Resource Guide for Homebuyers

Down Payment and Closing Cost Assistance for Qualifying Homebuyers

Home$tart and the Native American Homeownership Initiative (NAHI)

Thank you for your interest in our Home$tart® and NAHI down payment programs. Whether you are just beginning your homeownership journey or found the perfect home, this frequently asked question guide will provide a greater understanding of the down payment and closing cost programs available through participating FHLB Des Moines member institutions.

Resources for Homebuyers – Frequently Asked Questions

  • Who is FHLB Des Moines?

    Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines (FHLB Des Moines) is one of 11 regional Banks that make up the Federal Home Loan Bank Systems. Together, we work with more than 6,600 federally insured depository institutions of all sizes and types. This includes Banks, Credit Unions, Insurance Companies, Thrifts and Community Development Financial Institutions.

    So, what does that really mean?
    FHLB Des Moines is, in layman terms, a bank for financial institutions. Our products and services are available to participating banks and financial institutions in your community, we call these businesses our members.

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  • How do I apply for down payment assistance?

    Home$tart and NAHI are a down payment and closing cost assistance grant program offered by FHLB Des Moines. To apply, connect with a financial institution that is a member of FHLB Des Moines and participates in the Home$tart and NAHI programs.

    A list of participating financial institution members can be found on our website here. This institution may require you to obtain your mortgage financing with them.  The member will review your eligibility for Home$tart and NAHI and explain the program in greater detail.

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  • How do I know if I may qualify?

    The Home$tart program is available to qualifying homebuyers who have not owned a home in the last three years.

    NAHI households do not have to be first time homebuyers. The NAHI program is available to eligible Native American households: American Indians or Alaska Natives who are enrolled in a federally recognized tribe, a member of an Alaskan Village and Regional Corporation, and Native Hawaiians purchasing on Hawaiian Home Lands.   

    Income Qualifications
    Both programs are available to Homebuyers earning up to 80 percent of area median income for the location of the residence being purchased. Your lender will guide you through qualifying your income based on household size.

    Homeowner Education
    Home$tart and NAHI recipients must complete a homeownership education and financial literacy class.

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  • How much grant money may I receive through Home$tart and NAHI?

    Through our Home$tart program, eligible households may receive $15,000 and households completing a home purchase in Hawaii may receive $25,000 in down payment and closing cost assistance. 

    Through our Native American Homeownership Initiative (NAHI), eligible households may receive $25,000 for down payment and closing cost assistance.

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  • Are there any restrictions on the type of home I may purchase?

    Home$tart and NAHI grants may be used on or off tribal land to purchase single-family homes, manufactured homes on a permanent foundation titled as real property, condominiums, and other types of residences. The home you purchase must be used for your primary residence. There are no neighborhood restrictions (i.e., type or location).

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  • Are there restrictions on how the grant may be used?

    Home$tart and NAHI may be used for down payment and closing costs for purchase of a home and up to $250 towards homebuyer financial education.

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  • What happens if I sell or refinance my house after receiving a grant?

    If your home is purchased with a Home$tart or NAHI grant, the home is subject to a five-year deed restriction requiring a pro-rata repayment of the grant if sold within the deed restriction term. You may have to repay if you refinance your home within five years. When refinancing you may request a subordination of the grant, if permitted by the new lender, this is a document allowing you to make the new mortgage and keep the grant on the home.

    The grant is forgiven pro-rata based on the length of time you own the home. If you sell your home to another low or moderate-income home buyer or at a net loss the remaining pro-rata balance of the grant may be forgiven.  

    Your closing agent will contact the original FHLB Des Moines member who provided the grant to request a repayment or forgiveness review. However, if you live in the home for at least five years, you never have to repay the grant. It’s all yours!

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  • Who can I contact if I have questions on down payment assistance?

    FHLB Des Moines does not process grant applications directly from homebuyers. For questions on enrollment or qualifications, please contact one of our participating members. 

    Find a list of providers in your area here. 

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  • Lien releases, repayment and subordination

    Home$tart and NAHI grants are subject to a 5-year retention period. Scenarios in which the grant may be fully forgiven (i.e., foreclosure, bankruptcy, death of a homebuyer) can be found here.

    For guidance on lien releases, repayment or subordination, please contact your mortgage lender for assistance.

homebuyer guideFHLB Des Moines does not process grant applications directly from homebuyers. To learn more or to enroll, homebuyers must work with a participating member. Start the process by connecting with a one of our participating members, view a list sorted by state below.