So what is the HERO program? The HERO program is an incredible MFA first mortgage loan designed for households in which at least one member is a member of the armed forces, a healthcare worker, teacher, or safety worker. This loan includes a 3.0 percent down payment grant for low to moderate incoming homebuyers employed in the occupations mentioned above. Even better is that you do not have to be a first-time home-buyer to qualify!
Now, some of the occupations listed above are pretty broad terms and we are going to define them a bit to avoid any confusion. Remember these definitions are taken straight from the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority website.
Definition of Eligible Occupations:
- Teacher – One of the borrowers must be an employee of an accredited or state chartered private or public school such as a certified teacher or administrator or an employee of a post-secondary level educational institution.
- Safety Worker – One of the borrowers must be an employee of a law enforcement agency or fire department administered by an agency or subdivision of a state or local government such as a sworn law enforcement officer responsible for crime prevention and detection, law enforcement, or criminal incarceration, a sworn member of a fire department involved in the fire suppression or prevention, a member of an emergency medical response team, a hazardous materials response team, or management or a terrorism response team.
- Health Care Worker – One of the borrowers must be a certified, accredited, or licensed health care worker such as a medical resident or fellow, a nurse, nursing assistant, pharmacist, pharmacy technician, physician's assistant, medical technician, technologist or therapist.
- Active Member of Armed Forces – One of the borrowers must be a current member of the United States Armed Forces (active or reserve).
How much can I borrow?
Your MFA-approved participating lender will help you determine the maximum amount you may borrow, based on your income, debts and credit profile.
You must have a minimum credit score of 620. However, if you do not have a credit history, you may still be able to qualify. Consult with your MFA-approved participating lender for more information.
HERO is a 30-year, fixed-rate, FHA-insured mortgage loan. The down payment assistance grant does not need to be repaid. The HERO program requires a $1,000 contribution from the homebuyer’s own funds. The 3.0 percent grant can pay for any additional costs associated with HERO, such as additional down payment and closing costs.
How do I apply for the HERO program?
HERO is available through a statewide network of MFA –approved participating lenders. Your participating lender will coordinate the approval of your mortgage loan directly with MFA. In order to be eligible for the HERO program, your annual household income may not exceed certain limits, depending on where in the state you purchase the home.
In addition to the household income limits, the HERO program limits the purchase price of the home, or the acquisition cost. Please see the program limits listed below for specifics. You may not own any other Real Property. Homes that can be financed through the HERO program include single-family detached homes, town homes, condominiums and homes in planned unit developments. Manufactured homes that meet FHA guidelines may also be allowed. Consult with your MFA-approved participating lenders for more information.
What are the limits?
For the Las Cruces area, the HERO Program’s current gross annual household income may not exceed $65,040. These limits apply to households of any size. The only other limitation is that the total home sales price must not exceed $243,945.
In the meantime, check out our website dedicated to giving first time home buyers like you all the information you need to make buying your first home a smart, well-informed, and pleasant experience.
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