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Down payment assistance programs can help home buyers meet the down payment criteria for getting a mortgage. Benefits of using down payment assistance programs include, affordability, a faster track to home ownership, and increased purchasing power. 

Down payment assistance takes multiple forms, including loans, grants, and more. Assistance amounts can range from a few thousand dollars to as much as $15,000. Funds are made available through federal, state, and local housing authorities.  

To take advantage of any of these programs, start by contacting a First National Bank mortgage lender. Call 515-232-5561 or 641-342-6581 today to explore mortgage loan down payment assistance options.  

Searching for Home


Home$tart is a down payment and closing cost assistance program offered by the Federal Home Loan Bank Des Moines to qualifying first-time home buyers through member financial institutions, including First National Bank. 

Key Features:

  • Program is available to qualifying first-time home buyers with a household income under 80 percent of area median income for the location of the residence being purchased. 
  • Home$tart recipients must complete a home buyer education class, qualify for mortgage financing with First National Bank, and have a signed Purchase and Sale Agreement to enroll in Home$tart.  
  • Home$tart participants may receive up to $15,000 in grant funds, which can be put toward covering some or all of the down payment and closing costs associated with a mortgage transaction, or the cost of property rehabilitation. 
  • Funds are available on a first-come, first served basis, subject to funding availability. Funds are allocated on a quarterly basis and expended until the funds are depleted. Additional funds are added throughout the year on a quarterly basis. 
  • Find median income information for your area on the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) website. 
  • See full details in First National Bank's Home$tart program brochure. 

Family Searching for Home


The FirstHome program, offered by the Iowa Finance Authority, can give homebuyers either: (A) A down payment and closing cost assistance grant; or (B) A 2nd Loan program loan, not both. 

Key Features: 

  • The down payment and closing costs assistance grant provides home buyers with a $2,500 grant to assist with down payment and closing costs. 
  • Maximum household income limits vary by count and range from $95,200 - $115,400 for a household of two. 
  • Home purchase price limit of $481,000. May be up to $588,000 in targeted areas. 
  • Must be a first-time home buyer. A first-time home buyer is defined as not owning your primary residence in the last three years; or be a military member with discharge of other than dishonorable and not previously used a mortgage revenue bond program such as First Home previously to finance a home purchase; or purchase a home in a Targeted Area. 
  • Home must be occupied by the buyer as a primary residence within 60 days of closing. 
  • All loans subject to a minimum 640 credit score. For cases where borrower has no credit score, non-traditional credit documentation is allowed in accordance with agency guidelines for the loan type. 
  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio is 50% with an approve/eligible.

Closing on home purchase

Homes for Iowans

Offered by the Iowa Finance Authority, the Homes for Iowans program offers 2nd loan down payment and closing costs assistance option. Please note you cannot combine Homes for Iowans down payment and closing costs options with FIrstHome down payment and closing costs options. 

Key Features: 

  • The 2nd Loan program offers a loan of up to 5% of the home's sale price with no maximum and is repayable at time of sale, refinance or first mortgage is paid in full. No monthly payments required. 
  • Household income limit of $161,560. 
  • Home purchase price limit of $588,000. 
  • Available to first-time and repeat home buyers who are purchasing a primary residence in Iowa. 
  • Home must be occupied by the buyer as a primary residence within 60 days of closing. 
  • All loans subject to a minimum 640 credit score. 
  • The maximum debt-to-income ratio is 50% with an approve/eligible.

Family meeting with realtor

Fannie Mae HomeReady

Key Features

  • HomeReady is a solution for borrowers whether they're first-time or repeat buyers. 
  • Limited to borrowers who qualify for and are utilizing a Fannie Mae HomeReady loan and have a qualifying household income of 50% of the area median income (AMI) or less. 
  • $2,500 credit available for a limited time, beginning with loans delivered to Fannie Mae on or after March 1, 2024, through February 28, 2025. 
  • The full amount of the $2,500 credit must be provided directly to the borrower through the loan transaction, such as being applied to the down payment and closing costs, including escrows and mortgage insurance premiums. The loan officer will work with the borrower to understand how the credit can benefit them. 
  • See the Fannie Mae Area Median Income Lookup Tool. 
  • See the HomeReady Loans Down Payment Assistance flyer for additional information. 

Military Family

Military Homeownership Assistance Program

The Military Homeownership Assistance program provides a $5,000 grant to eligible service members and veterans for down payments and closing costs on qualifying homes. The funds may be used in conjunction with the FirstHome and Homes for Iowans programs. The program is limited to funding availability. 

Key Features:

  • Eligibility Requirements: Must have served 90 days active duty between August 2, 1990, and April 6, 1991, or September 11, 2001, to present; or is a federal status injured service person having served in active-duty August 2, 1990, to April 6, 1991, or September 11, 2001, to present; or is a surviving spouse of said eligible service person who has had a discharge other than dishonorable. 
  • Must receive prior approval before closing on a qualified home. 
  • Must utilize an Iowa Finance Authority (IFA) participating or facilitating lender (including First National Bank) to receive a non-IFA first mortgage, if IFA deems it economically feasible and financially advantageous. 
  • At this time, IFA will approve a grant with non-IFA financing if the lender demonstrates that such financing is a fixed rate, permanent, fully amortizing mortgage loan that is lower-cost than the most comparable IFA mortgage product available at the time the application loan estimate is issued. 
  • The home must be located in the state of Iowa and must be purchased by the eligible service member. 
  • The home must be occupied by the service member/spouse as the borrower's primary residence within 60 days of closing. 
  • Eligible homes: Single-family residences, condominiums, townhomes, or a property containing up to four units, if one of the units will be the primary residence of the service member. 
  • Interested home buyers must apply for this financing by contacting First National Bank. First National Bank takes the loan application and collects all necessary documents to verify eligibility. If the home buyers is verified to be eligible, First National Bank funds the loan.

Family with moving boxes

Story County Housing Trust First-Time Homebuyer Program

The Story County Housing Trust (SCHT) First-Time Homebuyer Program is available to first-time homebuyers who meet the qualifications below. $5,000 grants are available to qualified households, but funds are limited and are only available on a first-come, first-ready-to-process basis. 

Household Qualifications

  • Have not owned a home in the last 3 years.
  • Household income is less than $106,400 for a household of 1 or 2; or $122,360 for a household of 3 or more. 
  • Home purchase price is less than $481,000. 
  • Minimum 640 credit score. 
  • Maximum debit-to-income ratio of 50%. 
  • House must be in Story County. 

 Applications are only accepted by the SCHT after the homebuyer works with the lender and realtor to find a house and get approved by the lender to purchase. Approval can be conditional on the receipt of the $5,000 grant. 

Contact a First National Bank lender to assist you in completing the application process, which includes provision of income verification to SCHT. SCHT staff approves or denies the homebuyer based on qualifications. Prior to closing, the approved grant funds are provided to the lender to be placed in escrow for the benefit of the homebuyer to be used for the down payment. 

Keys to home

Historic West Des Moines Housing Fund

The Historic West Des Moines Housing Fund's Down Payment Assistance Program provides grants and deferred loans to assist in the purchase of homes in Historic West Des Moines. 

Key Features:

  • Borrower does NOT have to be a first-time home buyer. 
  • An approved borrower can receive a minimum grant for down payment and/or closing cost of $2,500. Verifiable active-duty military, veterans, and first responders are eligible for an additional $2,500 grant. Approved borrowers can apply for an additional $5,000 as a loan. 
  • The home to be purchased must be in the Historic Des Moines Area. Boundaries of the area includes 1st Street on the East, Railroad Avenue on the South, and Grand Avenue on the North and West. 
  • Borrower's annual gross income must be no more than 100% of the area median income, adjusted for household size. 
  • Learn more about the additional grant and loan terms and requirements, and steps to apply. 

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