastructure Trust, in partnership with licensed lending institutions, will operate a first-come, first-served application process for this program. 

Eligibility Requirements

This program is available to anyone with a satisfactory credit score and income. The following two loan categories are available, with individual requirements: 

  1. FHAVAUSDA Loans: No matter how big or small the family is, the borrower must have an income of $88,435 or less per year. The minimum credit score required for participants in these loan programs is 580.
  2. Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac Loans: Family size only matters if the borrower's annual income is, at most, $131,775 yearly. The minimum credit score required by Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac is 640.

During the closing process, qualified borrowers must contribute either $1,000 or 1% of the purchase price, whichever is lower.

Read our blog post on federal mortgage relief programs for seniors struggling to keep up with their mortgage payments. 

Community Connections Home Buyer Assistance Program

A mortgage transaction can be costly for first-time homebuyers. Home buyers are eligible for the down payment and closing cost assistance through the Community Connections Home Buyer Assistance Program based on their income. 

It is not limited to first-time buyers like most down payment assistance programs. The funds can be used to refinance an existing home if the applicant receives no cashback.

A homebuyer education course is mandatory for first-time homebuyers. Single-family homes, townhouses, and condominiums are eligible for the Community Connections Home Buyer Assistance Program.


A program called 1stHomeIllinois, developed by the Illinois Housing Development Authority, helps individuals realize their dream of home ownership. First-time homeowners can purchase a home with down payment assistance and a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage.

A first-time homebuyer and veteran assistance program, FirstHomeIllinois help them purchase a house. A down payment assistance grant of $7,500 is available alongside the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage. It is possible to obtain a conventional loan, an FHA loan, a VA loan, or a USDA loan.

Eligibility Requirements

The 1stHomeIllinois program requires certain requirements for borrowers. Qualifications for the program are limited to first-time buyers and veterans, with varying county income limits. 

To qualify, applicants must contribute at least $1,000 from their assets or 1 percent of the purchase price. Homeownership counseling courses are available online or in person, and applicants must meet minimum credit requirements.

Downpayment Plus and Downpayment Plus Advantage

A down payment and closing cost assistance program administered by the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago is available for up to $6,000 for qualified buyers. Over five years, the grants will be forgiven. 

For the Advantage program, lenders must be members of FHLB Chicago or nonprofit organizations. Homebuyers must take an education and counseling course. A minimum of $1,000 must be contributed to the purchase of the home by buyers using the program.

IHDA Homebuyer Assistance Programs

The following programs are available in cooperation with the Illinois Housing Development Authority. In addition, developers can acquire resources to build or preserve affordable and mixed-income apartments by obtaining financial assistance from the IHDA. Both repeat and first-time buyers are eligible for these programs.

IHDAccess Forgivable

The down payment and closing costs assistance for this program is capped at $6,000, or 4% of the purchase price. At least ten years after you take out the loan, the assistance needs to be repaid.

IHDAccess Deferred

Taking out an interest-free loan up to $7,500 can help homeowners with down payments and closing costs. Buyers must repay the loan when they sell their home, refinance their mortgage, or finish making payments on their mortgage.

Venturing into homeownership in Chicago? Expanding your knowledge on various grants can be empowering. Our recent post unravels the first-time homebuyer grants in Illinois, shedding light on valuable resources available in the state. Dive into our insights and equip yourself with the knowledge to make informed decisions on your journey to homeownership!

Explore beyond grants to finance your home improvements. Dive into our latest post on how to secure a Home Improvement Loan in Texas, and broaden your financial horizons as you step into homeownership in Chicago. Your journey from first-time buyer to comfortable homeowner just got smoother.

Check out our blogs at Gov-relations for more information on government and private assistance programs. If you are a senior with housing troubles, read our article on everything you need about income-based housing for the elderly.

Jody Adams
Jody Adams is an accomplished editor-in-chief with a deep understanding of social care and government benefits issues. With a background in journalism and a master's degree in Public Policy, Jody has spent her career shaping the narrative around social policies and their impact on society. She has worked with renowned publications, effectively bridging the gap between complex policy analysis and public understanding. Jody's editorial expertise ensures that vital information on social care and government benefits reaches a broad audience, empowering individuals to make informed decisions.

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