Homebuyer Incentives Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Have a question? See if we have the answer below.

Do I have to qualify for a mortgage before utilizing these programs?

Yes, you must qualify for a mortgage with an Invest Atlanta Participating Lender. Your Participating Lender will advise you which Invest Atlanta incentives work best for you.

What is prequalification?

A mortgage prequalification is not a loan agreement. It’s simply an estimate of how much you can afford to borrow based on the information you provide. This will give you a clearer sense of an appropriate price range for your home.

To get prequalified, a Participating Lender will ask you for basic financial information about your income, debt, savings, credit, and assets. Typically, the Participating Lender will need to pull your credit score to provide a prequalification letter.

Is my credit score going to affect my ability to participate in these programs?

Yes. You must have a credit score that meets Invest Atlanta program guidelines and is acceptable to Participating Lenders. Please talk with a Participating Lender during the prequalification process to understand credit score requirements.

Are there income restrictions?

Yes. Your household income must fall under the maximum income limits for the program utilized. Please check the website for current income thresholds by family size.

Where can I buy my home if I use these programs?

Qualifying homes purchased using Invest Atlanta down payment incentives must be located within the city limits of Atlanta. To determine if property is located in the city of Atlanta, click here.

What type of home can I buy?

Most Invest Atlanta Homebuyer Incentives allow the purchase of a single family home, condominium, townhome and 2-4 units. AAHOP does not allow 2-4 units. Manufactured homes are not eligible.

Do I have to be a first-time homebuyer to participate?

No, however you cannot own interest in any property when closing with Invest Atlanta incentives.

Maximum income limits for these programs are by household members. Who counts as being a household member?

A household member is any individual you indicate at the time of application will live in the home you purchase.

Do you calculate income before or after taxes?

Income is calculated based on gross earnings, which is before taxes are deducted.

How is my income calculated to qualify for incentives?

W-2 Income: The year-to-date gross income from the most recent paycheck stub is annualized to calculate your annual income. If a bonus amount is present, the bonus is subtracted from the year-to-date total, and then annualize that number, adding back the bonus to the annualized figure.

Self-Employed Income: We review your last 2 years of tax transcripts and a year-to-date Profit and Loss Statement, and then average those figures to calculate your annual income.

Will I qualify for Invest Atlanta Homebuyer Incentives with student loan obligations?

Student loans are considered by the Participating Lender when determining qualification for a mortgage. It is best to consult with the Lender to confirm your eligibility.

Can I buy a home, and then fix it up?

Yes, qualified homebuyers may purchase a home using an FHA 203K or Conventional HomeStyle renovation mortgage loan and use ATL Home Renovation Advantage to help with the down payment and closing costs.

Where do I take the required home renovation class?

Resources for Residents offers renovation education workshops. You must register on their website at rrc-atl.org.

Do I have to live in my home for a certain time if I utilize these programs to purchase it?

Some incentives have a required affordability period, while HOME Atlanta 4.0 and HFA Preferred TM do not.

What is an affordability period?

An affordability period is a required amount of time during which you must own and live in the home.

Can these programs be combined with other down payment assistance programs?

Yes, under very specific circumstances the programs can be combined with one another and with Atlanta BeltLine Housing Initiative Program, City of Atlanta NSP or Atlanta Housing Authority programs. Invest Atlanta incentives cannot be used with NACA, Georgia Dream, DeKalb County or Fulton County down payment assistance programs.

I’ve already been prequalified for a mortgage, but I don’t see my lender on your Participating Lender list. How does my lender get placed on your list?

Your lender may request an Invest Atlanta Lender Invitation to Participate, however the approval process may take 60 days or longer. You must select a lender from the current Participating Lender list to use Invest Atlanta incentives.

How do I enroll in the required homebuyer education class?

You must contact a Participating Homebuyer Educator directly to enroll in a homebuyer education class.

When does the homebuyer education certificate expire?

Certificates for the required 8-hour homebuyer education class expire 12 months after completing the class or online course.

How long is the process?

Invest Atlanta will review and approve your submission file at the same time your mortgage loan is being reviewed and approved by the Participating Lender, which usually takes up to 45 days.

How much of my own money will I need?

Program guidelines require homebuyers to contribute $1,500 to the transaction. Your Participating Lender will provide an upfront estimate of funds needed to close on your home. If the incentive amount does not cover all of the down payment and closing cost requirements, you will be responsible for the balance. Your real estate agent may negotiate seller-paid closing costs on your behalf to possibly reduce the funds you need at closing.

Do I have to select a real estate agent from a list?

There is no list of Participating Real Estate Agents, therefore you may work with a real estate agent of your own choosing.

How do I get started?

The steps to homeownership using Invest Atlanta Homebuyer Incentives are:

1. Attend an Invest Atlanta Homebuyer Q & A Session
2. Enroll in a qualified Homebuyer Education Class
3. Contact a Participating Lender to get prequalified
4. Find a home inside the city limits of Atlanta

How do I determine if a property qualifies for homebuyer incentives?

Qualifying homes purchased using Invest Atlanta down payment incentives must be located within the city limits of Atlanta. To determine if property is located in the city of Atlanta, click here, type in the property address and look for the three qualifying indicators (Neighborhood Name, NPU and Council District [1-12]) on the gray panel of information, located on the right side of the webpage.

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