Minnesota Down Payment Assistance Programs

If you’re dreaming of buying a home but might not have the down payment, talk to your lender. Help may be out there!

* NOTE: This article is meant to give you a high-level view of down payment assistance programs. Always talk to your lender, as only they are qualified to let you know what programs will work for you.

Down payment assistance programs

Sometimes, these magic words feel nebulous or out of reach for most homeowners, when in reality, there are so many different down payment assistance programs that home buyers can benefit from.

Types of downpayment programs can vary in they way that they offer assistance, however here is a summary of the most common types of programs:

– 2nd mortgage, 0% interest loans
– county, city, or neighborhood-specific loans
– career-based assistance programs
– income-based assistance programs*

*Income-based assistance programs are one of the most commonly thought of programs when people think of down payment assistance programs. These programs often calculate their offerings based on AMI – average median income. 

However, as you can see – there are many of other types of down payment assistance programs.

Loans VS grants

Regardless of the type of program used, it’s important to remember that almost all downpayment assistance programs are LOANS and are not grants. While they will reduce the amount you need to purchase the home, they remain with the home and you until you chose to sell, at which point the loan will be repaid out of the proceeds of the sale. 

Required classes

Additionally, all down payment assistance programs will require some type of home buyer education class. While many organizations provide home buyer education, (including the Vaz+Harwood Team!), there are often specific programs that are approved to be partnered with specific types of down payment assistance programs. 

What do you qualify for?

I bet you’re thinking, “Phew! That’s a lot of information that sounds amazing! Now how do I find out what programs I qualify for or should apply for?”

The best way to determine what programs you qualify for is to talk to a lender who is familiar with down payment assistance programs, and who works with them frequently. We would be happy to help connect you with a local lender who excels at helping home buyers find the right downpayment assistance programs for their needs.

Here are a few of the mortgage companies we love that work with DPA programs often. 
Bell Bank
Cross Country Mortgage
Movement Mortgage

You’ll notice most of these are not big banks! For more information on picking the right lender, check out our article, How to Choose a Mortgage Lender.


The most widely available home buyer assistance program is MHFA – Minnesota Housing and Finance Authority. 

List of programs

To peruse a list of other downpayment assistance programs, click here.**

**Note – some programs are not widely publicized, which is why connecting with a lender is crucial to find the right program!

We can help you get started!

Fill out our buyer questionnaire and mention that you want to be connected to a lender for downpayment assistance programs! 

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