Becoming a homeowner is a huge responsibility— but it’s also a huge opportunity to invest in your future. Becoming a homeowner means you will no longer have to pay monthly rent for the roof over your head. The check you write each month would go towards your future investment, not your landlord’s. If you’re a renter, you will experience a tremendous sense of freedom, both financially and with regards to your lifestyle.

The walls of your home are yours to paint any color you like and the trees you plant will last for decades. What could be better than hanging a family portrait and not having to think twice about filling in nail holes when you move? That’s worth more than equity…that’s freedom.

But the reality is becoming a homeowner can also be both exhilarating and a little bit intimidating. With home prices and mortgage rates at an all time low there has never been a better time to buy than today! Buying a home in some cases is cheaper than renting.

NJ Smart Start Prorgam Fact Sheet


To make the dream of home ownership a reality for some first time home buyers like you, there are special programs available to you backed by the NJ Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA). Many of these programs offer low, below-market interest rates and assistance with your down payment.

First time home buyer can comfortably afford the home of their dreams with one of the following down-payment assistance programs:

  • NJ Smart Start
  • Live Where You Work
  • USDA
  • Affordable Housing
  • Among several others.downpayment assistance programs

Program 1: NJ Smart Start Down Payment and Closing Costs Assistance Program.
If you haven’t owned a house in the last 3 years, you are considered a first time home buyer and are eligible for the First Time Home Buyer Program funded by NJHMFA. This unique loan offers a below-market, fixed interest rate to first time home buyers. It will even help with your down payment. You can get 2%, 3% or even 4% of the purchase price of the home towards your down payment and/or closing costs. There is no monthly payment or interest rate on the loan. If you’re in a Smart Growth Area, single family units and condos are eligible, while 2-4 family homes must be in existence for 5 years.

Program 2: Live Where You Work
The goal of LWYW is to build stronger communities by promoting home ownership and encouraging people to live closer to their jobs. This, in turn, will reduce the need for cars and increase the use of alternative transportation such as walking, biking and public transit.

If you would like to buy a house in the town where you currently work, then LWYW might be right for you. Employees could receive 5% towards their downpayment and/or closing costs and also will benefit from attractive mortgage rates.

Eligible Properties: Properties must be located in a participating Live Where You Work municipality.

Eligible properties include one-family units, including condominiums, (new and existing), and existing 2- to 4-family unit properties that are more than 5 years old

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• Asbury Park
• Lakewood
• Atlantic City
• Manchester Twp
• Bayonne
• Middletown
• Belmar
• Morristown
• Bridgeton
• Neptune
• Camden
• Newark
• Carteret
• New Brunswick
• Cherry Hill
• Old Bridge
• Collingswood
• Orange
• East Orange
• Passaic
• Edgewater Park
• Paterson
• Elizabeth
• Pemberton Twp
• Evesham
• Plainfield
• Franklin Township
• Rahway
• Freehold Borough
• Red Bank
• Glassboro
• Trenton
• Gloucester City
• Voorhees
• Haddon Township
• Washington Twp
• Jersey City
• Woodbridge
• Woodbury and Keyport

Section 502 loans are primarily used to help low-income individuals or households purchase address specific homes in rural areas. This loan is for 30 years. There is no required down payment, and no monthly mortgage insurance.

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2 Responses to Down Payment Assistance Programs For The First Time Buyer

  1. karen says:

    i would like to know if i can use this program to buy my home.

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