New homeowners

You know it, I know it. The millions of millennials out there trying to buy their first homes know it only too well.

Needing a down payment disqualifies many people from being able to buy a house.

With school debt to pay off, higher rent prices, and coming of age in the middle of a recession, there’s no way many of today’s young working professionals will be able to swing a huge chunk of change. This is hard because these people would otherwise be prime candidates for homeownership. They are able to pay their rent on time and are responsible renters.

Home Partners of America

Enter Home Partners of America. This is a rent-to-own company offering a new mortgage product to tenants that just might solve this problem. The mortgage product they are offering applies some of the appreciation of their home’s value - the home they’ve been renting - toward reducing the down payment.

If you live in an area where home prices have appreciated at all, it could reduce the down payment requirement by a lot. You may end up paying almost nothing.

Here is where it’s different from other rent-to-own schemes that end up working against you. Other companies have taken a large non-refundable deposit. However, this isn’t what Home Partners of America is setting out to do. They also aren’t out to create another housing bubble by giving homes to people who can’t really afford to pay a mortgage.

The main requirement to qualify for this program is that you demonstrate you can pay rent on time for two years. You also must be considered first-time buyers, meaning you haven’t owned a home in the last three years. This demonstrates you are:

  • Committed to staying there and
  • You are financially responsible.

Home Partners of America started five years ago. Unfortunately, it doesn’t exist yet in Michigan. However, it owns almost 8,000 homes in over 50 cities across the country and plans to offer the product to its current tenants and those who sign a lease over the next two years as a pilot program. New Penn Financial is the Pennsylvania-based lender making the loans and they will be backed by mortgage company Fannie Mae.

Other Pilot Programs

New home buyers may be excited to know that Fannie Mae has been involved recently with several pilot programs built to ease credit for young buyers. The surge in home prices in recent years has made it impossible for those who haven’t saved enough for a down payment. To mitigate this, other pilot programs are planning to try things like:

  • Paying off a portion of the student loan of a borrower who purchases a home from the Miami home builder Lennar Corp.
  • Giving a buyer up to $50,000 in a down payment in return for an agreement that the buyer will rent a room in their new home on Airbnb.

One of the most important things is that Home Partners doesn’t take a nonrefundable deposit. If you participate in the pilot program - or hopefully get a loan down the road when these products become more widely available - you won’t lose money if you need to walk away. If the house you are renting declines in value or you decide not to buy, you are free to go.


If you haven’t been able to get into a home yet and rising housing prices is discouraging, don’t fear. There are some new and interesting mortgage products coming your way that might make the impossible into a dream come true.

If you are ready to start looking for a house, please give us a call.