Open prairies, wheat fields and corn fields, and wide river valleys – welcome to beautiful Kansas, nestled in the center of the country. Are you a first-time homebuyer ready to enjoy a peaceful life in the Sunflower State?
Buying your first home is an exciting milestone, but it takes some work. Prospective homebuyers need to save for a down payment and closing costs, get their finances in order to secure a loan, and prepare for the responsibility of managing a mortgage.
However, plenty of help is available for Kansas homebuyers. If you’re a first-time homebuyer in Kansas, turns out there are statewide and local homeownership assistance programs to help you every step of the way. They can connect you with lenders to lock in a low-interest home loan and chip in for your down payment and closing costs.
Read on to learn more about these programs, their eligibility requirements and how to apply.
Who Qualifies as a First-Time Homebuyer in Kansas?
For a quick clarification, a first-time homebuyer is defined as any family or individual who has never owned a home, or at least not in the past three years. Note – this may depend on the region. It’s worth waiting it out if you’re nearing the three-year mark because these programs provide a significant financial boost.
As always, when you’re researching, read the fine print and any limitations provided below.
And here’s some good news: most of the local programs described below aren’t restricted to first-time homebuyers! The emphasis is on helping low-income families across Kansas with the biggest purchase of their lives.
Statewide Homeownership Assistance Programs
Kansas has two key programs available that are organized through the Kansas Housing Resources Corporation (KHRC) and the Kansas Housing Assistance Program.
These are generous programs and are worth doing your homework on to see if you qualify. Here’s a closer look at each program’s details, how to apply as well as the fine print.
KHRC First-Time Homebuyer Program
The First-Time Homebuyer Program is the sole homeownership assistance program provided by the Kansas Housing Resources Corporation. It’s a generous program, providing income-eligible homebuyers with a 0% interest loan worth up to 20% of their home’s purchase price and will cover your down payment in its entirety. The loan is forgiven as long as you remain in your home and use it as your primary residence for 10 years.
As of 2018, the KHRC has already provided more than $864,000 in down payment assistance grants to homebuyers across the state.
To be eligible, applicants must be a first-time homebuyer or anyone who hasn’t owned a home in the last three years. Income is a major factor too – homebuyers must have an income at or below 80% of their area’s median. You can obtain income limits for each county here. You are responsible for at least 2% and up to 10% your home’s purchase price.
The program has no credit score requirements, but you’ll need to secure a first mortgage on your own. The KHRC has a list of approved lenders you can work with in each county.
The program is available in 18 counties but doesn’t include homes in Topeka, Lawrence, Wichita, Kansas City or Johnson County.
Kansas Housing Assistance Program
The Kansas Housing Assistance Program helps homebuyers secure a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage at a lower interest with a down payment assistance grant – up to 5% of the home’s purchase price.
For this program, applicants must have a minimum credit score of 640, and they’ll also need to meet income and purchase price limits. All types of new and existing homes are fair game, including condominiums, townhouses and manufactured houses.
The program is available to first-time homebuyers and repeat homebuyers who meet the criteria above.
Check out the Kansas Housing Assistance Program’s official website for complete details.
Homebuyer Programs by Location in Kansas
While the pair of statewide programs listed above can give you a tremendous headstart on your journey to homeownership, homebuyers should pay attention to local homebuyer assistance programs across Kansas.
In some cases, you can double dip, combining statewide homeownership programs with an initiative from the city or county where you plan to call home.
The programs are a mixed bag – some are exclusively for first-time homebuyers but you’ll notice these local programs shift the focus to helping any homebuyers – including repeat homebuyers – who are within a lower-income bracket. Read more for our complete rundown of local programs.
First-time homebuyers who are from low- and moderate-income households can rely on help from the Douglas County Down Payment Assistance program. Through the county’s DPA, eligible homebuyers gain access to low interest home loans and grants, the perfect combination to secure low monthly mortgage payments and the cash for a down payment.
In this case, you must be a first-time homebuyer living or working within Douglas County city limits. Homebuyers’ income must be at or below 80% of their area’s median income, and you must personally contribute at least 1% of your home’s purchase price.
Just like most programs, you’ll need to complete a homebuyer’s education course.
Check out the Douglas County Down Payment Assistance Program details, including contact information to apply on the official website.
Low-income homebuyers in Johnson County can turn to the region’s Homebuyer Assistance Program, which provides eligible applicants with up to $10,000 in a deferred loan – helping with their down payment and closing costs. The amount you’ll receive is determined by the Johnson County Housing Services based on your financial need. You won’t have to pay back a penny until you sell or refinance your home.
All properties are eligible too, including site-built homes, townhouses and mobile homes.
You’ll need to complete a homebuyer’s education course in person – not online. You are also required to submit documents, including your credit score, pre-approval letter from your lender, and your home’s appraisal.
Looking for a home in Kansas City? The Wyandotte County Community Development Department offers a second mortgage to homebuyers via its Community Housing Investment Program (CHIP).
Eligible applicants can borrow as much as $15,000 in a CHIP second mortgage to help them with their upfront down payment costs.
You cannot own any real estate at the time of closing and you can only use the CHIP program once in your lifetime.
Here’s a look at the CHIP Program on the Wyandotte County official website.
If you’re shopping for a new home in the capital city of Kansas, Topeka has two homebuyer programs on tap to help you own a own home.
The city’s Topeka Opportunity to Own (TOTO) Program helps low-income families purchase their first home anywhere within Topeka’s city limits. You’ll receive home financing help, and a dedicated homebuyer counselor will assist you through the entire buying process.
You can even receive up to $30,000 to make repairs to your home purchase if needed.
To qualify, you’ll need to meet income guidelines, invest at least $1,000 of your own cash into your home’s down payment, and attend homebuyer’s education courses.
FHL Bank Topeka runs its own Homeownership Set-Aside Program (HSP) to help very low, low, and moderate-income first-time homebuyers.
HSP provides down payment, closing costs and repair assistance to homebuyers who are at 80% or below their area’s median income. The funding is provided through a five-year forgivable grant. As long as you don’t sell or refinance, you won’t be required to repay your HSP loan.
Keep in mind, this program is only available to FHL Bank members.
Read more about the Homeownership Set-Aside Program.
If you’re looking for a new home in Wichita, you’re in luck! It’s a great place to start your journey to homeownership and the city has the largest selection of new home communities in all of Kansas.
The city also runs a suite of programs to help you with your home purchase, from free housing and foreclosure counseling, down payment assistance programs for low-income families, to grants to help you with home repairs.
Check out the homeownership programs on the City of Wichita’s website.
Ready to Buy a Home in Kansas?
With nicknames like “America’s Breadbasket,” the “Wheat State,” and the “Garden of the West,” it’s no wonder homebuyers set their sights on Kansas.
The state produces one-fifth of all wheat grown across America, it has bustling industries including energy and aerospace, and boasts great universities, including Kansas, Kansas State and Wichita State.
Need another selling point? Kansas residents are surrounded with terrain that includes forests, mountain ranges and prairies. Whether you’re looking for a home in Wichita, Overland Park, Kansas City or Topeka, there are multiple programs to help you secure your home.
The links on this site were researched by NewHomeSource. This is as cohesive a list as possible. Individual homebuyers should contact entities to fully understand requirements and processes.
Carmen Chai is an award-winning Canadian journalist who has lived and reported from major cities such as Vancouver, Toronto, London and Paris. For NewHomeSource, Carmen covers a variety of topics, including insurance, mortgages, and more.