I have had many contact me about HUD allowing first time home buyers to use the $8,000 tax credit in advance for down payment and closing costs.  Please read below for some important information about using this tax credit.  Borrower’s will still have to come up with their own 3.5% down payment for an FHA loan, but AFTER that they can use the proceeds from the short term loans to increase down payments, cover closing costs or buy down their mortgage rate.

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — Federal Housing Administration – approved lenders can now provide short-term loans to first-time borrowers eligible for the $8,000 home buyer tax credit.

But under guidance issued by the Department of Housing and Urban Development late last week, the loans must be on top of — not instead of — the minimum 3.5% down payment normally required on FHA-insured loans.

Buyers can still receive down-payment assistance from their parents, employers, nonprofit groups and certain government entities. But other than that, the down payment must come from their own funds.

Thus, FHA borrowers relying on the lender to finance the tax credit will have to come up with their own money for the 3.5% down payment. But after that, they can use the proceeds from the short-term loans to increase their down payments, cover their closing costs or buy-down their mortgage rate.

HUD did not estimate how many FHA buyers would benefit from tax-credit advances, which cannot result in cash back to the borrowers, cannot exceed the total amount needed for the down payment and closing costs and may not be for more than the anticipated tax credit due the borrowers.

To prevent third-party down-payment assistance outfits from “buying” the tax credit refunds from borrowers, the rules state that the buyer’s down payment may not consist of any funds provided by the mortgagee, the seller or any other person that financially benefits from the transaction. That prohibition specifically includes third-party entities that are reimbursed, directly or indirectly, by anyone benefiting from the deal.

HUD didn’t want to do anything that would allow “these seller-funded schemes back in,” a senior HUD official said at a briefing on the program. The department also plans to monitor the purchase of tax-credit transactions closely, warning that missteps would result in referral to HUD’s Mortgage Review Board, the Federal Trade Commission or the appropriate state attorney general’s office for disciplinary action.

Be sure to talk with your mortgage company about all the details involved with your loan and the available $8,000 tax credit.

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