Arizona Down Payment Assistance Second Mortgage
In order to help stabilize home values and ensure that down payment assistance programs are still available and affordable for Arizona homebuyers, assistance funds tailored to help pay for down payment and closing costs can be structured as a down payment assistance second mortgage, which is secured as a lien against the new home.
These types of second mortgages can be referred to by different names but are conceptually the same thing. Names include down payment assistance second mortgage, silent second mortgage, or a soft second mortgage. Fannie Mae refers to a second mortgage used in connection with a first mortgage delivered to them as Community Seconds. Second mortgages that are tied to loans delivered to Freddie Mac are referred to as Affordable Seconds.
The funds for second mortgages can be provided by federal agencies, state and county housing agencies, local municipalities, or nonprofit organizations employers. The eligibility requirements for most of them are provided by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.
Additional eligibility requirements are generally as follows:
- The funds will be used for down payment assistance and/or closing costs
- The property must be a principal residence. In other words, the person receiving the assistance will live in the property once they buy it
- The property must be a residential property. This is to say that it is designed for one to four families to live in the property
- The maximum combined loan to value of the first mortgage and the silent second is not to exceed 105%
- The source of the funds for the second mortgage is not the seller of the property or another interested party to the transaction
The reason that these types of second mortgages are referred to as a silent second is because they typically have a zero-interest or very low-interest requirement (ex. up to 2%) and do not require monthly payments. Also, many times, silent seconds are forgiven over time. If the loan is required to be repaid, the repayment requirement usually doesn’t happen until the home is sold or the mortgage is refinanced.
Know the Details of the Second Mortgage
If you are getting down payment assistance that is structured as a second mortgage, you need to be careful that you read and understand the details, terms and conditions of the transaction. They can be quite different depending on how the provider of the funds chooses to structure the down payment assistance second mortgage.
Examples of some of these differences include:
- the lien may or may not accrue interest,
- the lien may or may not be forgiven over time,
- the lien may or may not require that you and the provider of the funds share in any appreciation in the value of your home.
This type of down payment assistance should not be confused with a grant that does not require repayment.
Arizona Programs That Create Second Mortgages
As of 2018, the three most popular down payment assistance programs in Arizona – Home Plus, Home in Five, and the Pima Tucson Homebuyer’s Solution – have structured their funds as soft second mortgages on the property being purchased. All three have chosen to structure the silent second in the following manner:
- 0% interest rate
- No monthly payments
- Three-year term
- Forgiven monthly at a rate of 1/36 over the term of the lien
- The second mortgage is 100% forgiven after three years
- If the home was sold or refinanced before the three years, the non-forgiven amount of the lien will be paid back to the provider of the funds
As mentioned, the reason that there may be a period of time that the lien is required to be repaid is because one of the main goals of the program is to help stabilize home values and ensure that the down payment assistance programs continue to be available and affordable for Arizona home buyers.