Homeownership Connection - Providing homebuyers & homeowners resources to be successful.

Homeownership Connection

Programs & Resources
For Homebuyers 

First Time Homebuyer Program & Downpayment Assistance
Home Stretch® Homebuyer Education
FRAMEWORK - Online Homebuyer Education
Pre-Purchase Counseling

First Time Homebuyer Program & Downpayment Assistance
Homebuyers in Dakota County can now access fixed, low-interest mortgage financing along with a Mortgage Credit Certificate and up to $10,000 in downpayment and closing cost assistance through the CDA First Time Homebuyer Program.

How to Appy
To apply for the First Time Homebuyer Program, contact one of the loan officers on the Participating Lender List. Interested homebuyers must work with a Participating Mortgage Lender to qualify for the First Time Homebuyer, Give Yourself Credit! and Down Payment Assistance Programs. Additional lenders will be added to the list as they sign up to participate in the program. Lenders interested in participating in the program can click here for more information.

Eligible Financing
The First Time Homebuyer Program may only be used with 30-year amortizing fixed-rate FHA or VA mortgage loans or HFA Preferred conventional mortgage loans.

Interest Rates

  • FHA/VA: 4.125% - Effective rate as low as 2.68% with Mortgage Credit Certificate

  • HFA Preferred: 4.625% - Effective rate as low as 3.01% with Mortgage Credit Certificate

    *Interest rates are subject to change.

Program Eligibility

  • Homebuyers must be first time homebuyers or someone who has not owned a home in the last three years.
  • Honorably discharged Veterans are eligible whether or not they are first time homebuyers. To be eligible, the Veteran cannot have used a similar program to purchase a home in the past.
  • Properties must be located in Dakota County.
  • Homebuyers must occupy the home as their primary place of residence after purchase.
  • Homebuyers must have a minimum credit score of 640 for HFA Preferred Conventional Financing or 660 for FHA Financing.

Income Limits

  • 1 or 2 person households: $86,600
  • 3 or more person households: $99,500

Maximum Purchase Price: $285,780 for single family homes, townhomes or condominiums.

NOTE: Borrowers will pay an application fee at closing. Income and purchase price limits are subject to change.

Give Yourself Credit!
In addition to the low-interest first mortgage financing available through the First Time Homebuyer Program, homebuyers can take advantage of Give Yourself Credit! a mortgage certificate program that provides a federal income tax credit.

Mortgage Credit Certificate Flyer

Downpayment & Closing Cost Assistance
Homebuyers accessing the First Time Homebuyer Program can also apply for downpayment assistance loans of up to $10,000 (depending on household income).

Downpayment Assistance Loan Terms

  • Zero percent interest.
  • No monthly payments.
  • Loan must be repaid when the primary mortgage is paid off, or when the home is sold or refinanced. Loan can be pre-paid in full or in part at any time.
  • Borrower must contribute a minimum of $1,000 of their own funds toward the purchase of the home.

Maximum Loan Amounts & Income Limits

  • 10% of the purchase price up to $10,000 for households with incomes at or below 50% of the area median income.
  • 5% of the purchase price up to $7,500 for households with incomes between 51% and 80% of the area median income.
  • 3.5% of the purchase price up to $7,500 for households with incomes between 81% and the First Time Homebuyer Program income limits.

10% of Purchase Price
5% of Purchase Price
3.5% of Purchase Price

All homebuyers (and their spouses) applying for a First Time Homebuyer loan or Give Yourself Credit! must complete an approved homebuyer education course (Framework or Home Stretch) before closing on their loan. Both the homebuyer and the spouse (whether or not they are on the mortgage) must complete homebuyer education classes.

HomeStretch costs $20 per household for Dakota County residents and $40 for non-residents.

Also available are FREE one-on-one pre-purchase counseling sessions with trained homeownership specialists. Pre-purchase sessions provide answers to questions about homeownership and a review of a household’s financial situation to help develop a plan to become a homeowner.

Questions? Call 651-675-4442.

Home Stretch® Homebuyer Education Program
Purchasing a home may be the biggest investment you ever make. The first step in making a sound investment is to learn about the homebuying process by attending Home Stretch.

Home Stretch teaches homebuyers about the entire homebuying process and the responsibilities of homeownership. Topics covered include: Budgeting and Credit Issues, Financing and Qualifying for a Home, Shopping for a Home, The Purchase Process, Closing on a Home and Life as a Homeowner.

Home Stretch is taught by professionals in the homebuying field including a certified Home Stretch educator, mortgage lenders, realtors and home inspectors.

The Dakota County CDA holds Home Stretch classes monthly and is a HUD-Approved Housing Counseling Agency. Upon completion, participants receive a Home Stretch certificate.

PLEASE NOTE: The three-night timeframe is a series. All three dates must be attended in order to complete the course.

2016-2017 Dakota County CDA
Home Stretch Schedule

  Saturday, December 10 8:00 am - 4:30 pm CLOSED
  Saturday, January 7 8:00 am - 4:30 pm Open
  February 2,7,9 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm Open
  March 2,7,9 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm Open
  April 6,11,30 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm Open
  Saturday, May 13 8:00 am - 4:30 pm Open
  June 8,13,15 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm Open

The 2016 Home Stretch fees are $20 for households living in Dakota County, and $40 for non-Dakota County households.

Home Stretch is held at the CDA office at 1228 Town Centre Drive, Eagan, MN 55123.

Pre-registration is required either by phone or online.

To register by phone, contact Rachel Finazzo 651-675-4473.

For a list of other metro area Home Stretch class dates, visit the Home Ownership Center's Web site at www.hocmn.org

FRAMEWORK - Online Homebuyer Education

Framework is the only online homebuyer course designed by experts in online learning. It's comprehensive, so you'll have all the facts you need to navigate every step of the buying process. And you can learn when, where and how you like. It even works on your smartphone. To get started, visit Framework. Framework meets many lenders' requirements for homebuyer education, but check yours to make sure an online course is acceptable.

The cost of the Framework online training is $75 per household. One borrower from the household may complete the online training, but anyone who will be on the mortgage and his/her spouse must attend a free pre-purchase counseling session with one of the CDA's homeownership counselors.

To learn more about FRAMEWORK, watch this short overview video.

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Pre-Purchase Counseling

The CDA's Pre-Purchase Counseling services provide free individual counseling to Dakota County homebuyers and can be accessed anytime during the homebuying process, whether you are buying a home now or in the future.

This program assists homebuyers in creating a plan to become successful homeowners. The plan may include: credit repair, creating a household budget in order to save for a downpayment on a home, identifying mortgage loan products that best meet the household's needs and/or examining and answering questions about loan documents.

If you have questions about the homebuying process or would like to schedule a Pre-Purchase Counseling appointment, contact Rachel Finazzo at 651-675-4473.

Refinance Counseling

The CDA’s Refinance Counseling services provide one-on-one counseling sessions to homeowners. This provides homeowners an opportunity to compare their current mortgage against the potential refinanced mortgage. Minnesota state law requires homeowners paying off a special mortgage to receive counseling. During the counseling session you can expect to discuss the following:

      • Purpose of the proposed refinance

      • Advantages of the special mortgage

      • How to determine if you can refinance without paying off the special mortgage

      • Comparison of existing mortgage(s) and the proposed mortgage(s)

      • Benefits and costs of refinancing

The cost for Refinance Counseling in $30 per household. The fee is nonrefundable and must be paid via cash or check at the time of counseling or in advance of phone counseling. CDA may, at its discretion, choose to waive fees in some situations.

To schedule a Refinance Counseling appointment, contact Rachel Finazzo at 651-675-4473.

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