"OwnHome" Program

If you would like to own your own home, but can't afford the large up front cost, the Peach State has some help. Georgia is promoting its under-used "OwnHome" program, which offers interest free loans to use as down payments.

Home ownership, the American dream. For many it’s a dream to far out of reach because huge up-front cost, but Georgia's "OwnHome" program is working to change all that.

"It’s a down payment assistance program, and it works like a second mortgage. It can be used in conjunction with a conventional mortgage, or FHA 1st mortgage," says Hollie Bailey, a mortgage broker.

The program can provide a $5,000 interest free loan, which can be used for a down payment or closing costs. It’s then coupled with a 30-year mortgage, and the homebuyer only needs to contribute one percent of the total home price up front.

"The purchase price of the home can't be over a certain amount. If its new construction, for instance in Valdosta, it can't be over $112,700. For used homes, $93,600 is the limit."

While the loan can be used for any of the big, up front cost when buying a home, there are a few strings attached for after you've made the purchase.

You do have to stay in the house for at least 10 years before you either refinance it, or sell it. If you do refinance or sell, the note becomes due."

Despite those small restrictions, home lenders say this program is a great way to turn more renters into homeowners.

An additional $1,500 is also available for police, teachers and nurses.