Sherry Mitchell

Feb 05 2014

5 Programs First-Time Home Buyers Should Research

First Time Homebuyer

Purchasing a home is the largest purchase you are ever likely to make. Finding the right home is exciting, challenging, and sometimes daunting—especially if you’re a first-time home buyer. There are so many things to consider when making this initial large investment: interest rates, points, fees, down payment, and private mortgage insurance requirements—all this while trying to find a great neighborhood, the right location, and the perfect paint!

As the spring home buying season approaches, here are a few first-time home buyer programs from the Iowa Finance Authority for which you may be eligible:

Take Credit Mortgage Credit Certificate
Starting February 3, 2014, the Iowa Finance Authority (IFA) announced a new Take Credit Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC) for 2014 which allows first-time home buyers to reduce federal tax liability up to $2,000 a year for the life of their mortgage. To qualify, the first-time home buyer must receive mortgage financing through an Iowa Finance Authority Participating Lender such as Hills Bank.

FirstHome Program
The FirstHome program offers first-time home buyers a state-sponsored, affordable fixed-rate mortgage while permitting you to work with a trusted local lender.

FirstHome Plus Program
This grant is designed to be used in conjunction with the FirstHome Program and provides up to $2,500 to qualified first-time home buyers to assist with closing costs or a down payment.

Homes for Iowans Program
The Homes for Iowans program offers first-time home buyers fewer mortgage fees and an affordable 30-year fixed interest rate that doesn’t change based on your credit rating.

Homes for Iowans Plus Program
When used with the Homes for Iowans Program, this grant can mean up to $2,500 in assistance for closing costs or a down payment for qualified first-time home buyers.

Researching the eligibility requirements for these programs could mean big savings for you as you’re preparing to purchase your first home. To learn more, visit, or contact me and I’ll be happy to help you see if you qualify for any of these programs as you make this important decision.

Sherry Mitchell

About Sherry Mitchell

Sherry Mitchell is a Mortgage Lender at Hills Bank’s Coralville location. She has been at Hills Bank since 2007 helping customers through the home buying process and has 30 years of experience in mortgage lending. Sherry can be reached at

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4 Responses to 5 Programs First-Time Home Buyers Should Research

  1. Jamie Stander says:

    Need help finding the resources to help me become a homeowner

    • Sherry Mitchell Sherry Mitchell says:

      Thanks Jamie for being a Hills Helps reader! For additional resources on homeownership, please visit our New Home Life Stage, especially the Financial Calculators section to research if you should rent versus buy, determine your mortgage loan budget, generate an estimated amortization schedule. There are tips for preparing to buy a home at the bottom of the page, as well as additional online resources you can find, including, which is a U.S. government website dedicated to financial education.

      With that, we encourage you to speak with a real estate lender in your area who can discuss your home ownership options. There are many state and local programs available that benefit first time homebuyers, and a local lender can help see if you qualify. If you’re interested, please contact us at 1-800-445-5725(HILLSBK) and we will connect you with a local lender that can best fit your needs.

  2. Daini Marry says:

    Hey Sherry! Hope you are fine. It was a great read. Especially because all the programs you mentioned (Take Credit Mortgage Credit Certificate, FirstHome Program, FirstHome Plus Program, Homes for Iowans Program and Homes for Iowans Plus Program) are quite new to most first time home buyers. And no one else seems to be ready to talk about these programs.

    All they do is talk about typical mortgages like FHA, VA and USDA.

    Great Job!

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