Frequently Asked Questions

  • What assistance is available to help an individual purchase a home?

    TSAHC offers two types of assistance:

    Low Interest Rate Loans and Down Payment Assistance 

    • 30-year fixed interest rate mortgage loan
    • Down payment and closing cost assistance grant of up to 5% of the loan amount (on FHA, VA, USDA and HFA Preferred Assisted loans)
    • Down payment assistance grant is a gift and never needs to be repaid


    Mortgage Credit Certificates

    • Provides the home buyer with up to $2,000 every year as a special federal income tax credit based on the interest paid on the mortgage loan
    • Can save the home buyer thousands of dollars over the life of the loan
    • Exclusively for first-time home buyers or individuals who have not owned a home in the last three years
    • Can be used with TSAHC’s Down Payment Assistance


    A home buyer cannot apply for either type of assistance AFTER closing on their home loan.  Assistance is only available during the home purchase process.

  • How does a home buyer apply for one of TSAHC’s home buyer programs?

    Home buyers must work with one of TSAHC's participating lenders and must follow these key steps to qualify:

    1. Take the Eligibility Quiz
    2. Contact one of the program’s participating lenders
    3. Attend a home buyer education course.
  • Does the home buyer have to pay back any portion of the down payment assistance grant provided by TSAHC?

    Home buyers never have to pay back a portion of TSAHC’s down payment assistance grant. It is a true grant.

  • Can home buyers use both the Down Payment Assistance and the Mortgage Credit Certificate Programs together?

    First-time home buyers may use both forms of assistance when purchasing a home. 

    Additionally, TSAHC’s down payment assistance grants can be combined with other down payment assistance programs offered in the home buyer’s city or county. 

  • Who is eligible for TSAHC's home buyer programs?

    TSAHC provides 30-year fixed interest rate mortgage loans, down payment assistance grants, and mortgage credit certificates through the following programs.  These programs are offered through a network of approved mortgage lenders. 

    • Homes for Texas Heroes Home Loan Program: for teachers, fire fighters and EMS personnel, police and correctional officers, and veterans. Click here for definitions of "Texas Heroes".
    • Home Sweet Texas Home Loan Program: for Texas home buyers with low and moderate incomes.


    Both programs are restricted to home buyers earning up to 115% of the Area Median Family Income. Incomes vary by county.   Take the eligibility quiz to see if your clients qualify.

  • Who is a "Texas Hero"?

    Under the Homes for Texas Heroes Program, the Texas Legislature defines a “Texas Hero” as one of the following:

    • Classroom Teacher
    • Teacher Aide
    • School Librarian
    • School Nurse
    • School Counselor
    • Nursing and Allied Health Faculty member
    • Veteran
    • Firefighter
    • EMS Personnel
    • Peace Officer
    • Corrections Officer (TDCJ or TJJD)
    • County Jailer
    • Public Security Officer


    For detailed definitions, click here. If you do not see a profession listed above, it is not eligible for the “Texas Heroes” program. However, a home buyer may qualify for the Home Sweet Texas program and receive the same benefits. Take the Eligibility Quiz to see if your client qualifies.

  • Where can a home buyer use TSAHC’s home buyer programs and what type of homes can they purchase?

    Home buyers may use TSAHC’s home buyer programs to purchase a home anywhere in Texas.  Our programs are not limited to certain areas or to TSAHC-specific homes. 

  • Is a home buyer required to stay in the home for any minimum number of years?

    No, home buyers are not required to stay in the home for any period of time.  However, home buyers who used TSAHC’s down payment assistance prior to June 2012 or receive a TSAHC MCC may be subject to Recapture Tax if they decide to sell their home within 9 years of purchase. Click here to learn more about Recapture Tax. 

  • Are there income restrictions?

    Yes, both the Homes for Texas Heroes and Home Sweet Texas Home Loan Programs have income limits. Please take the Eligibility Quiz for more information.

  • Are there credit and debt requirements?

    For MCC Program:

    No minimum FICO credit score or maximum debt-to-income (DTI) requirements. 

    For DPA or MCC/DPA programs:

    Effective April 3, 2017- No maximum debt-to-income (DTI)* requirements will apply to any loan using DPA or MCC/DPA program that receives an automated underwriting approval.

    FHA Loans, VA or USDA-RHS Loans

    Home buyers must have a minimum FICO score of 620. Please note, home buyers with a FICO score of 620-639 will be charged a .50% origination fee. FHA allows manual underwriting with a maximum debt to income ratio of 43%. A minimum credit score of 640 will apply unless using non-traditional credit.


    Fannie Mae HFA Preferred Conventional Loans

    Home buyers must have a minimum FICO score of 620. Please note, home buyers with a FICO score of 620-639 will be charged a .25% origination fee.

  • How does a home buyer find a home buyer education course?

    Home buyers should visit the Texas Financial Toolbox to find a home buyer education course in their area.  Any course listed on this site will meet the requirement.

  • What fees are charged to use TSAHC’s home buyer programs?

    The following fees apply to TSAHC's home buyer programs:

    • $250 Funding Fee (DPA Programs only)
    • $75 Tax Service Fee (DPA Programs only)
    • $10 Flood Transfer Fee (DPA Programs only)
    • $200 Compliance Review Fee (DPA and MCC Programs)
    • $500 MCC Issuance fee (MCC Program only) – Please note that “Texas Hero” borrowers using our DPA program who are also first-time home buyers will receive a FREE MCC!

    Lenders may collect other reasonable and customary fees and closing costs, provided all fees are fully disclosed in accordance with federal, state and local regulations.

  • How long does the process take?

    Using one or both of TSAHC’s home buyer programs should not take any longer than the customary time it takes to close a traditional mortgage loan. On average, it takes 24-48 hours for TSAHC to review the loan file for approval. TSAHC requires that all loans be sold to Lakeview Loan Servicing within 60 days of reservation.

  • What is the definition of a first-time home buyer?

    For purposes of the MCC program, a first-time home buyer is an individual or family that has not owned or had an ownership interest in any principal residence during the last three years.

  • What is a targeted area?

    Home buyers may purchase a home anywhere in Texas to receive TSAHC’s assistance.  However, home buyers purchasing a home in a targeted area are allowed to have a higher income and purchase price limit. A targeted area is a designated census tract or an area of chronic economic distress.  To see if a property is located in a targeted area, click here.

  • What property type can a home buyer purchase with TSAHC’s programs

    With the DPA or Combo DPA/MCC program a home buyer can purchase the following property types:

    FHA/USDA/VA Loans-

    • New or existing homes
    • Unit in a condo, townhome, or PUD
    • An entire duplex, triplex, or fourplex (one unit must be owner-occupied)


    HFA Preferred Conventional Loan-

    • New or existing homes
    • Unit in a condo, townhome or PUD
    • An entire duplex, triplex, or fourplex (must put down 5% or more and one unit must be owner-occupied)


    With the MCC program by itself a home buyer can purchase the following property types:

    Any loan type-

    • New or existing homes
    • Unit in a condo, townhome, or PUD
    • An entire duplex, triplex, or fourplex (one unit must be owner-occupied)
    • Manufactured homes
  • Can a home buyer purchase a second home using one of TSAHC’s home buyer programs?

    To qualify for assistance, the home must become the home buyer's primary residence. Vacation, rental and second homes do not qualify under TSAHC’s home buyer programs.

  • Is a gift an acceptable source of funds for the home buyer's down payment?

    Gifts are an acceptable source for part of the down payment, if the gift giver is related to the home buyer or is from a nonprofit or government organization.